views updated


public university in istanbul, turkey.

Founded in 1863 as Robert College, an American missionary school, Boğaziçi (Bosporus) University maintains English as the language of instruction even though its administration was transferred to the Turkish state in 1971. It comprises four faculties (engineering; arts and sciences; economics and administrative sciences; and education), the School of Foreign Languages, the College of Vocational Education, and four research institutes (modern Turkish history; biomedical engineering; environmental sciences; and earthquake research). In the 20022003 academic year, it had 956 faculty members and 9,731 students (4,027 of whom were female). Its budget for the year amounted to 46,479 billion Turkish liras, 99 percent of which came directly from the state funds.

Robert College was founded by Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, a U.S. missionary, with the initial support of Christopher Rheinlander Robert, a wealthy merchant and philanthropist. The school was administered and financed by a U.S. board of trustees in New York. Being a missionary establishment, it was not allowed by the Ottoman state to admit any Muslim students, but a small number of Muslims was secretly enrolled in the school at the turn of the century.

The school had an academy, or lower, division in addition to the college. Its School of Engineering opened in 1912. As consequence of the financial problems during the Great Depression, it was merged with the American College for Girls in 1932. The college was substantially reorganized in 1958 in accordance with the changes in the Turkish educational system. The School of Business Administration and the School of Sciences and Languages were established in 1959. The Turkish state, which had strictly regulated foreign schools in the country, conceded to the college's enlargement primarily due to the increasing influence of the United States after the World War II. The college responded favorably to the government's expectations: Its The School of Business Administration provided well-educated managers for the booming private sector, and its innovative curriculum set a high standard for its counterparts. Nevertheless, financial difficulties, even more than the campus militancy of the 1960s, compelled the American board of trustees to turn over the college division to the Turkish state in 1971. The trustees, however, retained the administration of the high school, which still operates under the name of Robert Lycée.

In the 1970s, Boğaziçi University grew steadily, becoming an academically prestigious institution. In the 1980s, however, it was forced to increase its student intake at an unrealistic rate, as were all other universities. It remains one of the major universities in the country, but faces escalating competition from the other state universities, including Middle East Technical University and Istanbul Technical University, and from the private universities, including Bilkent University and Sabanci University. Boğaziçi University has close ties with Turkish business circles, and many of its graduates have taken up academic positions throughout Turkey, as well as in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

see also bilkent university; istanbul technical university; middle east technical university.


Boğaziçi University. Available from <>.

I. Metin Kunt

Updated by BurÇak Keskin-Kozat