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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 over 30,000 students, has more than 2,700 full-time faculty members and has 21 colleges offering 166 majors at the baccalaureate level, 153 majors at the master’s level, 79 majors at the doctoral level, 36 majors at the doctoral professional level, and 34 graduate certificates. The university’s annual operating budget is $1.7 billion. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution.


OU ranks No. 1 in the nation among all public institutions in the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled, with more than 750 National Merit Scholars and has the largest number of freshman National Merit Scholars ever enrolled at OU with 311 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 state history at a public university with an average 26.4 ACT for incoming freshmen, has the largest number of freshman National Merit Scholars ever enrolled at OU with 311 Scholars and is the largest in OU history, with more than 4,175 students. 

The Princeton Review 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 students excelled in every area last year, winning Goldwater, Truman and Fulbright scholarships.

OU is the first public university in the nation to be awarded the prestigious Davis Cup in recognition of its record-setting enrollment of 45 United World College international freshmen in 2013.

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’s Debate Teams have won the National University Debate Championship four times in the last eight years, with an OU student earning the Title of Best Speaker at this years’ 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. The campaign will also fund new residential colleges and classroom and laboratory upgrades; and endowments for faculty fellowships, university wide initiatives and college programs.

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 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 100 to 562, the number of endowed faculty positions in the past 19 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 building represents the largest public-private biomedical initiative in Oklahoma history.  The 210,000-square-foot facility 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.

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 #1 research campus in the nation, 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.

The Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon 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 book clubs have been created in the past three years.

OU is a leader among all American universities in international exchange and study abroad programs. One of the more popular places to study abroad is OU’s program in Arezzo, Italy, that serves as an OU European campus for more than 250 students and faculty-in-residence on a year-round basis. One in four OU students study abroad during a four-year period. OU currently offers programs in over 60 countries and 200 cities in six continents. Students from 140 countries are enrolled at OU.

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. The OU College of Law is the highest ranked law school in Oklahoma, according to U.S. News & World Report, and for the second year in a row, the OU law school was named a top 20 “Best Value” 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. 

This year, 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 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, teaches an introductory course in political science each semester, and keeps in close touch with students.

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 in May, 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 19 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 Eugene B. Adkins Collection, shared with the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa; the James T. Bialac Collection; the Dr. and Mrs. Richard L. Sandor Photography Collection; the Priscilla C. and Joseph N. Tate Collection; the Roxanne P. and William H. Thams Collection; and the Richard H. and Adeline J. Fleischaker Collection.

Bizzell Memorial Library, a National Historic Landmark, along with Cherokee Gothic buildings and beautiful landscaping and gardens were cited in the ranking of the nation’s 25 most beautiful college campuses by, a digital media group with 11 million viewers. Also on the list are Yale, Harvard and Princeton universities, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, among others. OU is the only university in the Big 12 to be selected.

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 and 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.

The One University Digital Initiative allows OU faculty to develop digital alternatives to high-cost textbooks, translating to an annual savings averaging $400 per student in textbook costs.

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 Collection 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 43 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.

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

OU finished 19th in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup for the 2013-14 academic year, marking OU’s fifth straight top 20 finish.

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.

Four student-athletes were named to Academic All-America teams, six Sooner student-athletes were named to Academic All-District first teams, and 202 were named to conference All-Academic teams.

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.

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.

A major beautification campaign has transformed the appearance of the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. The project replaced a divided highway through campus with seven tiered gardens featuring traditional OU arches at each end. The pedestrian walkway’s landmarks include an OU Seed Sower sculpture at the west end, a clock tower at the east end, and a 70-foot granite fountain in the center.

For the outdoor improvements to the Norman campus — gardens, fountains, sculptures, benches — the University of Oklahoma has won first place in the education category for Beautification and Landscaping in the statewide environmental competition. Gifts of over $3 million have permanently endowed OU’s gardens. In addition, OU recently unveiled the new Scholars Walk, a new pedestrian walkway on the east side of OU’s South Oval that will honor outstanding students and faculty.

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.

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

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.