The Bilgi Education and Culture Foundation was founded on October 31, 1994, in Istanbul, Turkey which is privately owned by US based Laureate Education, a for-profit organisation. In 1994, a precursor to the University, Istanbul School of International Studies, operated in partnership with Portsmouth University and the London School of Economics offering courses in Business Administration, International Relations, Economics, and LSE Economics programs. Istanbul Bilgi University opened in earnest in 1996. The university provides a liberal arts and business-economics oriented curriculum in Turkey. Istanbul Bilgi University joined Laureate International Universities in 2006 and is one of the largest private universities in the country. Istanbul Bilgi University is a member of the European University Association (EUA), the International Association of Universities (IAU) and the OECD/IMHE. In 2009, Istanbul Bilgi University announced that it would join the Laureate International Universities network.
Bilgi University provides education in six distinct faculties, a vocational school, and four institutions which form the universitys graduate school which are Faculty of Communication, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Arts and Science, School of Advanced Vocational Studies, School of Engineering, Graduate School, Post Graduate Programs. It consist of three campuses Santral Istanbul campus which is the largest of all the campuses, Dolapdere campus and KuÅtepe campus. Academic freedom is a major component of the institutional mission of Istanbul Bilgi University. The University sustains appropriate working conditions and an academic environment that promote effective teaching, scholarship, and research.
The university has three campuses in Istanbul. Bilgi University has 18,000 students, nearly 1,000 academic staff members, six facilities, five institutes, five schools, three vocational schools, and 200 programs that provide education to its associate, undergraduate and graduate students. The university has graduated approximately 30,000 students as of 2016. Ä°stanbul Bilgi University ranks third among private foundation universities in Turkey for its undergraduate placement according to the 2011 National Student Selection and Placement Center (National Exam Center) and is ranked among the top 10 institutions of higher education in Turkey, according to Webometrics. Bilgi has three libraries, one in the Dolapdere campus, one in the KuÅtepe campus, and one in the SantralIstanbul campus. The virtual library contains more than 25.000 electronic books, 23.000 electronic journals, 37 electronic databases and encyclopedias.
The Office of the vice rector for research at Ä°stanbul Bilgi University fosters and promotes the pure and applied research and scholarly activity at BÄ°LGÄ° by ensuring that faculty, staff and students receive the assistance and support necessary to engage in a wide range of research and development activities. The role of the office is to facilitate the ability of BÄ°LGÄ° s faculty to excel at research and to ensure that the broader community understands the important role that research, creativity, innovation and scholarship play in generating the intellectual energy that makes BÄ°LGÄ° such a special place. There are many projects going on in the university which have funding.