Information Guide


The University is established by the University of New South Wales Act 1989 (NSW). Under the Act, the University is constituted as a body corporate with the usual powers of a body corporate.

Object of UNSW

The object of the University, per s6(1) of the Act, is the promotion, within the limits of the University's resources, of scholarship, research, free inquiry, the interaction of research and teaching, and academic excellence.

Functions of UNSW

The principal functions of the University, as set out in s6(2) of the Act include:

  • the provision of facilities for education and research of university standard,
  • the encouragement of the dissemination, advancement, development and application of knowledge informed by free inquiry,
  • the provision of courses of study or instruction across a range of fields, and the carrying out of research, to meet the needs of the community,
  • the participation in public discourse,
  • the conferring of degrees, including those of Bachelor, Master and Doctor, and the awarding of diplomas, certificates and other awards,
  • the provision of teaching and learning that engage with advanced knowledge and inquiry,
  • the development of governance, procedural rules, admission policies, financial arrangements and quality assurance processes that are underpinned by the values and goals referred to in the functions set out in this subsection, and that are sufficient to ensure the integrity of the University's academic programs.

In addition, as set out in s6(3) of the Act , the University has other functions as follows:

  • the University may exercise commercial functions comprising the commercial exploitation or development, for the University's benefit, of any facility, resource or property of the University or in which the University has a right or interest (including, for example, study, research, knowledge and intellectual property and the practical application of study, research, knowledge and intellectual property), whether alone or with others,
  • the University may develop and provide cultural, sporting, professional, technical and vocational services to the community,
  • the University has such general and ancillary functions as may be necessary or convenient for enabling or assisting the University to promote the object and interests of the University, or as may complement or be incidental to the promotion of the object and interests of the University,
  • the University has such other functions as are conferred or imposed on it by or under this or any other Act.

Governance of UNSW

The University is governed by a Council of 15 members representing University and community interests and led by the Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor is the principal executive officer of the University and is responsible for the overall direction of corporate planning, budget activities and external relations. Under the Council, the Vice-Chancellor manages and supervises the administrative, financial and other activities of the University.

For more information on the governance of UNSW, including the Council, Academic Board, the Vice-Chancellor and Executive Team, please click here.

The Organisational Structure of UNSW is available by clicking here.

Faculties and Schools at UNSW

The University is made up of faculties, which are groupings of schools according to academic disciplines, through which academic staff conduct teaching at undergraduate, postgraduate and higher degree levels, and pursue research and scholarly investigations. The University's academic organisations include eight faculties and UNSW Canberra, and 56 schools. Faculty business is assisted by a Faculty Board and various Faculty committees.

The University also conducts teaching and research at its teaching hospitals, medical research institutes, Centres of Excellence, research centres and field stations.

For more information on UNSW's faculties and schools, please click here.


Participation in policy development

Members of staff and students participate in policy decisions and the exercise of the University's functions through the University's committee structure. There are elected staff and student members of the University Council, Academic Board and Faculty boards.

Opportunities exist for public participation through the formal decision-making structures and through the many units and associated organisations which contribute to the University's affairs. The University also welcomes submissions, letters or suggestions on any matters pertaining to the functions of the University from interested individuals, groups or organisations.

Involvement in the community

UNSW has a proud tradition of adding value beyond the classroom. By opening its doors for public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics, to concert performances, open days and expos - and by partnering with communities, locally and around the world - UNSW ensures knowledge, debate and research outcomes resonate far beyond its campus gates.

UNSW is involved in many activities that provide support to the community. Staff and students are dedicated to sharing their energy and expertise with individuals, families and community organisations to make a difference in the community.

For more information on UNSW's engagement with the public, please click here.


Government information held by UNSW

The University maintains a range of records that document the University's business. Key policy-making and critical records are registered in the University's central recordkeeping system. These include records on the University's governance as well as records on key administrative, student and personnel matters. Further information is also created and held by the individual divisions, faculties and schools.

In addition, the University Archives acquires, preserves and makes available the records of university governance and administration, faculties and schools, student organisations and other bodies and individuals associated with UNSW.

For more information on the University's records and archives, please click here.

How UNSW makes government information publicly available

The University proactively releases much of the information it holds. Such information is freely available from the University's website. This includes:

  • the UNSW strategic plan - UNSW2025, available by clicking here;
  • the UNSW Annual Report and other publications, available by clicking here;
  • the UNSW Handbook, that contains the rules and procedures relating to the University's undergraduate and postgraduate programs, available by clicking here; and
  • a listing of UNSW policy documents, available by clicking here.

The University will meet reasonable requests for access to information without the need for a formal application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW). There will be no charge for information that is informally released , except for documents that are available for sale to the public and for photocopying charges at 20 cents per page.

Information relating to making a formal access application for information may be found by clicking here.