Best Colleges in Oklahoma

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by Staff Writers
Published on July 30, 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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A college degree is increasingly necessary to secure lucrative jobs and enjoy long-term professional success. The National Center for Education Statistics projects undergraduate enrollment in the U.S. to grow from 16.8 million students in 2017 to 17.2 million in 2028.

Finding the school that best supports your academic interests and career goals can feel overwhelming. However, the following ranking can aid you in your search; we highlight the 20 best colleges in Oklahoma with regards to factors like cost, financial aid availability, and student retention and graduation rates.

Top 10 Colleges in Oklahoma

  1. University of Tulsa - Tulsa, OK
  2. University of Oklahoma - Norman, OK
  3. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma - Chickasha, OK
  4. Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK
  5. Oklahoma Christian University - Edmond, OK
  6. East Central University - Ada, OK
  7. Southeastern Oklahoma State University - Durant, OK
  8. Oklahoma City University - Oklahoma City, OK
  9. University of Central Oklahoma - Edmond, OK
  10. Oklahoma Baptist University - Shawnee, OK

The profiles below offer information on degree offerings, available distance education platforms, and student resources like individualized career guidance and internship placement. We also outline general admission requirements. If a university piques your interest, contact the institution's admissions department directly. Professionals can help you navigate the enrollment process and apply for scholarships.

By attending an Oklahoma college, you stand to benefit from the state's robust economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, of November 2019, Oklahoma's unemployment rate sits at 3.4%, just below the national average. Graduates can pursue lucrative career opportunities in growing industries like biotechnology, healthcare, renewable energy, and hospitality. The Sooner State also boasts a low cost of living. Even in a major city like Oklahoma City, living expenses are 15% below the U.S. average.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

2020 Best Accredited Colleges in Oklahoma

University of Tulsa View School Profile Tulsa, OK

Established in 1894, the University of Tulsa is a private research institution that serves over 4,400 students. TU delivers 130 academic programs through six colleges, including undergraduate degrees in energy management, political science, petroleum engineering, and exercise and sports science. Students can also major in computer simulation and gaming to develop their animation, production, and entrepreneurial skills to launch their own ventures.

Graduate candidates can choose from master's degrees in speech-language pathology, clinical psychology, and business analytics. They may also enroll in a cybersecurity program to prepare for some of the fastest-growing careers in the United States. TU facilitates 12 doctoral programs, including an advanced nursing program that comes with two concentration options and a post-master's-to-DNP track for APRNs.

All applicants should submit standardized test scores. The university provides affordable tuition and a variety of financial aid, including performance- and talent-based scholarships.

University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus View School Profile Norman, OK

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma predates the formal establishment of the state itself. Today, the institution enrolls more than 31,000 students in research-focused academic programs. Prospective learners undergo a holistic evaluation process that weighs their GPA, academic rigor, and standardized test performance. The average incoming first-year student holds a 3.6 GPA and 26 ACT score. OU offers ample financial aid opportunities, like merit scholarships for out-of-state residents and leadership awards for transfer students.

OU offers more than 170 degree options. Bachelor's candidates choose from majors like chemical biosciences, management information systems, and anthropology. They can also enroll in one of 12 engineering programs accredited by the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology. Furthermore, OU delivers a variety of pre-professional programs. Graduate tracks cover fields like education administration, plant biology, and Native American studies. The university also offers an accelerated track in library and information studies that allows candidates to earn their bachelor's and master's in under five years.

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma View School Profile Chickasha, OK

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma is based in Chickasha and is the only public higher education institution in the state to offer a liberal arts curriculum. First-year candidates must fulfill one of three sets of requirements, including a minimum 3.0 GPA. Transfer applicants need a 2.0 GPA or higher. The university bases its tuition prices on residency status. Financial aid opportunities include the merit-based Drover Academic Scholarship and tuition waivers for out-of-state residents.

