Minimum OSSM Academic Requirements
While in residence at OSSM, all students shall successfully complete:
1. One unit of biology, one unit of chemistry, and one and one-half units of physics.
Students may be permitted to earn the required units in biology, chemistry or physics in advanced level classes if satisfactory initial competency is shown. Specific standards for acceptable competence will be determined by each department.
2. A minimum of two units of mathematics, inclusive of two semesters of calculus. Students with strong mathematics backgrounds will be expected to complete multivariate calculus.
Computer Science courses do not fulfill the mathematics requirement.
3. One-half unit of computer science.
4. One unit of electives which may be selected from the following disciplines: sciences, mathematics or computer science.
5. Two units of English and two units of history.
6. Two units of the same foreign language.
It is recommended that students continue their foreign language instruction at OSSM. If two years of high school foreign language have been successfully completed at the student’s home school, an additional two elective units are required while in residence at OSSM in (a.) advanced levels of the same foreign language, ( b.) another foreign language, or (c.) computer science, mathematics or science courses.
7. One unit of fine arts and two units of physical education.
8. Community and campus service with satisfactory participation reports in both service areas.
A Listing of the OSSM Minimum Academic Requirements
Computer Science .5
Foreign Language 2
Physical Education 2
Fine Arts 1
Community and Campus Service
Total Requirements 16
The list above outlines the minimum academic requirements. It is understood that OSSM students will study courses in sufficient number and of appropriate academic challenge so that the minimum requirements will be exceeded substantially. Specifically, most students will be enrolled in at least seven (7) academic classes plus physical education each semester and fine arts for two semesters. In rare instances, for exceptional situations, the Vice President for Academic Services may grant a student a reduced academic load.
The graduation requirements of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics are in concert with those maintained by the State of Oklahoma with additional requirements established by the school.
- Biology Department
- Chemistry Department
- Earth Sciences Department
- Physics Department
- Mathematics Department
- Computer Science Department
- Humanities Department
- Physical Education
- Directed Studies
- Biology Department
General Biology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is designed for the student who has had no previous high school biology. This course will include topics in cell structure and function, genetics, zoology and physiology with emphasis placed on major principles of biology. Laboratory is included. Students wishing to advance directly to an upper level biology course will be assessed prior to enrollment.
Human Anatomy and Physiology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course will present a survey of the structure and function of the human body. The student will examine both the gross and microscopic anatomy of these structures and study their functions. Dissection is an integral part of the anatomy laboratory work and the functional aspects will be examined using laboratory procedures that include computer-driven experiments. Students will gain a basic understanding of the structure and function of the human body, relate the classroom knowledge to some real life experiences and clinical abnormalities, and develop some lab skills and research ability through lab exercises and a term paper project. Prerequisites: General Biology or equivalent
Human Embryology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) The class offers students an opportunity to appreciate the wonder and intricacy of the development of a human being from a single cell (zygote) at molecular, cellular, genetic and anatomical levels. Emphasis is placed on basic developmental principles and mechanisms of normal developmental processes, although some congenital malformations will be discussed. A lab session will be scheduled during a lecture period which will includes the observation of slides of embryonic structures and the experiment of in vitro fertilization using sperm and eggs from live sea urchins. Prerequisites: Human Anatomy and Physiology
Histology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is designed to study the normal microscopic structure and function of cells and tissues that make up the organs and organ systems of the human body. Observation skills will be developed through laboratory work. Prerequisites: Human Anatomy and Physiology
Endocrinology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This is an advanced human biology course. The objective is to provide a concise, yet systematic account of the endocrine system, its hormones, glands and target tissues. Emphasis will be placed on current advances of scientific research in the field. The study of this course will serve as a gateway to further studies and possibly an eventual entry into a health care related field. Prequisites: Human Anatomy and Physiology or Molecular and Cellular Biology and one year of Chemistry
Genetics One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course serves as an introduction to the study of genetics. We will discuss classical Mendelian inheritance patterns, as well as the relationship between genes and traits. We will learn about how genes function and how they are controlled and regulated. Finally, we will discuss the nature of genetic variation and how it contributes to the variation of populations of organisms and their long-term evolution. Prerequisites: General Biology or equivalent
Molecular and Cellular Biology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) The focus of this course will be the cell, its structure and function at the molecular level. This course will include topics in cellular metabolism, chromosome structure, genes and regulation of cellular function. Laboratory with experiments in molecular biology techniques is integrated into the course. Prerequisites: Biochemistry
Botany One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course introduces the vocabulary and principles of plant biology. The objectives are for each student to demonstrate a working knowledge of the terminology used in botanical studies and a basic understanding of the anatomical, cytological, reproductive, ecological and physiological phenomena unique to plants in general, specific plant taxa and plant-like organisms of other kingdoms. Prerequisites: General Biology or equivalent
