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Understand the difference between Russell Group Vs Non-Russell Group Universities of the UK

Nov 29, 2022

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The United Kingdom is home to some of the world's oldest educational institutions, with its first universities and colleges dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. UK’s education system has become the gold standard across the world because of its long and illustrious history.

One of the top locations to study in the world, the United Kingdom, has much to offer to foreign students, including high-class institutions and far more flexibility than many other countries.

There are many great opportunities for international students to advance their education in the United Kingdom, which is home to over 130 universities offering a wide range of programs. Learn more about why you should consider to study in UK, especially a Russell Group or a Non-Russell Group University. 


What is the Russell Group of Universities?

The "Russell Group" is a name you've probably heard if you've applied to universities in the United Kingdom. Many people consider the universities that make up the Russell group to be the best in the UK. 

Every one of the 24 institutions that make up the prestigious Russell Group of Universities UK is a leader in cutting-edge academic research. They are distinct organizations, each with its background and guiding principles, but they do have some things in common, like reputability, stringent admissions standards, and popular programs. Because of their fiercer admissions standards, competition is tough to get into these schools, particularly for the most popular majors like science, economics, law and medicine.


What about Non-Russell Group Universities?

Although the Russell Group is highly sought after by students from around the world, it’s important to know that there are an estimated 106 other universities in the UK that perform just as well. These universities are highly regarded for their educational prowess, teaching and job prospects, and distinctive course offerings making them an ideal choice to study in UK.

Non-Russell Group universities tend to be less selective than their Russell Group counterparts and provide more accommodating admissions policies. However, this may be degree-specific; some courses have rigorous admissions standards while others have more reasonable or attainable standards. 


Russell Group Vs Non-Russell Group

To simplify it further for Study Abroad Aspirants, look at the differences between the two groups.

Russell Group UniversityNon-Russell Group University
15 out of 16 institutions in the nation ranked in Times Higher Education's top 100 66 out of 106 Non-Russell group universities of the United Kingdom rank in the QS world university Ranking 2022 and Times Higher Education Ranking 2022
21 universities from the Russell Group have participated in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), with ten receiving gold awards, and ten receiving silver awards, across all 274 higher education providers like The University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge and University of CardiffNon-Russell Group institutions also have TEF gold ratings and a better reputation for offering specialized programs, so students may earn a degree that is more relevant to their interests like the University of Birmingham, University of Buckingham, University of Cambridge, Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, Coventry University, University for the Creative Arts, & De Montfort University
Foreign students can expect to pay between £20,000 and £30,000 per year in tuition and living expenses at any of the UK's Russell Group universities.Tuition and living expenses for international students at most UK universities outside the Russell Group run from around £9,000 to £12,000 annually.
For their first job, only 14% of graduates needed an internship.For 83% of recent non-Russell Group grads, obtaining their first graduate position requires internship experience for their first role.
Although just 17% of all college students graduate, 61% of all job holders in the UK are from Russell Group University with an hourly wage of €18.60. Only 53% of Non-Russell group universities were employed in a non-skilled role with an average hourly wage of €14.97.


Now that we have successfully compared the two groups of universities let’s look at the TEF Gold Rating for UK Colleges belonging to the Russell Group Vs the Non-Russell Group. Here’s a list of Russell Group universities and Non-Russell Group Universities.

Russell Group 

Non-Russell Group

University of Birmingham

University of Bristol

Durham University

University of Exeter

University of Glasgow

University of Leeds

University of Liverpool

Newcastle University

University of Nottingham

Queen Mary University of London

Queen’s University Belfast

University of Sheffield

University of Southampton

University of York


University of East of Anglia

Royal Holloway University of London

University of Essex

Heriot Watt University

University of Strathclyde

Swansea University

Nottingham Trent University

University of Dundee

University of Hertfordshire

University of Huddersfield

Keele University

Liverpool Hope University

University of Northampton

University of Portsmouth

Staffordshire University

Coventry University

De Montfort University


In conclusion, there are a lot of institutes in the Russell Group and outside of the Russell Group. Both groups have distinct advantages and offer a comprehensive education system for international students.

The choice is the hardest part, approach KC to know more and choose the perfect UK University. To date, we have assisted more than 3 Lac Aspirants to get to their desired universities. 

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