What is the Russell Group and why should I care?

The Russell Group is the most well known of a number of organisations where universities have banded together.  University Groups can be a useful place to start when you are looking for a list of similar institutions, but remember that there are some very real differences between the universities in each group. The Russell Group (and what was the 1994 Group) lead the league tables in terms of almost every traditional subject (Classics, Maths, English etc.) and tend to ask for the highest entry requirements. The University Alliance and Million+ contain ‘new’ (after 1992) universities and provide some specialist or modern courses that you won’t find at the more traditional institutions. These newer universities tend to be more flexible in terms of the qualifications that they accept. The GuildHE Group represents specialist institutions that focus on particular courses.

The Russell Group’s guide “Informed Choices” gives advice to students on the best subject combinations for a wide range of university courses as well as the best choices for students who want to keep their options open.

The Russell Group

‘The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector.’ http://russellgroup.ac.uk

The Russell Group is a group of universities with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement and includes many of the UK’s oldest and most prestigious universities.

Who’s in the Russell Group?

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


University Alliance

‘We are Britain’s universities for cities and regions. We believe in making the difference across everything we do. We are committed to providing the high quality teaching that is critical to creating the world’s future leaders and problem solvers. We excel in preparing students for a career in industry and the professions.’ http://www.unialliance.ac.uk

 Who’s in the University Alliance

  •  Cardiff Metropolitan University
  •  Coventry University
  •  Kingston University
  •  Liverpool John Moores University
  •  Manchester Metropolitan University
  •  Nottingham Trent University
  •  Oxford Brookes University
  •  Plymouth University
  •  Sheffield Hallam University
  •  Teesside University
  •  The Open University
  •  University of Greenwich
  •  University of Hertfordshire
  •  University of Huddersfield
  •  University of Lincoln
  •  University of Portsmouth
  •  University of Salford
  •  University of South Wales
  •  University of the West of England

Million+ Group

‘We are a university think-tank. This means we work to help solve complex problems in higher education and to ensure that policy reflects the potential of the UK’s world-class university system.’ http://www.millionplus.ac.uk

We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role played by modern universities in a world-leading higher education.

  • University of Abertay Dundee
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Bath Spa University
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • Birmingham City University
  • University of Bolton
  • Canterbury Christ Church
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Cumbria
  • University of East London
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Leeds Metropolitan University
  • London Metropolitan University
  • Middlesex University
  • Staffordshire University
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of West London
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • University of Wolverhampton


The GuildHE is a group of universities and colleges that particularly represents institutions that specialise in art and design, music and drama, teacher training and agriculture. www.guildhe.ac.uk

Who’s in the GuildHE

  • Arts University Bournemouth
  • Bishop Grosseteste University Lincoln
  • Buckinghamshire New University
  • Falmouth University
  • Glyndwr University
  • Harper Adams University
  • Leeds College of Art
  • Leeds Trinity University
  • Newman University
  • Norwich University of the Arts

The 1994 Group

Like the Russell Group the 1994 Group was another prestigious collective of smaller, mainly campus based universities that focused on research until the group disbanded in 2013. The 1994 institutions were known for doing well in the league tables particularly in terms of student satisfaction.

Who was in the 1994 Group

  • Birkbeck, University of London
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Essex
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Institute of Education, University of London
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Lancaster University
  • University of Leicester
  • Loughborough University
  • School of Oriental and African Studies
  • University of Sussex