University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
"The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) is located in the friendly...

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Chickasha, Oklahoma

The world is complex, and so many complex challenges face this generation. The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s interdisciplinary core curriculum is not just a bundle of general education requirements with a fancy name. USAO’s Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) program is a carefully designed sequence of courses that incorporates many academic traditions while building connections between them. These classes are generally team-taught by two or more professors from different disciplines. The IDS program is the spine that has held USAO’s liberal arts mission upright for 50 years.


USAO’s Mission: The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma is the state’s only public liberal arts college. Its mission is to provide the public with a distinctive and accessible liberal arts and sciences education. In combining an interdisciplinary core curriculum with superior instruction in major fields of study, USAO aims to provide a thorough education that prepares students for meaningful, purposeful lives.


USAO graduates are living proof that the liberal arts model will enable students to learn, exercise critical thinking, and communicate. Within one year of graduation, a higher percentage of graduates from USAO are employed than from any other university in Oklahoma. Regardless of a student’s path, the skills gained at USAO are time-tested and designed to last. This is why USAO is recognized by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni as one of only 23 universities nationwide meeting the highest standards in requiring every student to have a solid foundation in math, science, literature, history, and other core subjects.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
873 undergraduate students
82% of undergrad students are full time
34% male — 66% female

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
62 full-time faculty
30 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Moderately residential: 50% of full-time students live on campus. Freshmen are required to live on campus.

School Location

Chickasha, Oklahoma—within 35 minutes of urban shopping and entertainment in three directions.

Retention Fall 2015

63% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

40% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 8%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 5%
White 62%
American Indian or Alaska Native 15%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 0%


USAO takes pride in developing scholar-athletes who demonstrate the valued relationship between academics and athletics—a relationship that characterizes the great liberal arts colleges.

USAO’s sports teams have achieved national success and compete among the elite teams in small college athletics. Competing in one of the toughest conferences in the nation, the Sooner Athletic Conference, the Drovers regularly compete against some of the nation’s best. In addition, each of USAO’s athletic programs has competed in the NAIA National Tournament. Each of USAO coaches is committed to establishing nationally known athletic programs that compete for conference and national championships on a regular basis. Drovers’ athletic teams consist of eight varsity sports (Four men’s: basketball, soccer, baseball, cross-country; four women’s: basketball, soccer, softball, cross-country), and five intramurals.

Other Information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma is Oklahoma’s only public liberal arts college. USAO was founded in 1908 as a women’s institution, Oklahoma College for Women (OCW), the first college created by Oklahoma’s first legislature. USAO is one of only seven state institutions with similar missions ever created in the United States. Other than the University of Oklahoma, USAO has the oldest original mission of any state college or university in Oklahoma. USAO is the only Oklahoma college to be named a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Academic Programs

23 Majors: American Indian Studies; Art; Biology; Business; Chemistry; Communication; Deaf Education; Early Childhood Education; Economics; Elementary Education; English; Fine Arts; History; Mathematics; Music; Natural Science; Physical Education; Physics; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology; Speech-Language Pathology; Theatre Arts. Pre-Professional Programs: Pre-Dentistry; Pre-Medicine; Pre-Nursing; Pre-Pharmacy; Pre-Veterinary.

More Distinctions

  • The Washington D.C. education think tank, American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) annually reviews and evaluates the required core curriculums of over a 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide. Grading its content and quality from A to F, USAO is one of only 21 institutions in the United States on which ACTA bestows an “A” grade.

  • Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine lists USAO on its exclusive 2015 national roll of the 100 “Best Values in Public Colleges” in America. Based on a combination of academic quality and cost, Kiplinger also ranks USAO first on its national list of the “25 Best College Values Under $30,000 a Year, 2015."

  • USAO is the only school in Oklahoma that US News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges assigns to an institutional category, “National Liberal Arts Colleges,” that includes many of the most prestigious and expensive private colleges and universities in the nation. Only five percent in this group, which includes the three major military academies, are public. US News has listed USAO on its roster of “Least Debt” for graduates as one of the top 100 of all institutions nationwide.

