About the Istanbul Program

Istanbul Program Introduction

Istanbul is a world-historical city. It was a capital of three empires - Roman, Eastern Roman (Byzantine) and Ottoman. The city was founded as a Greek colony by the name of Byzantium. In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine rebuilt the city as the new capital of the Roman Empire. In the 7th century, Emperor Justinian transformed the city into a worldly heaven of Eastern Christianity. The Ottoman conquest in the 15th century reoriented the city as the center of the Islamic world. Under the Ottomans, while the Muslim Turks and Christian Greeks fostered the multi-religious Ottoman culture in Istanbul, the Jewish immigration from Iberia, Armenian immigration from Eastern Anatolia, and Arab immigration from Egypt enriched the diversity of this imperial city.

Beginning in the 1990s, the city has been reborn as a center of global economy, as well as an intellectual, artistic and political hub of Europe and the Middle East. While the city attracts the business elites and working class immigrants from all over the world, it also hosts Islamic revivalism, rejuvenation of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and social and cultural movements including Turkish and Kurdish socialists, anti-globalists, feminists, gay, lesbian and transgender activists. Today, the imperial and national layers of the city are challenged by expanding business districts and rising towers and skyscrapers fostered by the global economy. 

Academic Objective

The academic objective of the Istanbul program is to introduce students to the complex diversity and the importance of Istanbul, as it straddles Europe and the Middle-East.  The location will provide students with a diverse cultural environment and exposure to courses within the fields of history, economics and artistic impression, as well as integration into Turkish university life.    

Academic Prerequisite

There is no prerequisite for the Istanbul program. Students are highly encouraged to enroll in a Turkish language course during the Autumn quarter, as this will help to prepare for the program and enhance the overall experience.

Course Offerings

 All courses will be held at Koç University. Please review the list of Istanbul courses via the course search database.

All courses at the Istanbul Program grant credit toward graduation.  Most classes also count toward an undergraduate major and fulfill undergraduate degree requirements such as WAYS or GERs.  Students must enroll in a minimum of twelve units from the courses offered through the program - any other courses taken outside the program will be in addition to those twelve units.


Students will be housed in dorms on the campus of Koç University and will be paired with a Turkish student. Each room will have wireless internet access and the building will have laundry, kitchen and lounge facilities.  For more information related to the accommodations please review the Koç University website.