The universities of Oxford and Cambridge | Varsity Education

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge

So, we’ve come to the end of our blog series about the prestigious Russell Group. Last, but definitely not least, are two of the best universities in the world: Oxford and Cambridge, which both find themselves only a stone’s throw away from the capital. Year after year, these elite universities attract the best minds of our generation in record numbers.

Here are some facts about each of these top universities, which were both founding members of the original 1994 Russell Group.

The University of Oxford

  • Oxford is the oldest university in the UK and the first university in the English-speaking world. With more world-leading academics than any other university in the UK, Oxford’s global reputation for excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship continues to grow.
  • Oxford’s distinctive collegiate system gives students the benefit of belonging to both a large, internationally renowned institution and a small academic community, and its distinctive tutorial system underpins a culture of close academic supervision and support.
  • Former Oxford students include 26 British Prime Ministers, more than 30 international leaders, 26 Nobel Prize winners, at least 6 kings and some 100 Olympic medal winners.
  • Every college has its own first-class library in addition to departmental and major research libraries, among which is the world-famous Bodleian which can claim a copy of every book ever published in Britain.
  • Oxford also boasts some of the best sporting facilities in the university sector including a gym, all-weather running track, Olympic-standard artificial hockey pitch, sports hall and swimming pool.
  • In the QS World University Rankings 2013-14, Oxford ranked 6th in the world (3rd by academics and 1st by employers) in addition to ranking 1st for arts & humanities, 2nd for life sciences & medicine, 3rdfor social sciences & management, 8th for natural sciences and 9th for engineering & technology. This impressive list of facts and figures speaks for itself!

The University of Cambridge

  • Cambridge recently celebrated its 800th birthday, making it the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world after Oxford. Records suggest that it was founded after some Oxford scholars had a dispute with the townsfolk and left.
  • Cambridge is at the international forefront of excellence in teaching and research and its endowment funds make it Britain’s richest university.
  • Supervisions, which small group tutorials with a senior member of the university, are one of the unique advantages of a Cambridge education, as is the unique collegiate system (which it shares with Oxford).
  • Cambridge has produced 89 Nobel Prize winners and hundreds of notable alumni.
  • The university library is a copyright library, meaning it receives by law a copy of every book published in Britain.
  • Cambridge has a strong sporting tradition and caters for a wide range of sports. Sports facilities include playing fields, courts, boathouses and multi-gyms.
  • In the QS World University Rankings 2013-14, Cambridge ranked 3rd in the world (2nd by both academics and employers) in addition to ranking 1st for natural sciences, 2nd for arts & humanities, 3rd for life sciences & medicine, 3rd for engineering & technology and 4th for social sciences & management.

If you’re still having trouble deciding between the two, take a look at this site which compares the two universities in terms of their rankings, subject strengths, fees and livings costs, location and the opinions of students.

We hope that you found this series about Russell Group universities helpful and that it’s opened to your eyes to the abundance of great universities in every corner of the UK.