Department History

The Department of Political Science was established soon after the establishment of Bilkent University, with Professor Metin Heper as its founding chair. In its first year the department began with two faculty members. It has grown steadily and now has a faculty of more than 20 professors and instructors, Turkish and international, whose interests range from Turkish politics and modern Turkish history to comparative politics, history of political thought, cultural studies, urban politics, sociology, philosophy and European and Middle Eastern studies. The faculty has a strong publications and research record. Many graduating students have gone on to complete Ph.D.s at American, European and Canadian universities and now fill teaching positions at these or Turkish universities. Others have moved into leading companies in the private sector or on to the diplomatic track in the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Recently the name of the Department was changed so that it is now the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, a move designed to better equip those students who will be seeking a career in the public service, but maintaining the Department’s emphasis on the subfields Turkish Politics, Comparative Politics, Political Theory and Social and Cultural Studies. The name and accompanying curriculum changes will come into effect in the 2013-14 academic year. Restructuring in previous years has resulted in the dropping of the MA program, so that undergraduates can move directly into Ph.D studies. Courses offered at undergraduate level include required courses as well as a broad range of electives up to the fourth year. Ph.D requirements are based on course work, followed by comprehensive examinations and preparation and submission of the Ph.D proposal before the beginning of research and writing of the thesis. The department seeks to attract foreign students at both undergraduate (fulltime and exchange) and graduate level, offering these students a unique opportunity to study Turkey at the ground level as well as its relations with the EU and countries around its borders. After serving for some time both as department chair and Dean of the Faculty of Administrative and Economic Sciences, Professor Heper has served as the university’s Provost between 2010-2014, his position as department chair being filled first by Professor Elisabeth Özdalga (2011-13), then by Alev Çınar.