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Bilkent University (In Turkish: Bilkent Üniversitesi), the first private university of Turkey, was founded in Ankara on October 20, 1984 by İhsan Doğramacı through the resolution of the foundations which had earlier been established by him. The establishment of this private university was later approved by an act of Parliament, which opened the way to the foundation of other private universities. 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. Today, Bilkent University is the highest ranked instution of Turkey, and also is an eminent university worldwide.


The University library has a rich collection of books with annual acquisitions valued at over 3 million U.S. dollars. Today, Bilkent University Library is the largest university library of Turkey, and it is the only university library to take place at the Top 10 libraries ranking of Turkey [1]. In addition to books, the collection includes periodical subscriptions, microforms, CD-ROMS, access to numerous online databases and electronic journals, DVD videos and audio/video cassettes. Music scores and sound recordings are available in the music rooms. Various open private collections and an exhibition hall also take place in the library. Bilkent University Library is generously opening its doors to the students and faculty of the other universities. The computer automation system (BLISS) made exclusively for the use of Bilkent University Library is now being used by many other Turkish university libraries, again by the generous permission of Bilkent University.

Computer Center

The Bilkent Computer Center (BCC) provides a variety of computing resources and services to meet the administrative, educational and research computing requirements in the university community. These services include providing computational equipment, their hardware and software maintenance, maintenance of software resources such as language compilers, utilities and application programs. Additionally, BCC develops in-house application software for the university itself including academic information systems, student information systems, library information system and others.


Accommodation is available on campus for many graduate students either in single occupancy dormitories or in shared apartments. All housing facilities are furnished and equipped with basic necessities such as major appliances, kitchenware and bedding.

Health Services

Free emergency health services are provided for all students. There are two health centers on the campuses with physicians and nurses available 24 hours a day, including weekends. In addition to the full-time staff, specialists such as a dentist, optician, gynecologist and psychologist are available for consultation. Subscription to group health insurance plans are available for graduate students at reasonable rates.

Sports and Recreation

The sports programs, activities and facilities of the university are expanding constantly to keep pace with the growing needs of the large student body. The facilities include three gymnasiums, three outdoor tennis courts, one indoor tennis court, several outdoor volleyball and basketball courts, two mini-football fields, several aerobic/step studios, fitness/conditioning room, several multi-purpose rooms, a regulation size grass football field on Main Campus and a 60m x 40m multi-purpose grass football field on East Campus. In addition, a new seven thousand square meter multi-purpose sports complex (with a large state of the art fitness center, basketball, volleyball and team handball courts, three squash courts, aerobic/step and program studios and an indoor running-walking track) on Main Campus was added to the current facilities in the Fall of 2001.

Students can participate in many sports courses and be trained by university staff, mostly for free. The university presents many individuals and teams in different sports in varsity competitions.

To provide the environment and programs through which the Bilkent University community can participate in and attain a healthy lifestyle. By participating in quality health, physical education, sports and fitness programs the students enrich their campus lives and develop to their fullest individual capacity.

Societies and Leisure Activities

Bilkent University is a leader in music and performing arts in Turkey. Bilkent Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is Turkey’s first and only academic symphony orchestra. It performs regularly at the University Concert Hall and gives concerts in various other cities and countries. Young actors studying at the Performing Arts Department have regularly scheduled performances. The University also sponsors frequent lectures, art exhibitions, and literary evenings throughout the academic year.

The board, and the departmental members of the Bilkent Student Union are annually chosen among the students by the entire registered students of that academic year. Student Union is the main sponsor and the organizer of the Mayfest, the traditional Bilkent University summer festival. Mayfest is held at the first week of May each year and is famous with the huge number of activities goes on all day long, as well as the open-air concerts where the most popular Turkish pop and rock bands and singers take stage every night throughout the festival.

The student clubs organize regular activities every day in the campus, mostly open to everyone. All students are allowed to join, or participate in the events and activities of any club they wish to.

Student clubs include:

Notable Faculty

  • Gürer Aykal - Faculty of Music, conductor
  • Talat Sait Halman - Dean of the School of Humanities and Letters, first Minister of Culture of Turkey
  • Halil Ýnalcýk - Faculty of History
  • Suna Kan - Faculty of Music, violinist
  • Gülsin Onay - Faculty of Music, pianist
  • Ergun Özbudun - Faculty of Law, leader of the academic council which is building a new Turkish constitution.
  • Fazýl Say - Faculty of Music, pianist
  • Sami Selçuk - Faculty of Law, former Head Judge of the Supreme Court of Turkey
  • Stanford Shaw - Faculty of History
  • Alexander Shumovsky - Faculty of Physics
  • Norman Stone - Faculty of International Relations, and History
  • Hikmet Sami Türk - Faculty of Law, former Minister of Justice of Turkey
  • Abdullah Atalar - Faculty of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • Levent Onural - Faculty of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • Hilmi Volkan Demir - Faculty of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • Ali Doðramacý - Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering
  • Varol Akman - Faculty of Engineering, Department of Computer Engineering

Notable Alumni

  • Fadik Sevin Atasoy - Actress
  • Demir Demirkan - Rock star
  • Evren Geniþ - Composer
  • Þahan Gökbakar - Comedian
  • Tamer Karadaðlý - Actor
  • Emre Karayel - Actor
  • Binnur Kaya - Actress
  • Baþak Köklükaya - Actress
  • Nasuh Mahruki - Mountaineer, first Turk to climb Mt. Everest and the founder of Turkish SAR team, AKUT
  • Kaan Tangöze - Rock star, the frontman of Duman

Organizations and Institutions Associated with the University


  • Bilkent University Center for European Union Affairs
  • Ahmed Adnan Saygun Center for Music Research and Education
  • Bilkent Center for Advanced Studies (BICAS)
  • Center for Environmental Sciences
  • Center for International Economics
  • Center for Russian Studies
  • Center for Studies in Society and Politics
  • Center for Turkish Language and Speech Processing
  • Center for Turkish Politics and History
  • Center for Research in Transitional Societies (CRTS)
  • Center for Turkish Literature
  • Communications and Spectrum Management Research Center (ISYAM)
  • Genetics and Biotechnology Research and Development Center (BILGEN)
  • Halil Inalcik Center of Ottoman Studies
  • Nanotechnology Research Center (NANOTAM)
  • National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM)


  • Institute of Economic and Social Sciences
  • Institute of Engineering and Science
  • Institute of Fine Arts
  • Institute of Music and Performing Arts
  • Institute of World Systems, Economies and Strategic Research