Skip Navigation

OU Facts

OU Public Affairs WebsiteOU homepagePublic Affairs homepage
Skip Side Navigation

What Do You Know About OU?

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Oklahoma is to provide the best possible educational experience for our students through excellence in teaching, research and creative activity, and service to the state and society

Overview Statement

Created by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting research university serving the educational, cultural, economic and health-care needs of the state, region and nation. The Norman campus serves as home to all of the university’s academic programs except health-related fields. The OU Health Sciences Center, which is located in Oklahoma City, is one of only four comprehensive academic health centers in the nation with seven professional colleges. Both the Norman and Health Sciences Center campuses offer programs at the Schusterman Center, the site of OU-Tulsa. OU enrolls almost 32,000 students, has more than 2,800 full-time faculty members, and has 21 colleges offering 172 majors at the baccalaureate level, 156 majors at the master’s level, 81 doctoral-level majors and 54 graduate certificates. The university’s annual operating budget is $2.05 billion. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.


For the first time in history, the University of Oklahoma has been ranked among the top 50 public colleges and universities in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. In its 2018 Best Colleges rankings, OU is ranked among the best national universities as No. 97 overall – up from No. 111 in 2017 – and as No. 41 among public institutions. OU’s petroleum engineering program has been ranked in the top 3 among specialties at engineering schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, and OU’s Michael F. Price College of Business has been ranked among the top 43 best business programs at a public institution.

OU has the academically highest ranked student body at a public university in Oklahoma history.

OU is the only public university in Oklahoma to be included in the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which lists the top 10 percent of all U.S. universities.

OU ranks No. 1 in the nation among all public institutions in the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled, with more than 800 National Merit Scholars.

OU is the only public university in U.S. history to ever rank first among both public and private universities in the number of freshman National Merit Scholars. 

OU has achieved an all-time record freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of over 92 percent, ranking OU among the top universities in the nation. OU is one of only 30 public institutions in the nation currently reporting retention rates of 92 percent or higher. 

OU has produced 29 Rhodes Scholars; no other university in Oklahoma has had more than three.

OU is the only university in the nation, public or private, whose students have won Goldwater, Mitchell, Truman, Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright and National Security Education Program scholarships in the same year.

OU was recently awarded the prestigious Davis Cup for the fifth consecutive year in recognition of its record-setting enrollment of United World College International freshman. OU is the only public university to ever be awarded the Davis Cup.  

OU is a leader among all American universities in international exchange and study abroad programs. OU has expanded study abroad programs to include popular programs in Arezzo, Italy; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Puebla, Mexico. One in three OU students study abroad during a four-year period with one in five of those students participating at OU’s signature study abroad program in Arezzo, Italy.

The university is closing in on reaching a four-year goal to increase the number of students studying abroad by 50 percent. OU currently offers programs in 88 countries and over 220 cities on six continents. Students from more than 120 countries are enrolled at OU. 

Three OU students have been named 2016 Goldwater Scholars, placing OU in the top ranks of universities nationally with 51 Goldwater Scholars since the competition began in 1991. The prestigious scholarships are awarded on the basis of potential and intent to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural science or engineering. 

OU students have achieved a new record for the highest percentage of summer enrollment in the Big 12.  Almost 9,000 OU students - more than 37 percent of OU undergraduates - enrolled in classes during the summer of 2015. 

OU is home to the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, considered to be second in prestige only to the Nobel Prize and often referred to as the “American Nobel.” Thirty-one Neustadt laureates, candidates and jurors have won the Nobel Prize in the past 46 years.  

OU’s Debate Teams have won the National University Debate Championship four times in recent years, with an OU debater winning the award as best speaker at the 2014 National Debate Tournament.

OU President David L. Boren, a former U.S. senator and governor of Oklahoma and the longest-serving president at a flagship university, teaches an introductory course in political science each semester and keeps in close touch with students. A Rhodes Scholar, he was recently inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country’s oldest and most distinguished honorary societies.

OU continues to break private fundraising records, with more than $3 billion in gifts and pledges since 1994, which has provided funding for dramatic capital improvements, as well as an unparalleled increase  in faculty endowment and student scholarships. Private scholarships for students have quadrupled and endowed faculty positions have increased from 94 to over 550.

Since 1994, more than $2.5  billion in construction projects have been completed, are under way or are forthcoming on OU’s three campuses, the largest of which is the $128 million Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center.

