Oakland University is a nationally recognized, public university offering students a personal, high-quality, affordable education through a diverse combination of liberal studies, professional instruction, and cultural and social experiences.
Recognized as a doctoral, Carnegie Classification R2 “High Research Activity” university, Oakland offers its more than 18,000 students opportunities to work directly on research projects with expert faculty who bring current knowledge right to the classroom. In all its activities, Oakland University strives to exemplify educational leadership. Anchored by a strong liberal arts program, the university is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences (which includes a School of Music, Theatre and Dance), schools of Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Engineering and Computer Science, Health Sciences, Nursing, The Honors College and Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
The University’s full-time faculty, which numbers more than 600, has a distinguished record of research and scholarship. Faculty members have won some of the most prestigious awards made by government agencies and private foundations. Oakland received more than $23 million in total awards for research efforts across multiple disciplines in the 2020 fiscal year. Studies in biological and physical sciences and nondestructive testing attract national and international attention to Oakland University. Its highly recognized Eye Research Institute is the only major eye research center in the United States not associated with a medical school. The Center for Biomedical Research resides in the College of Arts and Sciences and facilitates collaborative biomedical research projects with core facilities and equipment. The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Michigan’s first new M.D.- granting (allopathic) medical school in 47 years, earned full LCME accreditation and enrollments total of nearly 500 students.
The University takes pride in the many scholarly books and articles written by its faculty and in its contributions to pedagogy and the creative arts. Undergraduate students at Oakland University are involved in high-level research projects, and the results of their research and scholarship are integrated into related courses of instruction. An unusually high proportion of Oakland University alumni have gone on to earn doctoral degrees or other distinctions in their fields.
Complementing its academic programs, Oakland University collaborates actively with business and industry to foster economic development and meet the demands of a highly educated workforce in southeastern Michigan. The University offers world-class cultural activities with emphasis on the professional performing arts. Meadow Brook Hall, former home of the University’s benefactors, is a National Historic Landmark and serves as an historic museum and cultural center. Affiliated with the Department of Art and Art History in the College of Arts and Sciences, Oakland University Art Gallery exhibits promise something new for art enthusiasts of all ages, interests and passions. Founded on Oakland’s campus in 1966, Meadow Brook Theatre is Michigan’s largest non-profit producing professional theatre. Meadow Brook Amphitheatre brings an annual summer program of world-class entertainment to campus.
Oakland University was created in 1957 when the late Alfred G. and Matilda R. Wilson donated $2 million and their 1,400-acre estate to Michigan State University to begin a new college in Oakland County. Named Michigan State University-Oakland, the new campus enrolled its first students in 1959. In 1963, its name was changed to Oakland University and in 1970 the Michigan Legislature recognized the maturity and stature of the university by granting it autonomy. The governor appointed Oakland University’s first board of trustees in 1970.
From its beginnings, the University has emphasized academic quality, providing a dynamic, student-focused learning environment with integration of liberal and professional studies by a faculty of dedicated scholar-teachers. Oakland prides itself on providing a unique, distinctive undergraduate experience that is complemented by the strength of graduate offerings and research accomplishments. Oakland is focused on engaging with communities and developing partnerships, broadening its research agenda, providing opportunities for entrepreneurship and continuing its pattern of growth.
With its main campus located in suburban Oakland County, Michigan, Oakland University is easily accessible to millions of Detroit metropolitan area residents. Oakland’s relationship with its hometown communities enriches student lives. Through partnership efforts with the cities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, and Pontiac, many internship opportunities are available to Oakland students and many merchants offer discounts for OU students, alumni and staff.
OU’s partnerships and internship opportunities also extend well into Macomb County, where OU has provided expanded access to higher education to those who live and work in the county for decades. In 1991, OU joined Macomb Community College as one of three partner schools at the newly established University Center in Clinton Township. And in 2011, OU opened the OU Anton/Frankel Center in Mount Clemens. Each year, about 2,000 OU students take courses to earn bachelor’s, master’s or post-graduate degrees and certificates at OU’s locations in Macomb County.
In addition, Wayne State University Law School is the exclusive educational partner law school for Oakland University, making law school accessible to students from southeastern Michigan.
The natural beauty of Oakland’s 1,443-acre Rochester campus, much of it still wooded and undeveloped, is enhanced by comprehensive recreational facilities and modern buildings that house the University’s many academic and public service programs, as well as more than 3,000 residential students in its six co-ed residence halls, student apartment complexes and townhomes. Adjacent to the campus is the Oakland Technology Park, a research park where private-sector companies work hand-in-hand with higher education. The OU SmartZone business incubator, OU INC, provides entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions to develop intellectual property. Student research and internship opportunities are also enhanced by the proximity of many Fortune 500 companies.
Role and Mission
Oakland University is a pre-eminent metropolitan university that is recognized as a student-centered, doctoral research institution with a global perspective. We engage students in distinctive educational experiences that connect to the unique and diverse opportunities within and beyond our region.
Oakland University cultivates the full potential of a diverse and inclusive community. As a public doctoral institution, we impact Michigan and the world through education, research, scholarship and creative activity.
Through faculty-driven and student-engaged research, scholarship, and creative activity, Oakland University advances knowledge and art in a diverse and inclusive environment.
Oakland University is an active community partner providing thriving civic, cultural, and recreational opportunities and valuable public service.
Oakland University provides rigorous educational programs. A strong core of liberal arts and sciences is the basis on which undergraduates develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes essential for successful living and active, informed citizenship. A variety of majors and specialized curricula prepare students for post baccalaureate education, professional schools, or careers directly after graduation. Each program provides a variety of courses and curricular experiences to ensure an enriched life along with superior career preparation or enhancement.
