Programs for Academic Excellence

University-Wide General education

University-Wide General Education 

In today’s global society, the most important contribution a university can make is to help prepare its students for a lifetime of change and a future as an educated and responsible citizen. OU’s university-wide general education core curriculum, which was implemented in fall 1990, meets this challenge by providing a curriculum of required courses designed to help students think creatively, reason and communicate clearly, and adapt quickly to a rapidly changing world. 

OU was the first college in the state — and among the pioneers nationally — to organize its general education requirements into a focused curriculum that emphasizes the key areas of knowledge essential in today’s society and life in the 21st century. 

In designing its general education curriculum, OU looked toward two new centuries-the 21st century, in which students will need to cope with global, societal and career changes — and OU’s second century, in which it will continue to produce leaders for the state, nation and world. OU’s general education curriculum is designed to help its students succeed after graduation, regardless of their field of endeavor. Because effective communication skills are essential, writing is emphasized across the general education curriculum. Courses also help students learn to express themselves orally, use mathematical analysis, examine and solve problems, explore the concepts and methodologies of the natural and social sciences, appreciate the creative arts, and better understand their own and others’ cultural heritages. Courses are designed to foster enthusiasm, curiosity and a desire to continue learning. 


A minimum of 40 credit hours of general education courses is required for graduation. Some colleges or majors require students to complete additional hours of general education coursework or to take specific courses to fulfill general education requirements. The list of courses approved for general education credit is available in the Gen Ed Planner. Courses must be distributed among the following areas: 

I. SYMBOLIC AND ORAL COMMUNICATION (3-6 courses, 9-22 hours) 

  • English Composition (2 courses, 6 hours). 
  • Foreign Language (2 courses, 6-10 hours). This requirement can be satisfied by successfully completing two semesters of the same foreign language at the college level equivalent to two semesters at OU. It also may be satisfied by successfully completing two years of the same foreign language in high school or by demonstrating an equivalent level of competence on an assessment test. (Note: the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of International Studies require students to complete three semesters of college-level foreign language or pass an assessment test. The College of Arts & Sciences and College of International Studies requirement cannot be met by high school coursework. Some majors require a fourth semester of foreign language.)
  • Mathematics (1 course, 3 hours). 
  • Other. Courses in this category are not required, but may be used when additional credit hours are needed to bring the total hours completed to 40. Approved courses in this area include communication, logic and public speaking. 

II. NATURAL SCIENCE (2 courses, 7-8 hours) 

  • At least two courses of three or more credit hours each and totaling a minimum of seven credit hours are required. The courses must be from different disciplines, and at least one course must include a laboratory component, denoted by [L] in the list of general education courses. (Note: the College of Arts and Sciences requires its students to complete one course in the Biological Sciences and one course in the Physical Sciences.)

III. SOCIAL SCIENCE (2 courses, 6 hours) 

  • One course must be Political Science 1113, “American Federal Government” (three hours)

IV. HUMANITIES (4 courses, 12 hours) 

  • Understanding Artistic Forms (1 course, 3 hours) 
  • Western Civilization and Culture (2 courses, 6 hours). One course must be History 1483, “United States 1492-1865,” or History 1493, “United States 1865 to Present.” The other course may not be History 1483 or History 1493. 
  • Non-Western Culture (1 course, 3 hours). Note: The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of International Studies require additional upper-division Humanities courses outside the major (2 courses, 6 hours). 

V. SENIOR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (1 course, 3 hours) 

  • Designed to culminate a student’s undergraduate field of study and place it in a larger social, intellectual and professional context, the capstone experience should be an intensive experience in the major or interdisciplinary field at the senior level of performance. The capstone must include an in-depth writing component. 


  • In addition to the Senior Capstone Experience, at least one of the courses (minimum of 3 hours) used to satisfy the general education requirements must be at the upper-division level and outside of the student’s major.

Expository Writing program

The Edith Kinney Gaylord Expository Writing Program 

Catherine Mintler, Interim Director
Bizzell Memorial Library, Room 4
Norman, OK 73019-6030
Phone: (405) 325-3583
FAX: (405) 325-3678


Lecturers Bosse, Jackson, Locke, Lolordo, Long, Scafe; Visiting Lecturer Gaida.   

General Information 

The Expository Writing Program offers students the opportunity to sharpen their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills through the intensive examination of a particular topic. The defining feature of an Expo course is students’ collaboration with their instructors. 

All Expo courses feature

  • a guided investigation of a special topic
  • seminar-sized class of no more than 16 students
  • an emphasis on individual instruction and student/teacher collaboration
  • an open, interactive classroom atmosphere


Honors college

Honors College 

The Honors College provides a curricular program for academically talented and motivated undergraduate students who wish to pursue the cum laude degree designation on their diplomas. Transfer students and current OU students with a 3.40 grade point average and 15 college credit hours, are eligible to apply. Also eligible are direct-from-high school students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class (or a 3.75 GPA ) with a 30 ACT or 1330 SAT. 

