Updated: August 1, 2017
Oklahoma was one of the territories packaged into the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The territory was ground zero in the tensions and racism pitting the Five Tribes against encroaching American settlement. Within forty to fifty years of the infamous Trail of Tears, a constitutional convention of the Five Tribes and settlers created and approved a plan to declare separate statehood for the tribes, a state called Sequoyah. The U.S. Congress refused the plan, and the next year, 1906, the territories of the Five Tribes and Oklahoma became one state. Oklahoma was added to the United States in 1907.
State motto: Labor Omnia Vincit. Labor Conquers All Things. Oklahoma in the 21st century leads the nation in agriculture, growing much of the nation’s supply of beef, hogs, chickens, wheat, hay, and cotton. Manufacturing plants produce machinery for oil fields, construction, transportation, and food processing. Mining operations provide petroleum and natural gas, coal, and crushed limestone. Oklahoma is the only state producing iodine.
Employment rates for Oklahoma’s college graduates reflect strong prospects in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. An engineer holding a post-graduate certificate ranks highest with 96 percent finding employment within one year of graduation. The geosciences boast 85 percent placement, and computer information systems graduates find employment at a rate of 81 percent within one year. These high success rates correlate to national statistics, which show much lower unemployment rates for college graduates. While overall United States unemployment rates remain steady at 4.8 percent, graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education have an unemployment rate of just 2.5 percent (as of January 2017).
To give residents a greater chance of future job security, the state created Oklahoma’s Promise The program gives students in grades eight through ten the opportunity to earn college tuition through personal achievements and high standards of conduct. The student’s family must earn no more than $50,000 per year, and only Oklahoma residents may apply. Because the Promise equates to a cash scholarship, it supplements or replaces other forms of financial aid so that the total aid package never exceeds 100 percent of need.
What are the best online colleges in Oklahoma?
According to Accredited Schools Online, thirty-five Oklahoma colleges offer online education. The list below will provide more information about the top fifteen of those colleges. They are public and private, secular and religious, rural and city-centered. Students earn associate’s degrees to master’s degrees, as well as post-graduate certificates and professional certification. The state embraces modern, flexible, self-paced higher education.
Calculations that determined the top fifteen online colleges blended up-to-date statistics with performance metrics including student retention, financial aid packages, job placement, diversity, and investments in research.
Oral Roberts University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $22,509
Famed televangelist Oral Roberts founded the university in 1962 as a Christian institution. Nearly 4,000 students come from all 50 states plus 89 other nations to the campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Currently, Oral Roberts University (ORU) offers 76 undergraduate programs, 12 master’s degrees, and 2 doctoral degrees.
ORU has garnered several accolades, including:
- 2017 – Princeton Review, “Best in the West”
- 2017 – S. News, “Best in the West” and “Best Value”
- 2017 – Affordable Colleges Online:
- #17 “Best Online Theology Degrees”
- #20 “Best Online Communications Degree”
- #12 “Best Online Political Science Degree”
- #2 “Best Online Christian Counseling Degree”
- “Best Military-Friendly Online Colleges”
ORU emphasizes “Whole Person Education” to prepare students spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially to take on future endeavors. To that end, the school offers 15 online Bachelor’s degrees, 3 online Master’s degrees, and 2 online post-graduate Certificates. The university recently added new undergraduate degrees in Financial Management and Human Resource Management, a new Master of Curriculum and Instruction, and a new Master of School Administration.
The brand-new online Bachelor of Science in Financial Management prepares students for CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) certification as well as careers as insurance underwriters, loan officers, and financial consultants. The degree plan teaches students to analyze an enterprise for cash flow, accountancy, acquisition of funds, asset management, debt reduction, and portfolio management.
Courses for the BS in Financial Management include:
- Capital Markets
- Financial Management
To earn the bachelor’s degree, students need to complete 128 credit hours. Other course requirements include business law, algebra, communication, Biblical literature, American government, and science. Within the Finance curriculum, grades applied to the student’s major must be a C or higher. The credit hours break down to 54 to 57 general education hours, 30 hours in the major, 36 cognate (related) hours, and 5 to 8 elective hours.
University of Oklahoma
College Choice Score: 99.43
Average Net Price: $16,909
Since its founding in 1890, the University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman has expanded to three campuses and added study abroad, overseas locations, and online degrees. U.S. News has ranked the groundbreaking “University Outreach” program the 3rd best online program in 2017. Other honors include “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” and “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.”
