The Academic Board was set up in 1956, following the establishment of the Manchester College of Science and Technology. It was responsible for matters of academic governance within the College, other than those which were the responsibility of the Faculty of Technology and Senate of the University of Manchester. It reported to Council and chaired by the Principal. The Board included all academic members of staff who were in charge of departments.
Its responsibilities were: curricula for non-University courses and appointment of external examiners for non-university qualifications overseen by the Board, and general matters of teaching and research. In 1994, with the dissolution of the Faculty of Technology, the Board assumed control of all matters of academic governance at UMIST; although its name remained unchanged, it became in effect a university senate. The Board was responsible for a number of sub-committees over the years including the Departmental Academic Boards, and the committees for the library, music, continuing education, student welfare, scholarships and prizes, research, information technology, and the Academic Establishment Committee (originally a responsibility of Council). The Academic Development Committee, later the Academic Development and Resources Committee was also one of its senior subcommittees, and this assumed intermediate responsibility for academic support committees in the 1980s and 1990s. The Academic Board also had a standing committee to help manage its business.