Under the University Act, the Senate is responsible for the academic governance of the university, including matters related to libraries, faculties, departments, courses of instruction, fellowships, scholarships, exhibitions, bursaries, prizes, admissions, student appeals and the granting of degrees (including honorary degrees, diplomas and certificates).
The Senate delegates authority on some matters to its 12 standing committees. Ad hoc committees may be struck to address issues falling outside of the authority of the standing committees.
The composition of the Senate is prescribed by the University Act. Presently, the 72-member Senate consists of:
- 16 ex officio members (the president, chancellor, vice-president academic and provost, vice-president research, university librarian, and the deans of all the faculties of the university)
- 32 elected faculty members (two members from each faculty, with the remainder elected as at-large faculty members)
- 16 elected students (one member from each faculty except the Faculty of Graduate Studies, which has three representatives, with the remainder elected as at-large student members)
- 4 members elected by the convocation
- 3 additional members
- the secretary of Senate