Criteria for Congregation membership

Congregation is the supreme governing body of the University, consisting of all Oxford academic staff, and more senior academic-related staff. Its overall membership is made up of several categories:

  1. the members of the faculties (basically all active teachers and researchers in the University, and the largest group within Congregation - see more on faculties below);
  2. the principal officers of the University (Chancellor, High Steward, Vice-Chancellor, the Proctors);
  3. the heads of all colleges, societies and Permanent Private Halls (PPHs);
  4. members of the governing bodies (plus principal bursar/treasurer if not a member of the governing body) of all colleges and societies (but not of the PPHs);
  5. staff working in any University department or institution (i.e. not including colleges) who hold posts on, or assessed as equivalent to, grades 8 and above;
  6. other postholders as defined by regulation (currently the Deputy Steward, Public Orator, Keeper of the Archives, Warden of Rhodes House, Director of the Maison Francaise, the Secretary to the Delegates, the Chief Executive and the Finance Director of the University Press, Tutors in Fine Art at the Ruskin School, and Emeritus Professors under the age of 75);
  7. anyone who was a member of Congregation under the statutes as they stood on 1 June 1977 so long as they possess the qualification or post which then entitled them to membership; and
  8. such other persons as Council shall determine (see further Council’s Standing Orders, paragraph 32 of Annex E).

Holding an MA is not a requirement for membership, but an MA (by resolution) may still offered to those members of Congregation in categories 2, 3 and 4 above who do not already hold, and are not qualified for, an MA.  There are some other criteria listed in paragraph 33 of Annex E to Council's Standing Orders.  The Congregation membership team are happy to help with queries on eligibility.


The 26 faculties of the University each consist of the body of academics working within the disciplines covered by the faculty in question (see the Full Faculty List). Note that an academic can be a member of more than one faculty (and/or sub-faculty).

Membership of a faculty is available by virtue of:

  1. holding a University post involving research or teaching;
  2. holding a college or society post involving research or teaching;
  3. being made a member by the relevant Divisional or Faculty Board on account of the work the person is doing in Oxford.

Divisional Boards can make non-members of the University “additional members” of a faculty, but “additional members” are not eligible to become members of Congregation.

No-one can be made a member of a faculty after the age of 70; existing members of faculties can remain so until they reach 75 as long as their faculty confirms they are still active in teaching and/or research.

Persons who do not receive faculty membership may, at the discretion of the relevant faculty board, receive 'associate' faculty membership, but such 'associate members' shall not be qualified for membership of Congregation, nor to vote in faculty board elections or serve on faculty boards.

The provisions relating to Faculties and Sub-Faculties are set out in Statute VII, Council Regulations 18 of 2002 (Faculties) and Council Regulations 19 of 2002 (Faculty Boards).

Procedure for registering membership

Since ordinary membership of a faculty/sub-faculty carries with it the eligibility to membership of Congregation, application to membership of the two types of body can be combined into one process; detailed procedures vary according to the basis on which an individual qualifies for membership.

The list below sets out who should submit the application form depending on the category of applicant.

Post holder Who should submit the application
Holders of University academic appointments The relevant University appointing body
Holders of posts at Grade 8 or above, and of any departmental or faculty (as opposed to University) academic appointments (i.e. which are not published in the Gazette). The relevant department or faculty
Holders of qualifying college posts. The relevant college
Persons whom a Divisional or Faculty Board has decided at its discretion to make a member of a faculty or sub-faculty. The relevant Divisional or Faculty Board


The Congregation Application Form should be submitted to the Congregation Membership Administrator.