Honors students benefit from small classes taught by excellent faculty, special advising on thesis projects, undergraduate research and internship opportunities, and special programs such as Honors at Oxford, Medical Humanities Scholars Program and Reading Groups. 

OU Scholars Program 

The OU Scholars Program is the largest source of four-year, talent-based academic scholarships for direct-from-high school freshman entering the University of Oklahoma. Recipients of an OU Scholars, National Merit, and National Award tuition waiver receive a unique advising experience through the OU Scholars Program during their first year.  Scholars advisors understand the concerns of academically talented students and the various issues involved in advising and counseling those students.


Programs for Undergraduate Research

Programs for Undergraduate Research 

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) 

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program is designed to provide financial awards to undergraduate students for research, scholarly or creative projects under the sponsorship of a faculty member. UROP provides the students mentors with departmental funds to allow them to benefit from direct participation in research. 

Administered by the Honors College, UROP has two competitions each year, one in the fall semester for projects to be carried out the following spring and/or summer, and a second in the spring semester for projects to be carried out in the following summer and/or fall. 

UROP provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to become actively involved at the leading edge of their area of study, and to work in close association with a faculty sponsor. Through UROP, undergraduate students become more active participants in their education. Interested students are strongly urged to pursue this exciting opportunity. For more information, contact the Honors College at (405) 325-5291. 

Undergraduate Research Day 

The Honors College sponsors an annual conference every spring to allow undergraduates from the University of Oklahoma and other colleges and universities in the region to present their research and creative work. 

Paper sessions scheduled throughout the day and chaired by distinguished faculty members offer parents and other students an opportunity to see the quality of scholarly work from these students. Represented disciplines include the performing arts, the humanities, creative writing, social sciences, life and natural sciences, engineering, and business. Students may compete for several cash awards. 

Honors at Oxford 

Honors students have the opportunity to spend a summer studying at one of the world’s premier universities. Students begin their studies in Norman and then travel to England, completing the class at Brasenose College, Oxford University. Unlike most American programs at Oxford, our students work in tutorials with distinguished Oxford professors, the traditional teaching format at Oxford and Cambridge for centuries. 

Graduate Programs for Academic Excellence

Graduate Programs for Academic Excellence 

The university and the Graduate College strive to promote excellence in all areas of graduate study. Several programs are available to enrich the graduate and research arena and to encourage and reward graduate students for outstanding contributions to their disciplines. Among these are the Dissertation Prizes, Graduate Teaching Awards and the annual Graduate Student Research and Performance Day. Doctoral Study Grant awards, which are sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Robberson Travel and Research Grants and federally sponsored fellowship awards also are available for students in many graduate program areas. 

Additional programs, like the Eddie Carol Smith Scholarship and the T.H. Lee Williams Travel Scholarship, seek to reward and encourage scholars conducting and presenting original scholarship at the highest levels. 

For more information on any of the programs mentioned above or other programs that may be available, please refer to the Graduate College section of this catalog or visit the Graduate College website

National MERIT scholars

National Merit Scholars 

The University of Oklahoma has made a long-standing commitment to the recruitment and retention of outstanding high school students who have been recognized as Semifinalists/Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition. All National Merit Finalists automatically qualify for the Oklahoma Academic Scholars Program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education along with a tuition waiver scholarship and cash stipend from the university. Upon entering the university, these students receive a technology allowance, a one-time travel-study stipend, specialized academic advising, early enrollment privileges and a great deal of personalized attention from the office of National Scholars Programs. They also have the benefit of taking departmental advanced standing exams free of charge during their undergraduate careers. For further information, contact National Scholars Programs at (405) 325-2151, via email at, or visit the National Scholars Programs website at   


Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program 

The Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program (OSLEP) is a unique intercollegiate, interdisciplinary program designed to develop the scholarship and leadership abilities of Oklahoma's outstanding college and university students. The program is sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and administered by the University of Oklahoma.

Small groups of students selected from Oklahoma's four-year colleges and universities study with distinguished visiting scholars. Students tell us over and over again that being in an OSLEP class is one of the most rewarding experiences in their academic careers because of the unique learning environment, the time devoted to one subject, and the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with a world-famous scholar and make lasting friendships with students from around the state.

Many of the visiting scholars present a free public lecture, open to the community. These programs always include a question & answer session and an opportunity to meet and talk with the scholar.

