Core Curriculum
Plunging into the deep topics of your department selected in the first year at university? Or clearing one’s mind after an intensive exam period, discovering an interdisciplinary education, which gives students a holistic outlook on life beyond conventional academic compartmentalization, such as hard and soft or natural and social sciences? İstanbul Şehir University gives the answer to this question with its core curriculum program.

As part of its unique spirit, İstanbul Şehir University provides its students with a motivating environment for being a competent engineer who is familiar with the major turning points in human history and recites poetry or a sociologist who doesn’t escape the poetry of mathematics.

By force of our founding mission and vision of İstanbul Şehir University, the Core Curriculum Program is an independent curriculum, designed according to the unique needs and conditions of today, directed towards helping students gain fundamental skills, which will enable them to understand the world within its own integrity and mobility, to look at the events from a broad  perspective in a time-space context, to think right, systematically and consistently, and to express their thoughts in a meaningful frame, in their life after graduation, no matter what their discipline is.

Through this approach, the Core Curriculum Program aims at helping students to gain critical and creative intellectual habits they will use all their lives, beyond improving their knowledge in various fields.


    • Exploring Istanbul
    • Understanding Society and Culture
    • Understanding Politics and Economy
    • World Civilizations and Global Encounters I-II
    • Formations of Modern Turkey I-II
    • Critical Reading and Writing in Turkish I-II
    • Textual Analysis: Effective Communication and Academic Writing I-II
    • Turkish for International Students I-II-III-IV-V-VI

    • Critical Thinking
    • Mathematical Reasoning
    • Mathematics for Practice 
    • Logic I-II
    • Calculus I-II

    • Understanding Nature and Knowledge
    • Understanding Science and Technology
    • Understanding Science and Environment
    • Understanding Religion
    • Understanding Cultural Encounters
    • Understanding Art and Architecture
    • Understanding Ethics


One of the main courses of our university is the preparatory course of İstanbul. In this course, we will engage in various activities for both reading and understanding the city in which we live. Some weeks, we will wander around the city; some weeks, we talk about it. While recognizing prosperous historical and gorgeous places in İstanbul, we will also try to understand the position of İstanbul within the world history and across the world. Moreover, several professors at our university will contribute to our classes, so that we will get to know each other more closely. 
The course “Exploring İstanbul” deals with urban culture in general and İstanbul in particular. The main course topics are world cities, individuals, places, arts, crafts, daily lives, and urban history. In addition to in-class discussions, the course includes fieldwork courses and visual presentations through which the melting pot characteristic of cities are examined by means of different life styles, cultures, structures, functions, and historical traditions in İstanbul, as well as developing students’ abilities for visual literacy and photography. 

Rapid access to information has gradually increased the significance of critical thinking skills. This course will help you to learn the fundamentals of thinking while you have the opportunity to apply critical reading and writing skills through activities, examples, and projects.  All the courses you have received up to now have made an effort to minimize the interrogation marks. This course will act as the exact opposite and will increase the number of question marks in your mind. But you will love these question marks.
This core course is designed to provide the basic skills and tools needed for thinking critically, analyzing information effectively, drawing valid conclusions, and presenting them persuasively. Topics include the relationship between language and thought, a basic introduction to symbolic logic, the structure and components of argumentation, fallacious reasoning, uncertainty and randomness, deductive and inductive reasoning, causality, decision-making, ethics, and fair-mindedness.
Would it not be entertaining to understand the mathematical reasoning of a building, a musical piece, or a book you love? Would you not like to see mathematics as a way of thinking that horizontally crosses the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, while arising from cultures and surpassing them? In this course, you will learn fundamental concepts of mathematics and a way of mathematical thinking, while thinking about mathematics itself. Your relation with mathematics in your previous school life will change and evolve after you see mathematics touching upon every inch of your daily life. This course aims to realize this transformation with the subjects it treats, its different point of view and through the aid of visual materials. 
No matter what educational background you have, “Mathematical Reasoning” aims to introduce all students to fundamental mathematical concepts. In this context, the course will cover nature and use of mathematics, the place and meaning of mathematics in different societies, fundamental concepts such as infinity, numbers, and numeration, set theory and symbolic logic, logic of inference and mathematical proof, calculus of probabilities and statistics, mathematical modeling, and visual expression/presentation of numeric data.​
How do society and cultural conditions in which we live affect us? How do we affect them? Under what conditions and structures do people gather together? Why do people who live together separate from one another or why do they come closer? Based on this and similar questions, we plan to examine the human conditions that enriches and impoverishes the human experience, that collects and crashes, that diversifies and dulls, that revives and harms the human experience, in dialog with the texts, films, debates, and topics that present the existing state of the World.
This course, through familiarizing students with the basic concepts, themes and research agendas in the field of sociology, will introduce the participants to the understanding of the complexity of societies and cultures with the aim of developing a sociological imagination in the minds of the participants. It will try to make students involve in multiple ways of looking at the “familiar” world, societies, histories, and self but also to give them a sensibility towards the “unfamiliar” world of “others”. They will gain awareness of the major domains of individual and social life, and some major institutions including the self, everyday life, class and poverty, identities, racism, gender, city and modernity. The subjacent idea is that, in order to comprehend the changing world, one has to be able to use the tools of sociological analysis which are in constant transformation; and also one has to develop a critical and creative approach in the face of continuities and discontinuities of social and cultural lives.