The College of Liberal Studies (CLS) offers classes online, on-campus, or a combination of both (known as the hybrid option). Bachelor of Arts degrees include Administrative Leadership, Liberal Studies, Lifespan Care, and World Cultural Studies. Graduate programs offer Masters of Administrative Leadership, Health and Human Services Administration, Museum Studies, Criminal Justice, and Prevention Science. OU also provides post-graduate certificates in Administrative Leadership, Corrections Management, and Restorative Justice.
The Bachelor of Arts in Administrative Leadership (BAAL) through the CLS emphasizes project management, team management, analysis, strategy, and effective leadership traits such as diversity, conflict resolution, and business ethics.
Courses for the BAAL include:
- Goal Setting and Attainment
- Non-Profit Management
- Ethics in Leadership
To graduate with a BAAL, students need 120 credit hours of online, in-class, or hybrid coursework. Classes follow an accelerated 8-week timeline. The average time length until graduate is 2 to 3 years, while some finish in just 1.5 years.
Transfer students may apply 60 hours from any 4-year institution, but 30 hours must be completed through CLS. The degree mandates 40 hours of upper level coursework, and students need to achieve a 2.0 GPA.
Oklahoma City University
College Choice Score: 99.37
Average Net Price: $27,477
This co-ed, private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church educates 1,800 undergraduates and 600 graduate students annually. In 1904, Anton Classen had a vision of building a large Methodist university, and today, Oklahoma City University (OKCU) enrolls students from 46 states and 43 countries. Forbes recently named the university to its lists of “Best Christian Colleges and “100 Best College Buys.”
In addition to its 5 online Master’s degrees, OKCU provides 70 undergraduate majors, 20 graduate programs, and 2 doctoral degrees.
Within the Meinders School of Business, online students may choose the Master of Science in Energy Legal Studies. The program welcomes energy professionals with collaboration from within the energy industry. Meinders ranks among the top 4.5 percent of business schools in the world.
The MS in Energy Legal Studies focuses on the legal principles at work in the energy industry: contracts, property rights, environmental restrictions, regulatory law, and oil and gas law. Graduate students in the program learn critical skills in negotiation, writing, and thinking. These skills are in demand with salaries in the six figures.
Courses in Energy Legal Studies include:
- Legal and Ethical Environment of the Energy Industry
- Fundamentals of Property Law
- Legal Research and Citation
The Corporate Partnerships Program discounts tuition in Meinders graduate-level classes. Tuition assistance from partnering corporations will waive university fees. The requirement is a 3.0 overall GPA and good standing with the university (no academic probation). Interested candidates need to check their company’s participation with their HR representative.
Oklahoma State University
College Choice Score: 97.80
Average Net Price: $14,222
As a proud land-grant institution, Oklahoma State University (OSU) welcomes students at its main campus in Stillwater, four other campuses, and online. Land-grant schools were created through the Morrill Acts (1862 and 1890) with the goal to teach the skills necessary for jobs in the Industrial Revolution. Over a century later, the university attracts enrollees from all U.S. states and 120 countries.
OSU’s online degree program, OCampus, offers degrees from the Colleges of Sciences and Natural Resources; Engineering, Architecture, and Technology; Human Sciences; and the Spears School of Business. Post-graduate certificates include Business Data Mining, Business Sustainability, Information Assurance, Online Teaching, and several other options.
The online Master of Entrepreneurship (MSE) includes full-time scheduling during which students create a start-up venture. OSU’s Entrepreneurship Club ranks 9th in the world. Graduates seek out careers in non-profits, for-profits, and the public sector.
Courses for the MSE include:
- Entrepreneurship and Venture Management
- Launching a Business: The First 100 Days
- Preparing Effective Business Plans
The MSE can be completed in 1.5 years, includes the required practicum. To graduate, prepare to take 12 credit hours in Business Foundation courses. The Entrepreneurial Core encompasses another 15 credit hours, and Elective choices take up 6 credit hours.
Participation in the ultra-competitive Riata Entrepreneurial Internship counts toward the 6 credit hours of Elective courses; however, only 20 students are chosen each year. Interns are matched with a successful company executive, president, or entrepreneur in the areas of Stillwater, Tulsa, or Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Baptist University
College Choice Score: 95.34
Average Net Price: $17,320
This private, Christian university has spent 25 years on the U.S. News list of “Top 10 Regional Colleges in the West.” Princeton Review included OKBU in its “Best in the West” rankings for the last 12 years.
Online degrees through the College of Graduate and Professional Studies include Masters of Arts in Christian Studies and Intercultural Studies. Both Masters of Arts degrees train leaders in the Christian faith, and graduates frequently go into the ministry, continue with graduate school, or become missionaries.
