Faculties and Departments


Organising teaching and research in the University is no small task; the academic programme is administered as follows:

(Refer to http://www.cam.ac.uk/deptdirectory/ for links to each Faculty and Department)


The term ‘School’ in Cambridge usually indicates an administrative grouping of related subjects. There are six Schools: the Physical Sciences; the Biological Sciences, including Veterinary Medicine; the Clinical Sciences; Technology; the Arts and Humanities; and the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Each of these bodies covers a specified group of faculties. Each has an elected supervisory body – The Council of the School. These act as a co-ordinating organisation for its group faculties; hence, the Councils consist of representatives from the constituent faculties and departments – including student reps.


Overseen by the Schools, teaching and research is organised by a number of Faculties; individually, they are responsible for a broad subject area.

Governing each Faculty is the Faculty Board. These are responsible for the provision of adequate teaching and facilities for research. Varying between Faculties, the Board members include Heads of Departments, teaching staff and student reps.


For some of the larger Faculties, there is great convenience is further dividing the work into Departments – however, the danger of becoming too compartmentalised is taken into account.

For instance, most scientific Faculties are divided into Departments, of which there are about sixty. Furthermore, there is also a small number of Sub-Departments, which are distinct divisions of scientific departments.


Synonymous to Boards of Management (the choice of name mainly a matter of historical accident), are sometimes established as organisational units when the subject has the clear need for support from a number of existing Faculties within the University. For example, Chemical Engineering is managed by such a Syndicate as it draws undergraduates from the Natural sciences and Engineering.

The term ‘Syndicate’ is also used to describe an important statutory committee which manages part of the University’s activities, such as the Library Syndicate (oversees the University Library) and the Careers Syndicate (responsible for the Careers Service).