The University offers master’s programs that meet demonstrable needs of Michigan residents and maintain excellence. Doctoral programs are offered that are innovative and serve needs not adequately met elsewhere in the state.
Offerings in continuing education provide Michigan residents with high-quality coursework for professional development and personal enrichment.
Oakland University is selective in its admission standards and seeks both traditional and nontraditional students, ensuring equal opportunity to all who can profit from its offerings. While serving principally Michigan residents, it welcomes qualified applicants from other states and countries. A special effort is made to locate and admit disadvantaged students with strong potential for academic success and to provide the support conducive to the realization of that potential. The faculty and staff cooperate with nearby community colleges to ensure that their students who seek to transfer to Oakland University are well prepared for work at a senior college.
In recruiting and admitting students, enrollments are not permitted to exceed numbers consistent with preserving the high quality of instruction.
The University strives to remain current and relevant through an adequate program of continuing faculty development and the exploration of innovative schedules, methods, and curricular design in keeping with the various needs of its diverse students, many of whom commute, work or are older than the traditional college-age student.
Oakland University offers, and will continue to offer, only those programs for which adequate resources and well prepared faculty are available and for which a demonstrable need is expressed through the attraction of qualified students.
Research and scholarship
Oakland University assumes an obligation to advance knowledge through the research and scholarship of its faculty and students. The University’s research and scholarship mission is expressed in a variety of forms ranging from basic studies on the nature of things to applied research directed at particular problems to contributions to literature and the arts. Within its means, the University provides internal financial support for research and scholarship. Simultaneously, it pursues with vigor external sources of support. Research institutes, financed primarily by outside grants, make an important contribution to this mission.
In addition to their intrinsic value, research and scholarship reinforce the instructional mission of the University. Wherever possible, students are involved in research projects, and the results of research and scholarship are integrated into related courses of instruction.
In carrying out its research and scholarship mission, the University seeks especially to be responsive to the needs of Michigan, particularly of the populous southeastern sector. Application of research and scholarship to problems and concerns of the state’s business and industry and to its scientific, educational, governmental and health and human service agencies serves also to reinforce the public service role of the University.
Oakland University serves its constituents through a philosophy and program of public service that are consistent with its instructional and research and scholarship missions. It cooperates with businesses, governmental units, community groups and other organizations on research, technical development, and problem-solving enterprises in an attempt to apply the expertise of the University to the issues of society in general or the region in particular so as to further enhance the quality of life in the service areas of the University. It strives to maintain the degree of flexibility necessary to respond with innovative instruction, research, and other service to rapidly changing needs. It makes its facilities available for a multitude of activities to agencies and community groups whose purposes are compatible with the mission of the University. It provides access to its programs and campus, insofar as is consistent with the role and scope of the institution, for the recreational and physical enrichment of area citizens. Cultural enrichment is provided for the community through the Meadow Brook enterprises, on and off-campus presentations by faculty and students, and other campus events. The University aims to provide a model of socially responsible decision-making and ethical institutional behavior, recognizing that institutional strength derives from an effective interaction with the institution’s diverse external environs.
In direct support of its academic mission, Oakland University provides basic services and experiences that integrate cognitive learning with the personal growth of the individual student in the emotional, social, physical, cultural, ethical and interpersonal domains. In so doing, the University seeks to facilitate the development of those personal skills that will contribute to informed decisionmaking and productive citizenship. This objective is accomplished through a variety of student enterprises, including campus organizations, athletics and other sponsored activities and events.
Key to its achievement is the provision of a governance system in which students play a meaningful role in institutional decisionmaking processes.
The University takes particular cognizance of its considerable enrollment of older and non-traditional students and provides advising, counseling and other services of special value to such students in effecting career changes and developing additional personal competencies. Through the maintenance of complementary academic and extracurricular environments, Oakland University assists students in the realization that life is a continuum of growth, change and adaptation and provides them with the skills essential to the achievement of their fullest potential.
Oakland University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
First Year Philosophy
The first year experience at Oakland University lays the foundation for student success by creating an environment that encourages intellectual growth and embraces learning as a lifelong pursuit. OU emphasizes personal responsibility, perseverance, and involvement in the campus and wider communities. Students are encouraged to behave ethically, to explore diverse perspectives, and to develop global awareness through strong academic programs enriched by activities and events.
First Year Student Goals
Learning and discovery
Goal: During the first year, students will engage in the process of intellectual growth, recognize and value the lifelong learning process, engage in dialogue and civil discourse, and learn to tolerate uncertainty and challenge. To help achieve this goal, students should:
- explore a range of academic opportunities;
- develop the ability to read and write at a college level;
- respect the ideas of others;
- interact with and ask questions of faculty;
- learn to explore knowledge with an open mind; and
- achieve sophomore status by the end of the first year.
Goal: During the first year, students will set and actively pursue goals, make ethical decisions, act with integrity, and take responsibility for developing their academic, communication and life skills. To help achieve this goal, students should:
- maintain high standards of academic conduct;
- learn to recognize and avoid plagiarism by giving credit to the ideas of others;
- attend class regularly;
- develop a habit of doing homework and devoting sufficient time to study;
- explore options and evaluate the choice of a major;
- make and keep advising appointments;
- become aware of campus resources and use them;
- seek out positive role models; and
- maintain personal well-being and a healthy lifestyle.
Goal: During the first year, students will value service and citizenship, embrace diverse and global perspectives, and engage in the campus community. To help achieve this goal, students should:
- network with faculty and staff;
- develop study groups and friendships;
- take courses together in a peer group;
- interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds;
- participate in campus organizations and activities outside of class; and
- learn the importance of volunteerism and social engagement.