UK University Information

Russell Group institutions are branded as the UK's best research-leading universities. Below is a brief introduction on the 24 universities that make up the Russell Group, ranked by the 2021 QS rating.

1. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is constantly ranked amongst the top 5 best universities in the world. With 28 Nobel Prize winners, Oxford is renowned for its world-class research and teaching. Among its alumni are people such as Bill Clinton, Benazir Bhutto and Martha Lane Fox.

2. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is known world-wide for its exceptional academic achievement – with three academics receiving Nobel Prizes in the fields of medicine and physiology, astrophysics and chemistry. This university offers degrees in the arts and humanities, social sciences, sciences and engineering.

3. Imperial College London

Located in South Kensington, London, Imperial is the only UK university that specialises solely in science, engineering, medicine and business. Constantly ranked amongst the top 10 universities in the world, an Imperial degree is highly valued. Imperial alumni have also produced the most start-up companies out of all the UK universities.

4. University College London

Located in Euston, London, UCL specialises in medicine, science and law. With links to the major London hospitals, it is one of Europe’s most innovative centres of medical research. UCL has been ranked as one of the best-performing universities in the most recent assessment of research quality in UK universities ranking.

5. The University of Edinburgh

UoE is one of the top 20 universities in the World, with 89% of graduates leaving the university with a first-class or 2:1 degree classification. It is made up of three colleges: Humanities and Social Science, Science and Engineering, and Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

6. The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is known for its groundbreaking discoveries and high-quality research with a vast global impact. It has 25 Nobel Prize winners among current and former staff and students, and 91% of Manchester's recent graduates go straight into employment or continued studies.

7. King's College London

KCL is a leading university providing cutting-edge research and world-class teaching. King's has a distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including health areas such as nursing, medicine psychiatry and dentistry) and social sciences such as international affairs.

8. The London School of Economics and Political Science

LSE is one of the best universities in the UK, with LSE Law at the forefront of research in legal theory. The university is home to some of the most respected experts in politics, economics and government; producing influential research that has a global impact and provides high quality education.

9. University of Bristol

University of Bristol is known for providing world-class education and research. Innovations have been made in areas ranging from nanotechnology to computer modelling. In 2013 and 2015 the university was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its outstanding research in areas such as neonatal practice, airspace and volcanic activity.

10. The University of Warwick

Warwick is a world-leading university with one of the highest academic and research standards, and is cited as being one of the most targeted universities around the world by employers. Warwick is one of the UK's leading universities, with a great reputation for outstanding research and teaching, innovation, and links with business and industry.

11. University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is based in Scotland and has harboured the talents of seven Nobel laureates, one Prime Minister and Scotland's inaugural First Minister. The university is famous for medicine and veterinary medicine, priding itself on academic excellence.

12. Durham University

Durham is constantly rated as one of the world's leading universities - shown by its World Top 100 position, where it is ranked 78th. It is ranked as one of the top 40 universities worldwide for employability, and has four faculties including Arts and Humanities, Business, Science, and Social Science and Health.

13. University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham is situated in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Known for its focus on science engineering and commerce, the university has a five-star rating in teaching and research. In a recent assessment of the quality of research in UK universities, 28% of UoB’s research was rated ‘world-leading’, with another 53% rated internationally excellent.

14. University of Southampton

The university has the only Engineering faculty within the UK to receive the highest rating (5*) across all of its disciplines, making it an ideal university for Engineering students. It is also the 8th best in the UK for its research intensity, priding itself on its ground-breaking findings, and is ranked the 1st in the UK for Physiotherapy.

15. University of Leeds

Currently ranked 13th in its Good University Guide 2020, the University of Leeds prides itself on research and is a part of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). The University of Leeds has also been awarded 25 National Teaching Fellowships, more than any other university.

16. The University of Sheffield

Ranked at number 45 out of 500 universities in Europe, the university prides itself on its world-class teaching across disciplines, including arts and humanities, business, engineering, medicine, dentistry and health, social sciences and science. The University of Sheffield is one of the top 50 most international universities in the world, according to the 2019 Times Higher Education rankings. 

17. University of St. Andrews

Based in Scotland, the university is ranked 92nd in the world and is one of the best in the world for subjects including Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies (18th), Philosophy (19th) and Arts and Humanities (61st). The Graduate Employability Ranking for the university is between 200th – 250th worldwide.

18. University of Nottingham

Based in the East Midlands, the University of Nottingham is ranked within the top 50 universities in the world for disciplines including Pharmacy and Pharmacology (6th). Education and Training (22nd), Veterinary Science (29th), Geography (46th) and English Language and Literature (49th).

19. Queen Mary University of London

QMUL has one of the best Medicine departments in the UK – Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. The university’s achievements include an international team of scientists, led by QMUL astronomers, discovering a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. Having one of the most diverse degree spectrums, with world-class research, QMUL is popular amongst students and is 114th in the world.

20. Newcastle University

Newcastle University is known for its departments in ageing and health, data, energy, cities, and the creative arts. The university is placed 16th in the UK for research power by the Research Excellence Framework, with 78% of its research deemed as world-leading. No wonder it’s constantly ranked in the top 3 for excellence in areas including computing and environmental science

21. Cardiff University

With an 84% student satisfaction rate, the university’s research-led teaching includes: Social Sciences; Technology and Engineering and Lifelong Learning and the Humanities; the Natural, Health, Physical and Life. 95.7% of graduates enter either further study or employment shortly after graduating.

22. The University of Exeter

The university offers a variety of subjects across science, engineering, maths and medicine, as well as social sciences and humanities. It was ranked 20th in the 2019 European Teaching Rankings, with 98% of its research rated ‘international quality’ in the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

23. University of Liverpool

Consistently ranked amongst the leading 200 universities in the world, the university has a global reach that is telling of its academic heritage as one of the largest civic institutions in the UK. Offering courses in the fields of Science, Engineering and Management, the university is recognised for its outstanding research.

24. Queen's University Belfast

Located in Ireland, the University of Belfast is one of the top 140 universities in the world for graduate prospectus, as stated by the 2020 QS Graduate Employability Rankings. Over 96% of graduates are either in further study or are employed within six months after graduation. Their alumni consists of scholars and Nobel Prize winners including Seamus Heaney and David Trimble.