Produce or spread? Own or share? Does economy or politics come first? Is politics all about elections and bureaucracy or unfruitful disputes and polemics? Or is it a way of social existence? Can we separate economy from politics? Does ethics stand above politics and the economy? Or do politics and the economy have distinctive moral principles? In a search for an answer to this and similar crucial questions, this course will examine the emergence of political and economic systems historically and comparatively and discuss fundamental assumptions and presumptions.
In this context, the nature of modern nation-state, ideologies, constitutions, fundamental economic institutions, basic rules of the economy, and principles of management will be revised, while the new situations and attitudes emerging with globalization will be evaluated. 
This course offers a systematic discussion of politics, economics, and management in a social context. First, the nature of states, ideologies, constitutions, and major political institutions, with special attention to global political interaction, will be stressed. Second, in a simplified form, micro/macro-economic theory will be explained. Subsequently, the basic principles of managing organizations will be discussed. Weekly preparation and regular attendance is needed.

Though we are discussing democracy today, this concept was already defined in the Athens city-state 2,500 years ago. While we are discussing globalization today, Ibn Batuta travelled from Morocco to Delhi and China, to Ethiopia and Zanzibar in the 14th century. While we are discussing the tradition of cohabitation today, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish people in Andalusia and Jerusalem built a cultural synthesis that continued for 700 years. While we complain of imperialism today, its foundations were laid during Columbus’ voyage to the continent of America in the 16th century. In this course, we want to enrich you with a broader world-view. We aim to erase the clichés and memorized historical data from your memories.
World Civilizations and Global Encounters is a two-semester compulsory course providing a cross-cultural overview of world history from ancient to modern times. The course proceeds chronologically, but has the objective of exploring crucial themes of human activity from a global perspective. The diversity of human civilizations will be traced in terms of their historical, cultural, political, and economic formation with a special emphasis on their interactions, similarities, and differences. The ultimate aim of the course is to reflect on the concept of historical change and its connotations for the present day.
This course will start with a discussion of the concept of early modernity and its application to post-1300 world history. In the following weeks, the lectures will explore the dynamics, factors, and paths of specific historical change in different regions of the world from the 15th century onwards. Major topics of discussion will include the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe; the state, society and culture in the early modern Middle East, transformations in European feudalism, the revolutions of 1789 and 1848 in Europe, Safavid and Mughal empires, the changing dynamics of Ottoman imperial power in relation to the Habsburg, Russian and Chinese empires, and the question of modernity. Issues regarding the transformations in the political, cultural, ideological, and institutional make-up of different imperial structures that ushered in the modern era will remain a focus throughout the survey. 

