What Are Russell Group Universities?


Have you ever wondered what a Russell Group University is and if it’s right for your child? Whilst the name may sound slightly ominous, the Russell Group is just an association of twenty-four research-focused universities in the UK.

The group itself exists to share information and strategies that ensure its member universities have the best opportunities to make the biggest impact through their research and teaching.

People commonly associate Oxford and Cambridge Universities with the Russell Group, but the 24 institutions are spread throughout the UK, from the University of Exeter right up to the University of Glasgow, and over to Queens University in Belfast as well.

What are the benefits for a potential student?

By having a common focus of excellence through research, Russell Group universities have access to more funding for research, so are better equipped to attract the best lecturers from around the world, which then means students have access to the best teaching and top-class research opportunities.

Having access to the latest research opportunities means that students also have opportunities for work experience during their degrees that other students may not. They also have an advantage at the end of their degrees, as recruiters for some of the largest corporations will arrange visits to the Russel Group universities to try and attract the top graduates.

Is a Russell Group University right for your child?

There are so many factors that students and parents need to consider when choosing a university, from the course fees to what the desired outcome of the degree will be, and all those factors are relevant to a Russell Group University as well.

From a diversity perspective, there has been accusations that the more traditional universities within the Russell Group lack diversity from a socio-economic background, which may be a concern for you as a parent, but the universities are undertaking extensive work to redress this balance and perception. The group invests significant funds in widening access to the universities across their local communities, working with local schools to speak to pupils about the opportunities that a Russell Group University can bring as well as providing mentoring, homework clubs, workshops and summer schools to help raise aspirations and attainment.

There is no doubt that the road to a Russell Group University needs to be well planned, from the right GCSE choices to well-rounded extra-curricular activities, but with support from your child’s school, these shouldn’t be seen as daunting. By planning well and setting goals, your child will develop not only the academic rigour needed to study at a Russell Group University, but the independent learning, research and planning skills needed to achieve success.

Overall, a Russell Group University offers potential students a fantastic opportunity to be immersed in an intellectually stimulating environment with access to far reaching opportunities during and beyond their studies. If you think a Russell Group University is the right choice for your child, look out for our articles What to Expect from a Russell Group University and Your Journey to a Russell Group University, including tips for personal statements.