Birzeit University

Coordinates: 31°57′31.29″N 35°10′50.54″E / 31.9586917°N 35.1807056°E / 31.9586917; 35.1807056
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Birzeit University
جامعة بيرزيت
Birzeit University campus, 2007
MottoBuilding a Better Palestinian Future
PresidentTalal Shahwan[1]
Academic staff
800 dunums (200 acres)
AffiliationsUNIMED, AARU

Birzeit University (BZU; Arabic: جامعة بيرزيت) is a public university in the West Bank, in Palestine, registered by the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs as charitable organization. It is accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and located in Birzeit, West Bank, near Ramallah.[3][4] Established in 1924 as an elementary school for girls, Birzeit became a university in 1975.[5]

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 76 B.A. programs for undergraduate students and 39 M.A. programs for graduate students.[2] As of 2020, more than 15,000 students are enrolled in the university's bachelor's, master's and PhD programs.[2]


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.[5]

The Faculty of Information Technology was established in 2006 (later merged with the Faculty of Engineering to create the Faculty of Engineering and Technology), and in 2007, the Faculty of Arts was established. The Faculty of Nursing and Allied Health Professions (later renamed Faculty of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Professions) was established in 2008.[5]

In 2015, Birzeit University launched the Ph.D. program in social sciences, its first doctorate program.[6] In 2016, the university was ranked first nationally in the January edition of the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.[7] 2018 saw the establishment of Birzeit University's newest college, the Faculty of Art, Music and Design.[8] The university was ranked top nationally and among the top 3 percent of universities worldwide in the 2018 edition of the QS World University Rankings,[9] and it retained its position in the 2019 edition.[10]

Beshara Doumani assumed office as president of the university in August 2021.[11]

The university was closed from 1988 until 1992 by the Israeli army.[12] The university was the last of 6 in Israeli occupied territories to reopen.[13]

In December 2021, a series of violent incidents between students of rival Palestinian factions occurred in the campus.[14] On 14 December 2021, Israeli soldiers and Shin Bet arrested a number of students allegedly involved with a Hamas cell, and accused of funneling money and organizing rallies in support of the organization, as well as incitement.[15] The same day, hundreds of students took part in a Hamas parade on campus to mark the movement's founding anniversary.[14][15][16] Some students also attacked the university's security guards.[14]

On 10 January 2022, an undercover Israeli military unit known as the Mista'arvim stormed the university, shooting one student in the leg and detaining four other student activists.[17]

Board of trustees[edit]

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.[18]


The university, through its nine faculties (Arts; Science; Business and Economics; Law and Public Administration; Engineering and Technology; Pharmacy, Nursing, and Health Professions; Education; Graduate Studies and Research, and 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 and Research faculty, offer 39 postgraduate programs that lead to master's degrees. The university also offers three Ph.D. programs in Social Sciences; Computer Science and Mathematics.[citation needed]

Birzeit University is affiliated with the independent public opinion research firm Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD).[19]

Birzeit University campus


The university's Ethnographic and Art Museum is a permanent museum with two main collections: The Palestinian Costumes, and The Tawfiq Canaan Amulet Collection. The Virtual Gallery is an art gallery promoting visual art through exhibitions, training and educational workshops.[20]

Notable people[edit]

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

Academics and faculty[edit]


  • Hanan Awwad – Palestinian poet and activist
  • The Palestinian political figure Marwan Barghouti, who was convicted of several murders of Israelis, studied in Birzeit between 1983 and 1988 and also headed the BZU Student Council.
  • Husam Zomlot – Palestinian Ambassador to the UK
  • Yahya Ayyash – Hamas leader (also known as the Engineer)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "[1]" Birzeit University.
  2. ^ a b c d "Facts and Figures." Birzeit University.
  3. ^ "External Academic Relations" (PDF). Birzeit University.
  4. ^ J−amiʻat B−ir Zayt (1977). Development and expansion plan, 1977-1986. The Office. p. introduction.
  5. ^ a b c "Chronology". 12 March 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-09-01. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  6. ^ "New Semester Kicks off New Social Science PhD and Israeli Studies MA". Birzeit University. 2015-02-11. Archived from the original on 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  7. ^ "Palestinian Territories". Ranking of World Universities. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  8. ^ "New Faculty of Art and Music at BZU addresses rising needs from the growing creative industries locally and globally". Birzeit University. 2018-07-16. Archived from the original on 2018-07-21. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  9. ^ "2019 QS World University Rankings". TopUniversities. Archived from the original on 2019-10-27.
  10. ^ "2019 QS World University Rankings". TopUniversities. Archived from the original on 2019-10-27.
  11. ^ "Introductory Message — President's Office". Birzeit University. 2021-08-02. Archived from the original on 2018-10-26.
  12. ^ "University Closure History". Birzeit University. 26 April 2016. Archived from the original on 2020-09-23.
  13. ^ 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 .
  14. ^ a b c "Palestinians concerned about growing violence on campuses". The Jerusalem Post | 21 December 2021. Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  15. ^ a b "Israeli Forces Raid West Bank Universities, Arrest 11 Palestinian Students". Haaretz. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  16. ^ "11 Palestinian university students arrested for Hamas activity". Retrieved 2022-05-12.
  17. ^ "Israeli forces storm Birzeit University, shoot and arrest students". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  18. ^ "About : Quick Facts". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  19. ^ Feis, Aaon (2023-11-17). "Palestinian Poll Finds Strong Support for Hamas, Oct. 7 Attacks, 'River to the Sea' State". The Messenger. Archived from the original on November 17, 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  20. ^ "Birweit University Museum". Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
  21. ^ Pioneers of Qualitative Research Stan Cohen Archived 2017-06-28 at the Wayback Machine UK Data Service, funded by the ESRC, Economic and Social Data Service, undated, retrieved 30 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Lara Khaldi | Apollo 40 Under 40 Middle East | The Thinkers". Apollo Magazine. 2019-09-04. Retrieved 2023-10-29.

External links[edit]

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