To identify the Best Colleges in Oklahoma for 2017-2018 we averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating for each school. You won’t find a more comprehensive ranking of the top colleges and universities in Oklahoma anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.
Colleges & Universities in Oklahoma
Oklahoma: the waving wheat can sure smell sweet, but the Oklahoma of today looks very different from the Oklahoma of, well, you know. Certainly, agriculture is still a major part of Oklahoma’s economy and culture, just like natural gas and oil have been bedrock for the state, but Oklahoma has embraced the modern age as well. Oklahoma’s major industries now include biotechnology, bringing the state’s age-old agricultural base into the laboratory, while telecommunications and electronics have made Oklahoma a growing hotbed for the tech industry. Ranked as one of the most business-friendly states in the union, Oklahoma is booming with entrepreneurship and start-ups.
Oklahoma is home to major public research universities like the University of Oklahoma 65 , Oklahoma State University 63 , and the University of Central Oklahoma 49 , institutions that take community engagement and economic uplift seriously. The state is also filled with strong, respected Christian universities and colleges from a multitude of denominations, including Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, and Wesleyan, each bringing their own Biblical world-views and Christian values to higher education.
Oklahoma Baptist University
Regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review as Oklahoma’s top regional university, Oklahoma Baptist University is a small, Christian liberal arts institution known for rigorous educational standards within a Christ-centered, spiritual worldview. As a liberal arts university, OBU’s curriculum focuses on the holistic education of students, with intellectual, professional, and spiritual growth brought together. OBU’s vision places Biblical ethics and faith at the center of the learning experience as the point of all knowledge, producing graduates who integrate their faith into their professional lives.
As a Christian university, OBU’s College of Theology and Ministry is an important force in the Southern Baptist church, both in Oklahoma, and as the leading source of missionaries, but OBU is also known throughout the western region for their quality professional programs. The College of Nursing produces high-performing nurses, while OBU’s pre-med program takes pride in a 90% acceptance rate for graduates into medical school (well above the national average). OBU’s business and teacher education programs are also top-notch, helping send graduates into leadership positions or further schooling. A strong foundational education in the liberal arts tradition, and Christian values, make OBU a leading choice for believers.
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus
A major public research institution in Norman, OK, the University of Oklahoma was founded in 1890, predating Oklahoma’s statehood by nearly two decades. It was part of a concerted effort to bring the wilderness of the Oklahoma and Indian Territories into the modern age, and was one of three universities (with Oklahoma State and the University of Central Oklahoma) founded in one major act of ambition. As the academic university, OU was intended to advance the professions, including essential services for the region like medicine, pharmacy, and nursing. As Oklahoma’s importance grew, OU has become a major STEM research center as well, particularly in areas like petroleum and energy.
The University of Oklahoma’s programs include many areas uniquely Oklahoman, such as one of the most important Native American studies program in the nation. In addition to petroleum and energy engineering, which are particularly related to Oklahoma’s strongest economy and landscape features, OU has nationally-recognized programs in aviation, meteorology, and geology. A diverse student body, including Hispanic and Native American students from the region, adds a productive range of perspectives to OU’s education, while strengthened admissions standards in recent years have made for an impressive group of graduates.
Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
Along with the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University is one of the institutions founded in 1890 to bring the frontier into what was then the modern age. As a land-grant university, OSU was designed to provide educational opportunities in the most current agricultural and applied sciences, to help educate a generation of farmers and engineers who would foster the best practices of the day. That rooting in the practical side of science has made OSU a world-class center for STEM research and learning, earning notice from the Princeton Review, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report as a top regional university, best public university, and best value.
OSU’s most respected and desired programs are still those that build on its earliest incarnation, the well-developed and perfected College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Veterinary Medicine, and College of Engineering. But students are also drawn by the Spears School of Business, a top b-school with a nationally-respected entrepreneurship program. A large and highly loyal mass of alumni create a wealth of networking opportunities throughout the nation and in a wide range of fields, giving OSU graduates a sense of confidence entering the job market, making OSU a trusted name anywhere and everywhere.
University of Tulsa
A small, private liberal arts college, the University of Tulsa was founded in 1894 in what was then the Indian Territory, more than a decade before it was incorporated into the state of Oklahoma. Originally begun by the Presbyterian Church to educate the growing population of Tulsa, the university has grown into a non-denominational, independent institution that ties its tradition of liberal arts education to the technical and professional demands of today. That dedication to excellence has earned TU recognition from U.S. News & World Report as a top 100 national university, with programs such as petroleum engineering, law, and business ranked highly in their fields.
The University of Tulsa is the most accomplished institution in the state of Oklahoma, with more competitive scholarship winners than any other schools, and students and faculty are recognized for their many contributions to the community in the form of service and engagement. A diverse student body composed of many minority and international students is recognized as a strength and fostered by TU’s community, just as knowledge and understanding of humanistic values, ethics, and responsibility are foregrounded. TU does good, rewards excellence, and sets students on a path to greatness.
