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What are Russell Group Universities? Why Study? How to Apply?

If you have made up your mind about studying in the UK, you may have come across Russell Group Universities. But what are they? Should you enroll in one? Let’s tell you everything you need to know about them and the reasons that make them perfect for graduate and post-graduate degrees.

What is a Russell Group University?

As the Ivy League in the US, the Russell Group includes the top-quality research-focused universities in the United Kingdom. Based on their quality of research and tuition, these universities have outstanding teaching standards. This helps them forge great relationships with businesses and public sector. These universities are located all over the UK, only united by their quality of teaching, research, and student satisfaction. They offer a range of subjects and courses as they are independent institutions in their own right.

What universities are in the Russell Group?

Russell Group includes 24 member universities. Here, we have listed them down for you:

  1. University of Birmingham
  2. University of Bristol
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. Cardiff University
  5. Durham University
  6. University of Edinburgh
  7. University of Exeter
  8. University of Glasgow
  9. Imperial College London
  10. King’s College London
  11. University of Leeds
  12. University of Liverpool
  13. London School of Economics
  14. University of Manchester
  15. Newcastle University
  16. University of Nottingham
  17. University of Oxford
  18. Queen Mary University of London
  19. Queen’s University Belfast
  20. University of Sheffield
  21. University of Southampton
  22. University College London
  23. University of Warwick
  24. University of York


You may have heard some of these names before and some might be new. But once you have enrolled in a Russell Group university, your career and future prospects are already shining!

Origin of the Russell Group

To make sure that their interests and requirements are protected and represented in the government, 16 British universities came together in 1994 and formed the Russell Group. Afterwards, several more joined later as their standard of education reached new heights in the subsequent years. Since then, the name of the group has become synonymous with good quality education.

Why study at a Russell Group university?

There are many reasons why one might choose to study at a Russell Group university, and they include:

Excellent reputation

This group includes universities that are known internationally for their excellent academics, celebrity alumni, and their standing in top lists around the world. If you have been qualified by one of these universities, you will have graduated from a top-tier globally recognised institution that will set you far apart from other candidates.

Student satisfaction

It was found in the National Student survey that students who study at a Russell Group university report the highest rates of satisfaction when it comes to teaching standards, dorm life, and freedom of thought.

Low dropout rate

Because of the top-quality education and the strict vetting process, these universities have the lowest dropout rates in all the UK. The infrastructure and student consideration make the completion rate high.

Open doors to further study

Once you have put your head through the door of a Russell Group university, you will have no trouble going anywhere in the world for higher studies. You can also choose to stay at the university for a Graduate course.

Career prospects

Considering job success in monetary terms, it was found that Russell Group graduates earn a top salary that’s estimated to be 10% more over a lifetime compared to students of other universities. Plus, studying at such prestigious institutions will open doors for you that you thought were locked forever!

How to apply to a Russell Group university?

There is a lot of competition for entry in the Russell Group universities. In fact, the race to the top is nothing short of fierce. This means that you have to be hundred percent sure that your application to a Russell Group university is absolutely perfect! To get some insight into the process, here are some tips to follow:


  • Get good grades: the better your grades are in school, the better the chances of getting into a bachelor’s program.
  • Do your undergraduate degree from a good college: if you want to do your master’s at a Russell Group university, make sure your bachelor’s is from a reputed institution.
  • Work experience: some experience with an internship or a part-time job at a place relevant to your area of study will prove to be very useful.
  • Extracurricular activities: whether you’re in the debating team or you play volleyball, it matters. Good universities want an all-rounder.


Keep in mind that all of these universities are separate institutions, each with their own criteria for application. Their processes and requirements may also differ considerably. Plus, they might ask for something extra compared to other universities in the country—expect earlier deadlines for applications and intensive questions in the personal statement. Find out what exactly they need beforehand so you can prepare your documents and yourself.

Some of these universities may ask for specific admission tests that you must take. But this is nothing to worry about if you’re a hard worker and a good student. If you’re dedicated enough, you’ll find yourself reading an acceptance letter from the British prestigious group very soon!

Did you know? IDP can help you apply to most of the Russell Group Universities. Speak to your IDP counsellor today to find all the latest information about their programs, admission conditions, application processes and more!

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