The MA in Intercultural Studies offers two tracks: the Intercultural track and the Orality track. The first track teaches global and local outreach strategies to spread the gospel. The Orality track provides a new means of reaching out to peoples and cultures whose primary form of communication is oral rather than written.
Courses within the Orality track include:
- Oral Culture and the Use of Legends, Myths, and Proverbs
- Techniques and Practices for Storytellers
- Practicum: Develop and Present a Set of Stories for a Particular Ethnographic Group
The program can be finished in one year, and online classes last eight weeks. Students need 36 credit hours to graduate.
SARA, the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, allows an institution to provide online education regardless of the student’s state of residence. Oklahoma Baptist University can work with any state not currently participating in SARA on behalf of interested applicants. Visit the National Council for SARA for more information.
East Central University
College Choice Score: 93.38
Average Net Price: $6,590
East Central University (ECU) began as one of Oklahoma’s Normal schools for teacher training in 1909. Today, ECU offers its Master of Education degrees online. These include Educational Technology, Sports Administration, Library Media, and Educational Leadership. Besides its main campus in Ada and its online degrees, ECU has locations in Ardmore and McAlester.
The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Technology prepares graduates to adapt future technologies in order to boost educational outcomes. The program has been tailored for teaching professionals. Besides teaching, career options for graduates from this program include positions like K-12 Educational Information Technology Director, Technology Coach, and Technology Integration Specialist.
Courses for the M.Ed. in Educational Technology include:
- Multimedia Technology
- Special Education Assistive Techniques
- Survey of Intellectual Property
The M.Ed.’s 32 credit hours include 15 within the Program Core. M.Ed. candidates need to choose a thesis or portfolio, and each has a prescribed curriculum. The Specialization Courses, totaling 17 credit hours, are six classes tailored to the Educational Technology degree.
Oklahoma Christian University
College Choice Score: 89.32
Average Net Price: $18,758
In 1946, Oklahoma’s Churches of Christ began plans for a Christian university, and Oklahoma Christian University’s (OC) doors opened in 1950. Both U.S. News and Princeton Review have rated the school “Best of the West.”
The School of Theology and the Graduate Engineering program have online classes but do not offer fully online degrees. Online degrees include the MBA, Master of Accounting, and RN to BSN (Registered Nurse to BS in Nursing) programs.
OC boasts the #1 “Best Value Christian MBA Program in the U.S.” Classes are available fully online, through night school, or a hybrid of both. Graduate students select from nine tracks or choose a general MBA.
The nine MBA tracks from which graduate students choose:
- Health Services Management
- Human Resources
- International Business
- Leadership and Organizational Development
- Nonprofit Organization Management
- Project Management
Courses for the MBA in the Accounting track include:
- Advanced Financial Accounting
- Accounting Analysis and Control
- Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics
Depending on pace, students graduate with an MBA in one to two years. Pre-requisites may be necessary if the candidate holds a Bachelor’s degree in a non-business field. The business courses needed for a solid foundation are called the Common Professional Component. Transfer credits of up to 6 hours may apply to the 9-class Core Courses.
Southwestern Christian University
College Choice Score: 89.27
Average Net Price: $11,853
Oklahoma City’s Southwestern Christian University (SCU) is a private, Christian, four-year, liberal arts school. Its founders, the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, opened SCU in 1946.For admission to Online Professional Studies, applicants must be at least 25 years of age, sign a community covenant (statement of Christian conversion), and write a statement of purpose. SCU accepts rolling admissions throughout the year, meaning students can apply at any time.
The School of Adult and Online Education provides a Bachelor of Science in Professional Leadership, which is a Bible-based liberal arts degree. The program melds business principles with Christianity for servant-leaders. Its graduates hold positions in human resources, statistics, business analysis, consulting, and sales. The four concentrations within the Professional Leadership program are Business, Management, Social Services, and Christian Leadership.
A Professional Leadership degree with a Business concentration provides valuable preparation for leading a business or team with adaptability, cultural acuity, and conflict resolution.
Courses in the Business concentration include:
- Business Law
- Principles of Economics
- Human Resource Management
Admission requirements for the Professional Leadership program include meeting two of these three criteria: an ACT of 19 or higher, or an SAT at or above 900; a minimum GPA of 2.50; or placing in the upper 50 percent of the applicant’s graduating class. Dual enrollment is possible for high school juniors and seniors. Enrollees in high school may take up to 4 credit hours per semester. They must have a 2.0 GPA and should have either an ACT or SAT score, though these are not mandatory.
