Celebrating more than a century of service as Oklahoma's only public liberal arts college, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma – nationally ranked for quality and value – is a recognized leader and innovator in interdisciplinary studies.
Founded in 1908 as the first college created by Oklahoma’s first Legislature, USAO has always had a distinguished mission. Originally a women’s college, it was one of only seven such public institutions ever created in the United States. Changed to coeducational in 1965, USAO continues today with its distinctive mission as a public university that provides academically- and artistically-talented students a challenging undergraduate liberal arts and sciences education. USAO fosters diversity of thought and practice to help students realize meaningful, purposeful and productive lives as global citizens in a rapidly-changing world.
In 2022, U.S. News and World Report ranked USAO in the top 20 of their Top Public Schools list. This category includes numerous prestigious institutions including the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy.
Since 2020, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni has awarded USAO an “A” grade for the quality of its required core curriculum, the interdisciplinary studies program. USAO is the only Oklahoma university, and one of only 22 nationwide, to receive such a rating out of more than 1,100 four-year institutions studied. USAO is ranked #7 on Great Value College’s 100 Most Affordable Small Colleges West of the Mississippi list.
Like the best private liberal arts colleges, USAO offers small classes, award-winning faculty, and a campus culture that fosters inclusivity, close faculty-student interaction and undergraduate research opportunities. USAO offers a vibrant residential campus experience where our students have the opportunity to attend cultural events and fine arts performances, or cheer on our athletic teams as they compete in 13 NAIA sports. USAO educates the whole person and encourages growth through public service.
Statement of Core Belief
We believe the best path to a meaningful and purposeful life is an education that integrates knowledge from many disciplines to equip individuals for the 21st century.
Top 10 Distinctives of USAO
- USAO offers a broad educational experience. As Oklahoma's only public liberal arts university, USAO provides students a broad educational experience, grounded in the sciences and humanities, that reinforces communication, critical thinking and problem solving.
- Coursework is built around a unique interdisciplinary core. USAO's Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) curriculum remains as innovative today as when it was created 50 years ago by integrating knowledge from many disciplines.
- USAO pioneered the innovative team-teaching approach. Team-teaching in the IDS program is an innovative approach that puts two or more professors from different disciplines into the classroom, offering students differing perspectives and approaches to the same material.
- Our mission attracts highly qualified faculty. One hundred percent of full-time faculty have postgraduate degrees, and nearly 90% have terminal degrees in their field. No classes are taught by teaching assistants. Faculty members come from prestigious graduate schools from across the country.
- The small campus environment fosters relationships. At USAO, we have a low student-to-faculty ratio, creating an environment where students have access to faculty and know one another.
- Curiosity is encouraged and nurtured. USAO fosters an environment where curiosity is at the heart of the academic experience and creativity is the norm, not the exception.
- Students stay and graduate. USAO attracts curious-minded students who thrive in this kind of environment and tend to graduate at higher rates than most public universities of its size.
- Graduates succeed in post-graduate study and become leaders in their field. USAO students succeed in graduate school and rise to positions of leadership in their chosen field.
- We counter the common perception that quality is not affordable. Year after year USAO is nationally recognized for its affordability, upward social mobility, as well as the rigor of its academic approach.
- USAO fills an unduplicated role in the state higher education system. As Oklahoma's only public liberal arts university, USAO serves a unique purpose with an educational mission that is unduplicated in the state system of higher education.