An image of a University building in the spring.Senate is responsible to the Board of Trustees 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. Members include the Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Deans, Heads of School, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, Librarian, Bristol Students' Union Sabbatical Officers, and a number of elected staff and student representatives.

Powers of Senate

No new academic award may be adopted by the University without Senate’s agreement. Senate advises the Board of Trustees on changes to ordinances and regulations, and academic ordinances may be made only with Senate’s consent.

Senate supervises faculties and makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees about academic posts and other academic matters. Senate has its own Standing Orders of Senate (PDF, 930kB).

Senate may declare an opinion on any matter relating to the University and the Board of Trustees must take Senate’s views into consideration.

If you have any questions about the powers, responsibilites or operation of Senate, please contact the Governance team

Vacation Powers

Chair's Vacation Powers (PDF, 17kB)refers to acts or decisions that would normally require the authority of the Board of Trustees 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

Meetings of Senate

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

The meeting dates and times for 2016/17 are:

  • 17 October 2016, 1400
  • 12 December 2016, 1400
  • 20 February 2017, 1400
  • 24 April 2017, 1400
  • 12 June 2017, 1400

Senate paper deadline dates for 2016/17 is also available for download: Board, Senate and UPARC Paper Deadlines 2016/17 (PDF, 12kB)

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

Useful information

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


Senate is serviced by the Governance team.