Globally and in Turkey, awareness about the important role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for strengthening and functioning of a pluralistic and participative democracy has been established over the past twenty years. Parallel to this increase in awareness in Turkey, there has been a noticeable increase in both the number of NGOs and the variety of areas that they operate in.
However, the contributions made by the universities in our country towards the development of the organisational capacities of NGOs remains limited. Additionally, there are few academic articles that focus on NGOs. Universities can provide important support towards the strengthening of the capacities of NGOs and conduct academic studies in the area of civil society studies.
From an academic perspective, the area of civil society studies gained ground following the 1980s. As NGOs in many European countries began to take on a more active role in the formation of public policy and the offering of public services, the field of civil society studies became an area of study that offered both empirical and theoretical research opportunities. However, the academic studies currently being conducted in the area of civil society studies, which can be considered an interdisciplinary area of study within the social sciences, are not at a sufficient level in our country.
İstanbul Bilgi University has endeavored to respond to this need since 2003 by offering trainings in the form of certificate programs, publications, and field work first within NGO Training and Research Unit and then Center for Civil Society Studies. Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, the graduate program of “Social Projects and Management of NGOs” aims to contribute to the need for qualified human resources at NGOs and assist in any quality academic work to be carried out in this field.
With this dual goal in mind, the graduate program has been designed to offer options of with thesis or without thesis (with Masters project). It is possible for the students to choose concentration areas on Management of Non-Governmental Organizations or Civil Society Studies.