The Russell Group: what is it and why does it matter?

glasgow university

While preparing your university application you may have heard about the Russell Group.

Many people have a vague idea of it being something to do with elite universities, but what is the Russell Group and why does it matter?

Originally set up in 1994, the Russell Group is made up of 24 world-class research-intensive universities, which are widely considered to be some of the best in the country.

These are:

The group is committed to maintaining the best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector.

Together its members are responsible for more than two-thirds of the world-leading research produced in UK universities and support more than 300,000 jobs across the country.

Russell Group universities award 60% of all doctorates in the UK and enrol 38% of all postgraduate students.

The Seren Network was set up in 2015 with the goal of increasing the number of Welsh students attending the best universities, like those in the Russell Group.

Recent figures show that the number of students from Wales studying at Russell Group universities dropped by almost 10% in three years, down from 6,900 in 2012/13 to 6,260 in 2015/16.

Several Russell Group members are now working closely with the Seren Network to help Welsh sixth-form students with their applications and improve their chances of attending top universities.

So why should you consider studying at a Russell Group university?

  • You will learn from some of the world’s finest minds; expert teachers and renowned academics
  • You will have access to some of the best teaching facilities in the UK, from libraries and lecture halls to labs and online learning tools
  • You will be part of a highly-motivated, talented and diverse peer group
  • You will boost your career prospects and earning potential – graduates from Russell Group universities earn on average 10% more over their lifetime than graduates of other universities

Further resources and information

For more information about studying at a Russell Group university, visit:

Which? University has a quick guide to Russell Group universities.

You can also read this blog, in which former Seren student Elliott Manwaring writes about what it is like to attend Cambridge University, and this blog, in which Mohamed Eghleilib writes about his time at Oxford.

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