In 1903 the newly independent University of Manchester introduced a system of faculty organization for aspects of academic governance and administration. Initially, there were five faculties: arts, science, law, music and medicine; these were joined by theology and commerce in late 1903, technology in 1905, and education in 1914.
The Faculties were composed of academic departments in related subjects areas, and were responsible for admissions, curricula, and examinations for these subjects. Faculties were headed by a dean, with the boards of Faculty composed of all academic members of staff within the Faculty above the level of assistant lecturer. The Boards were empowered to recommend to Senate regulations for courses of study and the appointment of examiners. By the later twentieth century Faculties had appointed a range of standing committees for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, research, staff-student relations, and a dean's advisory committee.
The Faculty of Arts was one of the original and largest of the faculties. It was responsible at various times for the departments of English, classics (Greek and Latin), art history, American studies, drama, Middle (Near) Eastern Studies, French, geography, German, history, Italian, psychology , architecture, town and country planning, Russian and Spanish. In 1987, it became responsible for music with the abolition of the Faculty of Music, and in 1992 for the religions and theology subject areas on the abolition of the Faculty of Theology. The Faculty of Arts was dissolved in 2004 on the creation of the new University of Manchester, when its responsibilities were transferred to the Faculty of Humanities.