An image of a University building in the spring.Senate is the University’s principal academic body, responsible to Council for teaching and learning, examinations and research and enterprise. It has more than 100 members, including deans, heads of department and student representatives, and is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor. Senate normally meets five times a year.

Members of Senate

There are just over 100 members of Senate - Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellors, deans, heads of department, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, Librarian,  Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers, and a number of the following: professors, members of the non-professorial academic staff, holders of posts of academic responsibility, holders of research posts and elected student representatives.

Powers of Senate

Senate is responsible to Council for teaching, examinations and research.  No new academic award may be adopted by the University without Senate’s agreement.  Senate advises Council on changes to ordinances and regulations, and academic ordinances may be made only with Senate’s consent.

Senate supervises faculties and makes recommendations to Council about academic posts and the structure of faculties, schools and departments.  It advises Council as to the appointment or removal from office of the Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellors and academic staff.  It recommends to Council the appointment of honorary and emeritus professors and the award of honorary fellowships and degrees.  Senate has its own Standing Orders of Senate (PDF, 91kB).

It awards fellowships, scholarships and prizes.  Senate regulates the admission of students to the University and makes regulations concerning student discipline.  Senate may declare an opinion on any matter relating to the University and Council must take Senate’s views into consideration.

Meetings of Senate

Senate normally meets 5 times a year.  Its Chair is the Vice-Chancellor.  After each meeting, Senate reports to Council. 

The meeting dates and times for 2014/15 are:

The Senate schedule of business for 2014/15 is also available for download:

Senate meeting minutes

The minutes and papers of Senate meetings are available for download via the University of Bristol login (staff only).

Vacation Powers

Chair's Vacation Powers (PDF, 17kB) refers to acts or decisions that would normally require the authority of Council or Senate but are made between meetings of either body, and particularly over the summer vacation. For Senate, these require the authority of the Vice-Chancellor (under powers authorised annually by Senate), or a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, acting in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor (under Statute 6).

Committees of Senate

Useful information

For access to some useful information for committee members, please visit our Committee Member Information pages.


Senate is serviced by the Governance Office.