Ecology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course provides an introduction to the principles of how organisms interact with their living and nonliving environment. Focus is on population ecology with emphasis on terminology, relationships within the environment, processes that permit growth, development and/or destruction of the biosphere, insights into the relationships among many disciplines related to ecology, study of environmental problems and their solutions, and the relationship between ecology and field biology, including some identification and taxonomy of different types of organisms. Prerequisites: General Biology or equivalent
Invertebrate Zoology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course provides an introduction to the biology of specific phyla, classes and orders of invertebrates with emphasis on classification, morphology, structure and function of their internal anatomy, developmental pathways, and fundamental concepts characteristic of this diverse animal group. Prerequisites: General Biology or equivalent
Vertebrate Zoology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course will be an introduction to the diverse branch of the animal kingdom known as the vertebrates. We will begin with a discussion of both the traditional and modern methods of animal classification focusing on how vertebrates are classified and how they are related to other major groups. We will then examine in detail the morphological and behavioral traits and evolutionary histories that characterize each of the major classes with the vertebrate taxon. A weekly laboratory is included. Prerequisites: General Biology or equivalent
Microbiology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course will allow the student an appreciation of organisms that are invisible to the unaided eye. Through lecture and laboratory, the student will become familiar with the basic principles and terminology of microbiology. Topics covered in the lecture portion will include bacterial structure, genetics, metabolism, and environmental microbiology. Laboratory exercises will emphasize procedures and techniques used to study these organisms. This course is generally reserved for senior enrollment.
Biochemistry One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This elective course provides a detailed study of biological molecules including their structure, properties, nomenclature and function. The course will also investigate the role these molecules have in metabolic reactions, equilibria and other biological processes. Laboratory investigations will emphasize methods of separating and identifying biomolecules and their components. Prerequisites: General Chemistry II. Student may opt to take this course for either Biology or Chemistry credit. It is also a prerequisite for Molecular and Cellular Biology.
Directed Studies One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is designed to allow students to pursue individual research interests in biology. Work will be permitted under the supervision of a faculty member and a final oral presentation may be required. Offered by permission of the instructor. Specific Directed Studies topics include Advanced Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Taxonomy
Mentorships The student collaborates with a scientist on a research project. The scope of the project is agreed upon in advance and the student's progress is monitored closely by a faculty member in consultation with the research scientist. A final report and/or an oral presentation is required. Offered by permission. Follow the link for details and mentorship descriptions: https://sites.google.com/site/ossmmentorship/
- Chemistry Department
General Chemistry I
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) First of a two-semester sequence in General Chemistry. Topics presented will include basic measurements, atomic structure, periodic table, nomenclature, stoichiometry, atomic theory, electron configuration, ionization energies, bond enthalpy calculations, Lewis Structures, resonance, valence shell electron pair repulsion theory, valence bond theory, molecular orbital theory, gas laws, structure and properties of solids, liquids and solution. Laboratory is included. Prerequisites: Algebra I and Algebra II. Separate sections are provided for those students who have completed a year of Chemistry prior to their arrival at OSSM.
General Chemistry II
One Semester (1/2 unit of credit) Second part of the two-semester sequence in General Chemistry. Topics presented will include thermochemistry, thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, Le-Chatelier Principle, acid and base properties, acid base equilibria and liquid-solid equilibria, electrochemistry and coordination complexes. Laboratory is included. Prerequisites: General Chemistry I or by permission of the instructor.
Organic Chemistry I
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is designed as an introduction to basic Organic Chemistry and focuses on an understanding of the structure and reactivity of organic molecules. Topics presented will include bonding theory, stereochemistry, conformation, chemistry of alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, ethers and carbonyl groups, synthetic transformations involving Grignard reactions, oxidation and reduction, Diels-Alder reaction and alkylation reactions. Laboratory is included. Prerequisites: General Chemistry II or by permission of the instructor.
Organic Chemistry II
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course will present advanced topics of Organic Chemistry including an introduction to the chemistry of aromatic compounds and emphasize the mechanism of the relationships between structure and reactivity. Students will be introduced to spectroscopic identification of organic compounds using IR, NMR and mass spectroscopy. Special topics may include carbohydrates, heterocyclic compounds, pericyclic reactions, drug discovery and design. Prerequisites: Organic Chemistry I.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course provides an introduction to the concepts of physical chemistry that relates to chemical equilibrium and examines this field of chemistry from the perspectives of chemical kinetics, classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Prerequisites: General Chemistry II, Electricity and Magnetism, Multivariate Calculus. By permission of the instructor. Spring semester only.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This elective course provides a detailed study of biological molecules including their structure, properties, nomenclature and function. The course will also investigate the role these molecules have in metabolic reactions, equilibria and other biological processes. Laboratory investigations will emphasize methods of separating and identifying biomolecules and their components. Prerequisites: General Chemistry II. Student may opt to take this course for either Biology or Chemistry credit. It is also a prerequisite for Molecular and Cellular Biology.
