University Governance


National University of Ireland, Maynooth was established as one of the seven universities in Ireland by the Universities Act, 1997. Tracing its origins back over 200 years to the foundation of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth in 1795, the University today is a modern and growing institution with over 11,000 students.

The Universities Act underpins everything that the University does. It provides a foundation for all of its activities, academic and otherwise, and establishes a framework within which these activities should be undertaken and managed.

The University is an autonomous body that has the status of a charitable institution. It receives a block grant from government through the Higher Education Authority, which has overall responsibility for higher education in Ireland. Additional income is derived from research grants and tuition fees, which for undergraduates are currently paid by government.

Governing Authority

The Governing Authority has responsibility for the strategic direction of the University, the management and administration of its revenue and property and the general conduct of its affairs.

Members of the Governing Authority are drawn from the staff, students, graduates and external organisations.

It normally meets six times a year and receives reports from a range of Standing Committees including: Audit & Risk Committee, and Finance, Human Resources and Campus Development Committee.

Governing Authority is chaired by an external Chairperson, Dr Mary Canning, or in her absence, the Deputy Chairperson, Mr Paul O'Toole, and adheres to the Code of Governance for Irish Universities 2019  as its primary code of practice.

Academic Council

The Academic Council, subject to review by the Governing Authority, controls the academic affairs of the University, including the curriculum of, and instruction and education provided by, the University. It is chaired by the President, and includes the Vice-Presidents, Registrar, Deans, Heads of Schools and Departments, the Librarian, Directors of the Computer Centre and Language Centre, and representatives of all grades of academic staff and students. It is supported in its activities by a committee structure and by Faculties. 


Following a restructuring of the University in 2006, there are now three faculties, which act as advisory bodies to the Academic Council. In addition, the Council has formally delegated some of its powers to Faculties.