In 1996, the interdisciplinary educational infrastructure of Sabancı University (SU) that is unique especially in Turkey was established. SU became the very first university in Turkey to adopt a liberal arts common-curriculum for its freshman year. The primary mission of SU is to develop internationally competent and confident individuals, capable of reflecting critically and independently with a strong sense of social responsibility. We envision our graduates to be able to contribute to the development of science and technology on a global level through participatory teamwork, as well as disseminate the gained knowledge to the benefit of the community. We also expect our students to thrive in an interdisciplinary environment and to be able to tackle problems from different angles. In order to achieve these objectives, SU implements an undergraduate core curriculum, the University Courses (UCs; listed below).
Detailed description of each courses are found below.
|Course Code||Course Name||ECTS Credits|
|AL 102 **||Academic Literacies||5|
|IF 100 **||Computational Approaches to Problem Solving||5|
|†HIST 191-192||Principles of Atatürk and the History of the Turkish Revolution I & II||3 & 3|
|†MATH 101-102||Calculus I & II||6 & 6|
|†NS 101-102||Science of Nature I & II||6 & 6|
|†SPS 101-102||Humanity and Society I & II||6 & 6|
|†TLL 101-102||Turkish Language and Literature I & II||3 & 3|
|CIP 101N **||Civic Involvement Projects I||1|
|†ENG 101-102 *||Freshman English I & II||3 & 4|
|CIP 101 *||Civic Involvement Projects I||2|
|PROJ 102 *||Project Course||2|
|MJC 100 *||Majors: Informative Course||1|
|PROJ 201 **||Project Course||1|
†Two semester sequential courses
(*) Required only to students who entered Sabanci University before 2017-18 Academic Year
(**) Required only to students who entered Sabanci University after 2017-18 Academic Year
Common learning goals shared by all University Courses are for the students to:
Science of Nature (NS) course is a two-semester introductory integrated
science course offered in active-learning, flipped format to equip students
with scientific knowledge and skills for contending real complex contemporary
challenges. The course aims to initiate a curiosity and desire for learning
“scientific thinking” in students, and at the same time introduce some
of the basic concepts of physical, chemical and biological sciences in
connection with scientific questions related to our daily life. The course
takes a modular structure around four big questions in Science listed below,
designed to promote essential skills for future engineers (and other professions),
such as critical thinking, problem-solving skills and teamwork, as well
as scientific literacy.
Please visit the “Science of Nature” page for more information including example course materials, videos, learning objectives, syllabi, teaching team, and assistant training programs.
Social and Political Sciences (SPS) courses constitute one of the university
courses of the freshman year and all Sabancı undergraduates are enrolled
to it irrespective of their future specialization plans as engineers, management
or humanities students. SPS courses have two components: SPS 101 and SPS
102. Each one is offered for one semester during the freshman year and
they are complementary to each other in design, aims, chronology and themes.
SPS 101 course provides an introduction to the study of the human experience in the pre-modern world. It brings together various disciplinary approaches and major topics of the pre-modern world in a roughly chronological order. There are three central aims of this course. The first aim is to present our students the challenges and potential in the scientific study of human experience through the introduction of various analytical tools from disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology and economics. The idea is to show to our students that the human experience is as much the realm of scientific inquiry and critical thinking as it is the case with the natural world. The second aim is to introduce the basic dynamics of the pre-modern world before the 18th century so that students would be adequately equipped to follow our consecutive course SPS 102 about the modern era and the concept of modernity. Finally, this course also aims to emphasize the structured use of language, in this case English, for the purposes of knowledge production and critical analysis. It accepts the role of language in humanities and social sciences as important as calculus is for physics. To that end, it pays special attention to critical reading and writing as evident from the course structure. The first and the last aims of SPS 101 are the same with its’ follow-up course: SPS 102. SPS 102 provides an introduction to the study of society, culture, and politics in the modern world and builds its content on the foundation laid by SPS 101. It explores the role of religion, science, and political ideologies in modern societies by employing various theoretical and disciplinary frameworks. It focuses on labor, production, exchange, and the transformation of nature under industrial capitalism. Finally, the course is concluded with an investigation of the institutions and patterns of modern political life, with a dual focus on the modern state and on contentious politics.
