About Us

Middle East Technical University (METU)

An aerial view of the main campus area


Turkey's 5th University opens this morning in AnkaraLectures at Middle East University will be given in English

Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi (ODTÜ) / Middle East Technical University (METU) was founded in Ankara, Turkey on November 15th, 1956. It was originally called "Orta Doğu Yüksek Teknoloji Enstitüsü" with the objective to contribute to the development of Turkey and Middle Eastern countries by producing skilled individuals in the fields of natural and social sciences.

The Law on “Establishment and Preparations of METU” was passed by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in January 1957 as the "Establishment Law" number 7307, which determined the special status of METU and gave it a legal status. This came into force on May 27, 1959.

It was Engr. Vecdi Diker who conceived the idea and played the most important role in the establishment of this university. With the help of some UN officials, he submitted the initial concept document and budget to Fatin Rüştü Zorlu, the Deputy Prime Minister in 1954. The government of Turkey headed by Prime Minister Adnan Menderes got into motion and approved the concept and the budget and got the matter rolling on a fast pace. With all preparations in place, the university came into being and the Faculty of Architecture was established in 1956. During the following two years, three more faculties were established – Engineering, Administrative Science, and Arts and Science. While some initial seed money of around $1.5 million was provided by the UN, the bulk of the funding for this university was from the Ministry of Education, government of Turkey.

Right from its conception, it was decided to have English as the medium of instruction due to the abundant available of literature on technology and sciences in English. In addition, Turkey had allied itself with English speaking Western countries like the USA and UK. It was felt that this would be the best path to a fast growth as a center of excellence.

Müdafaa Caddesi campus, 1956

The initial campus of the university was in rented buildings in the center of Ankara at Müdafaa Caddesi. And Kemal Kurdaş, an eminent educator became the first sole rector of the institution. Previously, this office was shared with one foreign counterpart. It was during his tenure that the university saw its real development and move to the new campus.

The first 30 students graduated in 1960. This was a landmark achievement.

In 1959, the Board of Trustees decided to establish a permanent campus. 11,000 acres (45 sq.km.) of land was allotted, located five miles (8Km) from the center of the city on the Ankara- Eskişehir highway. In a unique ceremony, government officials, faculty members and students walked to the campus to lay the foundation stone. President Celal Bayar, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, and Speaker of the National Assembly Refik Koraltan participated in operating the digging machine that laid the first foundation. It was a matter of pride for the nation.

A new type of ceremony: The foundation of the Middle East Technical University was excavated yesterdayAlong with other guests, Bayar, Koraltan and Menderes were at the ceremony in Ankara and used the foundation digger machine

The Turkish government allocated $12.5 million for construction of the initial buildings which were completed in 1963. These included administration building, departments, dormitories, laboratories, cafeteria, the library and other facilities including an internal road network. The university moved to its current, expansive, and beautiful campus in November 1963. The university land included Lake Eymir and a major portion of the campus was converted into a forest. The lake and its surroundings meet part of the rowing, fishing and picnicking needs of METU employees and students.

During that sixth year of its establishment, the student population had grown to 2,100 with a teaching staff of 300, 20% of whom were foreigners. 10% of the students were for foreign countries, primarily from the Middle East and Pakistan. By the late 1960s, the student population had grown to around 4,000. Over the decades, the university expanded its facilities massively and currently has a student population of 28,000.

For some more details on the early history of the university, please read the related pages in the book "Man's Struggle for Shelter in an Urbanizing World", pages 202-208.

Rankings and awards:

METU has gained an enormous name for itself over these decades. Its alumni have been at the forefront of developments in Turkey and elsewhere. The university has been a center of excellence and research. As a result, it has consistently ranked domestically and internationally as the top-most university in Turkey, and very high up in international rankings.

During 2022, it ranked #1 in QS EECA rankings

It has also been ranking first in "Research Universities Performance Monitoring Index," for the past four years since 2017. This evaluates performance of the universities included in the "Mission Differentiation and Specialization on the Basis of Research Program" carried out by The Council of Higher Education within the scope of their project titled "Mission Differentiation and Specialization in Higher Education."

Between 2016 and 2020, METU received 49 awards in project competitions, 156 awards from scientific and professional studies, 35 other awards and 48 grants.

