About the University

The University of Sydney is a leading, comprehensive research and teaching university – consistently ranked in the top 50 universities in the world (QS World University Rankings 2016-17). Our community includes more than 60,000 students, 6400 academic staff, and more than 300,000 alumni in 170 countries.

Our aim is to make lives better not just by producing leaders of society, but through equipping our people with qualities so they can meaningfully serve all of our communities at every level.

Our charter

The University of Sydney was incorporated by the Parliament of New South Wales on 1 October 1850, making it the first university to be established in Australia. Under the University of Sydney Act 1989, the University’s principal functions include:

  • provision of facilities for education and research of university standard
  • encouragement of the dissemination, advancement, development and application of knowledge informed by free enquiry
  • provision of courses of study or instruction across a range of fields, and the carrying out of research, to meet the needs of the community
  • participation in public discourse conferring of degrees, including those of bachelor, master and doctor, and the awarding of diplomas, certificates and other awards
  • provision of teaching and learning that engage with advanced knowledge and enquiry.

Our mission and vision

As a leader in tertiary education, the University of Sydney has been challenging traditions for more than 160 years. We were one of the first universities in the world to admit students solely on academic merit, and to open our doors to women on the same basis as men.

We aim to create and sustain a university in which, for the benefit of both Australia and the wider world, the brightest researchers and the most promising students, whatever their social or cultural background,
can thrive and realise their full potential.

In creating the first university in Australia, our founders recognised the power of education to change society. We hold that belief just as strongly today.

The Senate

The Senate is the governing authority of the University, with functions conferred on it by the University of Sydney Act 1989. The Senate’s primary responsibilities are:

  • appointing the Vice-Chancellor as the principal executive officer of the University, and monitoring his or her performance
  • approving the mission and strategic direction of the University, as well as the annual budget and business plan
  • overseeing and reviewing the management of the University and its performance
  • establishing policy and procedural principles, consistent with legal requirements and community expectations
  • approving and monitoring systems of control and accountability, including general overview of any controlled entities
  • overseeing and monitoring the assessment and management of risk across the University, including commercial undertakings
  • overseeing and monitoring the academic activities of the University.

The Academic Board

The Academic Board, which reports to the Senate, is responsible for safeguarding the quality of the University’s academic activities. It is an elected body that includes staff and student representation from across the University’s academic communities.

The Academic Board provides advice to the Senate and the Vice-Chancellor on all academic matters, including their relation to the University’s strategic priorities and policies, the conditions of appointment and employment of academic staff, the approval of new and revised courses, and the maintenance of academic standards.

Executive Management

The Vice-Chancellor is the principal administrative officer, or chief executive, of the University and has line-management responsibility for a number of deputy vice-chancellors and vice principals who, with the Vice-Chancellor and other leadership staff, comprise the University’s leadership team.

The Vice-Chancellor chairs the University Executive – the University’s senior leadership team – which includes the faculty deans. The University Executive is representative of the University’s diverse academic and administrative communities and is accountable to
the Senate for the academic and financial health of the

For more information about our governance
and structure, visit: sydney.edu.au/about-us/governance-and-structure