Dr. Ayla Ödekan began her academic career at Istanbul University in the Faculty of Social Sciences, where she she graduated from the Department of Art History in 1965. She continued her education at the University of Chicago where she received a Master's in Art History in 1967. Dr. Ödekan returned to Istanbul later that year, where she became an assistant at Istanbul Technical University (İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi) where she completed a P.hD. in 1976, with a dissertation entitled, "Pre-Ottoman Portals with Mukarnas in Anatolian Turkish Architecture."
Throughout Dr. Ödekan's teaching career, she has held posts at Istanbul University in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology (1988), Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi), in the Department of Art History (1996-1999) and Istanbul Technical University (1999-2006). After retiring, she has continued teaching as a part-time lecturer at Istanbul Technical University, International Cyprus University, Bahçeşehir University, and Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Over the course of her career, Dr. Ödekan has also participated in and curated numerous exhibitions on Byzantine and Turkish architecture. In 2006, she received the Contribution to Architecture Award from the Chamber of Architects of Turkey.
Dr. Ödekan's areas of research include Byzantine Art and Architecture, Anatolian Turkish Art and Architecture, European Art and Architecture, Modern Art and Architecture, Historical Environment, Cultural Studies, Art Criticism, and Folk Art.