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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 colleges offer programs at the Schusterman Center, the site of OU-Tulsa. OU enrolls more than 30,000 students, has more than 2,700 full-time faculty members and has 21 colleges offering 171 majors at the baccalaureate level, 152 majors at the master’s level, 79 majors at the doctoral level, 32 majors at the doctoral professional level, and 35 graduate certificates. The university’s annual operating budget is $1.8 billion. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.


In 2015 OU became the first public university in U.S. history to be ranked No. 1 in freshman National Merit Scholars enrolled.

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

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.

This year’s freshman class is the biggest and best in OU history! The class is the highest ranked in OU history and in Oklahoma history at a public university with an average 26.4 ACT for incoming freshmen and is the largest in OU history, with more than 4,175 students. 

The Princeton Review consistently ranks OU among the best in the nation in terms of academic excellence and cost for students.

OU has consistently been designated as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys by Institutional Research & Evaluation, an independent higher education research and consulting organization.

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 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.

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 sciences or engineering. 

With construction underway, OU will become 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 will become the cornerstone of the undergraduate experience.

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

The OU Honors College is one of the top 25 programs at a public university in the nation based on A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs. Also on the list are the Echols Scholars Program at the University of Virginia; the College of Literature, Science and the Arts Honors Program at the University of Michigan; and Honors Carolina at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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

OU is the only Big 12 university to be named in the top 10 of the most impressive historic college campuses in the nation.

OU's fall-to-fall retentioin rate this year for freshmen is at a university all-time high of 86.1 percent.

OU averaged the lowest increase in tuition and fees nationwide for the five-year period from 2008-09 to 2013-14 at a statewide public university over the last five years, according to a 2013 College Board report.

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 has 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.

To provide additional diversity and inclusion resources and learning opportunities to members of the OU community, the University has elevated its Native American Studies Program to the department level, created a Native Nations Sovereignty Center and appointed a Tribal Liaison Officer.

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

In honor of OU’s 125th anniversary, the University has launched a $500 million private fundraising campaign, of which the largest component is to raise $100 million to provide undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships.

OU’s $250 million Campaign for Scholarships has reached $285 million in gifts and pledges. The success of the campaign has allowed OU to more than double its private scholarships.

OU continues to break private fundraising records, with more than $2.3 billion in gifts and pledges since 1994, which has provided funding for dramatic capital improvements, the growth in faculty endowment and student scholarships.

OU has increased, from 94 to 562, the number of endowed faculty positions in the past 22 years, demonstrating a strong commitment to excellence.

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 600 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 offers six bachelor’s degree completion programs; 14 master’s degree programs, including physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs; doctoral programs in medicine, physical therapy, education, early childhood education, engineering, pharmacy and nursing, as well as nine residency programs in medicine.

OU-Tulsa is home to the OU 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.

The four-year School of Community Medicine – a joint effort of the University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma – welcomed the first entering class in the Fall of 2015.

OU’s 277-acre Research Campus is anchored by the Stephenson Research and Technology Center, where cutting-edge research includes radar technology, meteorology, genetics, energy and the life sciences. The campus is home to 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 is a leader among all American universities in international exchange and study abroad programs. OU currently offers programs in 82 countries and over 240 cities in six continents. OU is closing in on reaching our four-year goal to increase the number of students studying abroad by 50 percent.

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 studies. 

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 OU College of Law is Oklahoma’s premiere 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 six consecutive years, the OU law school has been named a “Best Value” law school by National Jurist Magazine.

OU law students make public service a core value. Pro bono volunteering has almost tripled in the last three years to more than 14,000 hours this past year. 

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 in the digital world. Every law student has been provided with an iPad, which will help students learn to research, annotate, organize and present in the digital medium.

The OU College of Law publishes the only law journal in the United States devoted exclusively to Native American legal issues. 

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 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. 

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 10th consecutive year as a top 25 program by U.S. News & World Report.

OU’s Honors College offers one of the most energetic and creative honors programs among public universities in the United States. More than 3,000 students participate in small classes, usually of 19 or less. More than 80 informal reading groups have been created each year for five years, with a total participation of approximately 4,500 Honors and non-Honors students.

OU Outreach is one of the largest continuing higher education organizations in the nation and annually serves more than 200,000 learners around the world.

OU President David 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.

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.

OU is home to one of the two largest natural history museums in the world associated with a university.  The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History has more than 10 million artifacts and contains 195,000 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 last year, 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 22 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 5 million volumes,  commanding lead as the state’s largest research library and claiming one of the top two spots in size among Big 12 libraries.

The University of Oklahoma maintains one of the three 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 corrections 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 has been named a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.

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

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.

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 Neustadt laureates, candidates and jurors have won the Nobel Prize in the past 44 years.

The Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center houses the papers of more than 55 former members of Congress, making it the nation’s most comprehensive center for congressional studies.

Five 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.

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

Since 1994, more than $2 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 Oklahoma Cancer Center.

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 28 national championships in men’s and women’s sports with the latest in 2014 when the women’s gymnastics team won its first NCAA title.

More than 300 Sooner student-athletes were named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll each semester last year. More than 50 OU student-athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA last year.

Since its creation in 1998, OU’s Office of Technology Development has helped launch 36 companies that have generated more than $96 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 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 Oklahoma Daily, OU's student newspaper, and Sooner Yearbook are consistently ranked among the best in the country.

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

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.