Research Overview » Turkey


The Status of 3rd Cycle Programs in Turkey

The 3rd Cycle Programs in Turkey is called as Proficiency in Arts in Fine Arts Faculties. It is equivalent to the PhD Status in necessary formalities and in academic positions.
There are discussions regarding the name of the 3rd cycle programs.
Some disciplines suggest it to be called as as ’phD.‘ while the others prefer to call the program as ‘Proficiency in Arts’.

There are problems based on the relation between the balance of theoretical and practical works in 3rd cycle thesis studies.

Disciplines like painting, sculpture etc. offer the main thesis work to be practical such as a applied piece of art. Disciplines like interior architecture and environmental design, etc. offer the work as a theoretical outcome of a wide analysis composed from visual and literature based research. Departments like interior architecture or graphics offer the work to be a balance of practical and theoretical methods.


A Doctoral thesis should have at least one of the following qualities:
  • The use of a innovative scientific approach
  • Development of a novel scientific method
  • Application of a known method to a new field

Proficiency in Art thesis must have artistic value and should include at least one of the following qualities and a report that documents and explains such a study:
  • Development of an original artistic study
  • Development of an original project
  • Performing/organizing a concert or recital that requires creativity
  • Organizing a drama/play that requires creativity

These programs attempt to provide the students with the opportunities to:
  • acquire the necessary knowledge accumulation in their fields
  • organize independent research activities
  • interpret scientific data and facts by deeply reviewing them
  • develop new synthesis based on these data and facts
  • develop an original and high quality artistic study with creativity


A doctoral program must be completed within a minimum of 6 and maximum of 8 semesters by students who hold a masters degree and within a minimum of 8 and maximum of 10 semesters by students holding a bachelor's degree. However, students who have fulfilled the conditions in the regulations may complete the program in a shorter period of time. Students who have completed the required course work, passed the doctoral qualifying examination and whose thesis proposal have been accepted but could not complete the thesis work until the end of the eighth semester are given a maximum of 4 additional semesters to complete thesis work.

A doctoral program, for students who hold a masters degree, is based on at least 7 courses totaling at least 21 credits, a doctoral qualifying examination, a thesis proposal and a thesis. For those who have been accepted with a bachelor's degree, this program is comprised of a minimum of 14 courses with at least 42 credits, a doctoral qualifying exam, a thesis proposal and a thesis.

Upon completion of the course work, the students are required to take a doctoral qualifying exam assessing the level of their performance in the related field of study, research methods, and the theoretical and empirical issues related to the topic of their intended doctoral research. Successful students are initially granted a two year period to produce their theses based on original research and making a genuine contribution to the advancement of science.


To assess the student's progress on regular basis there is a committee (The Thesis Supervising Committee), consisting of a supervisor and two academic staff .The committee meets twice a year; January-June and July-December. The student submits a written report to the Committee members one month before the meeting. In this report, there should be a summary of the work that has been done by that day and the plan for the next semester. The Committee gives a grade to the student's thesis.

Graduate level of study consists of the Second Cycle (Master’s Degree) and the Third Cycle (PhD/Doctorate Degree/Proficiency in Arts) programs.
There are two types of Master's programs: with or without a thesis.
The Master's programs with a thesis have 120 ECTS and consist of a minimum of seven courses, with a minimum of 21 national credits, one seminar course, and a thesis.
The seminar course and thesis are non-credit and graded on a pass/fail basis.
The duration of the Master's programs with a thesis is four semesters.
Non-thesis Master's programs have 90 ECTS and consist of a minimum of 10 courses with a minimum of 30 national credits and a non-credit semester project. The semester project is graded on a pass/fail basis. Duration of the non-thesis Master’s programs is three semesters.

PhD/Doctorate Degree/Proficiency in Arts programs have 240 ECTS and duration of eight semesters which consists of completion of a minimum of seven courses with a minimum of 21 national credits, passing a qualifying examination, preparing and defending a doctoral dissertation.

A Doctoral degree program (3rd cycle) is usually an eight-semester program leading to the PhD degree. It consists of a minimum of seven courses, with a minimum of 21 credits, a proficiency exam, a dissertation proposal, a dissertation and its oral defense. After successful completion of the course work and the proficiency exam, students must submit the dissertation and defend it orally before an examining committee.

Proficiency in Art is at least a six-semester post-Master's program in the visual and performing art branches making it equivalent to a Doctorate. It requires the presentation of an original work of art or (in music and the performing arts) a superior, creative performance. The thesis work must be completed in one and a half years and calls for the completion of ten graduate courses of a minimum 30 credits and a term project.

Key Learning Outcomes

  • To have knowledge on the basic principles of art and to have skills to apply this knowledge on art works
  • To have the required methods and skills of defining himself/herself in different disciplinary environments and the skills to apply these methods to design
  • To have the skills of observation, making drawing, searching, experiencing, analyzing, assessment and to learn more about the people in the historical periods, their works, artistic approaches and to reach the point of linking among these people and the works interpretation.
  • To have the critical and creative thinking skills and comprehensive knowledge in order to evaluate the effects of the works s/he deals with on the social and global grounds.
  • To be able to comment and do artistic presentations of his/her own cultural references and artistic problematiques with his/her intellectual knowledge in the global world application, with different materials and using technique.