Russell Group Universities are a group of 24 world-class universities that receive the majority of the research funding in the UK. These institutions share a strong reputation for teaching and learning and attract staff and students from around the world. They are popular with graduate recruiters and are highly rated by many major UK firms.
Although the Russell Group has become synonymous with elite, selective universities, it is a self-selected group and was never formed to measure university excellence.
“The Russell Group’s member universities have histories varying in length from 50 years to nearly 1,000, the Russell Group itself is a newer body, whose board members – the heads of the Russell Group universities – first began to meet in 1994. Set up as a professional, incorporated organisation in 2007, its aim is to help ensure that our universities have the optimum conditions in which to flourish and continue to make social, economic and cultural impacts through their world-leading research and teaching. We provide strategy, policy development, intelligence, communications and advocacy for our member institutions.”
Some of the universities making up The Russell Group Universities are below, click here for full list.
University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, Imperial College, Cardiff University, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, Queen Mary University of Belfast and more.
According to the Which? University website, students seeking a university with a solid reputation should look no further than a Russell one as they are counted amongst the best in the world and tend to be well funded. The generous funding means there are state of the art facilities and good scholarships. These universities also have strong links with the private sector so could offer some good internships.
However when looking at league tables, it is worthy to note that there are other universities at the top that are not necessarily Russell. Students are therefore advised to consider the subject and the experience they plan to garner before picking a university. To further buttress this point, the Which? University website provided the facts below;
- The Times University of the Year 2016 (University of Surrey) is not from the Russell Group.
- Three of the top five universities in the Guardian university league tables 2017 are non-Russell Group.
- Only a few of the top-ranked institutions in the National Student Survey come from within the group.
- In addition, many of the best universities for creative courses, healthcare or journalism, for example, can be found elsewhere.
- A great example of a successful non-Russell Group university is former polytechnic Coventry University. It appears at number 15 in the Guardian university league tables for 2017, beating 15 of the 24 Russell Group institutions.
Despite the stats above, the new QS graduate employability rankings, Russell Group Head of Policy, Sarah Stevens insists that:
“Our members provide a high quality, research-intensive learning environment that helps students gain skills and experience they can carry through into their working life. We know employers value Russell Group graduates and are willing to pay a premium for them. This survey, which has 14 Russell Group institutions in the world top 100 for graduate employability and 21 in the top 200, confirms that our universities are world leaders when it comes to preparing their undergraduates for the world of work.”
What is our input at DC in all of this?
We say pick your course and do an in-depth search on the University with the best ranking in that subject area and do a great business case to get in. Whether it is Russell Group or not should not be the first point to consider. Research league tables thoroughly as there is a lot of data out there and if it has whiskers, four legs and looks like a cat then it is a cat! Wishing you the very best in your decision making process.