HISTORY OF THE FACULTY
The history of İstanbul University dates back to the institutions of education called “Sahn-ı Seman” which were founded right after İstanbul was conquered by Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Because of the courses taught at the institutions at that time, it is accepted that the Faculty of Letters was also established at that time. Re-organization of the Faculty in a Western way was done by the regulations in the years 1845, 1863, 1869 and 1900.
After the declaration of Tanzimat, the opening of the modern university was attempted to be established on July 21st in 1846 for the first time, but the opening program was done on January 13th in 1863. This attempt was confined to only conferences and regular education was not possible then. In opening conference, it was decided to teach courses such as history, geography and philosophy in addition to the departments to be opened.
Darülfünun which was thought to be opened by the Maarif-I Umumiye Nizamnamesi in 1869 became formally active under the name Darülfünûn-I Osmanî on February 20th in 1870. Wisdom and Literature Department was one of the three departments in the curriculum of the Darülfünûn-ı Osmanî. However, this department had been closed before it started its activity. One of the departments of Darülfünûn-ı Sultanî, which was opened a year later in 1874, was Edebiyat-ı Aliye Mektebi (School of High Literature). Edebiyat-ı Aliye Mektebi comprised of the nucleus of the Faculty of Letters
With the help of the new regulation done on August 15th in 1900, Faculty of Letters was opened again in the university re-named as Darülfünûn-u Şahane. Department of Literature accepted 25 students for the first time in the same year. Only seven students graduated in 1902 after the education which had been planned to be for 2 years.
After the regulation implemented in 1911, the University was named as İstanbul Darülfünûnu and faculties Ulum-ı Şer'iye, Ulum-ı Hukukiye, Ulum-ı Tıbbiye, Fünun ve Ulum-ı Edebiye were opened. Inas Darülfünûnu was established for female students and the students of the Literature Department began to attend classes at the Facutly of Letters. Coeducation started to be implemented in the year 1919.
Starting from the Second Constitutionalist Period foreign faculty members and students were accepted to İstanbul Darülfünunu. İstanbul Darülfünunu gained de facto independence in addition to the scientific one in 1919. Specialization become more regular and departmental diplomas were given to students in this period. The students of the Faculty of Letters and Yahya Kemal, a faculty member, offered to give honorary professor title to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and it is accepted in the Faculty’s board meeting on November 13th in 1922. Darulfünun’s name was changed into İstanbul Üniversitesi after the act on May 31st in 1933 and Faculty of Letters began its educational activities in its current form after the implementation of the act on August 1st, 1933. Disciplines (such as History of Arts and Anthropology) which were courses or conferences in the beginning were converted into departments in time and Pedagogy, Psychology and Sociology became separate departments as well.
Before the re-organization of the universities by the act 2547 on November 6, 1981, Faculty of Letters had 19 main departments under which there were 39 sub-departments and areas of expertise. After the reorganization of the University, our Faculty had 21 main departments, 76 sub-departments, 42 diploma programs, 10 Research and Application centers and it serves more than 16.000 students.
Many national and international activities are organized every year in our university which houses 21 academic journals under different departments. Since its foundation, the Faculty of Letters made organizations in Sultanahmet, Çemberlitaş, Galatasaray and Zeynep Hanım Konağı in Beyazıt. The Faculty was moved to its current building in 1951, which was after the period when it had been open in Hatice Sultan Sarayı in Fındıklı. The building was designed by the famous architects Emin Onat and Sedat Hakkı Eldem.
Our Faculty which aims to do scientific works to meet the needs of both our people and the humanity cares for developing international relations. Moreover, our graduates acted as founding faculty members in the universities opened thereafter. Our Faculty became prestigious in the society with the scientists and teachers it provided education with.
The Faculty of Letters is in the third place in İstanbul University Senate’s protocol and its academic color is green.