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Political Science

About The Program

The graduate program in Political Science at Sabancı University provides integrated training at MA and PhD levels. The program offers a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the major fields of Political Science and provides the students with a rigorous conceptual framework, basic analytical tools and sound methodological training in the discipline. The program covers the major fields of Political Science (Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory) and offers a rich set of specialization possibilities. With a thematic concentration on Turkish Politics, European Politics and Conflict Processes, the program stands out among its competitors in Turkey by its courses and faculty members specializing in formal theory and the production and analysis of quantitative evidence. While some graduates of the MA program choose to pursue their careers in business, public administration or other professions, others enroll in PhD programs abroad or they move up to our integrated PhD program.

Political Science MA Program Objectives

M.A. in political science aims to prepare students for further graduate study or for careers in government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The program provides the students with a rigorous conceptual framework, basic analytical tools and methodological training in the discipline. Along with major fields of Political Science, concentrations are offered in Political Institutions, Political Behavior, European Politics as well as Normative Political Theory, Game Theory and Methodology.

Program Specific Outcomes of Ma in Political Science

  • Develop the ability to use critical, analytical, and reflective thinking and reasoning
  • Reflect on social and ethical responsibilities in his/her professional life.
  • Gain experience and confidence in the dissemination of project/research outputs
  • Work responsibly and creatively as an individual or as a member or leader of a team and in multidisciplinary environments.
  • Communicate effectively by oral, written, graphical and technological means and have competency in English.
  • Independently reach and acquire information, and develop appreciation of the need for continuously learning and updating.
  • Develop a thorough knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in the field and apply them in research design and data analysis.
  • Assess the impact of the economic, social, and political environment from a global, national and regional level.
  • Know how to access written and visual, primary and secondary sources of information, interpret concepts and data from a variety of sources in developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses.
  • Begin to grasp historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics.

Political Science Phd Program Objectives

The PhD program in Political Science at Sabancı University is geared towards preparing students towards writing PhD dissertations that contribute new theoretical arguments to the puzzles in the literature and also test them empirically with data. The program opts for producing original research on issues of voter behavior, political economy, regime change, ethnic conflict, Turkish political thought and European Union politics.

Program Specific Outcomes of PhD in Political Science

  • Develop and deepen the current and advanced knowledge in the field with original thought and/or research and come up with innovative definitions based on Master's degree qualifications
  • Conceive the interdisciplinary interaction which the field is related with ; come up with original solutions by using knowledge requiring proficiency on analysis, synthesis and assessment of new and complex ideas.
  • Evaluate and use new information within the field in a systematic approach.
  • Develop an innovative knowledge, method, design and/or practice or adapt an already known knowledge, method, design and/or practice to another field; research, conceive, design, adapt and implement an original subject.
  • Critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation of new and complex ideas.
  • Gain advanced level skills in the use of research methods in the field of study.
  • Contribute the progression in the field by producing an innovative idea, skill, design and/or practice or by adapting an already known idea, skill, design, and/or practice to a different field independently.
  • Broaden the borders of the knowledge in the field by producing or interpreting an original work or publishing at least one scientific paper in the field in national and/or international refereed journals.
  • Demonstrate leadership in contexts requiring innovative and interdisciplinary problem solving.
  • Develop new ideas and methods in the field by using high level mental processes such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving and decision making.
  • Investigate and improve social connections and their conducting norms and manage the actions to change them when necessary.
    Defend original views when exchanging ideas in the field with professionals and communicate effectively by showing competence in the field.
  • Ability to communicate and discuss orally, in written and visually with peers by using a foreign language at least at a level of European Language Portfolio C1 General Level.
  • Contribute to the transition of the community to an information society and its sustainability process by introducing scientific, technological, social or cultural improvements.
  • Demonstrate functional interaction by using strategic decision making processes in solving problems encountered in the field.
  • Contribute to the solution finding process regarding social, scientific, cultural and ethical problems in the field and support the development of these values.

Current Courses and Course Catalog

Research Areas

  • Constitutional Reform 
  • Developing Countries 
  • Electoral Behavior 
  • Ethnicity / Ethnic Conflict 
  • European Politics 
  • Gender and Peace
  • Globalization 
  • Intergroup Relations 
  • Latin American Politics 
  • Migration 
  • Philosophy of Social Sciences 
  • Philosophy of EU Member States
  • Political Methodology 
  • Sociology of Religion 
  • Turkey-EU Relations 
  • Turkish Political Thought


