One of the main characteristics of Istanbul University is its leadership in higher education for centuries. It has played a guiding and influential role in the social and cultural life of our country. We can clearly see this when we trace the line of historical development of the University.

Istanbul University, as one of the oldest educational institutions, not only of Turkey, but also of the world, was founded when Mehmet the Conqueror conquered Istanbul. Education began to be available in theological schools (“medrese/madrasah” as they were then called), until the end of the 16th century, these schools were instrumental in educating the ruling cadres of the Ottoman society. However, when the “madrasahs” were no longer able to meet the needs of the modern world, a restructuring process began, and as a result, the institutions of higher education called “Dar’ül fünun,” (meaning house of the sciences) the core of Istanbul University, were established. Through the educational reforms, introduced by the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the “madrasahs” were abolished in 1924. As a first step in modernization, the Istanbul Dar’ül fünun was established, comprising the departments of medicine, law, literature, theology,and science. The institution was renamed “Istanbul University” in accordance with Ataturk’s University Reform, and higher education was restructured in Turkey to meet the demands of contemporary society. During these early years, Istanbul University welcomedforeign academics who fled Germany as teaching staff.

When the Turkish Republic was founded, Istanbul University was the only institution of higher education. That is the reason why it is the provider of teaching staff for all the universities in Turkey today. Many academics educated here have initiated the establishment of the other higher education institutions. Thus, Istanbul University has always been instrumental in the training and strengthening of our country’s scientific cadres.

In addition to its scientific impact, Istanbul University has also been a leader in the movement towards enlightenment and modernization that began with the Republic by acting as a bridge between science and life. It is aware of its role in the perpetuation of Atatürk’s principles and reforms. Istanbul University will protect in line with this in all issues pertaining to public life with no concessions from its decisive stand. Istanbul University functions as a reflection of Turkey’s history of science and independence. As was the case in its history, Istanbul University is still in the vanguard of scientific success. Our alumni figure in all strata of society and serve their country through the important positions they hold.

Graduate School of Business

Istanbul University was established in 1453. Richard Honig, a German law historian, who claims that Byzantine and Ottoman traditions could be analyzed together, expressed that the history of Istanbul University can be traced back to March, 1st, 1321. The university which was first established in today’s main building, and which was equivalent to Roman universities consisting of schools of medicine, law, philosophy and letters, is considered to be the pioneer of university education is Istanbul.

On the other hand, according to Turkish researchers, the root of Istanbul University dates back to 1453 when Istanbul was conquered by Mehmet II. In fact scientific meetings held on May 30th 1453 – the following day of the conquest, in Zeyrek and Hagia Sofia are assumed to be the birthday of Turkish- Ottoman academic life and it was followed by the foundation of a Külliye.

As a matter of fact, Sıddık Sami Onar states that Turks were not able to find a university to reflect their culture in a city where they wanted to dwell, so they established a brand new one. Cemil Birsel emphasizes that the starting point of Istanbul University including the schools of law, medicine, science and letters was Fatih Külliyesi established in 1470. Soviet medical scientist Danişevski indicates that School of Medicine at Istanbul University is the oldest one in the world.

Istanbul University was restructured in 20.06.1973 accordingly with the legislation on New Universities numbered 1750 on the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. The above mentioned legislation which changed the legislation numbered 4936 completely, gave the duty of providing the newly founded universities and Higher Education Council with certified staff to old and well-established universities. In accordance with that legislation, Istanbul University has been able to provide highly qualified staff for those developing universities to a great extend.

Today Istanbul University is subject to the law numbered 2547 dated on 06.11.1981 and functions as a contemporary, secular and progressive educational establishment and fulfils historical, scientific and social objectives. The serpentine emblem, the symbol of the University of Istanbul, was designed by Prof. Süheyl Ünver, inspired by Seljuk Health Centre reliefs.

Until the beginning of the 19th century various educational systems were implemented under the rule of Ottoman Empire. Then, in 1933, Istanbul University became the first modern university after the University Reform reinforced by M. Kemal Atatürk. Having realized that the Madrasa System which was based on Islamic principles of education would never be able to meet the needs the new society; Atatürk foresaw the necessity to establish a new educational system similar to those already practiced in western societies. Thus, a new law concerning the unification of all education systems ( Tevhid-i Tedrisat) was passed; then all educational institutions based on religious practices were banned. Consequently, all educational issues were made to fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. In 1933 University reform was promulgated.

Istanbul University, Graduate School of Business was first founded in 1954 by Harvard Business School. Today Graduate School of Business offers programs for post graduates.

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Istanbul University Graduate School of Business

Avcılar Kampüsü Avcılar – 34320 / İstanbul

E-Mail: iie@istanbul.edu.tr