Both SPS 101 and 102 courses pay special attention to underline common themes, methods and fields of study that are also relevant for hard sciences such as human evolution, human-environment interactions, emergence of modern scientific thinking, history of modern economic systems or use of statistics for longue durée analyses. The courses explicitly underline the complexity of studying the human experience and demonstrate the various uses of multiple disciplines and methods that help us. The students are able to see how chemistry, archeology, history, biology and sociology can work together to understand histories of anatomically modern humans or the industrial revolution and its consequences. We believe that this approach connects and embeds our students’ fields of specialization with the wider world around them since it lets them see how that could be possible. Our structure helps us educate students who could be ‘outside the box’ professionals in their fields since they are able to think unconventionally and know the relevance and meaning of their skills in relation to the ‘big picture.’
Computational Thinking (CT) is a general term used to denote a set of
problem solving skills, where the solution to the problem is formulated
in such a way that it can be automated, typically by using a computer.
Although the idea of CT is at least 50 years old, there has been a renewed
interest in CT for more than a decade now, and CT related courses have
been included into the curricula of many K12 and higher education institutes.
Sabancı University offers “IF100 - Computational Approaches to Problem Solving” course to teach CT, not only to computer science or engineering students, but to all the students, including those who will major in arts, or history, or finance, etc. We believe that CT includes a basic skill set needed by the problem solvers of tomorrow. We also believe that CT education is required for our students to be able to understand the digital world that they will live in, just like we believe that an introductory level of education on natural and social sciences is required for every student to be able understand the natural world and the society that they live in.
IF100 is an introduction to the key concepts in CT such as decomposition, abstraction, pattern recognition and algorithm design. In this course, students also gain basic programming skills in order to apply these CT concepts in practice. Therefore, on one level, students learn programming, a useful skill by itself; but on another level, they use programming as a means of practicing the concepts of CT. Through the lectures, homeworks and interactive recitations specific to different disciplines (i.e. we carefully pick the example problems from different disciplines to make the students see, in a more explicit way, how CT is related to their majors), students learn how to design algorithms, how to divide a problem into subproblems, and how to build a solution by means of compositions.
Upon successful completion of IF100, students are expected to be able to (1) define and apply CT together with its components in problem solving, (2) understand and use the basic programming concepts for control statements, functions, built-in and user-defined data types, (3) perform simple text file I/O operations, and (4) write small but complex Python programs.
IF100 also addresses the common learning goals of Sabancı University in the context of engineering education. First of all, the course is mainly an introduction to CT and to coding, where CT concepts are used to solve problems, as also mentioned above. We teach students programming, so that they can think about thinking and learn about learning. It is not because we need more software engineers or more computer scientists. It is like teachers don’t teach pupils poetry because we need more professional poets; instead teachers teach poetry because it is a way of understanding the world and creative expression. Similarly, we teach coding to students to make them understand the world, to come up with creative ideas towards complex problems existing in life and to practice CT concepts. Several examples are used from different disciplines, both in the lectures and in the recitations, including but not limited to: (i) population estimate (demographics), (ii) credit approval (economics), (iii) mobile banking security (customer services), (iv) progressive salary raise (human resources), (v) DNA sequence alignment (biology), (vi) author analysis (literature), (vii) caesar cipher (cryptography), (ix) parliament seat distribution - D'hondt method (Politics), and (x) friend suggestion on Facebook (social media analysis). The coding activities covered in the course are considered to be one of the best ways of engaging students in critical thinking. Coding itself requires problem solving skills, where students learn from their mistakes, and can apply critical thinking skills when they design/see a solution for a problem, such as whether the solution given is really a solution to the problem at hand, or if the solution can be improved. Finally, during the recitations, students work either on their own or within groups to solve the given set of problems by applying the concepts of CT. They discuss the problem and/or the solution with each other, they represent the algorithm designed as the solution of the given problem on the board or on a piece of paper, and together with the guidance of their assistants, they manage to end up with the correct solution of the given problems.
These are the without-which-not’s (or bare essentials) of single and multivariable calculus. Our MATH 101/102 courses are designed so that the engineering students receive the basics upon which to develop themselves further in their later years, while the social science/management students broaden their horizons by learning a formal mathematical approach to problems.
There are a variety of sample problems, both solved in lectures, and in recitations that pertain to real world engineering, natural sciences, or economics/finance. These give students chance to see mathematics in “context”. These type of problems are the most challenging for students, thus forcing them to learn.
There have not been significant innovations/developments in calculus (per se) for a while. It is rather the lingua franca of engineers worldwide.
In recitation hours, students are expected to work in groups on worksheets, having a selection of problems with a fair range of difficulty. This adds to their oral communication skills (Turkish is tolerated, English is encouraged). Then, they take a quiz individually where they need to demonstrate or improve their written communication skills, in English.