USAO provides bachelor's degrees in areas like environmental science, theatre arts, economics, and communication. Students can also pursue teacher certificates and pre-professional training. Furthermore, the university delivers a multidisciplinary studies program that enables candidates to craft their own major with the guidance of two or more faculty members.

To support students of all backgrounds, USAO facilitates one-on-one academic counseling, free tutoring services, and mentoring programs. The university also offers research guidance and project funding.

Oklahoma State University View School Profile Stillwater, OK

Located in Stillwater, Oklahoma State University was established in 1890 as the flagship institution of the OSU System. The school currently enrolls more than 25,000 students across 200 undergraduate and 132 graduate programs. To qualify for assured admission, first-year candidates must satisfy one of three criteria sets centered on GPA, class rank, and ACT/SAT performance. Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.25 GPA. OSU facilitates a direct gateway program with Northern Oklahoma College.

Bachelor's degree candidates pick from dozens of program options, including international business, microbiology and molecular genetics, and graphic design. Students can also major in agricultural education, concentrating their studies on areas like natural resources and horticultural sciences. OSU provides master's programs in clinical counseling, public health, and applied statistics. The university also facilitates a Ph.D. program in crop science that focuses on plant genetics and breeding.

For learners who prefer distance education, OSU offers individual classes and fully online degrees through the Canvas platform.

Oklahoma Christian University View School Profile Edmond, OK

Oklahoma Christian University first opened its doors in 1950 to a class of 97 students. Today, the institution serves over 2,200 learners and offers career-relevant academic programs. Bachelor's candidates pick from 71 majors, including Bible and ministry, software engineering, and family science/human development. Individuals can also enroll in a marketing management program, which provides emphasis areas in advertising, professional selling, and technology mediated marketing.

OC delivers eight graduate degrees in fields like business administration and computer science. The university also hosts a master of engineering program that students can complete entirely online through asynchronous coursework delivered by Blackboard. Additionally, candidates may pursue graduate degrees in divinity, Christian ministry, and theological studies.

First-year undergraduate applicants submit an online application, official high school transcripts, and ACT/SAT scores. Graduate admission requirements differ by program, but typically include a minimum 3.0 GPA. OC's tuition rates disregard residency status. Financial aid includes departmental awards like the Rebecca Stafford Endowed Scholarship for nursing students.

East Central University View School Profile Ada, OK

Located in Ada, East Central University is a member of the Oklahoma Regional University System. The school offers 70 degrees across five academic areas, including bachelor's programs in criminal justice policy, social work, communication studies, and cartography. Students can also pursue a business administration degree with available concentrations in areas like marketing, entrepreneurship, and management information systems. Additionally, the university facilitates traditional and RN-to-BSN nursing programs.

The School of Graduate Studies delivers master's programs in areas like human resources, sport psychology, and water resource policy and management. Education students choose from eight options, including school psychometry and library media. They can also enroll in a secondary education program to prepare for careers as a junior college professors.

First-year applicants must display a GPA of at least 2.7 and a minimum 20 ACT score or 1030 SAT score. Transfer candidates need at least 24 credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. For learners who prefer distance education, ECU facilities individual classes and fully remote programs through Blackboard.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University View School Profile Durant, OK

Southeastern Oklahoma State University enrolls around 4,500 students, nearly half of whom are the first in their families to attend college. To support this diverse student population, Southeastern provides dedicated academic counseling and tutoring services. Through the school's career management center, learners can explore job options, find internships, and receive resume-building guidance.

The university also offers generous financial aid packages, which may include merit-based scholarships for new students and tuition waivers for incoming transfer learners who reside out of state. First-year candidates need a minimum 2.7 GPA or a score of 20 or higher on the ACT.

