What OU is All About

This is an archived copy of the 2019-2020 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit https://ou-public.courseleaf.com/.

south oval at OU


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.

The University of Oklahoma recognizes, appreciates and actively pursues its special responsibility to help make Oklahoma a great place in which to live and work. The university also is part of a world community of scholars, and its activities make national and international contributions. Graduates of the university hold important leadership positions in the state and throughout the world. As the university meets its broad scholarly responsibilities, it targets many activities to bring maximum benefits to the state.

To encourage excellence, the university attracts, develops and retains outstanding faculty and staff; attracts capable students who will provide future leadership for the state, region and nation; provides superior library, laboratory, classroom, performance and computer facilities; and engages in ongoing planning, analysis and management for the effective use of its resources.

Undergraduate Education

The university uses the liberal-professional model of education to provide undergraduates with the knowledge and skills needed to contribute and succeed in a rapidly changing global society. Capitalizing upon the strengths of an outstanding faculty unique to a research university, OU offers undergraduate education in a wide array of majors to meet the interests of students and the needs of the state. Admission to undergraduate programs is selective. Students are expected to be above the average for college applicants in ability and to have the maturity to work diligently and effectively in a demanding academic environment.

The university endeavors to instill in its undergraduates the tradition of lifelong learning, the capacity for critical thinking, the ability to work effectively in groups, the flexibility to adapt successfully to a rapidly changing world, and an enthusiasm for creativity. These qualities enrich an individual’s life and enable one to contribute to the making of a better world.

University of Oklahoma graduates understand our rich human heritage; comprehend differing approaches used by the arts, humanities and sciences in creating that heritage; develop the ability to make ethical, critical and analytical judgments; and use spoken, written and symbolic language to communicate effectively.

Graduate Programs

The University of Oklahoma and the Graduate College are committed to providing the best graduate education possible for its students, an education that prepares its graduates to assume leadership positions in the fields and professions in which they are educated. Admission to the graduate programs is highly selective. Students are expected to have superior academic ability, a high level of motivation, and commitment to their discipline or profession. Strong emphasis is placed on faculty strength in teaching, research and creative activity; a critical mass of faculty and students; student quality; compatibility with other established university programs; and contributions to the state and nation’s health, cultural, scientific, social and economic needs.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

National and international recognition in research, scholarship and creative activity in disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas is one of the primary goals of the University of Oklahoma. Consequently, faculty members at the University of Oklahoma are national leaders in their fields and, as such, are outstanding role models for students. They actively seek and obtain external support for research from the federal government, private foundations and corporations. Faculty at the University of Oklahoma also cooperate with faculty from other research universities and health sciences centers as well as individuals in the private sector and government agencies.

Research and creative activities enrich education and promote learning excellence for students by developing new knowledge for our society; allowing emerging issues, breakthroughs, and new information and perspectives to be shared swiftly in the classroom; and introducing students to the process of creativity and discovery. A major research university enlivens the community and, in our modern society based on information and technology, encourages and supports economic and social development in the state.

Continuing Education and Service to the Public

The University of Oklahoma meets the growing needs of the state and nation for lifelong learning by offering continuing education programs that are built on the strengths of its academic programs. As a major public university, the University of Oklahoma has a responsibility to offer a broad range of high quality educational programs tailored to meet the needs of individuals for retraining or upgrading their skills. These programs are offered at times, in locations, and in formats to best serve the needs and schedules of adult learners.

The University is committed to offering degree programs, especially at the graduate level, for place-bound students in the state’s urban areas and to supporting the state’s economic development through education and research programs.

In the area of arts and culture, the University of Oklahoma plays a unique role as a nationally recognized center in the state and Southwest for selected artistic and cultural activities. The University’s artistic and cultural activities advance knowledge; enrich the campus and community; enhance Oklahoma’s quality of life; and contribute to the state’s development, attractiveness and prosperity.


Achievement and maintenance of high academic standards entitle the University of Oklahoma to accredited membership in the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. See the Accreditation website for more information.