This is achieved by the discussion/attempt to solve problems in groups in recitation hours.
MATH 101 has the following learning outcomes:
MATH 102 has the following learning outcomes:
In this course students are introduced to basic research environments and skills through working on a project with members from different faculties. They will conduct hands-on work, learn presentation skills and team work. Students team up as small groups and register to a project of their choice and work closely with the supervisor throughout the semester to fulfill the requirements of their chosen project. As the deliverables of the project work, students are expected to write a project proposal and make either a group presentation or design a poster explaining the project and its results.
Example projects opened at Spring 18' semester are listed below.
The Academic Literacies course aims to expand the communicative, critical thinking and academic skills of students required for success at undergraduate level. In addition to oral presentations, discussions and the facilitations of seminars, students will develop the research and writing skills needed to construct sound, evidence-based arguments. Throughout the course emphasis is placed on the need to analyze and critically approach a variety of texts such as academic articles, media resources and short fiction. Students participate in formal sessions as well as intensive, personalized tutorials with instructors and peer groups utilising the latest information technology. Successful completion of this course equips students with the skills needed for sustained academic achievement as proficient and autonomous English Language communicators.
Sabancı University Civic Involvement Projects (CIP) is a mandatory course for every student to graduate within the university's academic curriculum. CIP is a training program that aims to teach the concept of active citizenship and participatory democracy through social responsibility projects which are implemented by Sabanci University students. It also targets to raise awareness among the students regarding CIP's study areas such as democracy, human rights, gender equality, income inequality, health, access to information, handicapped rights, sustainability, environment, elder rights, refugee rights, children rights and animal rights. Since CIP101 is based on a complete fieldwork students are included in the learning process by experiencing. Approximately 1000 students enroll to the course per year and they choose the project that best suits their curriculum from a scale of 35 projects, which are based on 7 different themes related to study areas of CIP. There are Supervisors and Overvisors (team leaders) who have successfully completed the CIP101 course and continue to take part in the CIP voluntarily and lead the projects teams. Sabanci University is the first university to conduct social responsibility as a mandatory course and it has an experience for 17 years. As well as setting an example to other higher institutions also serves as a mentor for any university / high school interested in working in this area.
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the degree and minor honor programs at SU and career opportunities offered by these programs. It will help students make a more informed choice about their future field of study and introduce opportunities that students may use during their undergraduate. The course emphasizes the interdisciplinarity of Sabancı University and the fact that each of our students can choose an individual route to graduation. The course is a prerequisite for major declaration.
Turkish Language and Literature I
This course is one of the University Courses all Freshman students are required to take. It has a complementary nature with HIST 191 and covers literary texts written during or on the late Ottoman modernization period, i.e. roughly between 1870s and 1910s. The aim of the course is twofold. On the one hand, it helps students analyze and discuss how the Ottoman-Turkish modernization process is reflected in literature and how in turn literature affects this process, and on the other hand it aims to develop students' theoretical and practical skills in reading, discussing and interpreting literary texts. This is achieved by using primary literary texts produced by prominent authors in this period as well as numerous critical texts on these authors. Students are expected to participate in the discussions on these works, prepare oral presentations and write papers.
Turkish Language and Literature II
This literature course is a continuation of TLL 101 and aims to analyze novels, short stories, plays, and poems of Turkish literature written in the 20th century, focusing on issues related to the modernization history of Turkey. The aim of the course is twofold: On the one hand, it aims to analyze and discuss how the Republican Turkish history is reflected in literature and how in turn literature affects this history, and on the other hand, it aims to develop students' theoretical and practical skills in reading, discussing and interpreting literary texts. This is achieved by using primary literary texts produced by prominent authors in this period as well as numerous critical texts on these authors. Students are expected to participate in the discussions on these works, prepare oral presentations and write papers.
Principles of Atatürk and the History of the Turkish Revolution I
The aim is to provide a comprehensive perspective and multi-layered knowledge on Ataturkist reforms and on the history of modern Turkey.
Principles of Atatürk and the History of the Turkish Revolution II
This is the second part of a university course which introduces students to the historical roots of the principles of Ataturk as well as to the implementation of these principles. To achieve this, the following issues are concentrated upon: Ottoman and Turkish political history from 1908 to the present; the Balkan Wars, World War I and Turkish nationalism; the War of Independence; the reforms of Ataturk; World War II and the transition to a multi-party system; Demokrat Parti and its successors, the military interventions of 1960, 1971, 1980 and 1998; the issue of democratization of Turkey.