STS Research and Post-Graduate Education in Turkey


STS and STS-related educational and research programs are not widespread in Turkey, especially given the fact that “Science, Technology, and Society” and/or “Science and Technology Studies” has yet to be acknowledged neither as a discipline nor as a field of associate professorship* by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) in Turkey. Nevertheless, there have been considerable initiatives to establish graduate programs in STS as well as in related fields.

For this part of the exhibit related to STS graduate programs, we decided to highlight three main programs: 1) Science and Technology Policy Studies at Middle East Technical University (METU), in Ankara (1997-ongoing); 2) Science, Technology, and Society at Istanbul Technical University (ITU), in Istanbul (2000-2006); and, 3)  Science, Technology, and Society at ITU (2016-ongoing). All these graduate-level educational programs are/were in English. In this text, we also list other related grad programs.

Our selection of these three programs for this exhibit is not arbitrary. The graduate program at METU -that is also closely linked to the “Research Center for Science and Technology Policies” established under the Office of President at the same university- stands as the first educational program in the social studies of science and technology. The MA programs in Science, Technology, and Society, which were launched in different time periods at ITU, have been the only STS degree programs with a thesis requirement.

Although there had been a similar rationale behind the establishment of these three programs, the differences, and thus, pluralities of these programs need to be emphasized, e.g., with regard to the context in which they emerged and local and transnational networks through which these programs became possible. For example, when we look at the graduate program at METU, we see that the strong connections between academics at METU and State Planning Organization (DPT) -both organizations are located in Ankara- facilitated the launch of a program in science and technology policy studies, following the establishment of Science and Technology Policy Department** at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) in 1993 (Ansal, Ekinci, and Kaşdoğan, 2018: 29). The more we dig into archives and attend to stories narrated by the founders of these programs, the more we witness that individual efforts had played an extensive role in the constitution of STS programs in Turkey. Stated differently, we acknowledge that these programs would not be possible without the generous labor of academics who have believed in the necessity of social studies of science and technology. This also created a situation where the said programs remained tied to these individuals, and in some cases, ceased to exist when they left the institution. For example, after Prof. Hacer Ansal, who was one of the founders of the first ITU STS program, left to establish an undergraduate STS program in Işık, and the ITU program closed.

Examples of other-STS related programs in Turkey, to which we could not allocate further space in this exhibit, are listed below. We would like to use this text as an opportunity to invite others who might want to elaborate on these programs and how they are related to STS in Turkey, furthering this archeological study.

*Associate professorship is a degree conferred by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) in Turkey, after a comprehensive examination of a scholar’s publications and other academic accomplishments by a jury of full professors in the same field that is selected from different universities in the country. This exam, which until recently also involved an oral defense component, is akin to a tenure evaluation in the US system in terms of its importance in one’s academic career.

**Renamed, currently: Science, Technology, and Innovation Department


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Contributed date

August 7, 2018 - 7:53pm

Critical Commentary

This text is an introduction to the part of the exhibit entitled "Graduate Programs & A Research Center." 



Cite as

Duygu Kaşdoğan, "STS Research and Post-Graduate Education in Turkey", contributed by Duygu Kasdogan, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 29 August 2018, accessed 9 December 2022.