Since its creation in 1998, OU’s Office of Technology Development has helped launch 36 companies that have generated more than $75 million in capital. In addition, the companies have created in excess of 150 jobs, which pay on average nearly twice the median household income in Oklahoma. 

The One University Digital Initiative allows OU faculty to develop digital alternatives to high-cost textbooks, translating to an annual savings of more than $500  per student in textbook costs.

To accommodate growing student demand, the College of International Studies was created at OU in 2011. The college offers seven majors, an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program and a joint juris doctorate/master’s in international and area studies.   

OU’s College of Professional and Continuing Studies is one of the largest continuing higher education organizations in the nation and annually serves more than 200,000 learners around the world.

OU’s Honors College offers one of the most energetic and creative honors programs among public universities in the United States. More than 2,500 students participate in small classes, usually of 19 or less. More than 80 informal reading groups have been created each year for seven years, with a total participation of approximately 5,600 Honors and non-Honors students. 

With Residential Colleges now open, OU is one of the first public universities in the country to build residential colleges for upperclassmen and women, patterned on those at Yale, Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge in England. The living/learning communities are the cornerstone of the undergraduate experience.

OU has established a faculty-in-residence program with faculty members and their families living in apartments in the student residence halls.

OU is the only Big 12 university to be selected as having one of America’s 25 most beautiful campuses.

OU’s Bizzell Memorial Library has been named among 18 stunning university libraries around the world, according to Architectural Digest.

OU has been named a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. 

The OU Press is the oldest in the Great Plains states and ranks among the 20 most important university presses in the United States. It is a leading publisher of books about Native Americans and the American West. 

The highly acclaimed journal of international literature, World Literature Today, is published at the University of Oklahoma. 

The Oklahoma Daily, OU’s student newspaper, and Sooner Yearbook are consistently ranked among the best in the country. 

First- and second-year students receive outstanding instruction and mentoring under a program that brings more than 50 retired full professors back to campus to teach their introductory courses.

The OU College of Law is Oklahoma’s premier law school and is on the rise nationally. It is the highest ranked law school in Oklahoma, according to U.S. News & World Report, and for nine consecutive years, OU Law has been named a “Best Value” law school by National Jurist Magazine, with a current rank of 10th in the nation. OU Law graduates consistently lead the state in bar exam passage rates, with a 95 percent passage rate on the most recent exam.

OU Law’s moot court competition program has been ranked a top 20 program for five consecutive years by the Blakely Advocacy Institute, with a current ranking of No. 2 in the nation. In January 2018, OU Law won first place in the 2018 Andrews Kurth Kenyon Moot Court National Championship, a tournament reserved for the nation’s top 16 moot court programs.

In 2014, the OU College of Law became the first law school in the country to launch a college-wide digital initiative, designed to prepare students for success and leadership in the 21st century legal profession. Every law student is provided with an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, which helps students learn to research, annotate, organize and present in the digital medium. In recognition of its digital initiative, OU Law has been named a Top 20 Most Innovative Law School by preLaw Magazine and has been named an Apple Distinguished School for 2017-2019 by Apple Inc.

OU law students make public service a core value. Last year, OU Law students set a record of over 23,000 hours of pro bono service – a number that eclipses the roughly 5,000 hours students were completing just seven years ago. A record-setting 100% of this year’s 1L class signed a voluntary pro bono pledge, committing to 50 or 100 hours of service before they graduate (64 percent pledged 100 hours).

The OU College of Law is home to the Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Journal, the first journal of its kind in the country. ONE J is an online, peer-reviewed, scholarly publication focused on all facets of the energy and natural resources industry. 

The OU College of Law publishes the American Indian Law Review, which serves as a nationwide scholarly forum for analysis of developments in legal issues pertaining to Native Americans and indigenous peoples worldwide.

OU’s A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre is one of the very few university programs in the nation that provides students an opportunity to be in the same cast with professional Broadway actors in brand-new productions. 

Dance Magazine has placed the OU School of Dance in the top three of all dance programs in the country.  

The Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama at the University of Oklahoma is one of the top 10 Bachelor of Fine Arts theatre design and technology programs in the nation, according to OnStage . OU is the only school in Oklahoma and the only school in the Big 12 to be selected. 

Consistently, OU students from the Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama earn national honors at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival held in Washington, D.C.

OU has one of the oldest comprehensive colleges of fine arts in the Great Plains states, with highly regarded schools of Music, Musical Theatre, Drama, Art and Dance, and programs in opera and sculpture. 

