What is a Russell Group university?

Student smiling in class

The Russell Group is an association of public research universities, considered to be some of the best in the world. They work together to win funding, contracts, grants and awards. The money raised is fed into the universities’ facilities, faculties and student services to make sure they offer an excellent experience and continue to attract ambitious students.

The Russell Group has a reputation for world-leading research and teaching and graduates are highly prized by employers. More than 80% of Britain’s doctors and dentists are trained at Russell Group universities as well as roughly half of mathematics and physical sciences graduates.

Which universities are in the Russell Group?

The Russell Group comprises 24 of the UK’s best universities.

Russell Group university list

  • Cardiff University
  • Durham University
  • Imperial College London
  • King’s College London
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Newcastle University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • University College London
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Warwick
  • University of York 

History of the Russell Group

The Group was established in 1994, with the heads of the 17 original universities meeting to decide how to best promote their interests in politics and academia. Further universities have since been added and the Russell Group became an official organisation in 2007.

The universities work together to win research contracts and in turn boost their reputations due to their joint successes.

Benefits of studying at a Russell Group university

There are many benefits of studying at a Russell Group university, from their amazing academic staff and teaching, to the employability services they can offer.


Russell Group universities are awarded two thirds of all UK research grants and contract income. They are known for making an impact through their research and you may even have opportunities to assist in research on certain degree programmes. The high-profile research published by your university raises its reputation and therefore yours too.


Research filters into teaching at Russell Group universities, and world-leading academics share their findings with you in the classroom. You will also find everything else you need for a high-quality education, including the best facilities, libraries, learning spaces and online materials.

Learning experiences

The research contracts won by Russell Group universities award big sums of money, which filters into things like facilities and field trips. This all helps to create an unforgettable student experience, where your academic success is bolstered by extra experience which could give you an edge with employers.

Links to other sectors

Employability is a big focus at Russell Group universities, from work experience to links with local, national and international companies. Whatever your career goals, you will find the support, connections and opportunities you need to succeed when you graduate.

Russell Group university requirements

Entry requirements vary for different Russell Group universities, but they can be higher than other universities’ requirements because of their excellent reputation. The grades you need will depend on the university and the degree programme you are applying for, but you will need good A-Levels or equivalent.

How to study at a Russell Group university

Leeds International Study Centre prepares you to study at the University of Leeds. Designed especially for international students, our programmes provide a supportive start to your university journey. Expert teachers will help you build knowledge of your chosen subject as you practise your English language and study skills. When you complete your programme, you will progress to study a degree at the University.

Why choose the University of Leeds?

The University of Leeds is a world top 100 University (QS World University Rankings 2021). Founded in 1904, it has a global reputation for research and teaching. Here, you will be taught by internationally renowned academics and benefit from fantastic facilities. Equality and inclusion are key values of the University, meaning international students find a welcoming home.

The historic and multicultural city of Leeds is a great place to be a student. It’s affordable, bursting with culture and home to loads of amazing international restaurants. You’ll also be able to explore the beautiful Yorkshire countryside surrounding the city and make the most of its transport links to travel to the rest of the UK and Europe.


What is a Russell Group university?

A Russell Group university is a university with a strong focus on research and academic achievement. They are considered to be some of the top universities in the world.

What is special about Russell Group universities?

Russell Group universities have a strong focus on communities and creating a better future for all. They produce more than two-thirds of the world-leading research produced in UK universities and support more than 260,000 jobs across the country.

Is it hard to get into a Russell Group university?

As some of the most prestigious universities in the UK, Russell Group universities expect academic excellence from their applicants. The entry requirements vary depending on your subject choice, which university you apply to and your level of study.