University of Central Oklahoma
College Choice Score: 87.18
Average Net Price: $11,922
The eLearning program at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) provides both 100 percent online classes as well as a combination of online/campus coursework (hybrid), where at least half of the class is conducted online. Online and hybrid courses run 4, 8, or 16 weeks. Interactive video classes allow active participation with both peers and faculty. Courses can be live-streamed at home or at the school’s conferencing sites. Self-Paced Online Courses (SPOC) are individual classes in 8-week segments that can be taken under the supervision of a faculty member.
The Academy of Contemporary Music ([email protected]) welcomes 350 full-time students who hone their skills in auditioning, performing, and networking within the area’s music scene. The Academy trains and educates students in recognizing melody and chord changes, rehearsal procedures, songwriting, promotion, and studio production. Degrees offered at [email protected] are Music Performance, Music Production, and Music Business.
Online classes at [email protected] include:
- Introduction to the Music Industry
- Music Business Fundamentals
- Music Publishing
UCO offers the only Academy of Contemporary Music in the United States. Famous musicians such as Ben Folds, members of Mumford and Sons, and Jackson Browne have taught its Masterclass Series. Graduates of ACM have Grammys, travel in world music tours, and open their own music business.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
College Choice Score: 80.38
Average Net Price: $22,401
The private, Christian Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OKWU) has caught the nation’s attention for its value, high-quality faculty, and military-friendly policies. Recognitions for OKWU include:
- U.S. News’ 2016 “Best Value in Regional Colleges” and “Best Colleges in the West”
- CBS MoneyWatch.com “Best Faculty in the Nation”
- U.S. News’ 2016 “Best Colleges for Veterans – Regional Colleges – West”
- Military Friendly designation from MilitaryFriendly.com
- Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon program participant
Online options through the Adult and Graduate Studies Program include 2 Associate’s, 5 Bachelor’s, and 5 Master’s degrees. The program includes registering for all Core classes at the time of enrollment, which causes tuition rates for the Core curriculum to remain locked in at the current level. Academic advisors assist in planning the degree program best suited to each student, and as a result, the Adult Program boasts an 84 percent retention rate.
The Master of Strategic Leadership (MSSL), a new alternative to the MBA, has exploded in popularity as several graduate schools have added it to their traditional lineup. The program emphasizes the latest and best leadership practices without the financial and mathematical modeling of an MBA program. MSSL graduates seek careers as business managers, coaches, clergy, school administrators, hospital managers, or in other leadership roles.
Courses for the MSSL at OKWU include:
- Leading Organizational Change
- American Framework of Free Enterprise
- Personal Individual Leadership
To be admitted to the MSSL program, applicants must possess a Bachelor’s degree with a transcript, as well as transcripts from other coursework as undergraduates or graduate students. Transfer credits must be approved by the Dean and cannot exceed 6 hours. The optimal GPA for entry is 3.0, but a range from 2.50 to 2.99 may be considered with a probationary period. Coursework must be completed with a C or better, and regular attendance must be maintained. Graduates need 33 credit hours to obtain their degree.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
College Choice Score: 77.70
Average Net Price: $11,394
Located in Weatherford, an hour from Oklahoma City, Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) was established as one of the Normal schools for teacher training in 1901. Currently, 210 faculty members teach students from 34 states and 34 countries.
For distance learners, online courses use a program called Canvas. Interactive TV (ITV) involves two-way communication during class time at designated sites, and webinars occur at these sites at specific times and on computers. Hybrid courses blend these three delivery methods and include on-campus requirements.
The Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management (HIM) provides expert knowledge of hardware, medical terminology, ethical standards, health care law, information management, and health science. Graduates obtain, develop, and maintain private health records for hospitals, veterinary clinics, law firms, insurance companies, and private practices. They seek out employment as Directors of HIM, HIM Home Health Coordinators, Cancer Registrars, and Corporate Privacy Officers.
Courses for the BS in HIM include:
- Advanced Electronic Health Records
- Health Data Analysis
- Healthcare Reimbursement
The Reach Higher Program is a collaboration of Oklahoma universities, so its applicants must select a “home” campus. Participants, aged 21 and older, may take classes through any of the universities in the program. Most classes are online and last eight weeks. Admission standards include 72 prior credit hours, a GPA of 2.0, and completion of general education classes as required by the home institution. Bachelor’s degrees are awarded after 124 credit hours.
Southern Nazarene University
College Choice Score: 74.86
Average Net Price: $15,866
This institution, founded in 1899, offers private, liberal arts education in Bethany, Oklahoma. Affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, Southern Nazarene University (SNU) generously includes the cost of a laptop or tablet in its tuition fees. The Department of Online Learning suggests students reserve 15 hours per week for each class taken. Courses are limited to 20 students, and classes conclude after five or six weeks.
