Northwestern Oklahoma State University, also known as NWOSU, is a university in Alva, Oklahoma, with satellite campuses in Enid and Woodward. Northwestern is a state university that offers both bachelor's and master's degrees.


In 1897, a normal school, or school for teachers, was established in Alva by an act of the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature. It was the second normal school in Oklahoma, charged with preparing teachers to serve the many one-room schoolhouses that covered the prairie. It was called the Northwestern Territorial Normal School. The new school's faculty consisted of the school's first president, James E. Ament, and two teachers. Classes were held in the Congregational Church until construction of the first building, the "Castle on the Hill," was complete in 1899.


The school became a four-year teachers college in 1919 and changed its name to Northwestern Oklahoma Teachers College. The school expanded in 1939 to include degrees in liberal arts as well as education, and its name changed again, to Northwestern State College. The final name change occurred in 1974 when the school was given its present name.

Northwestern's greatest tragedy happened on March 1, 1935, when the Castle on the Hill was destroyed by fire. In 1948, a contest was organized to adopt a new school fight song and a new alma mater. The winning submissions were announced in March 1949. Both were made by Floyd McClain, a 1940 graduate of Northwestern who was then attending the Boston Conservatory of Music. The new fight song was entitled "Ride, Rangers, Ride," and the new alma mater was entitled "Oh Northwestern." They are still the official fight song and alma mater, although band directors have altered the arrangements over the years. In 1957, a contest was launched to select a motto for the university. The motto chosen was "Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow," submitted by Kay Hutcheson, a junior student at Northwestern.

More history on the university can be found at History of Northwestern.


In 1951, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education authorized Northwestern to offer courses, transferable to the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University, applying toward a master’s degree in education. In 1954, the board approved a program leading to a master of education degree at Northwestern.

In the fall of 1978 Northwestern implemented a program leading to a master of behavioral science degree. A nursing degree program was established in the fall of 1981 to respond to the nursing shortage in northwest Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Legislature passed legislation that created two new branch campuses at Enid and Woodward. Northwestern became one of the first institutions to establish a bachelor of e-commerce degree in the fall of 2000.

More than 100 years have passed since Northwestern Oklahoma State University opened its doors. Since then, it has progressed from a normal school offering only teaching certificates to an institution offering degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. The 1897 campus of 40 acres (0.16 km²) without buildings in one town has now become more than 400 acres (1.6 km²) and 36 buildings located in three communities. The three faculty members and 68 students have increased to more than 220 faculty and staff members and more than 2,300 students.

Academics at NorthwesternEdit

Northwestern offers bachelor of arts degrees and bachelor of science degrees in more than 40 areas of study. The university’s academic programs are set up in two schools—the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Professional Studies.

Degree programsEdit

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

• Accounting • Agri-Business • Agricultural Ecology • Biology • Business Administration • Business Information Systems • Chemistry • Computer Science • Conservation Law Enforcement • Criminal Justice • E-commerce • Education • English • General Studies • Health & Physical Education • History • Mass Communications • Mathematics • Music • Nursing • Political Science • Psychology • Social Work • Sociology • Spanish • Speech & Theatre • Technical Management • BA of Applied Arts & Science

Pre-Professional Fields

• Pre-Dentistry & Dental Hygiene • Pre-Engineering • Pre-Law • Pre-Medicine • Pre-Occupational Therapy • Pre-Optometry • Pre-Osteopathy • Pre-Pharmacy • Pre-Physical Therapy • Pre-Physician’s Assistant • Pre-Radiologic Therapy • Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Teaching Fields

• Business Education • Early Childhood Education • Elementary Education • English Education • Health & Physical Education • Mathematics Education • Music Education • Natural Science Education • Social Science Education • Special Education • Speech & Theatre Education

Master’s Degree Programs

• Master of Education • Adult Education Management & Administration • Clinical Teaching • Elementary Education • Guidance & Counseling—PK-12 • Non-Certificate Option • Reading Specialist • Secondary Education

• Master of Counseling Psychology • Licensed Professional Counselor

U.S. News and World Report ranks NorthwesternEdit

U.S. News and World Report has listed Northwestern as Oklahoma's top-ranked public regional university for three straight years. Northwestern also was recognized as a national leader in lowest student debt.

The national magazine also reports that Northwestern offers the nation’s most affordable room and board for students living on campus. Northwestern’s cost of $3,700 for room and board is the lowest in the country, and the magazine encourages students who are looking to cut college costs to consider choosing colleges with low room and board costs. The figure of $3,700 is based on a semi-private room with 19 meals per week. (Since ranking, Northwestern's rate has increased to $3,760/year).

Notable alumniEdit


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External linksEdit