The governance structure of the University is overseen by Council and Senate.


The Council is the governing body of the University. It is responsible for approving the mission and strategy of the University, monitoring institutional performance and oversight of the University's finances, estates and buildings.

Council is subject to the statutory powers of Senate with respect to academic matters, and has a general responsibility for the conduct of all the University's affairs.

The majority of members are neither staff nor students of the University. The membership and functions of the University Council are laid down in Sections 16 and 17 of the Statutes.

Thomas Sheppard, Chair of Council

Chair of Council

Thomas Sheppard is Chair of Council. He is the Executive Chairman of leading commercial law firm Thrings, having previously held the position of Managing Partner for ten years. He has been a solicitor since 1977 and a Partner of the firm since 1980. He has also served on the University’s Council since 2008 and been Chair since 2014.

Throughout his career, Mr Sheppard has also supported a number of prominent charitable and public organisations in Bath in the capacity as trustee or non-executive director.


The Senate is responsible for regulating and directing the academic work of the University and is regarded as the supreme academic authority of the University.

The membership and functions of Senate are laid down in Sections 18 and 19 of the Statutes.


The Court is the statutory body representing the interests of the University's internal and external constituencies. It does not take part in the day-to-day oversight of the University's affairs or in the decision-taking process but provides a forum where members of Court can raise any matters concerning the University.

The Court is required to meet at least once a year.

Other statutory boards and committees

  • Academic Assembly is the statutory body representing academic staff in the governance structure of the University.
  • The Convocation is the statutory body representing the interests of the graduates of the University.
  • The Boards of Studies are responsible to Senate for all matters relating to the organisation of education, teaching and research in the Faculty/School, including all examination matters.

Each committee is responsible for a specific function on behalf of Council/Senate (e.g. the Programmes and Partnerships Approval Committee is responsible to Senate for detailed scrutiny of full proposals for new programmes).