As the population of Oklahoma continues to grow, its long list of public and private universities, four-year colleges, community colleges, and online opportunities is well suited to serve its students in both major urban centers and smaller communities. From its major public university research centers and regional universities, to its state community colleges, to its smaller private Christian colleges, higher education in Oklahoma is geared towards preparing its graduates for Oklahoma’s current job market in addition to providing them with a well-rounded education.
The public university systems in Oklahoma are extensive and comprehensive, in total serving more than 190,000 students and awarding more than 30,000 degrees annually. It is sub-divided into research universities, regional universities, and community colleges, which are all located throughout the state. Health and business are the state’s most popular fields of study.
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma (OU) is consistently ranked among the Top 50 public colleges and universities in the country. According to its website, among its more than 35,000 students are more freshman National Merit Scholars than at any other public university in the United States. Its top five majors are Human Relations, Management and Human Resources, Psychology, Health and Exercise Science, and Journalism.
Also founded in 1890, Oklahoma State University (OSU) is the state’s other major university system, and is also well regarded nationally. Its main campus is in Stillwater, with additional campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa (where it also has its College of Osteopathic Medicine), as well as an Institute of Technology in Okmulgee. With a total enrollment topping 45,000, this university system has made a commitment to creating a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural environment through its Division of Institutional Diversity. Its top five majors are Management, Animal Science, Mechanical Engineering, General Studies, and Accounting.
Oklahoma is also home to 11 additional public universities located throughout the state, seven of which have more than one campus. The most popular fields of study for those receiving bachelor’s degrees across these campuses are business and education. Fitting a bit outside the mold of this university system is the small and prestigious University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, the only four-year liberal arts undergraduate college in the Oklahoma state system.
|School||Campuses||Number of Students|
|University of Central Oklahoma||Edmond||20,464|
|Northeastern State University||Broken Arrow, Muskogee, Tahlequah||11,114|
|Cameron University||Duncan, Lawton||8,262|
|Southwestern Oklahoma State University||Sayre, Weatherford||6,255|
|East Central University||Ada||6,102|
Oklahoma’s public community college system consists of 12 two-year public institutions enrolling more than 102,000 students. Degrees and certificates focus on a broad array of professional training, but not at the expense of a solid overall education. These community colleges prepare those who intend to enter the workforce with their associates degrees, as well as supporting those who intend to transfer to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree. Health Services, Liberal Arts, and Business are the most popular course programs.
|School||Number of Students|
|Tulsa Community College||29,298|
|Oklahoma City Community College||22,578|
|Rose State College||11,900|
|Western Oklahoma State College||8,089|
|Northern Oklahoma College||7,404|
In addition to the wide array of public universities and community colleges, Oklahoma is home to 11 private nonprofit universities, as well as Bacone College, a private, nonprofit two-year college. All of these institutions are strongly affiliated with various denominations of Christianity. Among this group, Oral Roberts University is the most nationally visible due to its alumni in high profile religious and political positions, such as Michelle Bachmann, Ted Haggard, and Joel Osteen. The University of Tulsa is best regarded for its academic excellence, with its Petroleum Engineering department receiving particular recognition.
There are four tribal colleges in Oklahoma, operated by the government, but only those who can prove Native American descent are granted admission. They are: Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribal College, College of the Muscogee Nation, Comanche Nation College, and Pawnee Nation College.
Responding to increase demand for anytime, anywhere learning, Oklahoma formally established the Online College of Oklahoma (OCO) through its State Regents for Higher Education. From its centralized portal, students can access the online courses, programs of study, and degrees offered online by 27 different Oklahoma schools, ranging from their major research universities, to their regional universities, to their community colleges.
Oklahoma is also home to local campuses of several national for-profit colleges, which also offer a variety of online courses, certificates, and degrees.
Oklahoma is 19th in the nation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) job growth. According to its Chamber of Commerce, the state is home to the largest commercial aerospace maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility in the world, as well as the largest defense air depot in the U.S., in large part due to The Boeing Company being headquartered in the state. Oklahoma is also a significant hub for energy, transportation equipment, food processing, electronics, and telecommunications.
According to 2012 data, Oklahoma has four Fortune 500 companies, all in the energy sector: Oneok, Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, and Williams. Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy also joined American Fidelity Assurance and QuikTrip as the four Oklahoma-based companies that made Fortune Magazine’s 2012 ranking of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.
University of Oklahoma Norman CampusNorman, Oklahoma
Tulsa Community CollegeTulsa, Oklahoma
Oklahoma State University-Main CampusStillwater, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City Community CollegeOklahoma City, Oklahoma
University of Central OklahomaEdmond, Oklahoma
Rose State CollegeMidwest City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma CityOklahoma City, Oklahoma
Northeastern State UniversityTahlequah, Oklahoma
Cameron UniversityLawton, Oklahoma
Western Oklahoma State CollegeAltus, Oklahoma