What is the Russell Group of UK Universities?


Have you thought about studying abroad in the UK? Check out why the Russell Group of universities may be the best option for you!

When you picture your post-secondary education, where are you studying? The UK is a popular study abroad destination for students because you can explore the world while you earn a degree. A bonus of UK degrees is most are typically shorter than ones in Canada. With so many different countries nearby, you’ll be able to effortlessly travel and have the adventure of your life. So, now that you know you want to study in the UK, how do you know which schools you should apply to? Just like Canada has its top universities and the US has the Ivy League, the UK has the Russell Group.

What is the Russell Group?

The Russell Group is an association of 24 self-selected universities located in the UK. These schools all share a common focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement. They produce more than two-thirds of the world-leading research produced in UK universities.

Each year, more than 250,000 students — close to 90,000 being international students — choose to study at a Russell Group university due to their world-class research-intensive education. According to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for 202310 Russell Group schools made it into the top 100, with three placing in the top 10! So, if this sounds like the type of educational environment for you, then check out which schools are part of the Russell Group!

What universities are part of the Russell Group?

There are currently 24 universities that are part of the Russell Group:


  • Durham University — believes that inspiring their people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things in the world.
  • Imperial College London — is home to the greatest concentration of high-impact research of any major UK university.
  • King’s College London — the ethos of King’s is to try to make a better world, putting the needs of others first beyond what might be expected of a university.
  • London School of Economics and Political Science — LSE was founded in 1895 and is a specialist social science university.
  • Newcastle University — a people-focused university that harnesses academic excellence, innovation, and creativity.
  • Queen Mary University of London — has a strong track record on research spinouts and student start-ups. One Queen Mary spin-out, ApaTech, sold for $330m in 2010.
  • University College London — UCL students are directly involved in research, equipping them for the future, and inspiring a lifelong curiosity.
  • University of Birmingham — a vibrant community with multi-disciplinary opportunities for research and education.
  • University of Bristol — Bristol is at the cutting edge of global research, with innovations in areas ranging from cot death prevention to nanotechnology.
  • University of Cambridge — the fourth oldest university in the world, currently home to 5,200 knowledge-intensive companies and the birthplace of 23 businesses valued at more than $1 billion.
  • University of Exeter — one of the very few universities to be both a member of the Russell Group and have a Gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework, evidence of their established international reputation for excellence in both teaching and research.
  • University of Leeds — students are partners in shaping their own dynamic and innovative educational experience, characterized by active learning, digital technologies, and collaboration.
  • University of Liverpool — their research collaborations extend worldwide and address many of the grand challenges facing mankind today.
  • University of Manchester — Manchester is the birthplace of nuclear physics, where Ernest Rutherford first split the atom and the world’s first stored-program computer was developed.
  • University of Nottingham — empowers and supports students and staff to collaborate in learning, scholarship, and discovery across all realms of knowledge, solving problems, and improving lives.
  • University of Oxford — ranked #1 in Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023, making this the best university in the world for an impressive seventh consecutive year.
  • University of Sheffield — delivers life-enhancing research, innovation, and education that not only transforms the lives of their graduates, but shapes the world we live in.
  • University of Southampton — is famous for being both research-driven, and down-to-earth with the needs of business and society.
  • University of Warwick — strives to lead rather than follow and are renowned for their entrepreneurialism and cosmopolitan outlook.
  • University of York — York is known for driving teaching and research excellence with cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design, and experiential education opportunities.

Northern Ireland

  • Queen’s University Belfast — are the ninth oldest University in the UK and have a rich history of leading change. Some of their renowned graduates include Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney, ‘Northern Ireland’s Einstein’ John Stewart Bell, and the father of emergency medicine James Francis Pantridge.


  • University of Edinburgh — is the home of Dolly the sheep, the first animal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell, and where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired to create his notorious character, Sherlock Holmes.
  • University of Glasgow — Glasgow is a place where people make discoveries that change the world. Their six cross-disciplinary areas of world-class research are great examples of what Glasgow does best.


  • Cardiff University — studying and learning in a research-rich environment means their students are taught by scholars working at the frontiers of knowledge in their disciplines.

Did any of these schools catch your eye? Be sure to check out their individual websites for more information on programs, scholarships, student life, and more! If you’re ready to start applying, then make sure to check out this guide on applying to Russell Group universities.

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