  • Ateş Altınordu was awarded Internal Grant for Research by Sabancı University in 2015 (with Çağla Aydın and A. Faik Kurtulmuş). 
  • Ayşe Betül Çelik is a member of the International Studies Association, and the leading member of the Turkish Network of Women Mediators. 
  • Çiğdem Bağcı has awarded Researcher Career Development Grant as Principal Investigator from TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) 
  • Fuat Keyman is a member of Science Academy and has been awarded the Strategic Vision Owner of the Scientific People Award within the scope of the 7th Tasam Strategic Vision Awards. 
  • Meltem Müftüler Baç participates in two EU funded H2020 projects, MAGYC on migration governance for 2018-2022 and InDivEU on differentiated integration for 2019-2022. 
  • Mert Moral was awarded the Young Scientist award by the Science Academy (BAGEP) in 2018. 
  • Özge Kemahlıoğlu was awarded the Young Scientist award by the Science Academy (BAGEP) in 2015. 
  • Senem Aydın-Düzgit has been awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in EU Political and Administrative Studies in 2013 and the Young Scientist award by the Science Academy (BAGEP) in 2014 and she participates in an EU funded H2020 projects on differentiated integration, EU IDEA for 2019-2022.

Alumni Stories

Adea Gafuri (Political Science MA, 2018): Adea Gafuri is PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science at Gothenburg University. She obtained her master's degree in Social and Political Sciences from Sabanci University in 2018. Her main research interests include democratization, democracy aid, illiberal regimes, European studies, and political methodology.She works with quantitative and qualitative methods and previously has conducted fieldwork in the countries of the Western Balkans on EU integration and democracy assistance. She is also affiliated with world’s largest and most comprehensive index of democracy - the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem) at in Gothenburg of Sweden. 

Osman Şahin (Political Science Phd, 2016): Asst. Prof. Osman Şahin earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in International Relations from Koç University, Istanbul in 2005 and 2008 respectively. He was accepted to Political Science Ph.D. program of Sabancı University in 2009 where he successfully defended his dissertation on democratic consolidation in 2016. Throughout his career, Osman worked individually and as a team member in several research projects including a TUBITAK project where his partner and he made a nation-wide research on people’s attitudes towards democracy and rule of law in Turkey. Osman Şahin was also a consultant to KONDA, a public research company, in its April 2015 research on women in Turkey. He conducted face-to-face interviews in different cities of Turkey including but not limited to Adana, Diyarbakir, Istanbul, and Kayseri. Osman has expertise on qualitative and quantitative research methods. In Summer 2017, Osman was the coordinator of a project on seasonal migrant workers in hazelnut sector. This project financed by Fair Labor Association and conducted in collaboration with Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security and U.S. Department of Labor. Osman has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Koç, Altınbaş and Nişantaşı universities and published articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Emine Ari (Political Science MA, 2015): Emine is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) at Koc University, Political Science and International Relations, and currently, a predoctoral visiting student researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Emine got her B.A. (2012) in International Relations at Koc University and received her M.A. (2015) in Political Science at Sabanci University. Emine researches in inter-state and intra-state conflicts, terrorism, and states of emergency and has an interest in quantitative research methods. 

Aybars Görgülü (Political Science PhD, 2014): Aybars Görgülü received his PhD in Political Science from Sabancı University in 2014. He holds a BA degree in Social and Political Sciences obtained from Sabancı University in 2005, and an MA degree in Diplomacy and International Relations which he received from the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France, in 2006. Görgülü served as the Program Officer at the Foreign Policy Program at Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). He actively participates in civil society efforts aiming to normalize Turkey – Armenia relations, and has several publications on Turkey’s foreign policy. Görgülü currently working as Research Director at Public Policy and Democracy Studies Center (PODEM) and teaches Foreign Policy and Caucasus Politics at Istanbul Kültür University. 

Aylin Aydın Çakır (Political Science PhD, 2012): Dr. Aylin Aydin Çakır is a faculty member at Yeditepe University, Political Science and International Relations Department. Her research interests include judicial politics, and comparative political institutions. She has published in various journals such as Political Research Quarterly, International Political Science Review, Law & Society Review, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Democratization, and Turkish Studies. She is a recipient of 2017 Young Scientist Award (BAGEP) given by Science Academy, Turkey.

Application Requirements

  • Official Transcript 
  • Statement of Purpose 
  • Two Letters of Recommendation 
  • Sample Work 
  • CV
  • ALES, GRE or GAT scores 
  • English Proficiency Exam (TOEFL IBT, PTE Academic, CAE, CPE, YDS, e-YDS or YÖKDİL)

Graduate Scholarship

Scholarship evaluations for the candidates are made during the acceptance of their SU program. Graduate scholarship recipients are proposed by the Admission Jury based on students' academic history, then evaluated by the related Graduate School Administrative Board. Please click here for detailed information.


For further information about Graduate Program, please contact please contact 

Özge Kemahlıoğlu