Created in 1890, the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus is home to all of the University of Oklahoma’s academic programs except health-related fields. OU Norman also offers some programs at the Schusterman Center, the university’s campus in Tulsa. OU enrolls more than 30,000 students, has more than 2,400 full-time faculty members, and has 21 colleges offering 163 majors at the bachelor’s level, 166 majors at the masters level, 81 majors at the doctoral level, 27 majors at the doctoral professional level, and 26 graduate certificates. The annual operating budget at OU is $1.5 billion.
The university ranks No. 1 in the nation among all public universities in the number of National Merit Scholars it enrolls, with a record 225 National Merit Scholars in the 2010 freshman class. In addition, The Princeton Review ranks OU among the top 10 public U.S. universities in the nation in terms of academic excellence and student cost.
OU also has active and popular international exchange and study abroad programs, offering opportunities in more than 50 countries and 100 cities on six continents.
The OU Norman Campus offers its students a wide range of 150 majors, along with dual degree programs, graduate programs, and teacher certification programs. The 18 individual colleges and schools include the College of Architecture, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Allied Science, College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences. Michael F. Price College of Business, Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Law, College of Medicine, Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Liberal Studies, and the School of International and Area Studies.
The College of Arts and Sciences offers majors that include African and African American Studies, Anthropology, Astronomy, Biochemistry, Chinese, Classics, Communication, Economics, English, Film and Video Studies, French, German, History, International Studies, Linguistics, Native American Studies, Russian, Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies.
Students who are undecided about their majors can enroll in University College, which is set up to help an estimated 30 percent of freshman students decide on a major. University College prepare students before they enroll in OU’s degree-granting colleges after they complete 24 credits. The University College Gateway to College Learning courses also help students develop study skills and manage their time and stress.
The University College also offers students free mini-courses as part of its Student Success Series of seminars designed to help new students adjust, and freshman seminars, which give incoming students the chance to study unique subjects that aren’t offered in regular courses. Courses in this series have ranged from studies of Harry Potter to the Central Intelligence Agency.
At the University College, there’s also academic advising, and free Action Tutoring programs.
The Honors College provides students who qualify with a challenging academic program and interdisciplinary curriculum with small classes that prepare students for advanced study leading to a bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or other bachelors degrees offered at the University. Students in the Honors College are required to complete a senior thesis with help from a faculty mentor. The Honors College also offers its students a chance to study abroad in different countries over the summer.
The Sooner Upward Bound Program prepares 50 eligible students from inner-city targeted high schools for college entry and success. The program features rigorous academics and counseling, to provide students with three years of continuous preparation for college beginning in the spring of their high school ninth grade. Students accepted into the program follow an academic year curriculum and attend the six-week Sooner Academic Institute held on the University of Oklahoma campus for three consecutive summers. The academic year curriculum consists of bi-monthly meetings, monthly assignments and on-going academic advising. The program aims to develop college competency among participating students in math, reading, writing, sciences, and academic/study skills.
OU holds three Camp Crimson orientation camps for new students every summer. The camp is a three-day crash course on what it means to be a “Sooner” and how to succeed at the university. Attendees get three days/two nights room and board, all meals, a yearbook, T-shirts and giveaways.
OU’s Bizzell Memorial Library is located in the heart of the campus and is the main library building within the University Libraries. The OU library contains the largest research collection in the state of Oklahoma, including more than 5 million volumes and more than 17,900 periodicals and special collections. The library’s Peggy V. Helmerich Great Reading Room is a favorite student study location.
The university’s Education Abroad office provides 174 student exchanges in 66 countries that allow students to earn credit while studying abroad and students from around the world to study at the Norman campus. The OU Cousins program also pairs up U.S. and international students so they can create cross-cultural friendships.
University of Oklahoma also offers students the chance to embark on faculty-led travel programs for anywhere from one to five weeks in duration. Program have included Journey to China and Summer in Germany. The OU in Arezzo program in Italy is the university’s signature study abroad site, and OU students can study there for a semester, a year or a summer.
