Oklahoma Baptist University
Oklahoma Baptist University is a highly ranked Christian liberal arts university in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Founded in 1910, OBU seeks to transform lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.
OBU offers more than 80 areas of undergraduate study, housed within six Colleges. The University is consistently ranked highly in national and regional academic rankings, and it has an outstanding rate of acceptance for its graduates into advanced degree programs of all varieties.
The University competes in 21 sports in NCAA Division II athletics and has a long history of athletic excellence, winning 33 national championships, 30 of which were won in or after 2005. The Bison men’s and women’s teams excel in track and field, football, baseball, basketball, tennis, swimming and diving, and more.
OBU is a distinctively Christian university, focusing on the spiritual growth of its students. With chapel speakers, small groups, and Bible studies, the community is full of opportunities for personal growth and connection with others. The University also offers abundant opportunities for international travel and service through its numerous GO Trips each year, with students traveling all around the world through school-sponsored trips.
OBU’s campus is known as Bison Hill. Anchored by the iconic Raley Chapel, the campus features beautiful fountains, trees, architecture, and green spaces, adding to its sense of community and the feeling of truly being “home away from home.”
Oklahoma Baptist University is a co-educational private Christian university founded in 1910 by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. OBU is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, the National Association of Schools of Music, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and the Oklahoma Office of Educational Quality and Accountability. The University also holds memberships in many organizations and associations.
Get to know Oklahoma Baptist University
- Campus Ministries
- Choral groups
- Concert band
- International Student Organization
- Jazz band
- Marching band
- Music ensembles
- Musical theatre
- Pep band
- Student government
- Student newspaper
- Symphony orchestra
- Television station
- First-Year Seminars and Experiences
- Common Intellectual Experiences
- Learning Communities
- Writing-Intensive Courses
- Collaborative Assignments and Projects
- Undergraduate Research
- Diversity/Global Learning
- Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning
- Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience
- Career Services
- Writing Center
- Academic Advisors
- Library Services
- Faculty Mentors
- Disability Services
- Multicultural Engagement Center
- Health Services
- Academic Tutors
- Financial Aid Advisors
- Student Success Initiative
- Veteran Services
- Peer Mentors
“My time at OBU was a transformational one. I came not knowing but dreaming of what I could be. I made lifelong friends at OBU. One of the biggest things OBU taught me is the amount of work it takes to truly succeed, to multitask, and to do things with quality and excellence. I’m proud to say that I now have my first EP out on all music platforms.” – Iveth Luna, Class of 2017
Freshman and transfer students become a part of the Bison family during OBU’s Welcome Week. Highlighted by move-in day, when upperclassmen flock to the new students’ vehicles and whisk away their belongings to their dorm rooms, this week before classes makes new students feel welcomed, loved, and at home on the OBU campus. Students break into small groups and do book studies on the significance of a Christian university. New students are also given opportunities to bond and grow throughout the year, including a special January term between the fall and spring terms. January term allows students to take condensed classes designed to heighten their Christian worldview and bring them together as a class.
COMMON INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCES
The core of OBU’s liberal arts curriculum offers abundant opportunities for common intellectual experiences. This begins the first year, heightened by the January term experience, and continues throughout the student’s undergraduate study. The sophomore year features two semesters of Western Civilization courses, providing all students with common study in history and literature. The liberal arts core helps to expand students’ intellectual horizons and brings them together, bonding them through the shared knowledge and learning.
COLLABORATIVE ASSIGNMENTS AND PROJECTS
OBU believes strongly in the value of teamwork and collaboration in the learning environment. Students are encouraged, through projects and assignments, to work together toward common goals, building unity and the ability to collaborate. These are valuable life skills that altogether heighten the educational experience at OBU.
Students have numerous opportunities for growing their knowledge through research projects and internships. The Honors Program at OBU allows students the option of developing a senior thesis. This is an incredible opportunity that involves investigating a problem and delivering findings through a well-researched paper and public thesis presentation. Students also have ample opportunity for internships in numerous research capacities and are encouraged to develop these valuable skills as they matriculate through their courses.
