Birzeit University was initially established as a school in 1924 by Ms. Nabiha Nasir (1891– 1951), a member of a pioneering family of Palestinian educators. In 1953, it started offering first-year university courses in arts and sciences, in addition to a high school program. By 1961, Birzeit College was offering second-year university classes. The following year, associate degrees were granted for the two-year program enabling students to transfer to other universities in the Arab world and elsewhere to complete their bachelor's degree. In 1967, the West Bank and Gaza Strip fell under Israeli military occupation, which resulted in travel restrictions imposed on Palestinians residing in these areas. As a result, students were less able to travel to neighboring Arab countries to continue their education. This new political environment prompted Birzeit to gradually eliminate its high school program and concentrate on a higher education. By 1972, the college began a four-year program leading to bachelor’s degrees awarded from the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Sciences. In 1975, the name, Birzeit University was officially adopted and Birzeit became the first Arab university to be established in Palestine. The first graduation ceremony was held on July 11, 1976. In 1978, the Faculties of Commerce and Economics were established, followed by the Faculty of Engineering a year later. The university began to offer graduate programs in 1977. In 1996, the Faculty of Graduate Studies was formally established. In 1973, just as Birzeit’s development into a full-fledged university approached completion, Israel closed the campus by military order for two weeks. This was the first of many repressive measures against the university community. Less than a year later, the Israeli military authorities deported the university president, Dr. Hanna Nasir, who remained in exile for nineteen years. From 1979-1992, the university was closed by the Israeli occupation authorities several times. For the fifteenth and final time, the Israeli military closed the university from January 8, 1988, to April 29, 1992, as was the case with all Palestinian institutions of higher education. During this prolonged period of closure, the university continued to operate underground with small study groups in makeshift arrangements outside the campus. Under such conditions, many students took more than the usual time to graduate.

The University Today

Today, Birzeit University is a thriving institution, with more than 900 faculty and staff members and around 10,103 students of which 64 percent are female (6,497 students) and 36 percent are male (3,606 students), coming from all regions of the West Bank. The university is located on the outskirts of Birzeit City, 10 kilometers north of Ramallah and 26 kilometers north of Jerusalem. Committed to firm principles of academic freedom, the university aims to prepare the young Palestinian generation to become responsible leaders and citizens. As it encourages its students along the path of academic excellence, it also emphasizes the need for social awareness and national commitment.

Our list of courses include:

Modern Standard Arabic Colloquial Arabic Palestinian Society The Palestine Question Women in Arab Society Arab Society Palestinian Cultural Studies Modern and Contemporary Arab Thought

Programs taught in:
  • English
  • Arabic

This school also offers:


Birzeit University PAS

The Palestine and Arabic Studies Program (PAS) is an academic program at Birzeit University that offers international students the opportunity to combine the study of the ... [+]

The Palestine and Arabic Studies Program (PAS) is an academic program at Birzeit University that offers international students the opportunity to combine the study of the Arabic language with social science courses about Palestine and the Arab World. International students carry out their studies while experiencing first hand the political and social realities on the ground.

Drawing upon its record of reputable language and social science professors, Birzeit University has produced this comprehensive international study program, offering accredited courses of academic quality, together with a series of extra-curricular lectures and field trips. The year-round program consists of three semesters, two regular semesters and one intensive summer semester. Students may enroll at the beginning of any semester. The PAS Program is open to university students and graduates from around the world, those working in a field related to the Middle East, and those who wish to gain an in-depth knowledge of the region, its language and cultures.... [-]

Palestinian Territories Birzeit
Open Enrollment

Palestine and Arabic Studies Program (PAS)