Galatasaray Lycee was originally founded in 1481 by the Ottoman Sultans, but experienced a dramatic transformation when it opened a window to the western world in 1868 by initiating French as the language of instruction.
Galatasaray Lycee became co – educational in 1965. Today, the school receives strong support from the French Government along with the Galatasaray Foundation and its alumni, many of whom are prominent members of the Turkish community. On April 14, 1992, Galatasaray reached another milestone; a new clause was added to the Turkish – French cultural agreement of 1952. Based on this, the Galatasaray Educational and Learning Institution (GEOK) was established. Starting from that day, the school expanded vertically and created an institution providing education from primary school to the university level. In 1996, GEOK officially became the "University of Galatasaray". The primary and high school education of this independent institution, is carried out according to the rules and regulations issued by the Turkish Ministry of Education. The University follows the rules and academic regulations followed by other Turkish institutions of higher education. The teaching medium is primarily French and the French higher education curriculum is used when appropriate.
Students graduating from Galatasaray Lycee have a number of choices for their higher education. They may enter Galatasaray University after passing an internal exam in French. Also, under the Turkish – French cultural agreement of 1952, Galatasaray graduates, who have been accepted to a Turkish University, are entitled to enroll in a French University directly without having to take the French Baccalaureate examination. Furthermore, and with the new agreement of 1992, Galatasaray University Graduates have the opportunity to pursue post-graduate studies at the Sorbonne University, in France. Galatasaray Lycee is fully accredited by the Turkish Ministry of Education, French Government and the Galatasaray Foundation.
The building on Istiklal Street is established on 149333 square meters. There are 54 classrooms, each of which is ideal for 30 students, two multimedia centers, two art workshops for 40 students each, two music rooms, two convention centers, one for 250 students the other for 500, one computer lab with 30 computers, one tennis court, three gymnasia, one soccer field, one infirmary for 15 people, a girls dorm for 250 and a boys dorm for 675 and three refectories for 400 people each. Galatasaray Lycee is bilingual and bi – cultural. In addition to French and English, Italian and Latin are also taught. Students enter Galatasaray Lycee at the age of 14 and spend the first two years in an intensive French language program. The high school program (Lise) is a three – year program equivalent to grades 10, 11 and 12, under the American system. Primary education lasts for 8 years. At the end of the eighth year, a level exam determines the capacity of the student to pursue studies in French at the Lycee. The school year is composed of two semesters, one running from early September to late January, and the other from mid – February to early June. There were 180 school days in the 1999 – 2000 school year.
Founded in 1992, under the guidance of the Galatasaray Education Foundation, by the undersigning of the new French – Turkish cultural agreement, Galatasaray University expanded its programs and number of students simultaneously every new year. The one and only higher – education institution, established with the participation of two Presidents, Mr. Francois Mitterand and Mr. Turgut Özal, Galatasaray University has filled a big gap in Turkish education.
With a teaching program adapted from the Sorbonne University in Paris, the university is home to some 2500 students, both at undergraduate and at post-graduate levels.
Located on the Bosphorus, next to the Çiragan Palace, the historic building of Galatasaray University consists of five faculties, two institutes, and three research centers, as well as doctorate and graduate programs.
The faculties, institutes and research centers are as follows
• School of Law
• Faculty of Economy and Business Administration
• Faculty of Communications
• Faculty of Engineering and Technology
• Faculty of Natural Sciences and Literature
• Natural Sciences Institute
• Social Sciences Institute
• European Union Research Center
• Strategic Research Center
• Law and Criminology Research Center