Oklahoma Christian University
A relatively young university, founded in 1950, Oklahoma Christian University has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review as one of the best regional institutions in the West. Located in the Oklahoma City suburbs, OCU offers students access to the capital city with the comfort of a small, intimate college. This site, near to the Great Plains’ region’s largest city and most dynamic economy, promises students a strong showing in the job market and ample opportunity for work, internship, networking, and career success.
As a deeply and devoutly religious institution, OCU places Biblical faith and Christian service at the center of its culture and curriculum. Faculty are expected to be not only teachers, but guides and mentors in their students’ spiritual development. OCU is also noted for being an early adopter of wireless technology, being the first university in the state of Oklahoma to invest in campus-wide wi-fi, as well as pioneering the now-common practice of providing students with instructional technology. That combination of age-old values and modern know-how makes OCU a prime educational leader.
Oklahoma City University
A private, urban university, and the only Oklahoma institution in its class listed as a top regional master’s university by U.S. News & World Report, Oklahoma City University is well-known and respected throughout the Great Plains region for its nursing, business, and music programs. The Wanda Bass School of Music, in particular, is recognized as one of the finest in the nation, for the quality of their instruction and performances. Founded by and affiliated with the United Methodist Church, OKCU is dedicated to scholarship and service alike.
As a small, liberal-arts centered institution, students count on small class sizes and a student/faculty ratio of 11:1 to provide the kind of first-hand, experiential learning and mentorship that makes liberal arts colleges relevant. OKCU takes pride in the wealth of scholarship opportunities students have earned, as well as the intense interest in community service that the school encourages. The OKCU education, grounded in the critical and creative skills of the liberal arts, is built to produce leaders in business, medicine, education, and government, and they continue to accomplish well into their second century of life.
Oral Roberts University
Founded by the famed evangelist in 1963, Oral Roberts University is a small, accredited interdenominational institution dedicated to what they call the Whole Person, a holistic curriculum designed to bring together spirit and mind. With the intention of bringing Christian education into the modern world, ORU emphasizes global awareness and outreach, with students from across the US and a substantial community of international students.
As a charismatic, Christian university, ORU’s curriculum is built on evangelism and dedicated to growing students into Godly leaders. With this emphasis, ORU’s most popular majors and programs tend to focus on leadership and service, including Ministry, Business Administration, and Nursing. The College of Nursing, in particular, is particularly respected in the region, with an NCLEX-RN pass rate of over 90% in most years. With a focus on outreach and community engagement, ORU prepares students to make their way in the world, with a Christian message and professional excellence.
Southwestern Christian University
Founded in 1946 as a Bible college by the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Southwestern Christian University began as a simple school designed to prepare church leaders, but over the years grew into the leading Pentecostal college in the nation. While SCU’s Pentecostal Holiness background is celebrated, and Holy Spirit-centered learning is incorporated directly into every aspect of the curriculum, SCU’s student body comes from a variety of faith traditions.
With a small student body and dedicated faculty members, SCU puts student support and mentorship at the heart of their education. From its beginnings as a small Bible college, SCU has become a full, traditional liberal arts college, putting the skills and values of the liberal arts, such as creative thought, ethical responsibility, and leadership, into communication with Christian faith. Many of SCU’s best programs focus on service professions, such as ministry, human services, counseling, and business, with global Christian leadership as the ultimate mission.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
With a history going back to 1909, Oklahoma Wesleyan University has seen many changes over the years, but is defined by its explicitly evangelical worldview and bold declaration of faith. Christian faith and a Biblical worldview is central to OWU’s vision and mission, while their curriculum focuses on developing students into whole, spiritually-empowered people. With a strong liberal arts grounding, and contemporary professional programs with strong job market desirability, OWU has been recognized as one of the top regional institutions in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
Like many other Christian universities, OWU has made adult education and online education a priority in recent years, building their programs to reach out and make connections to students would would not otherwise be able to take the time to earn a degree. The same goes for military veterans and personnel; OWU’s military-friendly programs have helped the university develop and grow substantially. From business and ministry to nursing and education, OWU has their students’ career needs covered.
University of Central Oklahoma
Originally founded in 1890 as a normal school to education teachers for the Oklahoma Territory, the University of Central Oklahoma was a major force in bringing learning to the settlers. Today, UCO’s commitment is to the metropolitan area of Oklahoma City, by creating strategic partnerships with the city’s corporate sector, providing community service, and sending qualified, well-prepared professionals out into leadership roles in business, health, and other fields. With all that strong development and planning, UCO has been named a best place to work by the Chronicle of Higher Education, a top military-friendly destination for veterans, and a top 10 institution for student engagement by the Wall Street Journal.
UCO’s home, the Edmund suburb of Oklahoma City, has been ranked ranked as one of the best suburbs and best places to live by CNBC, but that’s only part of UCO’s excellence. UCO offers some of the strongest programs in Oklahoma, as well as a number of programs that aren’t offered in any more Oklahoma schools – Biomedical Engineering, Forensic Science, Golf Management, and Athletic Training, to name a few. UCO is also the home of one of the nation’s most renowned Jazz Studies programs at the School of Music, founded in 1974. Featuring the UCO Jazz Lab and celebrated faculty, UCO’s jazz program is just one of the unique and dynamic offerings making UCO a top Oklahoma college.