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Russell Group university rankings

Russell Group RankingsThe Russell Group of Universities pride themselves on their research reputations, but they are also very well respected in many other fields, including taught postgraduate courses and providing research degrees. Different ranking systems use different parts of a university's offerings to list institutions and rank them against each other. Some lists use student satisfaction surveys and others use research publications or teaching methods, so it is useful to look at a selection of different surveys to see how a university places and to work out if it would suit your needs. Let's take a look at some of the different types of rankings that the Russell Group of universities achieve highly in.

Research rankings

In 2014 the UK Government investigated the quality of research that universities were publishing, this is known as the Research Excellence Framework – the next examination of research is due to take place in 2021. In 2014 the Russell Group dominated the top positions of these REF rankings with the University of Bristol, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Oxford all placing within the top 10 for volume 4* graded research. It is a combination of this reputation for research together with the negotiating power of the group that results in the Russell Group universities’ ability to source good funding for additional research.


Times Higher Education rankings

The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings examines the publications of senior academics at an institution. These rankings can inform students of the academic reputation of the staff who may be teaching them or involved with their postgraduate course, however it does not demonstrate the quality of teaching or facilities. The LSE and the University of Edinburgh both ranked highly in the most recent THE listings, as did the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Law rankings

There are several prestigious law schools in the UK and the Russell Group of universities contains many of them. The University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow and the University of Nottingham all feature in the top 20 law schools on the Guardian University League Tables. On the QS World Rankings for law these universities also achieve highly, as do the LSE and the University of Nottingham. You can find out more about UK law schools at our sister site

Science rankings

The excellent research reputation of Russell Group universities means that many of them rank highly in the teaching of the Sciences. From the QS World Rankings for the Sciences, the University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and the University of Bristol all appear in the top 100 global universities as does Durham University and the University of Manchester.

Arts rankings

For the Arts and the Performing Arts, the Russell Group also does well in the UK's Guardian rankings, with these universities dominating the top eight places. The QS World Rankings for the Arts and Humanities also place many of the Russell Group universities at the top of the UK rankings. The varying nature of university rankings means that if at all possible it’s a good idea to visit an institution before committing to studying there, and this is particularly relevant for those wishing to study the Arts at postgraduate level. This way you can see the facilities for yourself. The impressive lobbying techniques of the Russell Group universities gives it extra sway with Arts funding as well as funding into academic research.

Medicine rankings

Many of the Russell Group universities offer postgraduate courses in Medicine. The Guardian University League Tables take into account many factors when compiling their rankings, including student experience. In their 2020 rankings, The Guardian placed the University of Cambridge, University of Glasgow and the University of Oxford all in their top 10 for teaching Medicine. Many other Russell Group universities placed just outside of the top 10, including the University of Edinburgh.

Graduate employment rates

The average graduate employment rate for the UK was 82% in 2017. Here are the undergraduate employment rates for some Russell Group universities, which are all considerably higher than the average figure. These figures are useful for postgraduate students cat Russell Group universities as they help to give a guide to the reputation, prestige and possibilities for making new contacts that a university has – and this in turn demonstrates how taking a postgraduate course at a particular institution could aid future careers.

Russell Group graduate employment rate



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