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What is a Russell Group university?

Russell Group University of CambridgeTwenty-four universities in the UK are members of an organisation known as the Russell Group. Many postgraduates aim to attend a Russell Group university as they are deemed to be very prestigious and are highly regarded worldwide, constantly achieving well in international rankings and league tables. In fact, all the Russell Group universities were featured within the top 250 worldwide rankings for QS World University Rankings in 2018. However, this select group is not without controversy, with criticism particularly concentrated on the uneven entry qualifications for undergraduates. Despite this it is evident that Russell Group universities offer excellent educational opportunities to a large range of potential postgraduate students, so let’s take a look at what they’re all about and some of the reasons why. they're the ideal choice for postgraduate study

What is the Russell Group?

The Russell Group is a collection of 24 universities in the UK that are well respected within their fields and are spread out around the nation. They are organised together to promote themselves and their research interests, and they all share a similar ethos with heavy investment into research and a commitment to improving the economy and community locally and nationally.


Why and when was the Russell Group established?

The Russell Group was established in 1994, taking its name from the Russell Hotel on Russell Square in London where the first informal meeting was held. The group was created to provide a platform for the universities it represented to lobby government to ensure that they have the optimum environment for success. They combine to work with organisations such as the UK Research Councils, ensuring that their academic excellence is noticed, and this means that they secure a great deal of research funding.

Who are the members of the Russell Group?

Universities do occasionally join the list, with the most recent additions of the University of Southampton, University College London, University of Warwick and the University of York becoming members in 2012. Here is a complete list of the current members of the Russell Group.

Russell Group Universities

Why should postgraduate students attend a Russell Group university?

Undertaking your postgraduate studies at a Russell Group university is a great idea. Russell Group universities have excellent research reputations and they produce around two thirds of the total university level research in the UK. Most of the Russell Group universities require the postgraduate student to hold an excellent undergraduate degree of at least a 2:1 or above for entrance onto their postgraduate programs. This means that you will be surrounded by some of the best postgraduate students in the UK. Around 60% of the PhDs awarded in the UK come from Russell Group universities.

The advantages of studying at a Russell Group university as a PG student

There are lots of advantages to being a postgraduate student at a Russell Group university. Members of the Russell Group prize their local, national and international links to business and other organisations, so by studying your PG program at a Russell Group university you will find yourself networking with plenty of people who can guide you in the right direction for your future career. Surrounding yourself with the best academic staff and student researchers will improve your skills and postgraduate student experience. At Russell Group universities around a third of the students and staff come from outside of the UK and this will add to the skill set of your fellow students and the experience of the academic staff. The impressive access to research funding that the Russell Group universities campaign together for means that the facilities and equipment in Russell Group universities are some of the most well funded universities in the UK. It is also possible to study a postgraduate program at a Russell Group university via online learning if you are unable to commit to on-campus study.

Students attending Russell Group universities

There is a good ratio of postgraduate to undergraduate students attending Russell Group universities, which results in a dynamic and vibrant student mix. This table shows the number of students at Russell Group universities in 2015/16.

Russell Group Students


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