  • Using US News institutional classifications in its “2015 College Rankings,” the national journal Washington Monthly ranks USAO fourth in the country for “serving the public good” by encouraging “upward social mobility” – a rank based on a formula that factors a school’s graduation rates of lower income federal Pell Grant recipients to net price.

  • A web-based national resource on campus and online higher education,, has designated a 2014 list of “100 Best U.S. Colleges and Universities by State.” For Oklahoma, the organization includes the University of Oklahoma and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

The Best Professors for the Best Experience

Beginning freshman year, USAO students are taught by PhDs. Because USAO offers no graduate programs, undergraduate courses are never taught by graduate assistants. Classes are small, and faculty devote themselves exclusively to providing students with the finest undergraduate learning opportunities anywhere.

Liberal Arts

USAO accepts the challenge to provide an academic and social environment that promotes liberal arts learning. The school has a public liberal arts tradition dating back to 1908. USAO is a member of the prestigious Council on Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) in recognition of the university’s strong tradition of liberal arts education.

IDS Core

The Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) core curriculum differs from other general education programs in several key ways: the breadth and structure of the program, its emphasis on interdisciplinarity, and its use of team teaching. Students commit 50 credit hours to the IDS program over the course of their college careers. This commitment fosters connections between faculty and students who, unable to completely withdraw into one academic department, interact with a wide range of people, ideas, and viewpoints on a daily basis.

A Variety of Experiences

Much of campus life occurs outside the classroom. USAO promotes the idea that the total university experience cannot be realized through academic involvement alone, and that if a university education is a rehearsal for one’s future, it should include a variety of experiences.

Top-Of-The-Notch Facilities

USAO’s Lawson Hall apartments, which opened in fall 2002, are among the most elaborately appointed residence halls in the state, containing a hair and tanning salon, a pool, a volleyball court, a game room, and a movie theater. Additionally, a recent renovation of the Student Center makes it a great place for students to eat and to meet friends.

Nash Library not only serves as the primary research center, but it is also a great place to meet people and hang out. Computer labs in multiple halls are open to all students, and a special Writing Center provides help for students with writing assignments.


Chickasha, a small town of 17,000, is 35 miles from Oklahoma City’s metro area, which features a variety shopping and arts events. The town is the proud home of the internationally recognized Festival of Light, a holiday extravaganza that features displays of more than 3.5 million Christmas lights. It draws more than 300,000 people to visit Shannon Springs Park, located just a few blocks from the USAO campus.

Student Activities

At USAO, the opportunities are endless! USAO works hard to keep the calendar filled with exciting—and yes, intellectually stimulating—events to get students out of their dorm rooms and have year-round fun. Popular events include dramatic and musical productions, Inter-Tribal Heritage Club powwows, guest speakers, entertainers, concerts, and sporting events.

With more than 40 clubs and organizations from which to choose, students’ campus experiences are customized according to any of their interests.

Exactly Who Employers Are Looking For

Employers everywhere are seeking problem solvers who think critically and logically—the kind of graduates produced by USAO.

USAO students take charge of their lives and develop their unique potentials with reason, imagination, and human concern. Employers everywhere are seeking problem solvers who think critically and logically, the kind of graduates produced by USAO. Within one year of graduation, a higher percentage of graduates from USAO are employed than from any other university in Oklahoma.

Career Services

At USAO, individual students take responsibility for making decisions about their futures, and advisers assist students in choosing courses to complete a degree in their chosen fields of study. On campus, the university counselor, student life counselors, the staff of the student services office, resident assistants, and administrators provide students with information, motivation, and career-development opportunities.


Admissions Fall 2015

706 Total Applicants 
466 Total Admissions 
223 Total Freshman Enrollment

66.01% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 395 500
SAT Math 420 510
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 19 24
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 16 22
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $5,100 $14,040
Fees $1,170 $1,170
Total $6,270 $15,210
Room and Board (on campus) $5,470 $5,470
Room Only $2,760 $2,760
Board Only $2,710 $2,710
Estimated Total On Campus $11,740 $20,680


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

99% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
71% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$9,487 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$3,569 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates

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