General Council

General Council

The General Council was established by the Universities (Scotland) Act as one of the three governing bodies of the University alongside the Court and Senate. It consists of graduates and most serving or retired academic staff. If you are a graduate of the University of Aberdeen you automatically become a member of the General Council. 

The General Council meets twice yearly. All members of the Council are warmly invited to join the meetings either in person or online, to hear about news and developments at the University and play their part in its governance. Dates of future meetings are given in the link below.

The Business Committee (the photograph below shows some of the members) acts for the General Council between meetings and has the responsibility of representing the General Council to the University Court and Senate. Most of the members of the Business Committee are elected by the General Council and nomination arrangements are described in the link below.

The President of the General Council is the The Chancellor of the University.

General Council Meeting Dates and Minutes

The 319th Statutory Meeting of the General Council was held on Saturday, 23 March 2024.  A recording of the 319th Statutory Meeting will be available shortly. 

The 320th Statutory Meeting of the General Council will be held on Saturday, 7 December 2024. This will be a hybrid meeting.

A recording of the 318th Statutory Meeting can be viewed here.





For further information, please contact 

Business Committee Election

Members of the Business Committee are elected by the General Council and can serve up to three terms of three years. Elections take place on a rolling annual basis depending on vacancies.

Nominations for the 2024 elections have now closed.  Information about the role and election process can be obtained from

To find out more about the committee please click here.


The Role of 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.

The Chancellor appoints a Vice-Chancellor, a position which by convention, is held by the same person who is the University Principal. The Chancellor also appoints a Chancellor’s Assessor to represent him or her on the University Court.

See People for information about the University Chancellor and other officers.


What is the General Council?
The General Council is part of the governance of the University, alongside Court and Senate.  The Standing Orders can be found here.

Who are the members of the General Council?
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.

When does the General Council meet?
There are two statutory meetings of the General Council each year, in summer and in winter.

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 considers any matter of importance to the members of the General Council. 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

Who is on the Business Committee?
The Committee comprises 21 elected General Council members, four Independent Members of Court and four ex-officio members. 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 by contacting

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.


If you have a question about the General Council and the Business Committee, or would like further information, please use our get in touch form.

The General Council
c/o Governance and Executive Support Team
University of Aberdeen
Directorate of Planning & Governance
University Office
King's College
Aberdeen, AB24 3FX

Tel: +44 (0)1224-272871