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Whatare the Russell Group?

(40 Posts)
Consils Wed 15-May-13 17:32:13

I had thought there were only eight bur according to google there are 24.

senua Wed 15-May-13 18:28:01

I don't know where you got eight from - it was founded with 17 members! You are correct that membership currently stands at 24.

creamteas Wed 15-May-13 18:28:09

They are a self-appointed lobby group.

During a previous recession when there were likely to be cuts in university research budgets, a group of VCs started from the bigger research universities started meeting to work out a strategy to challenge the then government. They met in the Russel Hotel (hence the name) and later made it into a formal organisation.

Being an RG member says very little about the quality of research or teaching.

ajandjjmum Wed 15-May-13 18:29:45

A group of respected universities?

Talkinpeace Wed 15-May-13 19:19:00

inkyfingers Wed 15-May-13 21:16:15

They are seen as the top tier of universities by many, when there are over 100 unis in the UK.

PastSellByDate Thu 16-May-13 04:56:50

Hi Consils:

In general people tend to talk about 'the bridges' (Oxford/ Cambridge) and then The Russell Group Universities (so largely older Universities founded in the 19th century - although technically they're all in the group - link to Russell group here:

There also are the 1994 group - which is a group of recently established Universities which also are research intensive: link for information about them here:

I suppose what these groups are trying to do is establish that they are research intensive (i.e. the academics are well respected nationally or internationally and producing high quality research) and that the churn out well qualified graduates. Think along the lines of the 'ivy league' in the US - a loosely identified group of 'better and certainly well established universities' including places like Princeton, Yale & Harvard.

So if this is a question from the point of view of helping your DC work out where to apply to University - then although it is a good indicator of quality of the institution, you should also explore things like the times higher education rankings of Universities and their degree programmes. (link here: The guardian and other newspapers do a series of University profiles and it is always worth typing unofficial student guide to.... into Google to get a more unvarnished picture of what student life there may be like.

So for example - there are only so many places that offer Veterinary courses or medicine. If you know the type of medicine you want to go into or you know that you want to keep your options open so want a big department - it can help when deciding where to apply. UCAS Course Search is really worth exploring seriously before sending off your UCAS form:


Consils Thu 16-May-13 09:43:24

Thank you.

slug Thu 16-May-13 11:02:40

Umm, the 1994 group of universities are not necessarily recently established (outs self as working in one of them) A fair percentage are or were part of the University of London. They are, however, generally smaller specialist institutions.

lljkk Thu 16-May-13 17:44:11

A social climber's dream and if you believe MNers a degree from anywhere else is utter rubbish.

most of them used to be called redbrick.

Copthallresident Thu 16-May-13 18:02:26

Not to mention slug that some of the 1994 group, including Durham, recently defected to the Russell Group because their gang has managed to acquire a more widely known brand image for quality, even if those perceptions are not as creamteas points out rooted in any reality in terms of there actually being any criteria relating to quality that qualify an institution for membership. Of course a certain 1994 institution by far outranks any RG uni in terms of certain specialist studies wink

Past is absolutely right, choose a university by how it ranks in terms of what is important to you. There are subject tables that will give you information about the rankings for your subject, according to various mutations of student satisfaction, employment statistics, research ranking etc but how important each of these factors is will vary from individual to individual and you will also want to take into account the structure of the course, the environment, facilities etc.

PastSellByDate Fri 17-May-13 12:55:14

at a redbrick Russell Group myself Slug, but happily did PhD research at a 1994 Group institution and it was absolutely the right fit for what I wanted to do!

As I said it really depends on the degree you wish to do.

A bridge, membership to Russel or 1994 group does at least assure nervous parents that it's a well respected research intensive institution - which what I was trying to convey (although possibly badly worded...).

...but do some homework on the degree course & what it's like to be a student there. Better yet go to an Open Day!


MsAverage Sat 18-May-13 08:35:12

I would not compare the Russell Group with the Ivy League because RG's intake is a quarter of all the country's undergrads. This does not sound elitist by any stretch of the imagination. IL is more like Oxbridge, considering the US has a population 5 times larger than in the UK.

lljkk Sat 18-May-13 09:17:26

RG is much more like higher grade US state universities (govt. funded). Cal Berkeley, Cornell, UCSD, AUT, etc.

Talkinpeace Sat 18-May-13 12:46:06

Cornell is private and Ivy League.

RG includes "ivy League"
but of course the Ivy Leage was a sporting thing so even less relevant to academic prowess

lljkk Sat 18-May-13 15:51:33

okay, oops on Cornell (can tell I'm not an East coaster or Ivy League material for that matter, I went to Berkeley smile ); but NO WAY is RG comparable to US Ivy League.

I'm not sure what you mean about sport; undergrad admission to Ivy League is about leadership potential along with moderate brains. Leadership first and foremost.

Talkinpeace Sat 18-May-13 19:01:36

Look up the history of the Ivy League : its ALL about sport!

Places like Stanford are missed out purely by geography not academe

MsAverage Sat 18-May-13 23:45:25

Well, you can say then that Oxbridge is ALL about rowing.

gallicgirl Sat 18-May-13 23:54:59

A recruiter friend recently told me that some companies will only consider applicants from Russell Group unis.
It's disappointing to think that perfectly good applicants might be overlooked.

It would be interesting to see employment stats from graduates, especially given how much fees are now.

lljkk Sun 19-May-13 12:12:10

those stats exist, Gallic, I am off to find good links.

lljkk Sun 19-May-13 12:14:09

Hourly Earnings by subject (2012).

lljkk Sun 19-May-13 12:18:41

2011 data, the top 4 English insitutions are NOT RG Unis.

lljkk Sun 19-May-13 12:34:10

2010 postgrad employment data, 163 institutions, Oxbridge not listed (?!).
The other 22 RG Unis are at places (descending order):

14, 18, 20, 29, 36, 39, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 52, 55, 56, 61, 70, 71, 74, 81, 86, 100, 106

Quite respectable, as a group definitely well better than average.

lljkk Sun 19-May-13 12:41:23

Easier to sort 2010 data.

Talkinpeace Sun 19-May-13 13:14:59

thing is that my degree bears no relation to what I do now
and I faffed for years finding my career
not the fault of the uni though

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