For the seventh consecutive year, University of Oklahoma students from the Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama have earned national honors at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival held in Washington, D.C.

OU’s A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre is one of the very few university programs in the nation that provides students an opportunity to be in the same cast with professional Broadway actors in brand-new productions.

Dance Magazine places the OU School of Dance in the top three of all dance programs in the country.

OU has one of the oldest comprehensive colleges of fine arts in the Great Plains states, with highly regarded schools of Music, Drama, Art and Dance, and programs in opera, musical theater and sculpture.

The Michael F. Price College of Business is ranked as one of the nation’s top business schools at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine named the entrepreneurship undergraduate program in the top 5 and the graduate program in the top 20.  Also, the college’s international business program was ranked for the 11th consecutive year as a top 30 program by U.S. News & World Report. 

The Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth, a program of the Price College of Business, offers intern opportunities to OU-Tulsa students. Since 1957, OU-Tulsa has provided higher education to northeastern Oklahoma and moved to the 60-acre Schusterman Campus in 1999.  

The Sam Noble Museum has more than 10 million artifacts and contains 198,000 square feet   on 40 acres of land. The museum exhibits include the largest and smallest Apatosaurus on display in the world and the oldest work of art ever found in North America — a lightning bolt painted on an extinct bison skull.  

At a White House ceremony in 2014, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at OU was named one of the top five museums in the country and was presented the National Medal for Museum and Library Service , the nation’s highest honor awarded to museums and libraries.  

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at OU houses one of the most important collections of Native American art in the United States. During the past 23 years , the museum has acquired several significant collections that have further strengthened the museum’s holdings in the areas of Native American and Southwest art. Strengths of the nearly 17,000-object permanent collection include the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism, one of the most important gifts of art ever given to a U.S. public university.

The University of Oklahoma Libraries has more than 6 million volumes, commanding the lead as the state’s largest research library.  

OU maintains one of the most important collections of early manuscripts in the history of science in the United States. It includes Galileo’s own copy of his work, which first used the telescope to support the Copernican theory, with corrects in his own handwriting.

The OU Libraries recently opened the Peggy V. Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center, which features a collaborative classroom and flexible work space areas. It includes a variety of individual and group study areas, such as seminar space, a Community Room, a Digital Scholarship Lab, and group meeting and research areas.

OU’s Julian P. Kanter Political Commercial Archive houses the world’s largest collection of U.S. political commercials. With more than 95,000 commercials, the archive includes political advertisements dating back to 1936 for radio and 1950 for television.  

OU’s Western History Collections is one of the largest collections in the world of documents and photographs, including a rare multivolume portfolio on the Indians of the United States and Alaska by Edward S. Curtis. 

The Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center houses the papers of nearly 60 former members of Congress, making it the nation’s most comprehensive center for congressional studies.

OU has been named a top 50 best college for Latino students by Latino Leaders, a magazine dedicated to connecting and inspiring future leaders. The publication honors academic institutions that have excelled in serving the Latino student population.

For the second year in a row, OU is a recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, the only national award honoring individual colleges or universities for their outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses.

OU is a leader among all American universities in international exchange and study abroad programs. OU has expanded study abroad programs to include popular programs in Arezzo, Italy; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Puebla, Mexico. One in three OU students study abroad during a four-year period with one in five of those students participating at OU’s signature study abroad program in Arezzo, Italy.

The university is closing in on reaching a four-year goal to increase the number of students studying abroad by 50 percent. OU currently offers programs in 88 countries and over 220 cities on six continents. Students from more than 120 countries are enrolled at OU. 

The OU Cousins program matches U.S. and international students to share informal and social experiences.  Students may volunteer to live on international floors with half of the residents from the United States and half from other countries.  

The creation of a Native Nations Center and the appointment of a tribal liaison officer provide research and policy resources for tribal nations, along with grants and research opportunities for OU students and faculty and scholars across the nation. 

In 2015, the Native American Studies program was elevated to full department status  under the College of Arts and Sciences, providing additional resources and academic opportunities for students on the Norman campus. 

Four Native American languages are taught at the University of Oklahoma, more than any other university in the world. 

The University of Oklahoma ranks in the top five in the nation in the number of undergraduate degrees conferred to Native American students, according to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.  

The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at OU is home to the Native American Journalists Association, the oldest and largest international organization for indigenous journalists. 

OU has been recognized as an outstanding university for Hispanic students by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine.