Interested students can contact the OSLEP office or visit for the current schedule of seminars and additional information. The OSLEP office is located in Monnet Hall, Room 559, 630 Parrington Oval, 325-4309; email

Academic common market

Academic Common Market 

The Academic Common Market (ACM) is an interstate agreement coordinated by the Southern Regional Education Board for sharing some unique academic programs through an exchange of students across state lines wherein non-resident tuition charges are waived. Visit Academic Common Market for more information regarding the university's participation in the Academic Common Market.


Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) 

Since 1949, students and faculty of the University of Oklahoma have benefitted from its membership in Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). ORAU is a consortium of 91 colleges and universities and a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy(DOE) located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. ORAU works with its member institutions to help their students and faculty gain access to federal research facilities throughout the country; to keep its members informed about opportunities for fellowship, scholarship, and research appointments; and to organize research alliances among its members. 

Undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates, as well as faculty enjoy access to a multitude of opportunities for study and research through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), the DOE facility that ORAU operates. Students can participate in programs covering a wide variety of disciplines, including business, earth sciences, epidemiology, engineering, physics, geological sciences, pharmacology, ocean sciences, biomedical sciences, nuclear chemistry, and mathematics. Appointment and program length range from one month to four years. Many of these programs are especially designed to increase the numbers of under-represented minority students pursuing degrees in science- and engineering-related disciplines. A comprehensive listing of these programs and other opportunities, their disciplines, and details on locations and benefits can be found at, or by calling either of the contacts below. 

ORAU’s Office of Partnership Development seeks opportunities for partnerships and alliances among ORAU’s members, private industry, and major federal facilities. Activities include faculty development programs, such as the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards, the Visiting Industrial Scholars Program, consortium research funding initiatives, faculty research, and support programs as well as services to chief research officers. 

For more information about ORAU and its programs, contact Richard D. Elmore, Robert and Doris Klabzuba Professor of Geology and ORAU Councilor for the University of Oklahoma at (405) 325-3253; contact Monnie E. Champion, ORAU corporate secretary, at (865)576-3306; or visit the ORAU Home Page. 

co-ops and internships

Co-ops and Internships 

Cooperative education, internships, and practicums, which are available in a wide variety of settings, can make students’ academic study come alive by providing practical experience related to their academic goals. This experience can help students evaluate their career choices and enhance their employability upon graduation. 

More than 50 undergraduate fields of study offer positions, ranging from informal arrangements between a professor and a business colleague to formal, required internships. Some internships are paid positions; other field experiences may provide the opportunity to earn credit toward a degree while gaining practical work experience. Co-ops always are paid experiences. 

Visit Career Services to identify openings and opportunities and contact the representative who coordinates specialized programs through your academic department. Career Services will help you learn the job-search skills and techniques necessary to be successful in the application process. For additional information, contact Career Services, 323 Oklahoma Memorial Union, (405) 325-1974. 

applicatons for scholarships and fellowships

Applications for Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships 

The Honors College maintains complete application information and works with outstanding undergraduates in their quest for Rhodes Scholarships, Marshall Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships, Truman Scholarships, Gates Cambridge Scholarships, Rotary Scholarships, and other prestigious awards.For more information, contact the Honors College, 1300 Asp Ave., (405) 325-5291. 

Combined Curriculum

Combined Curriculum

Combined Curriculum 

  • Dentistry
  • Medicine 
  • Osteopathic Medicine 
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Law 

A student may qualify for the degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science at the end of his/her first year in an approved school of law, dentistry, medicine, osteopathic medicine, or veterinary medicine by fulfilling the requirements listed below. Items A-1 through A-4 must be completed prior to entering the professional school.

A. Combined Curriculum with the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, College of Dentistry, or College of Law:

    1. Complete at least 98 semester credit hours before entering the College of Medicine, College of Dentistry, or College of Law.
    2. Earn at least 30 semester credit hours in residence at the University of Oklahoma.
    3. Earn at least 15 semester credit hours of upper-division major credit courses at the University of Oklahoma.
    4. Earn at least 15 of the last 30 semester credit hours before entering the College of Medicine, College of Dentistry, or College of Law in residence at the University of Oklahoma.
    5. Complete all other degree requirements of the College including the University’s general education requirements, the College requirements, and all the major and major support requirements of a regular degree program.
    6. Successfully complete the work of the first year in the College of Medicine, Dentistry, or Law.

B. Combined Curriculum with other Approved Schools of Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Dentistry, and Veterinary Medicine:

A student enrolled in a medical school approved by the Association of American Medical Colleges, in an Osteopathic Medical School approved by the American Osteopathic Association, in a dental school approved by the American Dental Association, or in a school of veterinary medicine approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association may receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science upon the satisfactory completion of: Items A-2 through A-4 (above) and completion of at least 98 hours prior to entering the professional school and by satisfactory completion of the first year in the approved College of Dentistry, Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine or Veterinary Medicine.