The history of high education in Zenica started some 40 years ago when the High Technical School was founded. In 1959 and 1960 there were some intensive activities undertaken on setting up a Faculty. Thus, pursuant to the Decision of the People's Board in the Zenica County and following the Decision from 1961 passed by the Executive Council of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Republic, the High Technical School was transformed into the Faculty of Metallurgy. The Faculty worked within the Sarajevo University.
Sljedeći korak u razvoju naučne misli i razvoju visokog školstva u Zenici je predstavljalo osnivanje Metalurškog instituta "Hasan Brkić" (sada "Kemal Kapetanović") 1. oktobra 1961. godine.
The next step in development of high education in Zenica was founding of Metallurgical Institute ''Hasan Brkic'' ( i.e. ''Kemal Kapetanovic'' ) on October 1, 1961.
It took a long time before the second Faculty in Zenica was founded. It was on March 31, 1977 following the Decisions of the Zenica Steelworks Labour Council and the Zenica Municipality as to separation of specialized Mechanical Departments from the Faculty of Metallurgy to an independent Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. For years, these two Faculties were a backbone of high education in Zenica. They produced a significant number of experts required for industry in the Zenica region and the country in general. In accordance with the needs necessary for development of science and its application in praxis, in 1981 there were constituted the Agency for Mechanical Engineering. In 1981 the Agency was transformed into the Mechanical Institute of the Mechanical Engineering Faculty in Zenica.
In the period before the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the School of Economics and the Faculty of Law from the University of Sarajevo had their branch departments in Zenica. However, they were soon closed down.
Upon the outbreak of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation in high education as well as in the society in general became quite complicated. The essential life conditions were jeopardized and a huge number of students and teaching staff participated actively in the defense of the country. Yet, no matter the problems they faced the high education institutions did not stop working. On the contrary, some new Departments, Faculties and Colleges were founded. Thus, The School of Medicine and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Tuzla had their branch departments in Zenica for a while. The same refers to the Faculty of Criminology from the Sarajevo University. All these Departments ceased their work upon the completion of the war.
In line with a highlighted need for teachers in primary and secondary education on March 10, 1994 there was founded the College of Education in Zenica which worked within the Sarajevo University. Another college, the Islamic Pedagogical College, was set up on September 9, 1993 and the Decision for its foundation was passed by the highest body of the Islamic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Except for the above mentioned Departments and Colleges, the School of Economics and the Faculty of Law from Sarajevo started their departments in Zenica again. As the need for experts in these fields is significant, these Departments are still working.
Along with these institutions, the high education community in Zenica includes the Public Library with its branches. The books from this library are available to all students attending the Faculties in Zenica.
The University of Zenica was founded on October 18, 2000 pursuant to the Decision of the Zenica-Doboj Canton Assembly.