Birzeit University (BZU) (جامعة بيرزيت) is a University located in the town of Birzeit near Ramallah. BZU is among the foremost tertiary educational institutes in the Palestinian territories and has played a significant role in the Palestinian political dialogue.
The institution was originally founded in 1924 by Nabiha Nasir as an elementary school for girls from Birzeit and the surrounding villages. It was one of the first schools in the area. In 1930, it became a co-educational secondary school, and in 1932 was renamed Birzeit Higher School.
In 1942, the name was changed to Birzeit College to be in harmony with its educational secondary level . In 1953, a freshman class was incorporated to Birzeit College, followed by a sophomore class in 1961. BZU was the first higher education institution of to be established in Palestine .
BZU's official language is Arabic, though many courses are taught in English. The University follows a semester system, with two four-month semesters beginning in Autumn and Spring, and a shorter two-month semester in Summer.
Birzeit University is the first institution of higher education to be established in the Palestinian territories. In addition to providing students with the opportunity to realize their academic aspirations, the University encourages its students to be productive citizens and active members of their community.
The University plays a central role in developing the most valuable national resource in its society – namely the human one. New graduate and undergraduate programs in information technology, engineering, sciences, social policy, economics and management are being developed to assist in meeting this objective. The University campus is being expanded to better equip the University to meet the growing needs of higher education in the Palestinian society. At the same time, Birzeit University's various community Centers and Institutes continue to enhance and develop their work through intensive policy-oriented research to assist in the economic, social and human development of Palestinian territories.
The University offers numerous undergraduate and post-graduate degrees through its seven faculties: Arts, Commerce and Economics, Engineering, Sciences, Law and Public Administration, Information Technology and Graduate Studies.
The Graduate Studies programs offers post-graduate diplomas and masters degrees in the following fields: Contemporary Arabic Studies; Arabic Islamic History; Education; Sociology; International Studies; Democracy and Human Rights; Economics; Law; Community and Public Health; Water and Environmental Engineering; Water and Environmental Sciences ; Gender, Law and Development; Business Administration; Applied statistics; Scientific Computing; Urban Planning And Design; and Medical Laboratory Sciences.
The University also offers two High Diplomas in Primary Healthcare (Supervision and Training); and Gender, Law and Development. In addition to its academic programs, the University has a wide range of institutes, centers and programs that aim to develop and support the community-oriented programs that contributes to the achievement of sustainable development in the Palestinian territories.
Support for the University comes from numerous Palestinian, Arab and international institutions or foundations as well as from various individuals. Such support has enabled the University to continuously expand and develop.