The Islamic University

The Islamic University began operating in 1978, and was the first university to be built in Gaza. Previously, residents of Gaza traveled mainly to Egypt and the West Bank to acquire higher education. Today the university has 10 faculties, including medicine, engineering, Islam, nursing, Islamic and general law, education and literature. The university grants diplomas in additional subjects such as English, translation, foreign trade, international business administration, health and pediatric nutrition and tourism. The university also offers Master’s degrees in a number of subjects including history, Arabic language and literature, education, Islam, civil engineering, commerce and social psychology. The Islamic University is the only university in the Gaza Strip that offers doctoral degrees, in an Islamic law and Arabic language track that opened in 2009.

The number of students registered in the university for the 2010-2011 academic year for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees exceeds 20,000, and 500 lecturers are employed on the faculty. The university has a soccer stadium, basketball court and gymnasium.

The Islamic University used to hold joint activities with West Bank universities, but these stopped when freedom of movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank was restricted in 2007. Today the universities maintain contact through video conferencing and other virtual means. Some of the academic subjects that can be studied in the West Bank are not available at Gaza’s universities, such as occupational therapy, medical engineering, veterinary studies, environmental studies, democracy and human rights.

In Operation Cast Lead, at the end of 2008, the Islamic University’s laboratory wing was destroyed by Israeli shelling. By mid-2011, the wing had not yet been rebuilt because of a lack of funding. Other rooms in various wings of the university serve as alternative laboratories.

For more on the Islamic University:

To read the report “Obstacle Course: Students denied exit from Gaza”, July 2009, click here.
To play the interactive game Safe Passage, click here.
To read the information sheet about the impact of the separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on higher education, click here.
To visit the university web site, click here.