University of Southampton


The University is a corporation formed by Royal Charter and holds charitable status. Our aims, powers and the governance framework within which we operate are set out in our Charter, Statutes and Ordinances.

Governance of the University is overseen by the Council and the Senate. These bodies are responsible for approving our mission and strategy, monitoring our performance, scrutinising our finances and directing our academic functions.

The Vice-Chancellor and the Executive Group have overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of the University. 

Charter, Statutes and Ordinances

Our constitution is set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances. These are the overarching governance documents that outline the University's aims, structure, responsibilities and powers. They include principles and rules for the membership and role of the Council, Senate, and their committees. They also include high-level rules for various University functions such as the appointment of senior staff, admissions, examinations and the awarding of qualifications. More detailed rules about these and other functions are set out in the University's regulations

The University Council

The Council guides the University's overall strategic direction and is ultimately responsible for its finances, buildings and staff. It approves all major developments and receives regular reports from the Vice-Chancellor and Executive Management Team. It also presents audited financial statements each year. See the University Council page for more information.

The Senate

The Senate is the University's main academic authority. Its role is to oversee the direction and regulation of education and examinations, the awarding of degrees and the promotion of research. See the University Senate page for more information.

University Governance Structure

View the University decision-making structure in the University Governance Structure.

The Court

The role of the University Court is to provide a forum for consultation with the local and regional community, to help promote public awareness of the University and to attract and maintain goodwill.

The Court derives its existence from Article 10 of the Charter. Its formal powers are set out in the Ordinances Part 2. paragraph 12.8:

  • to appoint the Chancellor on the recommendation of the Council after consultation with the Senate
  • to receive from the Vice-Chancellor the Annual Report on the workings of the University and to receive from the Treasurer the annual audited Statement of Accounts of the University and to question the same and to comment thereon
  • to discuss any matters relating to the University and to make recommendations to Council as it sees fit.

The University Court is a large body of some 190 members, comprising representatives of the University, which includes members of Council, Deans of the Faculties, Heads of Academic Schools, members of staff, students and graduates; representatives of local authorities and of schools and colleges in the region; members of the UK and European parliaments; and representatives of other local societies and bodies. The composition of the Court is set out in the Ordinances Part 2, paragraph 12.7

A meeting of the Court is held annually. 

Useful links

Student Charter

Access Agreement

Collaborative Provision

Student feedback and evaluation

External examination procedures

Publication Scheme

Programme approval, monitoring & review

Freedom of information