The archive comprise primarily records of the department's committees from the late 1960s onwards. Until this period, the University's academic departments did not have standing committees to organise academic work, with most of this work being undertaken by the Faculty Board, and to a lesser extent, the University Senate. However, with the University growing ever larger in size and with demands from junior staff and students alike for a greater voice in decision-making, most academic departments instituted committees to carry out their work during the 1960s. This was confirmed by the revised University charter of 1973, which mandated departmental boards as standing committees, charged with organizing the department's academic work. Students were represented on these boards, and it was normal for departments to have a staff-student consultative committee. During the 1980s and 1990s, with the more formal methods of monitoring academic performance and financial resource allocation being introduced, this committee organization became more complex. For this department, records are present for the departmental board (DHI/1), the standing committee of the board (DHI/2), the staff-student committee (DHI/3), the undergraduate committee (DHI/4) and the syllabus and assessment committee (DHI/5).
Previous to these developments, the main bodies of records produced by academic departments were those of the head of department, who had a major (and personal) role in developing the department's academic policies and strategies. Typically, these records, in the forms of files or correspondence, were treated as the personal property of the head of department, and were not deposited in departmental archives, with the decision on their long-term disposition resting with the individual concerned. . In most cases, these records have not survived,a nd none have been traced for this particular department.
In addition, most prospectus and promotional literature was produced by the Faculties until the 1980s. However, departmental did occasionally issue their own prospectuses and guides for students. In this archive, such guides are present from the 1920s through to the 1980s.