The historical evolution of Zhejiang Normal University can be traced back to "Hangzhou Junior Teacher's College", set up in 1956, and then evolved into "Hangzhou Teacher's College" in 1958. In 1962, both Zhejiang Education College and Zhejiang Physical Education College were merged to form Zhejiang Teacher's College, which was moved to Jinhua in 1965. In 1980, the college was enlisted as a key provincial institution of higher learning. In 1985, the college acquired its university status as Zhejiang Normal University. Later on, in 2000, 2001, and 2004, three more schools merged into ZJNU, i.e. Zhejiang Financial School, Zhejiang School of Preschool-Teacher Education and Jinhua Railway Engineering School respectively.
As one of the key provincial universities, ZJNU specializes in teacher education with multiple branches of learning. The university consists of 18 colleges, i.e. Chuyang Honnors College, College of Law, Political Science and Public Administration, Teacher Education College, Hangzhou College of Preschool Teacher Education, College of Physical Education and Health Sciences, College of Humanities, College of Foreign Languages, College of Music, College of Fine Arts, College of Mathematics, Physics and Information Engineering, College of Chemistry and Life Science, College of Business Administration, College of Tourism and Resources Management, College of Transportation, College of Vocational and Technical, College for International Education, College of Cultural Creativity and Communication, Xingzhi College, and it offers 59 undergraduate programs. It has an enrolment over 24,800 undergraduates, 3,700 graduates, and 15,000 adult students in various adult education programs. Among the total staff of 2,500, there are 1,300 full-time teachers, including 4 national academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, 240 professors and 590 associate professors, 360 doctors, 1 national contributor, 25 enjoy the State Council special allowance, 1 selected into the "National new century 11,000,000 talented persons project", 4 selected into the Ministry of Education "the new century outstanding talent supporting plan", 2 Ministry of Education University teaching Direction committee, 2 Zhejiang special professors, 31 selected into the "151 Talent Project of Zhejiang Province" , 56 young and middle-aged provincial academic pioneers. The university is assigned by the Ministry of Education as the Key National Training Base for Teachers of Vocational Education. In addition, it is designated by the Ministry of Railways as a base for the training of locomotive engineers, Zhejiang Training Center for University and Preschool Teacher Education.