Southeastern offers bachelor's degrees in numerous fields, such as hospitality management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, and biochemical technology. Students can pursue various aviation degrees with tracks designed for future pilots and administrators. Graduate programs include master's tracks in school counseling, occupational safety and health, and Native American leadership. Candidates can also enroll in a fully online MBA program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Oklahoma City University View School Profile Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City University is a liberal arts and sciences institution that serves over 2,300 students. The school delivers 70 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs, as well as continuing education opportunities that include professional certification and adult degree completion tracks. First-year candidates need to possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and a 22 or higher on the ACT (or the SAT equivalent). In addition to affordable tuition rates, students benefit from a variety of financial aid opportunities, such as full-tuition scholarships for business majors who hail from the Chickasaw Nation.

OKCU facilitates bachelor's programs in areas like political science, entertainment business, economics, and biochemistry (pre-pharmacy). Students can also pursue a mass communication degree, concentrating in strategic communication or multimedia journalism and broadcast production. The university offers graduate degrees in fields like physical therapy, nonprofit leadership, and computer science. For distance learners, OKCU delivers fully online master's programs in energy legal studies and energy management through the Desire2Learn platform.

University of Central Oklahoma View School Profile Edmond, OK

Founded in 1890, the University of Central Oklahoma is one of the oldest postsecondary schools in the region. The institution offers 100 undergraduate majors and 70 graduate programs. To enroll as a first-year student, applicants must satisfy one of three criteria sets related to their GPA and ACT/SAT performance. Graduate-level requirements vary by program, but usually include a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Bachelor's candidates can enroll in programs like business law, community/public health, technical writing, and creative writing. They may also pursue a forensic science degree, which offers concentrations in chemistry, digital forensics, and molecular biology. Graduate programs at OCU include master's tracks in engineering physics, family and child studies, and healthcare administration. Candidates can also pursue a public administration degree that prepares them for careers in urban management and the nonprofit sector.

In lieu of traditional brick-and-mortar classes, students can complete some programs -- including an RN-to-BSN track and graduate programs in business administration and library media education -- fully online through Blackboard.

Oklahoma Baptist University View School Profile Shawnee, OK

Based in Shawnee, Oklahoma Baptist University is a private institution that serves over 1,800 students. First-year applicants who want to qualify for regular admission must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA, rank in the top 50% of their high school class, and score at least 20 on the ACT or 1030 on the SAT. OBU offers a tuition price that falls far below the average for private American universities. Financial aid opportunities include talent scholarships for students who excel in athletics or the fine arts, as well as merit-based transfer awards.

OBU offers bachelor's degrees in approximately 90 areas of study, including health and human performance, social entrepreneurship, animation, and cross-cultural ministry. The university also facilitates an innovative global marketplace engagement program that synthesizes business competencies with language and teaching skills. Graduate students pick from five options, including fully online master's programs in business administration and intercultural studies. OBU delivers distance education through the Canvas platform.

Northeastern State University View School Profile Tahlequah, OK

Northeastern State University was established in 1846 as the Cherokee Nation Female Seminary, making it the oldest higher education institution in Oklahoma. Today, the school delivers comprehensive, coeducational academic programs that include 54 undergraduate and 24 graduate degrees.

First-year applicants need a minimum 2.7 GPA and 20 or higher on the ACT (or the SAT equivalent). Transfer candidates need at least a 1.7 GPA if they have 29 or fewer credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA if they possess 30 or more credits. To enroll as a graduate student, applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA and adequate GRE/GMAT/MAT results.

NSU offers bachelor's degrees in fields like applied physics, health organizations administration, media studies, and special education (mild to moderate disorders). The university also delivers a variety of Cherokee and indingenous studies programs, with majors centered on history, education, and cultural restoration. Graduate offerings include a master of accounting and financial analysis that prepares students for careers as public accountants and corporate controllers. NSU also delivers online master's programs through Blackboard.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University View School Profile Weatherford, OK

Southwestern Oklahoma State University is located in Weatherford and serves over 5,200 students annually. Bachelor's candidates pick from majors like engineering technology, health information management, and kinesiology. The university also offers a variety of pre-professional programs, with tracks in optometry, occupational therapy, and communication sciences and disorders. Alternatively, learners can design their own interdisciplinary major by synthesizing coursework from three fields of study.