Most Popular Fields of Study
For prospective students who are Oklahoma residents, the minimum criteria for undergraduate admission to the University of Oklahoma includes an unweighted grade point average of at least a 3.0 and rank in the top 25% of your high school graduating class, or an ACT score of at least 24 and a GPA of at least a 3.0, or an ACT score of at least 24 and rank in the top 50% of your high school graduating class. Another option, for students who take the SATs, is an SAT score of at least 1090 and a GPA of at least a 3.0 or an SAT score of at least 1090 and rank in the top 50% of your high school graduating class.
For non-resident prospective students, the requirements are a bit higher, including a GPA of 3.5 and rank in the top 25 percent of your graduating class, or an ACT score of at least a 26 and a GPA of 3.0 or higher, or an ACT score of at least a 26 and rank in the top 50 percent of your graduating class. Students who take the SAT must have a minimum score of 1170 and a GPA of 3.0, or an SAT score of 1170 and class rank in the top 50 percent.
OU offers a number of opportunities for student visits to the campus. General tours are conducted by OU students and staff and provide a look at the campus facilities and community. Tours are offered twice a day Monday through Friday, and on Saturday mornings. You can book tours by phone or online. In addition, every third Friday of the month, a representative from the OU Health Science Center will be on the campus to provide information to prospective students interested in health professions, and every Monday and Friday, the College of Engineering hosts an information session and tour for future students interested in engineering. Also every Monday and Friday, the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers tours and information sessions for prospective students.
OU’s well-known National Weather Center hosts tours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the Michael F. Price College of Business offers student tours every Friday. The OU Department of Aviation, which offers a Bachelor of Science degree in four different aviation concentrations, will arrange a tour of the north campus, also known as Westheimer Airport, for prospective students and families.
Depending on where you live, you can reach the Norman OU campus via Amtrak or by booking a flight into the Will Rogers World Airport In Oklahoma City, about 30 minutes away.
Numerous opportunities for financial aid await students at OU. Generally, about 78% of OU students are awarded some type of financial assistance and the total amount of aid for those recipients amounts to more than $195 million. The aid is a combination of scholarships, grants, loans, work-study and tuition waivers. Incoming students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for financial aid.
National Merit Scholarships are available to students for as much as $45,500 for in-state students and $89,500 for non-resident students, and those scholarships include laptop allowances and study abroad stipends. For Oklahoma residents, the state offers a State Regents Academic Scholars scholarship of up to about $23,000, which includes a partial tuition waiver plus a cash award for four years. The OU Award of Excellence awards partial tuition waivers of up to $10,000 for Oklahoma students and up to $20,000 for out-of-state students, and a scholarship for Honors students provides a partial tuition waiver of up to $8,000 for Oklahoma students and $16,000 for out-of-state students.
The American Indian Scholars Program awards tuition waivers to OU out-of-state students of up to $12,800, and Presidents Community scholarships of up to $18,000 are awarded to out-of-state students based on their community service backgrounds.
Student Financial Aid Details
There are plenty of housing and dining options at a campus as large as the University of Oklahoma, and housing is guaranteed to all freshmen. In fact, single freshmen students under the age of 20 must live in a University residence hall, unless they have already earned 24 or more hours of college credit or have already lived in University residence halls for two academic semesters.
Residence halls include Adams Center, a huge, four-tower residence hall connected by a first-floor lobby that features a Burger King restaurant and Sooner Malt Shop. Rooms in Adams Center are double rooms with twin beds, dressers, desks, wardrobes, basic cable TV, and wireless Internet connections. Adams also features a quiet study area and basement laundry.
The Cates Center is a complex of three residence halls, and the Honors College. The four-story residence halls feature double rooms with community bathrooms that are cleaned by housekeeping staff each day. Cates also has study lounges and TV lounges on the first floor of each building. The Cate Main portion of the complex features a number of restaurants, including Roscoes Coffee Shop, Cinnabon and Taco Mayo, a lounge with pool and ping-pong tables, and TVs.
The Couch Center residence hall features double rooms and has a Global Community floor, where students from other countries can live together. The floor is 50 percent International students, and 50 percent American students, all matched as roommates. The Global Community Floor also is the only area in OU residence halls with a kitchen. Couch Express, a late night snack shop, a 24-hour computer lab, and a laundry room are a few of the amenities found at Couch.
