Graduate College

Norman Campus
731 Elm Avenue
213 Robertson Hall
Norman, OK 73019-2115
Phone: (405) 325-3811
FAX: (405) 325-5346
TDD: (405) 325-6914

Tulsa Campus
4502 E. 41st St.
Tulsa, OK 74135
Phone: (918) 660-3660

The objective of the Graduate College is to guide, support and enhance the educational experience of every graduate student at the university.

For complete information about the Graduate College, graduate degree and certificate programs, and policies governing graduate study at the University of Oklahoma, review the Graduate College Bulletin.

Great Reading Room in Bizzell library

General Information

General Information 

Graduate College Administrative Officers 

Randall S. Hewes, Ph.D., Interim Dean of the Graduate College (also Professor of Biology)
James J. Sluss, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate College in Tulsa (also Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs)
Nancy A. LaGreca, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the Graduate College (also Professor of Spanish)
Jennifer L. Kisamore, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the Graduate College in Tulsa (also Associate Professor of Psychology)

The Graduate College is the center of advanced study, research, and creative activity at the university. Graduate instruction has been offered at the University of Oklahoma since 1899, seven years after the university opened its doors. The first master’s degree was conferred in 1900 to C. Ross Hume. The Graduate School was formally organized in 1909, and in 1929, the first doctoral degree was awarded to Dr. Mary Jane Brown. In 1942, the name was changed to the Graduate College.

The OU Health Sciences Center also offers graduate degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels. 


The goal of the Graduate College is to guide, support and enhance the educational experience of every graduate student at OU. The Graduate Council and the Dean of the Graduate College supervise and evaluate the academic units of the university that offer master’s and doctoral degrees to ensure quality, observance of policy, and academic excellence in all areas of advanced study. 

The Graduate College strives to develop in each student a firm grasp of a chosen field, the skills and methods of research, and the capacity for independent thought. The Graduate College carefully monitors the performance of all graduate students. Final determination of a student's graduate status, from admission through graduation, rests with the Dean of the Graduate College. 

Faculty and students share an obligation to master the knowledge of their chosen fields, to add to that knowledge, and to present it to the scholarly community. The Graduate Faculty has responsibility for instruction, for the guidance of graduate students in the development of their programs, and for pursuing investigations associated with a particular field or discipline. Graduate students are expected to demonstrate initiative and assume responsibility for the progress of their studies. Students must master a body of knowledge, and class work merely provides the foundation for wider personal inquiry. A graduate degree is conferred for mastery of a field and thorough understanding of its related branches.

Graduate Programs for Academic Excellence 

Private donations have enabled the Graduate College to provide fellowships and scholarships in designated areas. Among these are the Alumni Graduate Fellowship, OU Foundation Fellowship, Kenneth L. Hoving Fellowship, Hudson Fellowship, and McNair Fellowship.

Additional programs, like the Eddie Carol Smith Scholarship, Robberson Travel and Research grants, and the Robberson and Wethington Scholarships, seek to reward and encourage scholars conducting and presenting original scholarship at the highest levels. 

Dissertation Awards and Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards in three categories are given annually to reward excellence in dissertation research and teaching, respectively. The awards include a certificate and a monetary prize. 

The Graduate College sponsors an annual Student Research and Creativity Day. Cash prizes and certificates are awarded for excellence in research and presentation. In addition, the annual Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT®) challenges students to communicate the significance of their research to a general audience in just three minutes. Cash prizes are awarded, and the finalists’ presentations are featured on the Graduate College website.

For more information on these programs and others that may be available, please visit the Graduate College website. 

Research Programs 

Research is a critical dimension of the mission of the University of Oklahoma. It is vital to the growth, health, and progress of the state of Oklahoma, the region and the nation. In fiscal year 2016, 551 grants and contracts were awarded totaling $102.7 million.

Participation in research and creative activity projects is fundamental to a graduate student’s training and development. Various projects that support graduate students are conducted in all graduate programs offered at the university. Information about current research projects is available from each academic department.

Graduate students who are unsure of the norms in their department for identifying research themes and faculty advisors are encouraged to contact the graduate liaison in their academic unit for guidance on how to proceed.

Use of Human Subjects in Research 

All research involving human subjects or the use of data generated via human subjects research performed by faculty, staff or students at the University of Oklahoma Norman or Tulsa campus or at Cameron University, which will result in publication or presentation, must be reviewed and approved by the University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Institutional Review Board (OU-NC IRB) prior to subject recruitment and data collection. The primary role of the OU-NC IRB is to determine if the rights and welfare of human subjects who volunteer to participate in research studies are adequately protected and to ensure that adequate informed consent procedures are used. The University of Oklahoma Norman campus policy for the protection of human subjects in research activities and IRB application materials can be accessed at the OU IRB website.