OBU seeks to encourage a diverse campus and embrace cultures from across the nation and around the world. In the most recent academic year, OBU students came from 38 states and 40 other countries. OBU’s mission statement includes the charge for students to “engage a diverse world,” which University lives out every day. Opportunities abound for students to learn and serve worldwide through Global Outreach service trips over six continents and study abroad opportunities throughout the world. The University likewise offers local and regional opportunities for service and learning within diverse cultural contexts, offering another way for students to embody OBU’s mission.
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Non-U.S. Citizen: 2%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 6%
White, non-Hispanic: 67%
Native/Indigenous American or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 4%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 17%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 2%
“The arts invite humans to ponder mystery, to seek truth, to gaze upon beauty, to engage all the senses in a way that is memorable, in a way that is so powerful and so pungent that you can then share that with others. Music says something. You feel transported to a different place, and you’re no longer where you are. The arts do that for people.” – Dr. Louima Lilite, Associate Professor of Music
OBU seeks to provide a world-class education to its students within each area of study and offers a wealth of resources to achieve success. Most recently, OBU added criminal justice and forensic psychology degrees for students interested in criminology, forensics, and law enforcement careers. A 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio ensures one-on-one attention and guidance from professors who care deeply for students’ success. Students develop personal relationships with their professors, greatly increasing the opportunities for interaction and engagement. Professors can challenge the student’s presuppositions and ideas in a stimulating and positive way.
THE MILBURN CENTER
The Milburn Center for Student Success and Academic Advising is committed to the success of every student, full of resources to assist students of all majors, classifications, and academic needs. Staff assist students with comprehension of course material as well as the development of study, research, analytical, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. The Milburn Center is a vital tool for all OBU students, providing the support needed to thrive and grow at all levels of academic study.
Students also have ample opportunity to develop strong critical thinking and writing skills in practice throughout their education. These skills are emphasized in all coursework but take special emphasis during freshman language and composition courses.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Exchange student program (domestic)
Liberal arts/career combination
Teacher certification program
OBU strives to build a vibrant and robust community on Bison Hill, providing ample opportunity for growth beyond the lecture hall and personal relationships with professors. Students are invited to have dinner with a professor during their first few days on campus, making connections from their earliest time at OBU. With small class sizes, these relationships only continue to grow, enhancing the opportunities for stimulating conversations and professor interactions outside of the classroom.
“My takeaway from OBU is community. I learned how important it is to have people wherever you go. I made friendships that I will keep for the rest of my life: especially my theatre family. The people in that department played a major role in my time at OBU and I will always cherish my time with them.” – Caleb Schantz, Class of 2018
OBU holds numerous lectureship and speaker series, bringing in outside speakers to challenge and stretch student perspectives. The University also holds numerous public forums and panels at which students may hear from professionals and experts in various fields. Panel sessions allow students to engage with panelists and speakers as well as participate in small group interactions. OBU emphasizes the value of the arts and offers many concerts and other artistic experiences throughout the year. The University also holds film screenings, bringing in participants and filmmakers to discuss and interact regarding the themes and messages of the films.
WELCOMING WITH OPEN ARMS
During move-in day for freshmen, upperclassmen surround new students’ vehicles, rock the car, chant, and welcome them to the family, just before moving all of their belongings into their dorm room for them. The new students wear a green and gold beanie to symbolize their status as a new part of the OBU family—a tradition spanning nearly 100 years. Students also participate in the Unity Gathering, a candlelight gathering designed to bring the diverse group of students together as one OBU family. The week culminates in students taking The Walk, a traditional journey from the Oval to the front steps of Raley Chapel. It is similar to The Walk they will take on their final day as students when they attend commencement and receive their diplomas.