Walker Center is another large residence hall with double rooms, an the on-campus convenience store, a lounge with ping pong and pool tables, and a 24-hour computer lab. Student athletes get to live at the Sooner Housing Center, which is located across the street from the football stadium. Sooner has a variety of housing options, including two-person rooms with private bathrooms, to single rooms with community bathrooms. The residence hall also has its own cafeteria and recreation lounge.
More than 4,500 students have also chosen to join fraternities and sororities at OU. There are 50 active Greek chapters, including 18 Interfraternity Council fraternities, 11 fraternities and sororities that make up the Multicultural Greek Council, nine fraternities and sororities that are part of the historically African-American Pan-Hellenic Council, and 11 sororities that are part of the Panhellenic Association.
Dining on Campus
OU has 22 restaurants on campus, including the Couch Restaurant, which can seat 750 patrons at one time and is divided into 14 different restaurant concepts. Students congregate at the Bookmark Cafe, located in the basement of Bizzell Memorial Library and serving coffee drinks, salads and sandwiches.
The university has an unusual perk for students who live in the residence halls, the nearby Kraettli Apartments or OU Traditions Square apartments: room service. Seriously. You can call in your order to Cate a la Carte and select from its menu of pizza, sandwiches, salads and snacks, and use your meal plan.
The OU campus is organized into two main sections: the North Oval and South Oval, and the sheer size of the campus means that some students might have to walk up to 20 minutes from dorms to classroom buildings. There are benches, gardens, and fountains dotting the campus. At the Memorial Union, students can stop in for a bit to eat at one of seven different chain restaurants including Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Crossroads Restaurant, The Laughing Tomato, Quiznos and Sbarro.
Also at the Union, you can find one of the university’s two bookstores, a copy center, the Flint Study Center Computer Lab, a bank, ATM machine, post office, a student art gallery, and the WIRE, the university’s student-run radio station. The Union is also home to the offices of the UO alumni association, Office of Career Services, Center for Leadership Development, Student Affairs, and more.
The Student Life Office at OU serves all students and has special services for African-American, American Indian, Asian American, and Latino students, along with an office serving LGBTQ students and a Women’s Outreach Center.
OU hosts more than 400 active student organizations, representing just about every interest, cultural, and political group. Organizations and clubs include Advocates for Sexual Assault Awareness, African and African American Student Advisory Committee, African Christian Fellowship, Alpha Sigma Kappa-Women in Technical Studies, American Civil Liberties Union, American Indian Law Review, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, American Indian Student Association, Amnesty International, Arab Student Association, Baptist Student Union, Black Student Association,
Boheme Student Theatre Troupe, Christians on Campus, Crimson Beat Hip-Hop Club, and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Friends.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The University of Oklahoma Sooners are members of the NCAA Division 1, and the university offers plenty of intercollegiate teams for athlete and school spirit for the campus in general.
The OU Sooners have won 26 team national championships, the most recent an 8th national title in 2008 for the Sooners men’s gymnastics team. In 2000, the Sooners won two national championships, one in football and the other in softball.
Men’s teams are baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, soccer, track and field, indoor track, outdoor track, tennis, and wrestling. Women’s teams are basketball, cross country, gymnastics, golf, soccer, softball, track and field, indoor track, outdoor track, tennis, and volleyball.
In case you’re wondering where the team name Sooners comes from, it is derived from the Civil War era, when the Homestead Act of 1862 provided that a legal settler could claim 160 acres of public land, and those who lived on and improved the land for five years could receive title to the land. In April of 1889, those who wanted land in the Oklahoma Territory could participate in the “Oklahoma Land Run,” when starting signals were given at different points of entry and people could race to land stakes to claim property.
But all participants were supposed to start at the same time, and those who embarked too soon were called “Sooners.” In some cases, the Sooners were land surveyors, railroad employees, and officers of the law who were able to legally enter the territory early to mark out pieces of land for themselves.
- The University of Oklahoma. The University of Oklahoma. Web. 4 May 2011.
- SoonerSports.com | Official Site of the Oklahoma Sooners. University of Oklahoma Sports. Web. 04 May 2011.
- Graduate College – University of Oklahoma. The University of Oklahoma. Web. 04 May 2011.
- “University of Oklahoma | Best College | US News.” US News & World Report | News & Rankings | Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, and More. US News & World Report. Web. 04 May 2011.