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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 ranks No. 1 in the nation among all public institutions in the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled, with more than 1,000 enrolled 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 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.

One OU student was named a 2018 Goldwater Scholars, placing OU in the top ranks of universities nationally with 53 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 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 No. 1 in the United States in the total enrollment of Davis UWC Scholars - 212 Scholars from 79 countries.

To accommodate growing student demand, the David L. Boren College of International Studies was created at OU in 2011. The college offers 10 majors, an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program and a joint juris doctorate/master’s in international and area studies.

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. Over 40 percent of OU undergraduate students study abroad during a four-year period, with 20 percent of those students participating in 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. 

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.  

In 2018-2018, more than $21.8 million in privately funded scholarships were awarded to undergraduate and graduate students.

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

Over tha past 20 years, OU has seen exponential growth in the number of privately funded endowed faculty positions, which allow OU to recruit, retain and reward top faculty who excel in the classroom and in their research. In OU's first 105 years, 101 endowed faculty positions were established. Currently, OU has 550 endowed faculty chairs, endowe professorships and Presidential Professors.

Since 2011, the OU Office of Technology Development has generated more than $23 million in royalty/license and reimbursement income back to the university. In addition, the office has evaluated over 500 unique innovations, filed 350 patents and funded over $850,000 in translational research efforts across OU's three campuses.  

The One University Digital Initiative, along with other university initiatives, promotes Open Educational Resources and faculty-created eBooks, translating into an annual savings of more than $555 per student in textbook costs between 2012 and 2017.

OU's online bachelor's degree programs, offered through OU Extended Campus, consistently rank among the top online programs in the nation for veterans in U.S. News & World Report's assessment of schools and universities. The publication considered 97 schools in their evaluation of U.S higher education options for nontraditional learners in 2018, and OU was among the top eight public institutions included on the list.  

OU’s Honors College offers one of the most energetic and creative honors programs among public universities in the United States. Students in the program can enjoy the opportunity to enroll in small sections of 22 or less.

Each fall, the Honors College's David Ray Informal Reading Groups program attracts some 40 to 50 groups, or about 400 to 500 participants, annually. Some 6,500 Honors and non-Honors students have participated in the reading groups over the program's nine years of existence. Thanks to the generous support of Will and Helen Webster and support from the Honors College Board of Visitors, the college has been able to provide over 10,000 books for the program at no cost to participants.

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. 

Established in 1928, the award-winning OU Press is the oldest in the Southwest. 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.

OU's Electrical and Computer Engineering program had external research expenditures of nearly $10 million in fiscal year 2018; research topics range from medical imaging funded by the National Institutes of Health to radar research and development through OU's nationally recognized Advanced Radar Research Center.

The OU College of Law is one of the premier institutions for legal education in the United States. In the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, OU Law rose nine spots to No. 63 in the nation. 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 out of more than 200 law schools. OU Law graduates consistently lead the state in bar exam passage rates, with a 95 percent passage rate for first-time exam takers on July 2017 bar exam.

For the past two years, OU Law’s moot court competition program has been ranked in the top five in the nation by the Blakely Advocacy Institute. This marks the sixth consecutive year the college has been ranked a top 20 moot court program. OU Law’s 2018 competition season culminated with three national championships and a fifth-place spot in the American Bar Association’s inaugural Competitions Championship, solidifying the college as one of the top law schools in the nation for competitions and moot court.

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 24,000 hours of pro bono service – a number that eclipses the roughly 5,000 hours students were completing just eight years ago. A record-setting 100 percent 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.

Entering freshmen in the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts have an average ACT score of 27.3, second only to Engineering.

Collaboration is a cornerstone in the School of Dance, with active collaborations with World Literature Today, Beijing Normal University, Oklahoma City Ballet, Hawaii Classical Ballet and the OU schools of Music, Drama and Musical Theatre.

The Helmerich School of Drama presented a showcase of seniors and alumni in Chicago with every theatre, casting director and agency in the area in attendance and four students signed to Chicago agencies as a result of the showcase.

A gift from fine arts patrons John and Lou Waller has established an endowed outreach program that takes the fine arts to Norman Public School students on an annual basis.

Every year, students across the College of Fine Arts have significant opportunities to work with guest artists, including directors, choreographers, designers, alumni, playwrights, artists, casting directors, vocal coaches, music directors and musicians.

In the 2017-18 academic year, School of Music students placed first in composition in the Music Teacher National Association Competition, first in the solo tuba competition of the Tuba and Euphonium Association, and first at the North American Saxophone Alliance.

In addition, School of Drama students won meritorious awards in lighting design, scene design, costume design, stage management and costume technology at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Regional Event. Two acting students competed at the national festival, with both taking home awards

Fine Arts majors at OU work during and beyond their undergraduate careers at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Santa Fe Opera, Walt Disney World, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, Dallas Shakespeare Festival, Tulsa Ballet and Ballet Arkansas.