Last year, four researchers from METU have been given the Outstanding Young Scientists Award 2021 (GEBİP) by the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA). Assoc. Prof. Emre Yüce from the Department of Physics and Asst. Prof. Ahmet Acar from the Department of Biological Sciences received the GEBİP award in the field of Life Sciences, Asst. Prof. Pelin Angın from the Department of Computer Engineering and Asst. Prof. Emre Büküşoğlu from the Department of Chemistry were deemed worthy of the award in the field of Engineering.


The university had also established a Preparatory School in the initial days to groom Turkish students in English language. This was a one-year program to bring the students up to speed to enable them to continue education in English.

The university offers programs leading to Bachelor of Science, Masters of Science and Doctorate degrees in all its faculties. It now has five faculties with 41 undergraduate programs.

It also has 108 graduate and 69 doctorate programs in Graduate Schools of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Informatics, Applied Mathematics and Marine Sciences in addition to 48 interdisciplinary programs.

As the name suggests, educational programs at this university focus on all disciplines of engineering and natural sciences, but also offer highly respected programs in fields of economics, management sciences, architecture, urban planning, and social sciences.

METU Technology Park – Teknokent

METU established a technology park – known as ODTÜ Teknokent in 2007 within the premises of the university. As an organized research and business center, where academic, economic, and social infrastructure meets, this technology park hosts research institutions and industrial enterprises together in the same environment and facilitates them to do research, development and innovation activities through mutual transfer of know-how and technology for the sake of realizing value-added products. It provides the environment for joint R&D work and a path to commercialization of new inventions, products and software.

This park has provided patent support for more than 150 inventions, implemented different strategies for the development of more than 30 inventions in cooperation with national and/or international companies, and developed dozens of different projects with correct matching activities in university-industry cooperation. 444 companies have their presence in this park, employing 9,171 research staff. A total of 1,785 projects have been conducted in cooperation with the university. Their output has resulted in 1.7 billion dollars’ worth of exports and 21 billion Turkish Liras worth of technology sales.

Campuses, Infrastructure, and Activities

Yurt (Dormitory) no. 3

The main campus is in Ankara. The university also built a second campus in 1975 at Içel-Erdemli near Mersin on the southern coast of Turkey which houses the Graduate School of Marine Sciences. The first international campus was built in Northern Cyprus METU NCC in the year 2005.

The infrastructure of the main Ankara campus of the university has expanded tremendously over the years. At present, there are 374 classrooms and amphitheaters, 465 laboratories and a capacity of 7,286 students in the dormitories. On campus next to the dormitories, there is a shopping area, banks, post office and many eating places.

Yurt (Dormitory) no. 2 with basketball courts adjacent to it
Spor Salonu (Gymnasium)
Stadium. The word “DEVRIM” (revolution) has been inscribed since 1969

The library is world-class. It has 520,790 printed and 554,772 electronic books in its collection covering science, technology, social sciences, religion, philosophy, fine arts, law, medicine, architecture, and all other disciplines. It has 199,100 printed volumes of past periodicals and 76,671 e-journals, and currently subscribes to 107 journals. The library has 173 databases as well. ODTÜ Library has a reference collection containing statistics, maps, atlases, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, bibliographic and biographic resources, guides, standards, almanacs, anthologies. Its collection includes masters and doctoral dissertations submitted to the university.

A wide range of sports facilities, including gymnasiums, tennis courts, basketball courts, football fields, jogging trails, Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool, and an outdoor swimming pool are available on campus for the METU community. These facilities cover an area of 60,535 sq.m. The university has 43 sports teams, and 104 student cultural clubs. During the past year, 231 scientific meetings and cultural events to cater to the social needs of students. There is a science and technology museum on campus which attracted 1,633 visitors.

The university also owns lodges off campus at Elmadağ, 30 kilometers from the main campus, and a resort at Uludağ near Bursa where mountain climbing and various skiing activities are possible.

Throughout the academic year, there are many interesting activities organized by student and the university. These include art exhibitions, concerts, recitals, cinema and theater events as well as a variety of social and academic activities. The Cultural and Convention Center hosts many of these events. One of the most favored social activities is the traditional International Spring Festival held in May every year


The university is governed by a rector. Following is a list of eminent Turkish educators who have held the position of rector.