First-year applicants need to possess a minimum 2.7 GPA, rank in the top 50% of their high school class, and score at least 20 on the ACT or 940 on the SAT.

Established in 1901 as a teacher training school, SWOSU carries on this tradition by providing a variety of education programs. Graduate-level education students can earn a general master's degree that prepares them for initial state licensure. Alternatively, they may pursue credentials in areas like social sciences and special education, which lead to advanced state certification or endorsement. Furthermore, SWOSU delivers a 30-credit MBA program accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

Southern Nazarene University View School Profile Bethany, OK

Southern Nazarene University is a private liberal arts institution based in Bethany. The school offers traditional undergraduate programs in fields like network engineering, youth ministry, biochemistry, and graphic design. Students can also pursue a bachelor of science in business administration that emphasizes ethics as a key tool for decision making. For working professionals, SNU offers flexible degree options that candidates may complete online through Moodle or by taking classes on campus one night a week.

Graduate programs cover areas like healthcare administration, exercise science, and sport management. Students can earn a master of counseling psychology that offers concentrations in marriage and family therapy, applied research, and drug and alcohol abuse. SNU also offers a doctor of education in administration and leadership. This 57-credit program uses a cohort structure that prioritizes collaborative learning. Graduate admission requirements differ by program, but candidates generally need to hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Oral Roberts University View School Profile Tulsa, OK

Located in Tulsa, Oral Roberts University enrolls about 4,000 students in over 80 academic programs, including bachelor's tracks in international business and ministry, translation and interpretation, and biomedical chemistry. Learners may also enroll in a global environmental sustainability program that enables them to work as conservation biologists and forest ecologists. Additionally, the university offers a bachelor of convergence journalism, which prepares candidates to gather and produce information for a variety of media platforms.

Graduate programs include master's tracks in nursing, school administration, professional counseling, and practical theology. Students can also obtain a leadership-oriented MBA that covers crucial topics like competitive business intelligence and global management strategies. In addition to affordable campus-based academics, ORU offers many of its undergraduate and graduate programs online through Desire2Learn.

The first-year and transfer application processes take only three days. ORU requires candidates to submit ACT/SAT scores. Graduate applicants need regionally accredited baccalaureate credentials and a 2.5-3.25 minimum GPA, depending on the program.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University View School Profile Alva, OK

Northwestern Oklahoma State University is a comprehensive public institution with a main campus in Alva and satellite locations in Enid and Woodward. Incoming first-year students need to rank in the top 50% of their high school class, hold a minimum 2.7 GPA, and have minimum ACT or SAT scores of 20 or 1020. Transfer applicants must possess at least a 2.0 GPA. The university charges tuition prices based on residency status and program type. Financial aid opportunities include departmental scholarships for fine arts and mass communication students.

NWOSU offers bachelor's programs in fields like technical management, social work, agricultural education, and history/global studies. Students can also earn a business administration degree and augment their curriculum with a minor like marketing or entrepreneurial management. For learners who prefer distance education, the university facilitates fully online programs through Blackboard.

Graduate programs at NWOSU include four master's programs in education, general psychology, counseling psychology, and American studies. Graduate candidates can also earn a doctor of nursing practice that focuses on rural healthcare; this 73-credit BSN-to-DNP track is delivered through a hybrid learning model.

Cameron University View School Profile Lawton, OK

Based in Lawton, Cameron University was founded in 1908 as an agricultural high school. Today, the institution provides over 50 undergraduate and graduate programs. Bachelor's candidates can pick from majors like engineering, elementary education, and organizational leadership. They may also enroll in an agriculture program, which offers a generalist track and concentrations in agronomy, animal science, and agribusiness management. CU also offers pre-professional and adult degree completion tracks.

Graduate programs cover fields like educational leadership, organizational leadership, and behavioral science. Students can also earn a master of business administration that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. This 45-credit program enables candidates to pursue their credentials on campus or online through asynchronous classes delivered by Blackboard.