Chemistry Olympiad Prep/Directed Study
(1/4 unit of credit each semester) This course is designed to give students the necessary background and advanced standing in chemistry so that they can successfully compete on the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad exams given in the spring of each year. Students are selected based on outstanding academic record during their junior year. Prerequisites: Enrollment in Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry and Chemical Equilibrium. By invitation of the instructor.
- Earth Sciences Department
Exploration Geoscience One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course covers current techniques used in exploration for oil and gas, minerals, and near-surface investigations. Techniques covered include seismic, gravity, magnetics and various EM technologies. A term project gives students hands-on experience in collecting, processing and interpreting near-surface geophysical data on the OSSM campus. One of the highlights of the course is a field trip to the Chesapeake Energy 3-D visualization room. Prerequisites: This course is open to students who have completed or are currently enrolled in Mechanics (with the instructor's permission).
Geoscience Seminar One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This seminar involves class discussion of student research into a broad range of geologic topics of interest to the class. A class term project requires students to research, evaluate and present a single, coherent position paper on a geologic topic of national and international importance. Past topics have included a U.S. National Energy Policy and an understanding of climate change. Prerequisites: Geoscience Seminar requires successful completion of Exploration Geoscience or by permission from the instructor.
Meteorology One semester (1/2 unit of credit) The course is a broad survey of the earth’s atmosphere. Topics include origin and composition, solar and terrestrial radiation, energy, seasonal and daily variation in temperature, atmospheric optics, moisture, stability and cloud development, energy considerations, atmospheric motion on various scales from global to local. Prerequisites: Calculus I and Mechanics.
- Physics Department
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course introduces students to basic concepts of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves, and optics and lays the foundation for further physics courses. Laboratory sessions introduce students to procedures for data collection, analysis, and report writing.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course presents a calculus-based treatment of standard topics in mechanics: one- and two-dimensional motion, Newton’s laws, work and energy, impulse and momentum, rotational motion, equilibrium, gravitation, and periodic motion. Laboratory is included. Prerequisite: General Physics. Recommended: Calculus I taken concurrently.
Electricity and Magnetism
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course presents a calculus-based treatment of standard topics in electricity and magnetism: electric charge, field, and potential; Gauss’ Law, capacitance, current and resistance, DC circuits, magnetic fields and forces, induction and inductance. Laboratory is included. Prerequisite: Mechanics. Recommended: Calculus I completed. A student concurrently enrolled in Mechanics may take this course with instructor's permission.
Thermal Physics, Waves and Optics
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course presents a calculus-based treatment of elasticity, fluid physics, laws of thermodynamics, kinetic theory of matter, heat transfer, entropy, properties of waves, sound, electromagnetic waves and light, geometric optics, polarization, interference, and diffraction. Laboratory is included. Prerequisite: Electricity and Magnetism. Recommended: Calculus II taken concurrently.
Introduction to Modern Physics
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course presents a calculus-based treatment of fundamental physics topics that ushered in the twentieth-century: postulates of special relativity, the Lorentz transformation, relativistic momentum and energy, concept of quantization, Bohr-Rutherford atom, wave-particle duality, and the Schrodinger equation. Laboratory is included. Prerequisites: Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism. Recommended: Calculus II completed.
Modern Physics II
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course presents topics in twentieth-century physics leading to the modern age: the hydrogen atom, quantum statistics, atomic and molecular structure, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, and modern astrophysics. Emphasis is on the conceptual understanding of quantum physics and on performing calculations of accessible quantities. Prerequisite: Modern Physics I.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course presents an overview of electronics, emphasizing both theoretical knowledge and actual construction of circuits. Topics include pn-junction theory, semiconductor diodes, bipolar junction transistors, transistor circuits, small-signal amplifiers, operational amplifiers, oscillator circuits, filtering circuits, and field effect transistors. Laboratory sessions require students to construct, test, and troubleshoot projects of their own design. Prerequisite: Electricity and Magnetism.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course presents a descriptive overview of modern astronomy plus quantitative coverage of selected issues. Topics include constellations and the sky, telescopes and detection systems, motion of the earth and moon, classical astronomy, the solar system, the sun and stars, stellar evolution, the Milky Way and galaxies, cosmology, and life in the universe. Prerequisite: Electricity and Magnetism.
Topics in Theoretical Physics
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course presents a selection of advanced undergraduate material in the areas of mechanics and electromagnetism. Topics in mechanics may include Lagrangian and Hamiltonian theory, non-inertial frames, central force motion, rigid body rotation, oscillating systems, and an introduction to general relativity and black holes. Topics in electricity and magnetism may include electrostatics, multipole fields, Maxwell’s equations, vector potential, magnetic materials, electromagnetic waves, and radiating systems. Prerequisite: Electricity and Mechanism.
