Bilkent University was founded on October 20, 1984 by İhsan Doğramacı
(1915 - 2010) through the joint resolution of the İhsan Doğramacı Education
Foundation, the İhsan Doğramacı
Science and Research Foundation, and the İhsan Doğramacı Health Foundation.
The aim was to create a center of excellence in higher education and research. The
name "Bilkent" exemplifies the founder's aim,
since it is an acronym of bilim kenti
Turkish for "city of science and knowledge." The university is located in Turkey's
capital city of Ankara.
The founder, himself an academic, had earlier contributed to the establishment of
numerous public institutions of higher
learning and served as rector of Ankara University, as chairman of the Board of Trustees
of Middle East Technical University
and as founder and first rector of Hacettepe University. It had long been his objective
to establish a private, non-profit
university distinguished by its high quality education and research. During the time
he spent at Harvard and Washington
universities in the United States he had observed the advantages of independently
endowed non-profit research universities
that serve the public through higher education. With these in mind he advocated for
decades for the Turkish legal system to
allow such institutions, and when this dream finally materialized, he established
Bilkent University along the same lines.
Preparations for Bilkent University had begun as early as 1967, with the purchase
of a large tract of land to the west of Ankara.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s the above-mentioned foundations began construction
of the buildings which now house administrative
offices, the Faculty of Engineering, and the library. Bilkent University Library
is the most extensive academic library in the
country. Construction of residences for academic staff, cafeterias,
student dormitories, the Student Union building, and various academic buildings followed
in rapid succession.
Bilkent University admitted its first students in 1986. That year there were 386
undergraduate and graduate students. Currently there are over 12,000 students in
two four-year applied schools, the School of English Language, and three graduate
Among them are international students and exchange students from 73 countries.
Around 64% of the student body benefit from a variety of scholarships.
From the outset, the design of the university structure provided for student union
representatives to be voting members of the administrative committees of various
schools, as well as of the University Senate. The practice of student evaluation
of courses and instructors, at the time not a common practice in Turkey, was instituted.
In an effort to promote the enrichment of teaching and research programs, Bilkent
University has entered into collaborative projects
and exchange programs with many universities; the complete list being provided at:
To meet the expanding needs of the university, construction has continued throughout
the years since the admission of the first
students. Buildings and facilities today include the faculties and the departments,
research centers, modern classrooms,
state-of-the-art science and engineering laboratories, art studios, the Computer
Center, the Health Center, gymnasiums and a semi-olympic indoor swimming pool,
dormitories, faculty housing, cafeterias and restaurants, the Bilkent Concert Hall
for Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, the Odeon
outdoor auditorium which hosts 4,000 people, an elementary school, a secondary school,
a preschool and nursery.
The faculty is comprised of academic staff from over 34 different countries. Most
were working in prominent universities in
North America and Europe when they received offers from Bilkent University. According
to ISI Citation Indexes, Bilkent ranks
high among universities in Turk/ey in the number of published papers per faculty member.
Bilkent University ranked 16th in the QS Emerging Europe and Central Asia Rankings (2020)
and 82nd in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings (2019).
Bilkent has also been named as one of the Turkey's highest-ranked university in the
QS Graduate Employability Rankings (2019).
With world-renowned scholars among its faculty and top-notch facilities throughout
its campus, Bilkent continues to attract many of Turkey's brightest students and
is proud of its 49,000 alumni pursuing successful careers in five continents.