The history of engineering in Turkey starts with the establishment of “Mühendishane-i Bahri-i Hümayun (Imperial School of Naval Engineering)” to train naval engineers in 1773 by III. Mustafa on the proposal by Gazi Hasan Pasa and Baron de Tott’s. History of civil engineering in Turkey coincides with that of the Civil Engineering Department at ITU. It begins in 1795 with the establishment of “Mühendishane-i Berri-i Humayun (Imperial School of Military Engineering)”. The transition to civil engineering education in the modern context starts with the establishment of “Hendese-i Mülkiye Mektebi (The Civilian School of Geometry)”.

Young engineers trained at “Hendese-i Mülkiye” led the construction of many roads and bridges in the country. The school was transferred to the Ministry of Public Works in 1909 and was renamed as “Muhendis Mekteb-i Alisi (School of Engineering)”. Among the academic staff in this period were the famous professor of hydraulics Dr. Philip Focheimer and the world famous professor and founder of soil mechanics Dr. Karl von Terzaghi, who joined the academic staff in 1916, and laid the foundations of soil mechanics. The school became Istanbul Technical University in 1944. At this stage, it included four faculties: Civil Engineering, Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. Owing to its pioneering role, to this day, ITU is commonly referred to as the "Technical University" in Turkey.