University Governance

In common with the other ‘ancient’ Scottish Universities, and in contrast to the position in nearly all of the other pre-1992 Universities which are established by Royal Charters, the University of Edinburgh is constituted by the Universities (Scotland) Acts 1858 to 1966.

The Universities (Scotland) Acts make specific provision for three major bodies in the governance of the University:


The Acts make provision for those powers which are to be exercisable by Ordinance which require Privy Council approval and since the 1966 Act by Resolution.

The Rector is elected every three years by staff and students of the University and their principal role is to preside at meetings of the University Court. The next Rectorial Election will take place in February 2024.

The 1858 Act also makes provision for the Curators of Patronage, whose powers are now very largely formal.

Information on Powers of Delegation.

Links to additional information.

The 1994 Education Act (Section 22) requires University Court to ensure that the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances.


If you require further information or have specific questions relating to the University Governance please contact: 

Dan Wedgwood,

Head of Court Services,


Dan Wedgwood

Head of Court Services

Contact details