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Terms of reference

The Senate shall be the principal academic authority of the University and shall, subject to the powers reserved to the Council by Act of Parliament, take such measures and act in such a manner as shall appear to it best calculated to promote the academic work of the University both in teaching and research and for the regulation and superintendence of the education of the students of the University.

In particular it shall advise the Council on courses of study and training, awards and other academic matters and the Council shall not make any decision or statute in respect of courses of study or training, awards or other academic matters unless it has requested the advice of the Senate and considered any such advice. Academic matters shall for the purpose of this statute be deemed to include matters of an administrative nature which have academic implications for the University as a whole. 

For further information please see the Senate Statute 2011 elsewhere on this website (refer to the University of Otago Calendar).


The composition of the Senate is set out in the Senate Statute in the University Calendar.

Contact details

Academic Committees and Services serves as the secretariat for the Senate and the Committees of the Senate.  We manage the approval process for academic proposals and the process for the external accreditation of new programmes through the NZVCC’s Committee on University Academic Programmes.  Academic Committees and Services also has supports the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee and University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (Health). This includes receiving and processing all applications for ethical approval, and advising academic staff and senior students in relation to the Guidelines for Ethical Practices in Research and Teaching Involving Human Participants.

You can telephone the Manager, Gary Witte on +64 3 479 8256 or email; or Matt Angel, Specialist Academic Committees and Services (;

Senate meeting dates 2020

2020 Meeting dates (Wednesdays, 12:15pm, Council Chamber)Deadline for receipt of agenda items (previous Monday)
26 February17 February
25 March16 March
29 April20 April
27 May18 May
24 June15 June
29 July20 July
26 August17 August
30 September21 September
28 October19 October
25 November16 November