The University’s principal governing body is the Council, comprising up to 16 members. The powers of the Council are assigned in Part 3 (Division 1) of the University of South Australia Act and include:
- overseeing the management and development of the University
- approving strategic plans and major policies, devising or approving statutes and by-laws for the University
- monitoring and reviewing the operation of the University
- appointing, and overseeing the performance of the Chief Executive Officer, the Vice Chancellor.
Council schedule to meet 7 times per year and their administrative needs are served by the Council Secretariat. Among the Council's responsibilities are a commitment to good governance and the bestowment of honorary awards.