University of Manchester, Faculty of Science Archive

Scope and Content

Archive of the University of Manchester Faculty of Science comprises primarily the minutes of the main Faculty committees. The most significant committee was the Faculty Board, whose minutes are present from 1903 to 2000 (FSC/1). Also present are minutes of the committee on M.Sc. and D.Sc. degrees (FSC/2), which oversaw science research degrees, with the exception of the Ph.D. Other records relate to committees established in the 1980s and 1990s to oversee teaching, research, strategy and financial planning. These include: the Academic Planning Committee (FSC/3), the Research and Graduate Committee (FSC/5) and the Policy, Planning and Resource Committee (FSC/4) which replaced the Faculty Sub-Development Committee in 2000, the Undergraduate Committee (FSC/7), which dealt with individual cases of academic performance, the Statt-Student Committee (FSC/8), Computer Users Committee (FSC/10), and the Interim Faculty Team (FSC/9), which oversaw the transition to the new Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences in 2003-4. Also present are minutes of the Faculty Library Committee. FSC/11 comprises examiners reports for the D.Sc. degree, and include reports on the work of some well-known scientific figures such as Rudolf Peierls, James Partington, Norman Haworth, Willis Jackson, Ernest MArsden, Thomas Royds, Cyril Long, Ewart Jones, Susan Isaacs and Henry Wright baker.

Overall, the archive is important for the study of science subjects at the University, particularly where these relate to significant changes in curriculum and degree regulations. It supplements information on teaching and research to be found in related collections within the University Archives, particularly departmental archives, Vice-chancellor's archive and Senate minutes.

The Faculty archive also includes including submission correspondence and examiner's reports for the D.Sc. degree; records dating to 1940 are open for public consultation, but others may be restricted.

Administrative / Biographical History

Faculty organization was introduced in 1903 with the creation of the independent University of Manchester. The general functions of the Faculties were set out in the University charter of 1903, while specific powers and responsibilities were determined by ordinances of the University. Faculties were essentially groups of academic departments in related areas, which worked together over admissions, curricula and examinations. Initially, there were five faculties: arts, science, law, music and medicine. They were joined by theology and commerce in late 1903, technology in 1905 (for the university courses taught at the Manchester Municipal College of Technology), and education in 1914.

Each faculty was headed by a dean, who chaired a faculty board, composed of all academic members of faculty above the level of assistant lecturer. Faculty boards could recommend to Senate regulations for courses of study and the appointment of examiners. Faculty bureaucracy became more complex over time, with a number of standing committees being created. By the 1990s, these might typically include a library committee, an IT committee, a staff-student consultative committee, committees for postgraduate and undergraduate degrees, a research committee, and a dean's advisory committee. In the late 1960s faculty development sub-committees were established to oversee financial management within the faculties, particularly over staff appointments; these committees reported to the Joint Committee on University Development (JCUD), a University-wide committee, rather than to the Faculty Boards.

The Faculty of Science was established in 1903 and was one of the larger faculties (it later changed its name to Faculty of Science and Engineering). It supervised the departments of chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, computing science, zoology, botany, biochemistry, among others. The Faculty of Science was dissolved in 2004 on the creation of the new University of Manchester, and its responsibilities were transferred to the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Science (the Faculty had previously divested most of its responsibilities for life sciences to the School of Biological Sciences in the mid-1980s).


Archive is arranged by series.

Series comprise

  • FSC/1 - Faculty Board minutes
  • FSC/2 - D.Sc. and M.Sc Committee minutes
  • FSC/3 - Academic Planning Committee minutes
  • FSC/4 - Policy, Planning and Resources Committee minutes
  • FSC/5 - Research and Graduate Committee minutes
  • FSC/6 - Faculty Library Committee minutes
  • FSC/7 - Undergraduate Committee minutes
  • FSC/8 - Staff-student Committee minutes
  • FSC/9 - Interim Faculty Leadership Team minutes
  • FSC/10 - Faculty Computer Users Committee minutes
  • FSC/11 - D.Sc. Examiners Reports

Access Information

A significant amount of material in this archive is subject to access restrictions, and some items are closed to public inspection.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The John Rylands University Library (JRUL) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the JRUL to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, the JRUL has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

The archive currently includes papers relating to the D.Sc. degree, including examiners reports. These will be catalogued at a future date - currently access restrictions apply to these papers.

Acquisition Information

The Board minutes were transferred to the University Archives by the Faculty in 2004. Subsequently, further records were transferred from the custody of the University Records Management Office in 2010-2011. A small accrual was made in November 2015

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Appraisal Information

Collection has been appraised.


No accruals expected.

Related Material

The University Archives has custody of the records of all pre-2004 faculties (except the Faculty of Business Administration). The Vice-Chancellor's archive has files on the Faculty covering the period 1944-1969, VCA/7/223, and VCA/7/407, which are mainly correspondence with the Dean of Faculty.

The School of Biological Sciences was responsible for many aspects of academic administration for biological sciences from the mid-1980s; its archive is currently uncatalogued. The General Board of Faculties archive (GBF) has records on science Ph.D.s until the late 1960s. The University Archives holds departmental collections for chemistry, physics, engineering, botany, zoology, and computing.

Geographical Names