Students & Parents | General Education

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

TULSA WORLD   |  October 14, 2016 by College Guide 2016

The world is complex, and the challenges facing this generation reflect that complexity. Isn’t it time for an educational approach that does as well? 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: USAO is the state’s only public liberal arts college. Its mission is to provide the public with a distinctive and accessible science and arts 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.

School Location

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

National Distinctions

USAO’s unusual status and performance as a public institution has attracted extensive independent and unsolicited recognition from multiple national observers of higher education. Together, they praise the value of the school’s combination of academic quality, accessibility and affordability, and its record of especially enhancing the social, economic and financial prospects of its graduates.

USAO is the only university in Oklahoma to receive an “A” grade from the national What Will They Learn? initiative for superior curriculum. The Washington, D.C., education think tank American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) surveyed more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide to see if they require graduates to complete seven course curriculum courses. USAO received its “A” grade for requiring at least six of the seven subjects deemed essential to a liberal arts education: composition, literature, intermediate level foreign language, American government/history, economics, math

and science.

Other recent accolades received include:

• Washington Monthly ranked USAO 11th, the highest ranked school in Oklahoma, on its 2017 list of the 100 Best Bang for the Buck colleges and universities among southern states and in the top 25 percent of all schools nationally.

• Washington Monthly also ranked USAO in the top 100 Liberal Arts Colleges nationwide; one of only four public institutions included.

• Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine listed USAO on its 2015-16 national list of the “25 Best College Values Under $30,000 a Year.”

• A web-based national resource,, ranks USAO eighth in the nation for quality and affordability.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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