Not only the Ottoman Empire collapsed in the 1900s, but also empires were going out of existence. What has been established was not the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Nation-states were also being established. When it comes to 1990s, it was not only Turkey, which was opening to the world, but the World was globalizing. When our democratization, social development and catastrophes, neo-liberalization in economy, population and urbanization stories are considered together with the world, they are becoming more meaningful. Instead of a classical approach such as the world on the one hand and the history of Turkey on the other hand, history of Turkey from the Ottoman Empire up to today will be the subject of this course with its universal and unique aspects. “Formations of Modern Turkey I” will aim to understand the political, social, economic, and cultural roots and processes of modern Turkey from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the end of the Second World War. All aspects of Ottoman modernization and the path leading to the Republic from the experiences of Tanzimat Reforms and Constitutionalism will be evaluated in relation to the contemporary developments in the world. In addition to the dynamics and factors that shaped
modern Turkey, this course will focus on the continuities and ruptures between Ottoman Turkey and Republican Turkey. 
“Formations of Modern Turkey II” is a course directed to understanding the recent history of Turkey from the Second World War to our day, in its political, social, economic and cultural aspects. In light of the developments in the world, the main dynamics and processes of the history of Turkey of the last fifty-sixty years will be evaluated. The transformations in Turkey, such as the shift from a single-party system to a multi-party democratic political life, from the Cold War to the new global world, and their results will be discussed with respect to almost all of their dimensions, from internal politics to external politics, from socio-economic structures to ideological movements.

“Textual Analysis: Effective Communication and Academic Writing I/II” courses aim to develop students’ capabilities in English required for their academic studies beginning from their first year. The course is designed to develop students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in English through their active participation to classes.
This course aims to endow students with the skills and tools necessary for the ability to analyze texts critically and objectively and to engage in effective written and oral communication. Students will read, analyze, discuss, and respond to texts of diverse genres, subject matter, tones, and styles. They will learn and develop a variety of skills necessary throughout their education, such as summarizing, paraphrasing, argumentation, and description. The course will deal with scientific and artistic, academic and creative, literary and factual, formal and informal styles of reading and writing. Through this course, students will gain the necessary communicative and analytical skills that will aid them not only throughout their education, but also in their future careers. 
This course aims to develop students’ critical analysis skills and to introduce students to academic research. Academic writing is also a major component of this course. Through a theory and practice combined study of academic writing techniques, stretched throughout the semester, students will learn how to prepare a research paper. Thus they will be expected to produce well-written essays and to prepare and deliver effective presentations. Students will be guided through the steps of conducting research and organizing and writing an academic paper. By the end of the semester, students will be expected to hand in the final version of their academic paper.

“Critical Reading and Writing in Turkish I/II” courses will discuss critical reading and writing practices from various perspectives. What kind of a relation we have formed and we are forming with different text types? What kind of written materials existed during periods when oral culture was dominant? How did the invention and spread of the printing press transform written culture? What is the impact of writing forms such as blog and entry on reading practices during the Internet age? The course aims to search for answers to these and similar questions in a discussion platform. International students must register in “Turkish for International Students” courses instead of required UNI 111 and UNI112 Turkish courses.
The aim of this course is to describe what “text” signifies, discuss the basic features of oral, printed, and electronic text forms and analyze these forms with examples from daily life. The course is designed to discuss how the idea of text acquires variety in cultural life. First, the focus will be on the production, circulation and reception processes of the text. Afterwards, the textual styles produced by oral culture, written culture and printed culture will be addressed in continuity with the conditions of their historical genesis. The basic features of oral culture and literary forms based on orality will be described, after which the traces of oral culture in daily life will be discussed. With the aim of demonstrating how writing and reading practices have been affected by the advent of the printing press, the main features of textual forms before printing will be presented, and the press’ transformation of these features will be shown. After the evaluation of the role of the printing press in the formation of the modern notion of literature, the features specific to each form of printed text with a low level of fiction, such as newspaper articles, columns, articles, and essays will be discussed with examples. In this course based on in-class discussion, after the main concepts are presented, the students are expected to discuss different textual forms and afterwards write essays, which analyze different aspects of these forms. Thus the students will have a firsthand experience of the production, circulation and reception practices of the text.
This course has been designed to discuss how the idea of text acquires variety in cultural life. First, the objective will be to describe the basic methods of textual criticism. Afterwards, these methods will be applied to examples from the literary forms of novel and poetry. Critical approaches specific to each form will be shown. The course will lead from the printed text to the visual text and at the first stage of this, the focus will be on the relationship between theater and literature. Through the reading of the written text of a play and the watching of its performance, the relationship between text and performance will be discussed. At the second stage the relations between film and literature will be analyzed and the discursive and thematic qualities of film adaptations from literary texts will be shown. In the last stage, the textual forms of electronic culture will be determined and the specific features of forms such as entries and blogs will be explored in a comparative relation to oral and printed texts. The course will end with a general discussion of the concept of text departing from the various types of text seen during the two semesters. In this course based on in-class discussion, after the presentation of the main concepts, the students are expected to discuss different textual forms and afterwards write essays analyzing different aspects of these forms. Thus the students will have a firsthand experience of the production, circulation, and reception practices of the text.

