In this work, results on the thermoluminescence dosimetry properties of beta particle irradiated ZnO obtained by thermal annealing of chemically synthesized ZnS are reported. ZnS powder was sintered at 950 °C during 24 h in air, in order to obtain pellet-shaped ZnO samples. The thermoluminiescence (TL) intensity of ZnO previously exposed to beta radiation increased as the dose increased in the 0.025-6.4 kGy interval studied. Characteristic glow curves exhibited two emission maxima at ~ 94 and ~ 341 °C. The dosimetric peak located at ~ 341 °C shifted towards lower temperatures as the dose increased, which indicates that second-order kinetic processes are involved in the thermoluminiescence emission. The dose response of ZnO showed a linear behaviour in the 0.025 Gy-0.8 kGy dose interval, which makes this material suitable and promising for medical, industrial and also space dosimetry applications. The thermoluminescence total signal faded down 48 % 6 h after irradiation and showed an asymptotic behaviour for longer times, due mainly to the ~ 341 °C stable and dosimetric glow peak.