Which are the best universities in the UK and what is the Russell Group?
Once upon a time everybody knew which were the best universities in the UK. Oxford and Cambridge. Then there were the 'next best' - universities where students often referred to themselves as 'Oxbridge rejects'- places like Bristol, Durham, Edinburgh, London, these were followed by a lot of old universities in major cities and newer universities in campuses in provincial towns. After this there came a long list of polytechnics in just about every town in the country.
This 'system' led to complaints about elitism, so the John Major government in its wisdom decided in 1992 to rename polytechnics and call them universities and that was supposed to put an end to elitism.
It didn't of course, and, given human nature there is no reason why it would. People always want to know which is the best, so that if possible they can get the best for themselves.
So now people in the UK want to know which are the best universities again.
The Russell Group of universities was formed in 1994 with the stated objectives of :
- leading the research effort in the UK;
- maximising income for member institutions;
- attracting the best staff and students;
- creating the regulatory environment needed to achieve these objectives by reducing government interference;
- identifying ways to co-operate to make best use of the universities' collaborative advantage.
It is called the Russell Group because the first meeting took place at the Russell Hotel in Russell Square in London.
In the UK National Student Survey, Russell Group Institutions get average-strong ratings but many of their smaller counterparts get better ratings. There are also many universities not in the Russell Group wich achieve higher levels of Graduate employment than Russell Group Universities.
In the UK, the Russell Group Universities are seen as being amongst the best for academic achievement in the English speaking world and so get more applications from potential undergraduates than most others.
In response to the Russell Group, 19 smaller research universities formed the 1994 Group. The Russell Group is criticized for placing higher priority on research ratings which they say has resulted in lower teaching quality.
The Twenty Universities in the Russell Group are :-
University of Birmingham
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
Imperial College London
King's College London, University of London
University College London, University of London
University of Leeds
University of Liverpool
London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London
University of Manchester
University of Nottingham
Queen's University Belfast
University of Oxford
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of Warwick
The 19 Universities in the 1994 Group are : -
University of Bath
Birkbeck, University of London
University of East Anglia
University of Essex
University of Exeter
Goldsmiths, University of London
Royal Holloway, University of London
University of Leicester
Queen Mary, University of London
University of Reading
University of St Andrews
School of Oriental and African Studies
University of Surrey
University of Sussex
University of York