Oklahoma Baptist University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Oklahoma Baptist University
Oklahoma Baptist University is a Christian liberal arts university in Shawnee, Oklahoma, just 30...

Oklahoma Baptist University

Shawnee, Oklahoma

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 88 areas of undergraduate study, housed within six Colleges. The University is consistently highly ranked in national and regional academic rankings, and has an outstanding rate of acceptance for its graduates into advanced degree programs of all varieties.


The University competes in 23 sports in NCAA Division II athletics and has a long history of athletic excellence, winning 23 national championships over the past 11 seasons. 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.”

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
1,960 undergraduate students
95% of undergrad students are full time
40% male — 60% female
32% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
82 full-time faculty
1 part-time faculty
13 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
98% of first year students live on campus
92% of all students live on campus

School Location

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.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2016

68% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2016

57% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 4%
Hispanic/Latino 2%
Black or African American 6%
White 69%
American Indian or Alaska Native 5%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 11%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%


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 23 sports in NCAA Division II athletics and has a long history of athletic excellence, winning 23 national championships over the past 11 seasons. 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 which once grew on the campus’s location on Bison Hill.

Other Information

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.

Academic Programs

Browse our areas of study College of Business -Accounting, Computer Science, Finance, International Business, Management, Marketing, Social Entrepreneurship College of Fine Arts -Art, Graphic Design, Studio Art, Communication Studies, Digital Media Arts, News & Information, Theatre, Vocal Music, Piano Performance, Composition, Church Music, Music Education College of Humanities and Social Sciences -Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Family/Community Service, History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Creative Writing, English, Spanish, Multilingual Communications, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education, Exercise Physiology & Wellness, Personal Training/Strength & Conditioning, Pre-Allied Health/Rehab Services, Camp Administration, Sports & Recreation Management, Sports Ministry College of Nursing -Nursing (LPN, RN, BSN, MSN) College of Science and Mathematics -Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Natural Science, Physics College of Theology and Ministry -Apologetics, Christian Ministry, Christian Studies, Cross Cultural Ministry, Philosophy, Religion, Inter-disciplinary College of Graduate and Professional Studies -Business, Nursing, Marriage/Family Therapy, Intercultural Studies, Christian Studies

More Distinctions

  • OBU ranked third on a list of the 25 Most Affordable Christian Colleges and Universities in the West for 2016.

  • OBU’s MBA degree ranked third nationally on a list of "50 Best Value Christian MBA Programs 2015.”

  • OBU ranked 10th nationally out of the "Top 20 Christian Colleges For A Counseling Degree 2015."

  • OBU ranked as the top Christian college or university in the state of Oklahoma on a list of “50 Christian Colleges with the Lowest Debt Burden.” OBU ranked 16th out of the entire nation.

  • OBU was recently recognized as having one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation, ranking on a list of the “50 Most Beautiful Christian Colleges and Universities 2016.”

Gap/Bridge Year

Freshman and transfer students become a part of the OBU family and bond together as fellow Bison during OBU’s Welcome Week. Highlighted by move-in day, where 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 college in the Christian worldview. New students are also given opportunities to bond and grow throughout the year, including a special January session between the fall and spring terms. January session 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 for compromise. These skills are valuable life skills that heighten the educational experience at OBU.

Undergraduate Research

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 opportunities for internships in numerous research capacities and are encouraged to develop these valuable skills as they matriculate through their courses.

Diversity/Global Learning

OBU seeks to encourage a diverse campus and embrace cultures from around the nation and around the world. In the most recent academic year, OBU students came from 40 states and 35 other countries. OBU’s mission statement includes the charge for students to “engage a diverse world” and the University lives out that mission 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.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine  
Marching band X
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Pep band X
Radio station  
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra X
Television station X
Yearbook X

Student-Faculty Interaction

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. Staff and resources are available to assist students of all majors, classifications, and academic needs. Staff aid with comprehension of course material, as well as in 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 opportunities to develop strong critical thinking and writing skills. These skills are emphasized in all coursework, but take special emphasis during freshman language and composition courses.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Other: Religion 

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 286 208 138 44 17 17 0 710

OBU strives to build a vibrant and robust community on Bison Hill, providing ample opportunities for growth beyond the lecture hall and opportunities to build 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 build and grow, enhancing the opportunities for stimulating conversations and professor interactions outside of the classroom.

Guest Speakers

OBU holds numerous lectureships and speaker series, bringing in outside speakers to challenge and grow student perspectives. The University also holds numerous public forums and panels where 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. Students wear a green and gold “beanie,” a small hat that symbolizes their status as a new part of the OBU family…a tradition spanning nearly 100 years. Students also participate in the Unity Gathering, a candle lit vigil 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.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms  
Men’s dorms X
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students X
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Service-Learning, Community Based Learning

Service and community are emphasized from the first days a student sets foot on Bison Hill. During the first week before classes begin, new and returning students work together in a community-wide service project known as Serve Shawnee, working at local schools, non-profits, community parks, etc. Students live out the value of service, building bonds with fellow students and the community. A similar event takes place in the spring, known as One Body United, where 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.

Capstone Courses and Projects / Senior Experience

OBU students have opportunities 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 these 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 which sets OBU graduates apart from those from other institutions.


Admissions Fall 2016

4,833 total applicants
2,905 total admissions
567 total freshman enrollment

60.11% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2018-19 Admission

Rolling Admission? No

Closing date: Aug 1

Freshman Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 460 600
SAT Math 460 565
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 20 26
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 20 27
ACT Writing    

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 at 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 are cheered on and welcomed by current students.



Tuition $22,710
Fees $2,600
Total $25,310
Room and Board (on campus) $7,010
Room Only $3,250
Board Only $3,760
Estimated Total On Campus $32,320


Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017

100% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
60% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$22,878 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$6,414 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates

Additional Aid Information

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 in the region. In fact, the University has been ranked on many affordability lists for colleges throughout the region and the 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.