Name of Rector Tenure
1 Prof. Dr. Turhan FEYZİOĞLU 1960-1961
2 Prof. Dr. Seha MERAY 1961-1961
3 Kemal KURDAŞ 1961-1969
4 Prof. Dr. Erdal İNÖNÜ 1970-1971
5 Em.Gen. Şefik ERENSÜ 1971-1972
6 Prof. Dr. İsmet ORDEMİR 1972-1974
7 Prof. Dr. Tarık SOMER 1974-1976
8 Prof. Dr. Ilgaz ALYANAK 1976-1977
9 Prof. Dr. Hasan TAN 1977-1977
10 Prof. Dr. Nuri SARYAL 1977-1979
11 Prof. Dr. Mehmet KICIMAN 1961-1969
12 Prof. Dr. Mehmet GÖNLÜBOL 1979-1982
13 Prof. Dr. Ömer SAATÇIOĞLU 1987-1992
14 Prof. Dr. Suha SEVÜK 1992-2000
15 Prof. Dr. Ural AKBULUT 2000-2008
16 Prof. Dr. Ahmet ACAR 2008-2016
17 Prof. Dr. Mustafa Verşan KÖK 2016-Present
The Rector's office'


Of the 2,736 academic personnel, there are

  • 759 professors, associate professors, and assistant professors
  • 43 International faculty members
  • 601 lecturers
  • 98 specialists
  • 1,235 research assistants

The university also employs 2,618 administrative staff to support its academic and research work.

Over these past decades, METU has had some very eminent professors and teachers who are highly regarded. While a vast majority have been Turks, the faculty included teachers from several countries over the world. Among the Pakistani professors, two names stand out:

  • Prof. Dr. Syed Tanvir Wasti who is now Professor Emeritus
  • Prof. Dr. Soofia Tahira Elias-Özkan of department of Architecture

Student Population

The university currently has 27,500 students including 1,500 international students from 94 countries. The total number of alumni is over 140,000. Over the years it is estimated that around a thousand students from Pakistan have completed bachelors, masters, or doctoral degrees from METU. The first student from Pakistan was Arshad Jamil who entered METU in 1957, a year after the university was founded. By late 1960s and early 1970s, there were around 100 Pakistani students among its 4,000 or so total student population. METU student population has grown steadily over these decades.

Political Upheavals in 1960’s and 1970’s

The intellectual atmosphere at the university combined with an awareness of imperial policies of the West led to a strong leftist movement at METU among the students and the faculty. By the mid-1960s, METU was leading other Turkish universities in organizing protests against American and Western European hegemony. This was in direct conflict with the policies of the military government ruling in Ankara which was aligned with the West through NATO and other alliances. The students aimed at bringing a revolution in the country on the pattern of what had happened in Russia and China half a century earlier.

US ambassador Komer’s car burning in front of Rektorluk

The protest activities came to a head in 1968 leading to the burning of US ambassador Komer’s car in front of the METU Rector’s office on January 6, 1969. The protesting students overturned the car and set it on fire

The disruptions at the university continued throughout 1969 and 1970 with boycott of classes and group processions in Istanbul and Izmir to protest the visits of the US 5th Fleet. The key identified leader of the revolutionary movement was Deniz Gezmiş

In January 1971, the students robbed a bank and the university was closed for a week. Within a few days of reopening, they kidnapped an American airman. The university was closed again for 3 weeks. On the evening of March 4, 1971, they kidnapped 4 more American airmen. This led to an armed battle between the Turkish jandarma (national guard) and Turkish army one side and the armed students on the other on March 5th. The gunfight at the dorms lasted nearly 8 hours when the students surrendered and locked up in the gymnasium. This event brought down the Turkish government of Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel. There was a change of management at METU as well. The army took control of the university. Many of the student leaders were incarcerated and hanged, including Deniz Gezmiş

During the late 1970s, the political conflicts came back to the campus and were finally controlled by the army in 1980.

The troubles are now behind us. METU was able to contain the upheavals, survived and continued its growth academically as well as in research activities while keeping its innovative and intellectual environment in place. It is recognized as the premier university in the country

Golden Jubilee celebrations in June 2006

METU celebrated its 50th year of foundation on June 10, 2006 with great fanfare. Thousands of alumni converged on to the main campus including a contingent of 42 Pakistanis. For details of the event, please visit the webpage.Our Gatherings

Following are two more reports on the Golden Jubilee published by departments