Archive of the Senate of the University of Manchester

Scope and Content

The records comprise the official (signed) minutes and agendas of the University of Manchester Senate (USE/1), registers of attendance at Senate meetings (USE/2), minutes of the Standing Committee of Senate (USE/3), and the standing orders of the Senate (USE/4). USE/5 comprises records of the Staff-Student Consultative Committee of Senate. The records of sessional committees of Senate and joint committees of Senate and Council can be found in USC, including minutes of the Medical Committee of Senate (USC/58).

Senate minutes are indexed and signed (by the vice-chancellor).

Senate minutes are a key resource for the development and implementation of a wide range of issues relating to academic policy at the University. Senate minutes contain information on the employment of University academic staff (appointments, promotions and resignations), university scholarships and awards, student discipline and reports on matters of academic policy. Senate minutes should be consulted alongside minutes of Council and minutes of the Faculty Board, which were ultimately responsible to Senate.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Senate was the supreme academic body of the University of Manchester. It was constituted in 1903 on the establishment of the independent University of Manchester. It thereafter took over the academic governance functions previously exercised by the General Board of the federal Victoria University and the Senate of Owens College.

The Senate had wide-ranging oversight of the University's academic policy: it oversaw policy for the admission, education and examination of students; it had a general duty to promote academic research; it was responsible for appointing examiners and to formally recommending the award of degrees; it could make regulations for University fellowships, scholarships and prizes, and it had a general right to report and make recommendations to Council as appropriate.

Membership of Senate was originally made up of the University's professors (effectively the heads of departments) and the senior executive officers. In the second half of the twentieth century its membership grew to include non-professorial academic staff, co-opted members and nominated student members. The Principal and selected professors from the Manchester College of Technology (later UMIST) also were members of Senate from 1905.

Senate had a standing committee which prepared business for meeting of Senate and made recommendations to Senate on business matters. There were numerous sessional committees of Senate, the majority of which dealt with matters relating to academic awards, scholarships, named lectures etc. A Medical Committee (Section) of Senate dealt with academic governance issues specifically relating to the Medical School.

In 2004 the VUM Senate was superseded by the Senate of The University of Manchester.


The archive is arranged as follows:

  • USE/1 - Minutes of Senate
  • USE/2 - Attendance Registers
  • USE/3 - Minutes of Standing Committee of Senate
  • USE/4 - Standing Orders
  • USE/5 Staff-Student Consultative Committee Minutes

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader, unless otherwise stated. Some items are currently closed to public inspection, and others may require review before access is granted to researchers.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018. Under the Act 2018 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for archiving and research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML 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 2018, 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.

Acquisition Information

Transferred by the Deputy Secretary of Council and Senate at various dates from the 1980s onwards.

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.


Further accruals expected, including minutes for 1987-1994; also Standing Committee minutes.

Related Material

The minutes of Council should also be consulted as the senior governing body (UCO); Council often considered and confirmed many matters that had first been agreed by Senate. See also the minutes of Court (UCT). For minutes of Owens College Senate see OCA/10.

University of Manchester faculty archives may include information on areas of academic policy also covered by Senate. Until the 1990s, Senate also had responsibility for some aspects of UMIST's academic governance; the minutes of UMIST's Academic Board Should also be consulted with regard to its academic governance and policy (TGB/2/2).

The minutes of committees of Senate and joint Council/Senate committees form part of the archive of University Sessional Committees of Senate and Council (USC) including minutes of the Medical Committee of Senate (USC/58).

Geographical Names