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What is The Russell Group? List of Russell Group Universities

The Russell Group is a catch-all term for a group of unis with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement. A careers adviser explains more...

Russell Group universities | Which? UniversityThe Russell Group is a catch-all term for a group of universities with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement. The group includes the original six red brick universities, with its member universities usually spotted near the top of the university league tables. 

There aren’t any specifically different entry requirements for a Russell Group. Universities and courses all have their own entry requirements. But given their strong reputation, it makes sense that the entry requirements are likely to be high.

You can find a course's entry requirements here on Which? University by searching now.

Some universities choose not to be part of any group – and this shouldn’t be viewed negatively.

History of the Russell Group

The origins of the Russell Group go back to 1994, with 17 original members setting out to ensure that their interests were represented to government. The heads of these universities would meet informally in the Hotel Russell in London, which is where the name came from. 

New universities have been added along the way, with the group becoming an official, incorporated organisation in 2007.

List of Russell Group universities

There are currently 24 universities belonging to the Russell Group:

The Russell Group isn’t the only university group out there – University Alliance is a group of 'business engaged' universities, while Million+ is a public policy think tank made up of universities.

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    What the Russell Group says:

    Our students work with world-class experts, use first-rate libraries and facilities, are part of a highly motivated and talented peer group and often engage with cutting-edge research.

    Graduate recruiters rank ten Russell Group universities in the top 30 universities worldwide, and Russell Group graduates typically receive a 10% salary ‘top-up’ over others. Why? Because the combination of teaching and research excellence creates the ideal learning environment which produces ‘work-ready’ graduates.

    Providing a world-class student experience is a top priority for us and our universities have higher than average student satisfaction and the lower than average drop-out rates.

    Wendy Piatt | Director General Of The Russell Group


    What a careers adviser says:

    By banding together, Russell Group universities are able to put more funding, contracts, grants and awards their way. Why does that matter to you? Because success breeds success.

    With more money to invest in research and other projects, the knock-on effect is that these unis are better equipped to attract the top staff and students, which then further cements their academic prestige.

    Gill Sharp (Careers Adviser),


    Will going to a Russell Group uni get me a graduate job?

    When it comes to getting a job, factors such as your grades, experience and interview will be the real clinchers. But a top class honours degree from a Russell Group university can give job applications a certain sparkle – and may open up some extra doors into competitive career sectors.

    Russell Group universities offer a number of useful schemes that can make you ‘work ready’ when you come to apply for a job.  

    Some big name recruiters may concentrate on visiting Russell Group universities when running events or exhibiting at careers fairs, giving these students the edge in terms of tips and tactics. 

    But of course, you can hunt out opportunities whatever uni you go to.

    Learn more about a course: search by predicted grades and Ucas points

    Will it make much difference day-to-day?

    As an undergraduate, being at a Russell Group uni won’t have too much direct impact on your studies in itself. You may get the opportunity to be involved in academic research at this level when you do a final year research project, or if you are selected to work on a vacation project.  

    Where you will benefit is by having tutors working at the cutting edge of research and passing on their expertise.

    If you want to go on to take a Masters or PhD, studying at a Russell Group university can work in your favour, particularly if your application demonstrates knowledge of some of the latest departmental research.

    Don’t get too hung up on names and rankings though: yes, they carry a certain weight, but the main thing is choosing a course and university that best suits you.

    See where a university ranks in league tables - search for a uni here

    Is the Russell Group the same as the 1994 group?

    The 1994 group were a collective group of universities that, like the Russell Group, were known for doing well in uni league tables and for exceptional research. 

    The 1994 group disbanded in November 2013. Learn more about the 1994 group

    Now you know a bit more about the Russell Group...

    Pick one of them above and learn more about them, including student satisfaction scores and graduate stats. You can also continue your course or uni search and get the same information (plus plenty more).

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