Online undergraduate degrees include Organizational Leadership, Business Administration, and Network Management. The graduate degrees that are completed online are the MBA, the MBA in Health Care, and the Master of Sport Management and Administration (MASMA).
Whether a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, the MBA Online program positions students to lead in the global economy. Instruction emphasizes communication skills, interpersonal relations, stellar presentation skills, team leadership, and tracking business trends.
Courses for the MBA Online include:
- The Economic Environment
- Financial Management
- Organizational Communication
The Digital Packet details every aspect of the Department of Graduate Studies in Management. Enrollment at SNU includes the choice of a Microsoft Surface Pro or iPad Pro, or an upgrade to a Macbook Pro. Applicants need only a transcript and a resume. The program has an exemplary score from the Online Learning Consortium, a professional organization in the field of e-Education.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
College Choice Score: 74.78
Average Net Price: $7,830
Alva, home of Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU), sits 14 miles from Kansas. The university enrolls 2,200 undergraduates, and more than 50 percent of the school’s graduates leave debt-free. NWOSU features rolling admissions, so students can begin year-round. Currently, online enrollment stands at 275, and degrees can be obtained in Business, Applied Arts and Sciences, and Nursing.
A Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) in Technical Management (TM) can be completed 100 percent online through the Division of Business. BAAS-TM applicants must have finished both the general education and Foundation Core portions of the degree requirements.
The program gives students with an associate’s degree, or who hold national certifications, 10 to 30 hours of credit toward degree fulfillment.
Courses within the BAAS-TM curriculum include:
- Business Math
- Data Management Systems
- Survey of Finance
The BAAS-TM has three options:
- Option 1 is for students with certification or who are working toward certification.
- Option 2 serves transfer students who hold an Associate of Applied Arts or Associate of Applied Science degree from a community college.
- Option 3 – Alternative Energy
- For transfers with an Associate’s degree in an alternative-energy field of study, such as wind turbine technology, renewable/sustainable energy, power transmissions and distribution technology, and power generation.
Northeastern State University
College Choice Score: 73.80
Average Net Price: $8,148
The oldest college in Oklahoma began as the Cherokee National Female Seminary in 1846. The main campus in Tahlequah, as well as branches in Muskogee and Broken Arrow, serve 9,000 students. Online opportunities at Northeastern State University (NSUOK) include 6 undergraduate degrees, 7 graduate degrees, and 1 undergraduate certificate.
NSUOK’s College of Extended Learning has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that is designed for busy professionals. An accelerated pace gives students the chance to graduate in just two years. Classes are online, on campus, or a hybrid of both. The BS in Criminal Justice program prepares students by covering the American legal system. Career opportunities lie within the ATF, CIA, DEA, FBI, and U.S. Customs, as well as employment as police detectives, sheriffs, probation officers, and corrections officers.
Courses for the BS in Criminal Justice include:
- Criminal Law
- Juvenile Justice
Criminal Justice majors may choose a minor in Homeland Security with 18 hours of instruction in disaster preparation, risk assessment, terrorism, and crisis communication.
To graduate with a BS in Criminal Justice, students need to maintain a 2.0 GPA. General education courses equal 48 credit hours; 19 hours of electives will be completed; and 39 hours of instruction in Criminal Justice round out the curriculum.
College Choice Score: 71.57
Average Net Price: $10,050
Cameron University’s (CU) online program follows the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, or SARA. Students from outside Oklahoma whose state participates in SARA may take CU’s online classes. At this time, the states of California, Massachusetts, and Florida are not members of the Agreement. Course options include online, a hybrid of online and on-campus, and through ITV (interactive television). All ITV classes live-stream content.
CU offers a 100 percent online Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. Depending on the chosen Concentration, courses may not be always be available online. Prospective students should refer to the most updated schedule of classes for more information.
The BS in Interdisciplinary Studies targets self-motivated students and active duty military with a tailored plan of study. Admission requirements include 24 completed credit hours, which can include transferred credits. Because the major is tailored to each student’s needs, there is no prescribed set of Interdisciplinary courses required to graduate. A sample of coursework for a student interested in both business and French could include:
- Business Communication
To obtain the BS in Interdisciplinary Studies, students complete 44 hours of general education, of which 24 hours must be taken through Cameron. Liberal arts and sciences components require 55 hours, and 40 hours must include upper level classes.
Some degrees have more online class components than others. An A.S. in Business student takes 96 percent of classes online, but a Master of Education in Reading candidate will take 45 percent of classes on campus.