Birzeit University

Birzeit University (BZU; Arabic: جامعة بيرزيت‎) is a private non-profit organization, registered by the Ministry of Social Affairs as charitable organization and accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education as a public university located in Birzeit, West Bank, near Ramallah.[2][3] Established in 1924 as an Elementary School for girls, Birzeit became a University in 1975.[4]

Birzeit University
جامعة بيرزيت
Birzeit University seal.svg
MottoBuilding a Better Palestinian Future
PresidentAbdul Latif Abu Hijleh[1]
Academic staff
800 dunums (200 acres)
AffiliationsUNIMED, AARU
Birzeit University logo.svg

Birzeit University offers graduate and undergraduate programs in information technology, engineering, sciences, social policy, arts, law, nursing, pharmacy, health sciences, economics, and management. It has 9 faculties, including a graduate faculty. These offer 47 B.A. programs for undergraduate students and 26 M.A. programs for graduate students.[5] As of 2018, around 14,000 students are enrolled in the university's bachelor's, master's and PhD programs.[6]


Birzeit University campus, 2007

Birzeit School for Girls was founded in 1924 by Nabiha Nasir (1891-1951) as an elementary school for girls from Birzeit and the surrounding villages. It was one of the first schools in the region. In 1930, it broadened its scope to become a co-educational secondary school, and in 1932, it was renamed Birzeit Higher School. In 1942, the name was changed to Birzeit College. In 1953, a freshman higher education class was incorporated, followed by a sophomore class in 1961.[4]

The year 1948 was a turning point in the history of Birzeit College. By the spring, the political situation looked precarious, and Birzeit administrators worried that the school year which normally ended in June would be interrupted by events connected with the withdrawal of British forces and the end of the British Mandate lasting since 1917. The administrators decided to complete the semester curriculum by April, scheduling the graduation ceremony for April 30, 1948 and to be held under the auspices of Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, the chief commander of the Army of the Holy War. However, he was killed on April 8 at the battle of Al-Qastal by the Jewish paramilitary force Haganah, who were defending positions on that hill on the outskirts of Jerusalem.[citation needed]

In 1975, Birzeit College changed its name to Birzeit University. In April 1976, Birzeit University was accepted as a member of the Association of Arab Universities. University president Hanna Nasser was deported by Israel in 1974. He was allowed to return in 1993, with the signing of the Oslo accords as part of the peace process.

The university was closed from 1988 until 1992 by the Israeli army saying "they were nests of anti-Israeli violence"[citation needed]. The university was the last of 6 in Israeli occupied territories to reopen.[7]

Board of TrusteesEdit

Birzeit University is governed by an autonomous Board of Trustees composed of educators and professionals from the Palestinian community. The board appoints the president of the university. It also confirms the appointment of vice-presidents and deans upon the recommendation of the president. The board approves the budget and general development plans presented to it by the university council.[citation needed]


The university follows a semester system, with two four-month semesters beginning in Autumn and Spring, and two shorter two-month semesters in summer. Support comes from numerous Palestinian, Arab, and international foundations, as well as from various individuals.[8]


The university, through its nine faculties (Arts; Science; Business and Economics; Law and Public Administration; Engineering and Technology; Pharmacy, Nursing, and Health Professions; Education; and Graduate Studies, Art Music and Design), provides academic programs(76 programs) that end in bachelor's degrees, such as the major/minor programs.

These faculties, in addition to the Graduate Studies faculty, offer 32 postgraduate programs that lead to master's degrees. The university also offers one Ph.D. program in social sciences.

Birzeit University campus

Notable peopleEdit

Currently,[when?] there are a number of professors who are also appointed as ministers in the current Palestinian government. Thirteen members of the Palestinian negotiating team in U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace talks were faculty members of Birzeit University. Hanan Ashrawi taught literature there.[7]

The South African-born sociologist Stanley Cohen worked at Birzeit in support of Palestinian staff and students while a Professor in Criminology at the Hebrew University between 1980 and 1996.[9]

Saeed Abu Ali worked as associate professor.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ President’s Office, Birzeit University
  2. ^ "External Academic Relations" (PDF). Birzeit University.
  3. ^ J−amiʻat B−ir Zayt (1977). Development and expansion plan, 1977-1986. The Office. p. introduction.
  4. ^ a b "About : History". Archived from the original on 2015-08-20. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  5. ^ "Undergraduate Studies". Archived from the original on 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  6. ^ "Birzeit University graduates more than 2300 students during 43rd commencement ceremonies". WAFA News Agency. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b Williams, Daniel (1992-04-21). Major Palestinian University to Reopen: Israel: The Birzeit campus on the West Bank will be the last of six closed four years ago to resume operations. LA Times, 21 April 1992. Retrieved from .
  8. ^ "About : Quick Facts". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  9. ^ Pioneers of Qualitative Research Stan Cohen UK Data Service, funded by the ESRC, Economic and Social Data Service, undated, retrieved 30 September 2015.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 31°57′31.29″N 35°10′50.54″E / 31.9586917°N 35.1807056°E / 31.9586917; 35.1807056