The governance structures at NUI Galway provide strategic guidance and oversight, ensuring accountability through a system of formal decision-making and reporting. 

Governance of the University is underpinned by the Universities 1997 Act and the 2019 Code of Governance for Irish Universities.

NUI Galway Governance and Management Structure

Governing Authority

Údarás na hOllscoile, the University’s Governing Authority, is charged with the overall governance of the University in accordance with the Universities Act 1997. It provides active strategic direction and leadership to enable the University to succeed in its mission of education and research.

Key functions of Údarás na hOllscoile include:

  • reviewing and guiding strategic direction and major plans of action
  • setting performance objectives, monitoring implementation and University performance
  • overseeing risk management
  • approving annual budgets and business plans
  • overseeing major capital expenditure and investment decisions

Údarás has an external chairperson and up to 40 members with a diverse range of expertise and experience, in line with the provisions of the Universities Act, 1997. The President, the Deputy President and the President of St Angela’s College Sligo, serve as ex officio members. The other internal members are elected from among their staff and student peers. External members include elected graduates of the University, Ministerial nominees, representatives from local authorities in the region and representatives of a range of external organisations including the arts, industry and Irish language and Gaeltacht organisations.

Academic Council

Academic Council  oversees the University’s academic affairs including curriculum development and academic appointments, in accordance with the Universities Act, 1997.  Academic Council provides advice to Údarás na hOllscoile in respect of academic matters, through regular formal reports to the Governing Authority.

Academic Council is chaired by the President of the University. Membership totals 125 and is decided by election on a College basis, with representatives across all the academic grades, including researcher, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professorial grades, as well as Heads of School and students. The  ex officio membership includes Vice-Presidents, Directors of Academic Support Units and College Executive Deans. 

University Management Team

The University Management Team (UMT) is responsible for the executive day-to-day management of the University. UMT is led by the President who is the Head and Chief Officer of the University and appointed for a 10-year period. Acting under the President, the members of the University Management Team (UMT) each have specific leadership responsibilities for delivery of the University’s objectives in education, research and management of the organisation.


The University has four Colleges:

Each of the Colleges is led by an Executive Dean, who is an ex officio member of both Academic Council and of the University Management Team. Within the Colleges, decisions are taken by College Boards, chaired by the Executive Dean, which include the Heads of each School in the College.