The higher education system in Oklahoma can be broken down into the following categories: state universities, state colleges, tribal colleges, independent colleges and other universities or institutions of higher learning. There are 18 state universities in Oklahoma, and 13 state colleges. There are four tribal colleges that serve the American Indian population in Oklahoma and are located on American Indian reservations. In addition to these colleges and universities, there are 11 schools in the Oklahoma Independent Colleges and Universities system, as well as seven other colleges and universities that are independent but not affiliated with the OICU.
The University of Oklahoma, located in Norman, is one of the highest ranked universities in the state. It is a large public research school that offers more than 150 different baccalaureate degree programs, 160 master's programs and 75 doctoral programs. There is another main campus located in Oklahoma City as well. The university is well known for its Honors program, and attracts some of the top students from the country. It has one of the highest enrollments of National Merit Scholars in the United States. Some of its most well known programs include meteorology, pharmacy, medicine and nursing. The University of Oklahoma has produced many Olympic athletes as well as several career politicians who went on to obtain high offices across the country.
Northeastern State University is known for being the oldest university in the state of Oklahoma. It was founded in 1851, making it not only the oldest institution of higher education in the state but also one of the oldest universities west of the Mississippi River. It is located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, which is also the capital city of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The school has a reputation for having a high population of American Indian students, with more than 25 percent of the student population being of American Indian descent.
Another one of the oldest universities in the southwest portion of the United States is the University of Central Oklahoma. With more than 18,000 students enrolled, this university is the third largest in the state. It was founded in 1890 in Edmond, Oklahoma as a land-grant university. It has long been known as a producer of professional athletes, many of whom went on to play in the NFL. The University of Central Oklahoma also produced several prominent business people, including Randall L. Stephenson who was the CEO and Chairman of AT&T.