OBU is located in Shawnee, a bustling city in central Oklahoma on I-40, just 30 miles east of Oklahoma City. The community features two universities, multiple theaters, a shopping mall, many national restaurant and retail chains, and much more. The area includes local lakes and many outdoor activities. Oklahoma City is just 30 minutes from campus. And because OBU is near the heart of it all, students have access to the city’s famous entertainment district, international concerts, and NBA games with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Oklahoma Baptist University “Bison” have a storied history of athletic success. The Bison competed in the NAIA for decades but have recently made the transition to NCAA Division II competition. OBU won the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup three years running as the top NAIA athletic program in the nation before making the move to the NCAA in 2015.
The University competes in 21 sports in NCAA Division II athletics with a long history of athletic excellence, winning 33 national championships, 30 of which were won in or after 2005. The Bison men’s and women’s teams excel in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, cheerleading, and pom. The University belongs to the Great American Conference, a group of colleges and universities located in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The school’s mascot is “Shaz,” a Bison who is always eager to cheer on the crowd and root for his beloved teams. The school colors are green and gold, selected for the colors of wildflowers that once grew on the campus location known as Bison Hill.
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 98%
Campus housing options.
Apartments for married students
Apartments for single students
Special housing for disabled students
“I believe OBU prepared me to be a well-rounded nurse, further enabling me to make a difference in the lives of those I come in contact with each day. Not only did I gain the foundational skills I needed to succeed as a nurse, but I also received a Christ-centered education that incorporated faith into every aspect of our studies. I am thankful that faith was a large part of my education, as I believe it makes me better equipped to care for and serve the patients that walk through the doors of our clinic every day.” – Worthy Walker, Class of 2010
Service and community are emphasized from the first day a student sets foot on Bison Hill. Throughout the first week before classes, new and returning students work together in a community-wide service project known as Serve Shawnee, working at local schools, nonprofits, community parks, etc. Students live out the value of service, building bonds with fellow students and the community. A similar event, known as One Body United, takes place in the spring when students likewise spend a day serving the local community.
The campus boasts dozens of student organizations, many of which include service components around the university, the community, and even throughout the world. Students are taught the value of working together and serving others, applying the knowledge learned in the classroom to solve real world needs.
Opportunities abound for internships and practical experience opportunities at OBU. Whether a summer internship, a part-time job on or off campus, or a study abroad opportunity, there are countless ways for students to gain experience in their field while a student at OBU. Professors, through the personal connections made with students, are invaluable resources for these opportunities, as is the Career Development office, which assists current students and alumni with an array of career services.
OBU students have the opportunity to demonstrate expertise within their disciplines through capstone projects and courses. These experiences push students to apply all the knowledge they have gained and demonstrate preparedness for applying their degree in a professional capacity. Professors are personal mentors through this process, guiding students as they journey through their projects. OBU’s student experience culminates in not only the knowledge needed to succeed after college, but also in the development of character, faith, and integrity—all that sets OBU graduates apart from those from other institutions.
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th Percentile: 500 | 75th Percentile: 610
25th Percentile: 500 | 75th Percentile: 600
25th Percentile: 20 | 75th Percentile: 26
25th Percentile: 18 | 75th Percentile: 25
25th Percentile: 20 | 75th Percentile: 26
ADMISSIONS AND TOUR INFORMATION
OBU’s admissions process is focused on the prospective student, with counselors guiding students through every step of the process from prospect to enrollment and move-in. The admissions process at OBU is designed with the student in mind, focusing on the transition to the college experience and placing great value on the student’s future and goals.
The University hosts numerous events for prospective students, including Be A Bison Days, Night on the Hill (where prospective students spend a night and day experiencing life as an OBU student), campus tours, and more. OBU also makes enrolling in classes a fun and exciting event with Priority Enrollment Day, where hundreds of new students converge on Bison Hill, enroll in courses, meet professors, and enjoy the welcoming encouragement of current students.
Tuition & Cost
Financial aid opportunities are abundant at OBU, with every new student receiving a guaranteed minimum financial award. With a growing scholarship endowment, OBU offers its world-class education at one of the lowest net prices in Oklahoma and the region at large. In fact, the University has been ranked on many affordability lists for colleges throughout the region and nation. OBU’s financial aid counselors work to make the financial aid process as easy as possible, walking new students through the process every step of the way.