Middle East Technical University is founded under the name of "Orta Doğu Yüksek Teknoloji Enstitüsü" (Middle East High Technology Institute) on November 15th, 1956 to contribute to the development of Turkey and Middle East countries and especially to train people so as to create a skilled workforce in the fields of natural and social sciences. "Arrangements and Procedures as for the Foundation of METU, Law No 6887" was enacted on January 29th, 1957. Finally, "Foundation Act No 7307", which sets forth the particular standing of METU and describes the conditions rendering METU as a juridical entity, was enacted on May 27th, 1959.
Middle East Technical University's presence brought about new methods and introduced innovations to Turkish higher education system manifesting METU as a pioneer of modern education nationwide. In its earliest years, part of METU was located in a small building that belonged Social Security Office of Retirees at Kizilay's Müdafaa Street and the other section was located in the barracks behind the TBMM (Turkey's National Grand Assembly). In 1963, the University moved to its current campus location which is the first university campus of Turkey.
In 1956, the first academic program to start education was the Department of Architecture. Then in spring semester of 1957, Department of Mechanical Engineering launched its academic program. At the onset of 1957-1958 academic year, the Faculty of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Administrative Sciences were established. In 1959, the tasks undertaken to establish Faculty of Arts and Sciences were completed. Faculty of Education launched its academic program in 1982. Today, there are a total of 41 undergraduate programs in five faculties of METU.
There are 107 graduate and 69 doctorate programs available in Graduate Schools of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Informatics, Applied Mathematics and Marine Sciences Graduate Schools. Marine Sciences conducts the academic program studies at İçel-Erdemli.
The language of instruction at METU is English. METU School of Foreign Languages takes the initiative to teach English to students at Preparatory School.