If you have questions about compliance or the IRB approval process, contact the Office of Human Research Participant Protection at (405) 325-8110 or email

Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research 

All research performed on live vertebrate animals or teaching that uses live vertebrates must be described for review and approval by the University of Oklahoma - Norman Campus Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (OU-NC IACUC) prior to obtaining animals and data collection. The primary role of the IACUC is to ensure compliance with the U.S. Animal Welfare Act and Amendments and to ensure that animals receive humane care during procedures in accordance with federal regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare of the Public Health Service (OLAW/PHS). 

If you have questions on the IACUC review process, contact the Office of Laboratory Animal Resources (405) 325-2609 or visit the OU IACUC website.


The University of Oklahoma Intellectual Property Policy governs the ownership of certain inventions made by university students, staff and/or faculty members. The policy provides, in part, that all discoveries and/or inventions, patentable or not patentable, which are made or conceived of while the inventor is a student at the university with substantial use of university facilities not normally made available to students, or are made with funds provided by or through the university (including research funds), are the property of the university. The policy protects and offers substantial benefits to the inventor, while simultaneously protecting the university’s interests in the invention. Students and faculty members are expected to be familiar with their rights and obligations under the University Intellectual Property Policy and to promptly report any inventions as outlined in the policy. The policy may be viewed online in section 3.29 of the Faculty Handbook

Be aware that the University Intellectual Property Policy is subject to revision at any time. Students who make an invention or discovery that is covered under the stated conditions should contact the Office of Technology Development at (405) 325-3800 or via email at

Embargo Policy for Theses and Dissertations

The University of Oklahoma Graduate College is committed to making research available to the broadest possible community. Open access to research supports the values of learning, teaching and peer review essential to our academic standing and integrity; it allows scholars to disseminate their work to the widest audience; and it supports the discovery and advancement of knowledge for all. Therefore, University of Oklahoma theses and dissertations are presented at open oral defenses, made locally accessible in print form on our library shelves, made globally accessible in digital form in the SHAREOK Repository.

However, in some situations and some disciplines, it may be advisable to delay immediate access to a thesis or dissertation. Upon request, the Graduate College will approve embargo of a thesis or dissertation for a limited period, provided good cause is demonstrated. An embargo postpones the date on which a thesis or dissertation will become broadly accessible. However, an embargo does not waive the final submission requirement—a student who receives approval for an embargo will still need to submit the final thesis or dissertation in order to fulfill graduate degree requirements, in accordance with the policies in the Graduate College Bulletin.

Alternatives should be considered, such as embargoing only those portions of the work that may be published elsewhere. Theses and dissertations may not contain material that requires permanent restriction.

Because the landscape of open access publication is rapidly changing, the Graduate College will revisit its embargo policy periodically.

Requesting an Individual Embargo

A student should discuss any potential need for an embargo with their committee as early as possible in the research process. If it is determined that an embargo is necessary, the committee chair should prepare a written request. The request should be endorsed by the student and graduate liaison and submitted to the Graduate College with the Request for Authority for Thesis Defense form or Request for Authority for Dissertation Defense form. The request should specify the length of embargo being requested and the justification for the embargo. Relevant supporting documentation may be attached. The Graduate College will notify the student and academic unit via OU email once a decision has been made concerning the embargo request. An initial request for embargo may be approved for any length of time up to three (3) years. An approved embargo will begin on the date that the student submits the final thesis or dissertation.

Requesting a Departmental Embargo

In some disciplines, open access publication is not yet the norm. Many or most of the graduate students in these disciplines may require an embargo. Therefore, the chair or director of an academic unit may petition the Graduate College to pre-approve a specified embargo period for digital versions of theses or dissertations produced within that academic unit.

For more detailed information, review the complete embargo policy in the Graduate College Bulletin.

Graduate Student Travel for Academic Purposes 

Graduate students who will travel overseas under certain conditions must register the travel with OU. For more detailed information, review the complete graduate student travel policy in the Graduate College Bulletin.

Graduate Assistant Integrity 

Graduate assistants make a vital contribution to the university at every level. As teaching and research assistants, they carry on the highest levels of intellectual inquiry; as professionals in training, they connect the university to the community and the world. In these roles, graduate assistants represent not only the student body but the university as whole. Therefore, the university expects graduate assistants to conduct themselves with the highest standards of judgment and behavior in every area. 

As instructors, graduate assistants follow all university policies concerning instruction. They demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. They make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between instructor and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment or discriminatory treatment of students. Graduate assistants will not receive payment from students for tutoring or help sessions in any course in which they are currently assigned as an instructor, and they will accept the judgment of their department as to other limitations on such activities. 

As researchers, graduate assistants have a responsibility to ensure the integrity and ethical standards in any research activity in which they are engaged. Graduate assistants will not engage in research misconduct and will notify a responsible party if they become aware of research misconduct by others. 

As professionals in training, graduate assistants have a professional obligation to their colleagues and to the university. They show due respect and civility to their associates. They understand that any other employment or enterprise in which they engage for income is secondary to their university duties, and they accept the judgment of their department regarding conflicts of interest, either real or apparent, that may be caused by such outside activities.