Istanbul University can trace its origins back to 1453, when it was founded by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II as a school of philosophy, medicine, law and letters. It has gone through many iterations since then, serving as a madrasah (Ismalic theological school) and as an institution of higher education called the Darülfünûn (House of Sciences) in the 19th century, before being established as Istanbul University in 1933 after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk reformed Turkey’s education system.
Today it has 22 faculties – including the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Dentistry, the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Fisheries – as well as three departments, eight schools, 16 institutes, 61 application and research centres – including a technology transfer centre – and the state conservatory.
The university is spread across 12 campuses: Beyazıt-Central, Laleli-Vezneciler, Vefa, Horhor, Avcılar, Çapa, Cerrahpaşa, Şişli, Kadıköy, Bahçeköy, Bakırköy and Büyükçekmece. The main campus is at Beyazıt-Central, which houses the Faculty of Law, Faculty of Economy, Faculty of Political Science, Faculty of Communication and the Hasan Ali Yücel Faculty of Education. The campus is situated in the Old City, an area of historical and architectural significance on Istanbul’s peninsula. The university has more than 5,000 academic staff and 7,000 administrative staff, who educate and take care of more than 80,000 students.
The university’s mission is to “bring together East and West; the past and the future”. Notable almuni include the 11th Turkish president Abdullah Gül, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Aziz Sancar and David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel.