Frequently Asked Questions

What is the General Council?

If you are a graduate of the University of Aberdeen, you are automatically a member of the General Council. Also entitled to membership are the Chancellor, members of University Court, Professors, Readers and Lecturers, and former holders of these titles and positions. This is further explained in Ordinance No 110.

Click here for a document containing all ordinances pertaining to the General Council (PDF).

General Council Members

According to Ordinance No 110 of the University’s Court, the membership of the General Council of the University of Aberdeen shall consist of:

  1. all persons on whom the University has conferred an academic degree and whose names have been duly recorded;
  2. during their tenure of office:
    1. the Chancellor of the University;
    2. the members of the University Court;
    3. the Professors of the University;
    4. all Readers and Lecturers in the University, who have held any such office in the University for a period of one year;
  3. former Professors and former members of the University Court;
  4. former Readers and Lecturers who were members during their tenure of office as such, and who remained on the staff of the University, as Readers or Lecturers, until retirement.

What does the General Council do?

See the description of the General Council under About the General Council.

What is the University Court?

The main functions of the Court can be broadly summarised as follows:

  • to administer the whole property and revenues of the University
  • to make appointments
  • to fix fees charged by the University
  • to receive representations and reports from the Senate and the General Council
  • on the recommendation of the Senate, to prescribe regulations for degree courses
  • to review on appeal any decision of the Senate

Further information on the University Court is available here.

What is the role of a General Council Assessor on the Court?

There are four General Council Assessors who are elected to University Court for a period of four years. Elections to appoint two Assessors are held every two years. The next election will take place in 2018. In addition to attendance at Court meetings, Assessors are also required to attend sub-committees and participate in selection panels for senior staff appointments. Court meets four times a year. General Council Assessors report regularly to the Business Committee of the General Council. 

When does the General Council meet?

There are two statutory meetings of the General Council each year, in December and May.

What is the role of the Chancellor?

The Chancellor is the titular Head of the University and President of the General Council.

Duties of the Chancellor include:

  • Ceremonial – for example at graduations, receptions and events
  • Pastoral- a concern for the interests of students and staff and the wider University community
  • Scholarly – a commitment to learning, teaching and culture
  • Ambassadorial – representing the University in the UK and overseas

The Chancellor’s most public role is conferring degrees at University ceremonies. Degree ceremonies are held twice a year, in July and November. Chancellors are appointed by the General Council under Ordinance No. 143 and the office may be held for life. The Chancellor is an ex officio member of the University of Aberdeen Development Trust.

How can I get involved?

If you would like to take a more active role in the General Council, you can stand for election to the Business Committee.

What does the Business Committee do?

The Business Committee meets four times a year and comprises 21 elected members and four elected General Council Assessors to the University Court, plus two ex-officio members. The Committee has a duty of dialogue with the University Court on all matters relating to the well-being of the University.

If you would like to become a member of the Business Committee, email alumni@abdn.ac.uk.

Who is on the Business Committee?

A list of current members is available here.

How do I get elected to the Business Committee?

Members of General Council can stand for nomination and election to the Committee as and when vacancies arise. Notices of vacancies are given in at the Statutory Meeting of the General Council, in the E-Zine and on these pages. Nomination forms are available from the Clerk and Registrar or Assistant Clerk and Registrar from the opening date.