How does science transform our society? How is scientific information produced? Did new technologies facilitate or complicate our life? What kind of cars, computers, and machines do we expect in the future? What is the ethical responsibility of an engineer? “Understanding Science and Technology” course aims to answer these questions. This course examines the transformative impact of technology on society scrutinizing several topics from robots to genetically modified organisms, from nanotechnology to knowledge-based society. 
This course is designed as an introduction to the basic principles and concepts of physical and information sciences, and the comprehension of scientific information and the understanding of issues of science and technology in contemporary society. The course is suitable for students with backgrounds in both natural/physical and social sciences. It allows students in physical and information sciences to think more critically about the impact and consequences of their work on society. It allows students from social sciences to develop a critical understanding of the role of science and technology in the world. The basic goal of this interdisciplinary course is to cross some of the assumed and traditional boundaries drawn between physical and social sciences. The purpose of the course is the study of how scientific and technological innovations affect social, political and cultural values, and how these in turn affect science and technology. Goals of the course include understanding the relationship between society and scientific and technological innovation, and the directions and risks of science and technology. The issues of ethics and how it relates to science and technology practices will also be discussed through several case studies. Examples will span a variety of areas from computer science to biomedicine, from neuroscience to physics, genetic modification and mathematics.
What do we understand when we talk about nature and knowledge? How can we be sure whether what we know to be true today is true or not?  Possible answers to such questions are in close relation with our world-views. Can we talk about an absolute and supreme world-view when the history of thought is full of “world- views” that matures by falsifying the previous ones? For example, rights of Aristo were limited with Newton, rights of Newton were limited to Einstein and Heisenberg. The concept of limits is interesting though! Is it as easy as we think for an individual and a society to know their limits and remain on the limits? It is a fact that discussions about nature and knowledge are a little abstract and theoretical. However, considering their impact on politics, economy, culture, and the arts, it is as much concrete and practical as well. As can be seen, it is possible to begin with nature and knowledge and reach to several fields. Thus, get ready for an exciting adventure extending from history of science to the philosophy of science. 
“Understanding Nature and Science” is formed around two main topics: idea of nature and concept of knowledge. In this course, we study the history of natural philosophy from the Ancient Period to the 20th century to understand the common philosophical/cosmological background on which the natural, behavioral, and social sciences reside, to study the metaphysical foundations of the scientific/scholarly knowledge, to trace the temporal and regional as well as permanent aspects of scientific/scholarly thought and to build up a holistic view towards nature, knowledge, and science.
In this course, we study the history of natural philosophy from Ancient Period to the 19th century to understand the common philosophical/cosmological background on which the natural, behavioral and social sciences reside, to study the metaphysical foundations of the scientific/scholarly knowledge, to trace the temporal and regional as well as permanent aspects of scientific/scholarly thought and to build up a holistic view towards nature, knowledge and science.

