Oklahoma often gets overlooked by all the publications that create lists of the most beautiful colleges in the U.S. Colleges in OK get overshadowed by schools on the scenic California coast, in the deep south, and around the historic northeast region. But that doesn’t mean Oklahoma colleges have less to offer in the way of campus appeal. On the contrary. There are some downright beautiful colleges in Oklahoma, and we found them.
1. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
Oklahoma State University is among the few Sooner State colleges that have received national attention. It made Southern Living ’s list of the most beautiful colleges in the south and was deemed the most beautiful college in Oklahoma by Travel + Leisure . OSU receives high marks for its terracotta brick Neo-Georgian architecture. There are also matching brick pathways that lead to courtyards and green spaces, including Theta Pond. Dr. Charles Leider, OSU’s director emeritus of the landscape architecture program, says all of this and the campus’ cross-shaped layout is done by design to enhance mental and physical health.
2. University of Oklahoma, Norman
Another OK college that’s gotten props for having the most beautiful campus in the state is the University of Oklahoma. MSN gave the college that honor largely due to the architecture around campus. Bizzell Memorial Library is a big reason the college makes it onto the list. The Gothic-style, red brick and white stone library is a National Historic Landmark. South Oval is another beautiful campus attraction. The flower-filled quad is brimming with blooms for the better part of the year. The campus is so scenic locals use it as a place to take engagement, wedding and family photos.
3. University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, Chickasha
If you’re looking for a campus with outdoor artwork schedule a tour of the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma. Everywhere you turn there are statues and sculptures as well as towering columns at the entry of the campus. There’s also an abundance of greenery around the Oval, Coming Together Park and along the hike and bike trails that wind their way around campus. Science students also regularly explore the 140+ acre USAO habitat area. Notable buildings back on the main campus include the triangular Alumni Chapel, Sparks Hall, and 115+-year-old Trout Hall.
4. Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee
U.S. News & World Report ranked Oklahoma Baptist University the 7th best college in the regional west. It by far outranked other schools in the state (the next best was Southern Christian University at #24). Part of the appeal is the campus setting. The campus is set up to serve over 100 organizations that range from intramural sports to outdoor theater. There are dozens of impressive buildings like Thurmond Hall across the 200-acre campus and around the Oval, an expansive green space that leads up to Shawnee Hall.
5. Oral Roberts University, Tulsa
Niche gave Oral Roberts University an A for its campus rating, and it ranks 4th overall for Oklahoma colleges. It’s also received accolades from the Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. The private university is very small compared to other colleges on the list, but it’s big on charm. From hedges that are perfectly pruned into the ORU letters to towering columns, the grounds are meticulously maintained.
6. University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond
The University of Central Oklahoma is one of the biggest colleges in the Sooner State, and it’s been rated as one of the best schools to work for - partly because of the campus. The entrance with its metal archway makes a great first impression. The archway perfectly frames the stately red brick Old North Tower, the most iconic building on campus and the oldest higher education building in the state.
7. Northeastern State University, Tahlequah
Northeastern State University’s main campus has an enviable location at the base of the Ozark Mountains. Similar to the University of Central Oklahoma, NSU features beautiful metalwork and red brick buildings. Seminary Hall is definitely the standout structure on campus. It’s where the university got its start way back in 1887.
8. Bacone College, Muskogee
Bacone College fully celebrates and embraces Oklahoma’s Native American heritage and cultures. It’s also the oldest continuing higher education institution in the state, which means there’s an interesting history behind many of the beautiful buildings on campus like Memorial Chapel and Ataloa Lodge Museum. Unlike many other college campuses, you’ll also find traditional teepees and statues that represent different Indian nations.
9. Southwestern Christian University, Bethany
The campus may only be 10 acres, but Southwestern Christian University has made good use of the space. The campus has a clean, contemporary look and feel. This makes sense given that the college didn’t reach its current status until 2001. The university has been steadily growing so there will be more to enjoy around campus in the years to come.
10. Langston University, Langston
There are actually three Langston University campuses in Oklahoma, but many consider the Langston campus to be the best. It’s a small campus that’s surrounded by green pastures for as far as the eye can see. The central quad with a huge fountain and thick shade trees is one of the most popular outdoor areas of campus.
11. Cameron University, Lawton
Cameron University secured a top 10 spot on Niche’s list of best Oklahoma colleges in part because of the quality of the campus. The school actually has an Office of Campus Life that helps students make the most of their time at CU and the campus amenities. Bentley Gardens is one of the most beautiful spots to relax outdoors. You can enjoy the shade underneath the oversized gazebo or soak of the sun sitting by the lake.
12. Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City
Take a break from the fast pace of urban life at the Oklahoma City University campus. It’s 104 acres in the center of the city, but you’d never know it. Classic and modern architecture come together in interesting ways at the Wanda L Bass Music Center, Gold Star Memorial Building and Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center. Quad Lawn is the perfect spot for an outdoor study session. And when you’re looking for recreation or a spot to hang out head over to the Kerr-McGee Centennial Plaza.
Want to see more scenic Sooner educational settings? Check out the most beautiful high schools in Oklahoma !