Oxbridge and Russell Group: Are They Definitely The Best Choice For You? | FindAMasters.com
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Posted on 21 Feb '24

Oxbridge and Russell Group: Are They Definitely The Best Choice For You?

Universities in the UK often come together to form alliances. The Russell Group is probably the most famous of these UK university groups. And of the Russell Group, Oxbridge is definitely a name most have heard of which is a short way of referencing both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

Russell Group universities are known for their academic excellence and constantly dominate the world ranking tables, often making them a students’ top choice when choosing a postgraduate university. But is being part of a university group the be-all and end-all of what makes the university the right choice for you? There might be other factors to consider when choosing your Masters/PhD university. This blog will help you make the right decision for the right reasons.

Consider what you need for your career

There is no doubt that a Masters degree from one of the top-ranking universities will look really good on a CV and give you the edge over others when applying for jobs. But you must take a step back and really think about the skills and qualification you need for your chosen career. It could be that a specialist, vocational degree is more suited for what you want to do. This could be true for those of you looking to do something in design, fashion, law or psychology, among others.

Oxbridge and the other Russell Group universities are known to be research intensive and even their taught courses tend to have a heavy research element. If you’re looking to build a practical skill set and gain some hands-on experience, you’ll find that specialist universities (that may not necessarily be a part of an established university group) may suit your needs better.

Consider what qualification you want at the end

On the theme of research, unlike most universities in the UK, Oxbridge doesn’t offer a Masters of Arts (MA) or a Masters of Science (MSc). The most common postgraduate qualification on offer is the Masters of Philosophy (MPhil) which is a research Masters degree. This means that instead of taught units and assessments, your course is focused entirely on your own independent research project.

We should also say that the Oxbridge MPhil itself is also a bit different in that it actually has some taught elements so isn’t purely research based. But you’ll still be asked to produce a unique work of research at the end of your degree so if research is not something you want to focus on just yet, an Oxbridge Masters might not be for you.

Consider what kind of student life you want

Your life outside the classroom is also going be a huge consideration when thinking about which university you study at. You’ll have to consider location, campus, student facilities and attractions wherever you study. But, if you’re thinking about studying at Oxbridge, you need to know about their collegiate structure. A collegiate structure means that the university is broken into smaller ‘colleges’. The colleges offer a more residential and social function. All postgraduate students belong to a college where they might live and some even have their own libraries, sports facilities and social spaces.

Even though it isn’t compulsory to stay in college residence, you might feel more integrated into a community if you do. Being at one of the oldest universities in the UK will definitely make for an interesting student experience with age-old traditions and sporting rivalries but it might not be for everyone.

It is true that Oxbridge and the rest of the Russell Group universities are some of the best universities to study at in the UK, but, we wanted to highlight that where you decide to study will ultimately depend on the Masters/PhD experience you are looking for!

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Last updated: 21 February 2024