IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Tugay Durak

Tugay was a Higher Education Studies MA student, class of 2019. He talks to us about his experience studying at IOE.

Tugay Durak in front of the UCL Portico. Image permission: Tugay Durak.

What is your educational background?

I completed my undergraduate education at Boğaziçi University in Turkey, then became a Mathematics teacher for four years. 

What are your motivations for pursuing a graduate-level qualification?

While pursuing my undergraduate studies, I decided to become involved in education policy.

Recognising the importance of playing a pivotal role in policymaking, I subsequently chose to pursue postgraduate education in Higher Education as a viable pathway to achieve this goal. Then, I was awarded a postgraduate scholarship to study abroad.

I received a scholarship from the Turkish Ministry of Education. This opportunity allowed me to complete my Master's degree at IOE.

Why did you apply to UCL for graduate study?

Upon receiving notification of the successful outcome of my scholarship application, I began searching for Master's programmes in Higher Education Studies.

Having heard positive feedback about UCL IOE and having loved London during a previous visit, choosing to study at this prestigious university in the heart of London seemed like the perfect fit.

I thoroughly enjoyed the programme and was so pleased with my experience that I decided to continue my academic journey by pursuing a PhD at UCL.

After successfully completing my Master's degree at UCL, I continued my PhD at UCL.

What is the best thing about your course?

With a background in Mathematics Education, I initially had limited knowledge of Higher Education Studies. Enrolling in this programme exposed me to various issues within Higher Education.

Moreover, having distinguished speakers specialising in various fields of higher education research during almost every session enriched my understanding significantly.

Being taught by leading figures in the higher education arena, right in the heart of London, was a unique and enriching experience.

What do you find interesting about your field of study and what inspires you?

Higher education undeniably plays a pivotal role in shaping societies for the better by fostering social mobility, knowledge production, innovation, capacity-building, and more.

As such, I firmly believe that the field of higher education is a fundamental area of study that intersects with various subjects.

Exploring and understanding this dynamic field is essential for comprehending and actively contributing to the processes that shape and improve societies.

What networking opportunities have you undertaken during your studies?

Even after several years, I maintain close contact with many friends from my course. Additionally, I have consistently attended seminars organised by our institute, allowing me to meet and connect with numerous higher education enthusiasts from diverse sectors across the UK.

This ongoing engagement has enriched my professional network and kept me abreast of developments and perspectives in the dynamic field of Higher Education.

What is it like studying in London and do you think it has benefited your studies?

Certainly! London is an extraordinary city — the epicentre of knowledge production and innovation, strategically located between Europe and America.

My time in London allowed me to leverage the prestige of its institutions, think tanks, and other universities, significantly enhancing my knowledge and understanding of global higher education issues.

Furthermore, the unique atmosphere of London ensures that, despite being from a different place, you never feel like a foreigner. The city's inclusivity and cosmopolitan nature contribute to a truly enriching experience.

Has there been an element of your degree programme that has impressed you? 

One of the most significant aspects of studying at UCL IOE is the opportunity to be taught by world-leading academics specialising in distinct fields within a wide range of specific educational areas.

How do you think the system of learning/researching at UCL differs from that in your own country?

As an international student from Turkey, a fundamental distinction for me was the exposure to a highly international environment, surrounded by ambitious individuals from all corners of the world.

Additionally, being taught by world-leading academics who specialise in distinct fields within the broad spectrum of Higher Education Studies contributed significantly to the richness of my academic experience.

Last updated 31 January 2024.