OU requires all incoming students to participate in the Diversity and Inclusivity Experience , a five-hour curriculum-based training.

To centralize oversight for all diversity programs within the University, including Admissions, OU established the position of Vice President for the University Community which reports directly to the President. 

All OU colleges have designated faculty or staff who address Diversity, Community and Inclusion initiatives. 

Freshman enrollment of minority students at OU has increased by 8.1 percent over the last two years, with the African American student population having increased by more than 14 percent overall.

The OU Health Sciences Center is one of only four comprehensive academic health centers in the nation with seven professional schools: Allied Health, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Graduate Studies.  

With more than 660 doctors , OU Physicians is the state’s largest physician group.  The practice encompasses nearly every adult and child specialty.  

Many OU Physicians have expertise in the management of complex conditions that is unavailable anywhere else in the state, region or sometimes even the nation.  Some have pioneered surgical procedures or innovations in patient care that are world firsts.  

OU Children’s Physicians is a group of 200 doctors  who practice as part of OU Physicians. These specialists see many children with birth defects, critical injuries or serious diseases who can’t be helped elsewhere. Oklahoma doctors and parents rely on OU Children’s Physicians’ depth of experience, nationally renowned expertise and sensitivity to children’s emotional needs. 

The Stephenson Cancer Center, the largest public-private biomedical initiative in Oklahoma history, provides patient-centered care, offering the most advanced cancer detection and treatment technology, the largest and most experienced group of cancer specialists, a wide array of supportive services and an environment that provides a warm and comforting experience for patients and caregivers.   

Harold Hamm Diabetes Center is one of the top comprehensive diabetes centers in the world for adults and children with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, engaging in novel research aimed at progress toward a cure for diabetes and its complications, providing dramatically improved patient care, and preventing the spread of diabetes through education and early detection. 

The OU Schusterman Center is home to all OU programs in Tulsa. Located on a 60-acre campus at 41st and Yale, it strengthens OU’s presence in northeast Oklahoma and expands educational, research and patient care programs in the Tulsa area.  

OU-Tulsa is a nationally noted center for higher education offering a wide range of more than 30 undergraduate, Master’s and Doctorate level degrees as well as graduate certificates. Programs include architecture, engineering, education, nursing, public health, occupational and physical therapy, human relations, library and information studies, organizational dynamics, public administration, social work, as well as medicine through the OU-TU School of Community Medicine.

OU-Tulsa is home to the School of Community Medicine, the first of its kind in the nation, created with the explicit purpose of improving the health of all Oklahoma communities. 

Last fall, for the first time in the history of OU College of Medicine in Tulsa, all four years of medical school are offered at the Schusterman Center through the OU-TU School of Community Medicine. The OU-TU School of Community Medicine, a joint effort of the University of Tulsa and OU, is among the nation’s leaders in the growing field of community medicine, which focuses on population-based health outcomes.  

OU’s 277-acre Research Campus is anchored by the Stephenson Research and Technology Center, where cutting-edge research into life science fields ranging from robotics to genomic studies is taking place, and the National Weather Center, which houses OU’s academic and research programs in meteorology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Norman-based weather, research and operations programs. 

OU’s Research Campus was named the No. 1 research campus in the nation in 2013, placing it among such past recipients as the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Purdue Research Park in Indiana and University City Center in Pennsylvania. 

OU has achieved the Carnegie Foundation’s highest tier of research activity classification, the first time a public institution in Oklahoma has received this outstanding recognition. 

OU has been awarded the largest federal contract in its history – an eight-year, $161 million contract by NASA to advance understanding of Earth’s natural exchanges of carbon between the land, atmosphere and ocean. 

In 2016, the Sooner Rover Team, a competitive student team from the OU Gallogly College of Engineering, earned top honors in NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts—Academic Linkage Robo-Ops Challenge. Sooner Rover Team achieved first place over seven other universities around the nation, as well as an engineering team from NASA.

OU is one of a small number of Division I-A universities in the nation to receive the Changing Athletes’ Minds for Personal Success award for preparing student-athletes for life. The award is based on academic excellence, athletic excellence, personal development, community service and career development.

The OU Sooners have won 32 national championships in men’s and women’s sports with the latest this past Spring when the Sooner softball team won its third NCAA title. Also this past Spring, both the OU men’s and OU women’s gymnastics teams became the first in U.S. history to sweep the NCAA gymnastics titles.

More than 300 Sooner student-athletes were named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll each semester last year. More than 100 OU student-athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA last year.