To enroll as a first-year student, applicants need either a minimum 3.0 GPA or a 20 or higher score on the ACT (or 1020 on the SAT). Graduate admission requirements vary by program, but generally include a minimum 3.0 GPA. CU offers low tuition rates and a variety of financial aid, such as the Wyatt F. and Mattie M. Jeltz Memorial Scholarship for minority students.

Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City View School Profile Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City enrolls about 5,700 learners in over 40 undergraduate programs. The institution also facilitates dual enrollment for high school students, allowing individuals to jumpstart their college education by taking free classes on campus. To participate, juniors need at least a 3.5 GPA and seniors need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

The school's academic catalog contains associate programs for high-need occupations related to areas like legal case management, construction technology, and cardiovascular sonography. Students can earn an enterprise development degree that helps them cultivate the skills needed to conceive and operate their own businesses. OSU-OKC also delivers a variety of programs for prospective first responders, including police science, firefighting, and paramedicine.

Bachelor's candidates can enroll in a public safety management program. This 120-credit degree teaches participants program development and multi-agency collaboration skills to effectively lead in an all-hazards environment. Learners can earn their bachelor's by taking traditional classes or online courses facilitated by Canvas. OSU-OKC is an open-admission campus.

Oklahoma Wesleyan University View School Profile Bartlesville, OK

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is based in Bartlesville and serves about 1,200 students. The institution delivers over 50 residential undergraduate programs. Degree options include digital cinema, criminal justice, financial economics, and Christian leadership and apologetics. Nurse generalists can advance their careers by earning a bachelor of science in nursing that covers topics like ethical decision making and healthcare informatics. The university also delivers a variety of education/teacher training programs that hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

In lieu of on-campus classes, students can earn their credentials online through Blackboard Learn. Distance options include five bachelor's and four master's programs; latter offerings cover fields like nursing, education, and business administration. Distance learners can also enroll in a 33-credit strategic leadership program.

First-year applicants submit a free online application and furnish ACT or SAT scores. Graduate candidates generally need at least a 3.0 GPA. On top of affordable tuition rates, OKWU offers ample financial aid opportunities that include scaling academic scholarships based on GPA and standardized test results.

Southwestern Christian University View School Profile Bethany, OK

Southwestern Christian University was founded in 1946 as a Bible school and junior college. Today, the institution offers comprehensive academics that include bachelor's programs in intercultural studies, music technology, psychology, and history. Students can also earn an early childhood development education degree that leads to initial teacher certification. Additionally, the university offers three graduate programs in ministry, global Christian leadership, and theological studies.

For working professionals, SCU delivers flexible evening programs, such as a bachelor of human services that prepares graduates for entry-level jobs in child and family welfare services. They can also enroll in a graduate-level counseling program. Online coursework is delivered through Canvas, and distance learners can complete some programs by taking accelerated, seven-week classes.

To qualify for standard admission, first-year applicants need to fulfill two out of three requirements. Criteria include a minimum 2.0 GPA, a class rank in the upper half of their high school class, and/or a minimum 19 or 900 on the ACT or SAT.

Rogers State University View School Profile Claremore, OK

Located in Claremont, Rogers State University provides affordable and career-relevant academics to students of all backgrounds. The university holds articulation agreements with local community colleges, allowing associate graduates to seamlessly complete their bachelor's degrees. Undergraduate students undergo a holistic evaluation process that does not include strict GPA or SAT/ACT minimums. Graduate applicants must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA but do not need to furnish GRE or GMAT scores.

Learners at RSU can pursue undergraduate majors in areas like military history, visual arts, and community counseling. The university also offers a business information technology program with concentrations in computer network administration and software/game development. Additionally, RSU provides a bachelor of science in nursing that candidates may complete through a traditional track or an accelerated RN-to-BSN format.

The university offers one graduate program: a 36-credit, fully online master of business administration. By taking eight-week classes, MBA candidates can obtain their credentials in 18 months.

Click here to see the best community colleges in Oklahoma.
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