Founded as a small school for village girls in the town of Birzeit in 1924, Birzeit University (BZU) became the first institution of higher education in Palestine in 1972. BZU became a member of the Association of Arab Universities in April 1976 and the International Association of Universities in 1977. Over the past four decades, the university has become well-recognized amongst the more prominent universities of the Middle East. BZU is now a distinguished Palestinian university with a newly-built modern campus on the outskirts of the city of Ramallah. Throughout its existence, BZU was established, built and developed by Palestinian labor, minds and resources, its development responding to increasing demands for higher education in the Palestinian society. Against all odds-including severe restrictions on academic development and freedom imposed by the Israeli military occupation-the University embodies a success story that is an inspiration to all Palestinians.
BZU works in cooperation with other Palestinian universities and educational institutions in Palestine to develop an educational system that can provide Palestinian students with the knowledge, skills and awareness needed to serve their society in a changing global environment.
BZU has nine faculties offering a total of 48 undergraduate programs and 23 master programs. The university has a student body of approximately 10,000 students about 1400 of whom are graduate students. The number of full time faculty members was 375 in the academic year 2011-2012.
All undergraduate programs, which are run by academic departments within the faculties, award bachelor degrees upon the completion of a four-year course of study, while Engineering Bachelor degrees require five years. The Faculty of Graduate Studies offers Master degrees and postgraduate diplomas in a wide range of fields. The University’s official language is Arabic, although many of its courses are taught in English. BZU follows the semester system, with an academic year comprising two four-month sessions in addition to the summer semesters.
BZU has an impressive record of sustained community involvement, ranging from literacy programs and the promotion of primary and rural health care in the 1980′s to media training, legal reform and civic education in current times.
The 11 research institutes and centers, in addition to community–oriented programs at BZU were established in response to specific needs within the community and work with and serve the community. Their mission is to expand scientific and social frontiers in their areas of specialization. They provide training, workshops, professional and research skills, post–secondary courses and graduate programs. They facilitate community discussions on pertinent topics and also conduct policy-oriented research, which is instrumental in the overall development of Palestinian society.
International Relations: Participating in the Global Academy
BZU has developed academic relations with a number of distinguished international universities, encouraging joint research activities, guest lectures, and faculty and student exchanges. In addition, the university BZU has strong academic relations with European universities, and is active in many EU programs including PEACE, FP5, FP6, FP7, and Tempus amongst others.
In addition, it is linked to a number of European universities through the multilateral Palestinian-European Academic Cooperation in Education (PEACE) program. The University is likewise active in a number of EU-sponsored Tempus programs and competes actively for grants available through these channels. Alongside partners in various European universities, members of BZU faculty participate in individual academic as well as departmental curriculum development projects.
BZU also enrolls around 120-150 international students every year through its Palestine and Arab studies (PAS) Program, in addition to holding an annual summer camp for international and Palestinian students.
More Information for Erasmus Mundus candidates: http://www.birzeit.edu