During the 2017-18 season, School of Musical Theatre students appeared in six Broadway shows, five national tours and three international tours.

Funding for travel and special projects by fine arts students and faculty is provided by The Dean's Circle support group and the gala fundraiser, Arts! Arts! Arts! with a four-year total of over $250,000. In addition, each of the five schools in the college has a devoted group of patrons that raise many thousands of dollars for scholarships annually.

The OU School of Visual Arts, in collaboration with the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, received a $750,000 Andrew Mellon Foundation Grant in support of a four-year initiative to increase cultural diversity while seeking to grow a mutually beneficial relationship between OU's doctoral programs in Native American Art and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

OU’s Michael F. Price College of Business boasts 28 nationally ranked programs. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the college’s undergraduate program in the top 50 on its list of “Best Undergraduate Business Programs.” It also ranks the newly named Tom Love Center for Entrepreneurship in the top 15, alongside the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine rankings of Price College’s Entrepreneurship programs in the Top 10 in the country.

OU’s Full-Time and Professional MBA Programs are among Bloomberg Businessweek’s Best B-Schools of 2017 and have been ranked as a Tier 1 program by CEO Magazine the past three years. Find-MBA ranks Price College’s energy offerings through the Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA and Executive MBA in Energy as No. 3 worldwide for the third consecutive year.

This past March, U.S. News & World Report moved Price College’s Full-Time MBA ranking up seven spots to place the OU MBA among the top 40 of public universities. Even more impressive is the 20-point rise of the Professional MBA ranking, among the largest increases among PMBA programs in the nation, and this same program is now in the Top 25 of public b-schools nationally, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

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. Latino students represented the second-largest minority in the 2017 freshman class, which was the most diverse class in the university’s history.

Freshman enrollment of minority students at OU has increased by 8.1 percent over the past two years, with the overall African American student population alone increasing by more than 7 percent over the same time period. Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in OU’s freshman class, increasing by 18 percent over the past two years. Native American enrollment follows, with an increase of 12 percent over the past two years.

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. The HEED Award is given by INSIGHT Into Diversity, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. OU also has been recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity as a “Diversity Champion” and one of only 15 institutions in the nation, public or private, to receive the award.

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 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.

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 1,000 doctors and advanced practice providers, OU Physicians is the state’s largest physician group. The practice encompasses almost 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 more than 320 doctors and advanced practice providers who practice as part of OU Physicians. The majority of OU Children’s Physicians are board certified in children’s specialties. Many provide pediatric-specific services unavailable elsewhere in the state. Some have pioneered surgical procedures or innovations in patient care that are world firsts.

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

The Stephenson Cancer Center recently received prestigious National Cancer Institutes Designation and is now the only NCI-Designated Cancer Center in Oklahoma. With this award, the Stephenson Cancer Center joins an elite group of 70 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide. Achieving this prestigious designation has been a top priority for the university for more than 15 years. It highlights the Stephenson Cancer Center’s leading place among the top cancer centers in the nation, and it ensures that our citizens have access to the highest standard of cancer care, right here in Oklahoma. NCI-Designated Cancer Centers represent only the top 2 percent of cancer centers in the United States.

The Stephenson Cancer Center has the largest and most comprehensive oncology practice in the state.

Harold Hamm Diabetes Center is one of the top comprehensive diabetes centers in the world for adults and children with all types of 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.

Harold Hamm Diabetes Center serves as custodian of the Hamm Prize, the world’s largest prize for diabetes research.

OU has been offering programs in Tulsa for more than 60 years. The Schusterman Center campus, located on 60 acres at 41st and Yale Avenue, is home to all OU programs in Tulsa.

OU-Tulsa is a nationally noted center for higher education offering a wide range of more than 30 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral-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 and social work, as well as medicine and physician assistant programs, through the OU-TU School of Community Medicine.

OU-Tulsa is home to the OU-TU 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 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 Physicians in Tulsa opened a new practice location in south Tulsa at 106th and Memorial. This new location allows OU Physicians in Tulsa to bring OU health services to all areas of Tulsa.

The Office of Community Engagement was established at OU-Tulsa to create an infrastructure that supports and advances community engagement efforts across colleges, departments and programs.

The Tandy Education Center at OU-Tulsa hosted more than 1,556 hours of simulation training for students, faculty and the community over the past year (2017-18).

The 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 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.

OU has achieved the Carnegie Foundation’s highest tier of research activity, the only public institution in Oklahoma to receive this outstanding achievement.

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.

In April 2018, 20 students on the Gallogly College of Engineering Concrete Canoe team raised their paddles in victory after winning first place at the Mid-Continent Regional Competition at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. OU will host the competition in 2019.

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.