Ranked: Where all the Russell Group unis placed in this year’s Complete University Guide

Nine of them didn’t make it into the top 20


The Russell Group is often famed as the ELITE of the elite UK universities, but despite it being named after a hotel (no, I’m not kidding) and actually being self-selective, meaning unis can just choose to join, is it actually full of the best UK universities?

Well, the Complete University Guide 2025 has just been released and the rankings score all British universities on factors like student satisfaction, research quality, research intensity, staff-to-student ratio and graduate prospects to work out which unis are the very best and most respected in the UK. We’ve already got our list of the top 20 and five of these aren’t Russell Groups. So, do all the Russell Groups take up the top spots?

This is where all the Russell Group Universities ranked in this year’s Complete University Guide:

50. Queen Mary University of London

The worst-scoring Russell Group in the Complete University Guide 2025 is Queen Mary University of London at 50th. It might be the worst Russell Group right now, but this is up three spaces from last year. QMUL only has one subject that makes it into the top ten and it’s material technology where it ranks fourth.

30. University of Nottingham

With a huge jump between the last and second-last ranked Russell Groups, Nottingham is at 30th. This is down two places from last year when it was 28th. Notts has 18 subjects overall that feature in the top 10 including building, law and veterinary medicine.

29. University of Glasgow

A fair bit below Edinburgh, Glasgow ranks at 29th. This is three places down from the 2024 Good University Guide. Glasgow does however rank third overall for entry standards, 10th for research quality and has 19 subjects in the top 10.

27. Cardiff University

The 21st best Russell Group but 27th best UK uni overall is Cardiff. Cardiff has moved down six places since last year but has nine of its subjects making it into the top 10 subject rankings.

26. Newcastle University

Just below Cardiff is Newcastle, which has moved up four spaces from last year and a huge 11 places since the 2022 rankings. It has 12 subjects in the top 10, including taking the top spot for speech and language therapy.

25. Queen’s University Belfast

Just below Cardiff is Newcastle, which has moved up four spaces from last year and a huge 11 places since the 2022 rankings. It has 12 subjects in the top 10, including taking the top spot for speech and language therapy.

25. Queen’s University Belfast

Way, way lower than its rivals UCL, Imperial and LSE, King’s is the 24th best UK uni right now. This is the same ranking as last year. KCL does come out as number one for health studies and second for social. policy overall.

23. University of Leeds

Russell Group Complete University Guide

Leeds has moved down only one spot since last year’s ranking of 22nd. It ranks sixth overall for its spending on academic services and has 26 subjects in the top 10 rankings. Leeds is also the best uni for childhood and youth studies and the third best for marketing.

22. University of Manchester

Just missing out on the top 20 overall, the University of Manchester is the 22nd best UK uni overall right now. It has moved down two places from last year and scores very low on student satisfaction (114th) but has 23 subjects that made itinto the top 10 overall, including German, Drama and engineering.

20. University of Southampton

Just scraping into the top 20 is the University of Southampton which, coincidentally just ranked the sunniest Russell Group uni overall. Southampton is down three spaces from last year’s ranking but features 11 subjects ranked in the top 10 including making fifth for civil engineering and eighth for archaeology.

18. University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool has moved up an impressive six spaces from last year to be the 18th-best UK uni in the country right now. Liverpool has seven subjects ranked in the top 10, including veterinary medicine, nursing and midwifery, and marketing. Plus it’s a bloody good night out, so win-win.

=18. University of Sheffield

Going from 20th last year, Sheffield is now ranked joint as the 18th best university, according to the Complete University Guide 2025. It also has 17 subjects ranked in the top 10 overall, including topping the rankings for nursing and midwifery.

17. University of York

York has stayed in the same spot from last year’s rankings, placing it as the 17th-best university in the UK for 2025. It might rank very poorly for spending on its academic services (112th out of 130) but it ranks as the ninth best for research quality and features 14 subjects in the top 10 overall.

16. University of Bristol

Ranking highly in aspects such as research quality and continuation of students, Bristol is 16th overall and 11th. best Russell Group. With a huge 28 subjects making it into the top 10, Bristol is second in the country for both aeronautical engineering and education.

15. University of Edinburgh

Plummeting down the rankings from 12th last year, the University of Edinburgh is the 15th best UK uni going into 2025. It has an impressive 30 subjects ranking in the top 10 and also ranks extremely high for research intensity, student-to-staff ratio and continuation of students throughout their degrees.

14. University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is the 14th best UK uni right now, according to the Complete University Guide 2025. It’s moved up one space from last year and has 21 subjects such as psychology, marketing and business all in the top 10 for subject rankings.

12. University of Birmingham

Birmingham, with 19 subjects ranking in the top 10 overall, is the 12th best uni in the UK right now. It is the second-best uni for spending on its facilities, you know, so you feel like you’re actually getting your money’s worth, but ranks really poorly for student satisfaction at 111th.

10. University of Warwick

And moving into the top 10, the University of Warwick is the 10th best uni in the UK right now and the seventh best Russell Group, according to the Complete University Guide. It has moved up one space since last year and currently has 17 subjects like creative writing, maths and sociology all in the top 10.

9. University College London

Russell Group Complete University Guide

For the third year running, UCL is ranked ninth in the Complete University Guide 2025. With 35 subjects making it into the top 10, UCL is also the second-best uni for its staff-to-student ratio and fifth for its research quality.

6. Durham University

Now in sixth place, Durham has moved up two rankings from last year. 31 of its subjects make it into the top 10, including coming third for Asian studies and fourth for history. This makes it the fifth-best Russell group uni but sixth-best overall.

5. Imperial College London

Moving up one place from last year’s rankings, Imperial College London is the fifth-best university in the UK right now and the fourth-best Russell Group. It also comes out on top for both the university’s spend on academic services and also research quality. 14 subjects at Imperial rank in the top 10 overall.

3. London School of Economics

The best London uni in the rankings, LSE is the third best UK university on the planet right now. Retaining the third spot for the fourth year running, London School of Economics ranks highly rated in a lot of areas including second for research quality and continuation of students. It does, however, rank poorly for student satisfaction, ranking as the 62nd best UK uni for how happy its students are.

2. University of Oxford

As the second best UK uni overall, Oxford also ranks first in student-to-staff ratio and has 38 subjects ranked in the top 10 including being the best uni for several subjects such as English and Anthropology.

1. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is officially the best in the world right now, and obviously, the best Russell Group too according to the Complete University Guide 2025. It has a maximum overall score of 1000 and ranks first in a number of different areas including research intensity and continuation of students and subjects such as history, medicine and chemistry.

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