This course explores the state of the current environmental/ecological crisis, the proposed solutions to the crisis, and the way nature of science we practice is related to state of the natural world around us. After a summary of the different aspects of the crisis, the course discusses the most direct causes behind the crisis and the nature of the mainstream environmentalism. Next, the course explores the deepest causes of the crisis which help to explain why mainstream environmentalism has largely failed to turn the tide of environmental degradation in the last 40 years. Finally, how do the alternative approaches, including religious environmentalism, might have more comprehensive answers to the crisis?
The course will be in two parts. The first part is about history of world religions and the second one is about understanding religion within the context of the state and society. After a general introduction to the historiography, methodologies, and thematic issues of the history of world religions, we will discuss the key concepts in the field such as “religion”, “spirituality”, the idea of “sacred”, “primitive religions”, “world religions”, etc. This part of the course will have special attention paid to the historical development of early religious traditions and major world religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Students will be introduced to the belief systems, worldview, ideals, ethics, and rituals of each tradition. We will compare certain aspects of religions but we will not focus on theological comparisons, (this is not a course on comparative religions), rather the course will focus on understanding the origin, process of formation, historical development, and spread of world religions. Several contemporary issues will be discussed, such as including “fundamentalism”, “radicalism”, “response to modernity”, “women’s spirituality”, and “the future of religion”, etc. In the second part of the course, we will focus on the interactions between religion and state and between religion and society from the historical, political, and sociological perspectives.
This course offers an overview of the cultural - historical relationships emerged in Near Eastern Islamic countries and their neighbors between the 11th and 17th centuries C.E., through the eyes of remarkable travelers such as Ibn Fadlan (Arab), Nasir Khusrow (Persian), Ibn Battuta (Moroccan-Barbary), and Evliya Celebi (Turkish-Ottoman). The main goal of this course is to give a clear, understandable frame of cultural - intellectual relations for the Islamic world in the classical ages, through the eyes of Muslim travelers. To understand the nature of cultural and intellectual interactions among Muslims, Hindus, Sufis, politicians, traders, warriors, and professional entertainers of this era, a modern researcher must review historical narratives from different authors, with comparing to each other. It is obvious that a historical - cultural event cannot be understood only by giving basic facts in a chronological order. Drawing the historical picture with the help of travel accounts, including daily life practices, legends, and colorful stories will make the  students enjoy intellectual history of that era.
An introduction to art and architecture, the course is intended to give a general survey of artistic and architectural culture with an emphasis on visual representation and architectural expression. Basic tools of analysis and methodologies for the interpretation of works of art will be introduced. The course focuses not only on the visual culture of mankind in its historical and geographical dimensions, but will also address fundamental questions about the nature and scope of “art” and “architecture”. Dimensions of aesthetic experience, taste, and meaning of art will be explored. Questions of identity through material culture, of influence, interactions, and divergences, of artistic production and patronage will be investigated. The topic of each lesson will be taught aided by PowerPoint and audiovisual material. This is a course highly based on visual understanding and visual literacy.
Turkish for International Students is a two-semester course designated for international Şehir students who do not speak Turkish. The course is designed to introduce and teach Turkish as a foreign language. The course students will acquire fundamental language skills at different levels as well as doing a project, presentations, and writing papers at different levels and with different qualities. By utilizing different authentic tools such as poems, novels, caricatures, songs, newspaper articles, and movies the course aims to introduce students with Turkish culture and literature as well as helping them to reach a certain level in Turkish.​
This course presents a review of fundamental concepts and tools of mathematics to develop the students’ understanding and skills of basic mathematical ideas, tools and techniques. Students will learn mathematical reasoning, to relate mathematical tools and concepts with their everyday life, thus using maths effectively to make better decisions throughout their lives. They will develop basic modelling skills with examples from nature, engineering, economics, music and arts. Active tutorials will provide them with hands-on practice for solving problems. A review of fundamental algebra will help them to easily work with symbols and expressions. Simple team projects will encourage them to do research on a given topic, summarize findings and present them to an audience in a compact and attractive way. Regular class attendance and weekly preparation is needed. Assignments are not graded, but they are highly important for proper learning and good retention.​
This course discusses subjects such as differential calculus including analytic geometry; functions, limits and continuity; derivatives, techniques and applications of differentiation; logarithmic and trigonometric functions.​
This course treats the subjects such as integral calculus including definite and indefinite integrals; techniques of integration; applications in mathematics and engineering; infinite series.​
This course covers propositional logic and an introduction to first-order predicate logic. Students learn to translate arguments in ordinary language into symbolic notation, use rules of inference and truth tables to assess the validity of the arguments and do theorem-proving within propositional logic. The course ends by introducing the symbolic notation of first-order predicate logic.​
This course consists of two parts. In the first part, it picks up from where Phil 101 leaves off and covers first-order predicate logic in detail including rules of inference, theorems, truth-functional expansions and assessment of the validity of arguments. The latter part of the course covers identity.​
This course gives an introduction to ethics as a sub-discipline of philosophy. The course covers the main ethical theories like virtue theory (Plato and Aristotle), Utilitarianism (Bentham and Mill), and deontological theories (Kant). It also examines the question of whether there exist moral principles that are objective and valid for all people and societies or whether the validity of such principles depends on culture or even on individual choices as relativists claim. Other topics of the course include psychological and ethical egoism, the nature of values, and the questions of why to be moral and how to live a good life and achieve happiness. The course aims at helping students to reflect on a variety of moral and ethical problems about which everyone constantly has to make choices and decisions throughout one’s life.​