- Mathematics Department
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course provides the background in Euclidean geometry necessary for Precalculus III. Some topics from trigonometry and algebra are included; however, the major emphasis is on geometry.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is for students who have completed Algebra I and Geometry and provides the background for Precalculus III. Students will acquire familiarity and skills with zeroes of polynomial and rational functions, radicals, complex numbers, inequalities, graphing, and exponential and logarithmic functions.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is for students who have completed Algebra I and II and Geometry at their home high school or Precalculus I or II, as appropriate, at OSSM. Precalculus III covers the elements of trigonometry essential for the study of advanced mathematics. In addition to trigonometry, students study functional analysis, conic sections, polar coordinates, parametric equations, systems of quadratics, complex numbers in polar form, sequences and series, and probability.
Two semesters (1 unit of credit) This is the standard course that covers main concepts of differentiation and integration on functions of one real variable including related topics such as limits and infinite series. Definitions of derivative and integral are given along with main methods of computing derivatives and integrals. Some of the applications include maxima and minima problems, finding volume and surface area of solids of revolution, work and fluid force, and others. The course prepares students for the Advanced Placement exams (“AB” or “BC”) and for entry into most basic junior-level college mathematics courses. Prerequisites: Precalculus or satisfactory placement test score
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course introduces the students to operations of differentiation and integration on functions of several real variables. Topics to be presented include parametric curves, vectors, vector functions, surfaces, gradient and directional derivatives, La Grange multipliers, multiple integrals, line and surface integrals. Prerequisite: Calculus
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course covers various types of differential equations of first order and higher order with constant coefficients, systems of linear differential equations, inverse differential operators, the LaPlace transformation, power series solutions, and Fourier series solutions. Prerequisite: Calculus
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) Students investigate mathematical induction, the binomial theorem, divisibility tests, prime numbers, the Goldbach conjecture, congruences, Fermat’s theorems, Euler’s theorems, Pythagorean triples, Fibonacci numbers, and continued fractions. By permission of instructor
Probability and Statistics
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course gives the students an introduction to theoretical and experimental probability, conditional probability, data analysis, random variables and functions, binomial and continuous distributions, sampling, estimation, and decision-making. By permission of instructor
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) Students study linear systems, matrix algebra, vectors, the Gramm-Schmidt Process, linear transformations, eigenvalues, and eigenvectors. By permission of instructor
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course gives students an understanding of the basic properties of groups including group homomorphisms, rings, polynomial rings, and fields. By permission of instructor
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is a formal approach to Euclidean, projective, and Lobatchevsky geometries. By permission of nstructor
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This introduction to topological spaces includes the study of continuity, compactness, separation properties, connectedness, and metric spaces. By permission of instructor
In this course, the properties of real numbers are analyzed on a rigorous mathematical level. Many results and theorems from elementary calculus are proved. New topics needed in more advanced mathematical courses are covered, including uniform continuity of functions, point set theory, compactness, and uniform convergence. By permission of instructor
Foundations of Mathematics
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is a formal introduction to axiomatic set theory and arithmetic primitives. Topics presented include the development of numbers (integers, rationals, reals, complex), cardinality, ordinality, and transfinite numbers. By permission of nstructor
Special Advanced Problems
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is designed specifically for students who have a strong background and aptitude in mathematics, and who show particular interest in mathematical competitions. Students learn the techniques and skills of problem solving that are not discussed in the precalculus courses by working on challenging problems in the Math League Contest, AMC12, AIME, USAMO. In addition to the topics in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, combinatorics and probability, the course covers various topics in elementary number theory such as The Euclidean Algorithm, Diophantine Equations, The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, Primes and Congruence. By permission of instructor
- Computer Science Department
Introduction to Computer Science
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) An overview of the entire discipline of Computer Science is presented. Topics covered are machine architecture, software (including fundamental programming concepts), and data organization. Additional topics include professional ethics and social implications.
Object-Oriented Programming with Java
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This is an introductory course in object-oriented programming using Java including recursion and exception handling. The skills learned in this course are applicable to all programming tasks.
Data Structures I
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is designed as an introductory treatment of the data structures which may be used in computer storage to represent the information involved in solving problems. Topics include the study of contiguous and linked stacks and queues, searching and sorting algorithms. Programming work expands on the concepts of object-oriented design.
Data Structures II
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) A continuation of the study of advanced data structures is the focus of this course. Topics include advanced sorting techniques, string matching algorithms, trees and graphs.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This is an in-depth coverage of modern operating systems. Topics include: CPU and job scheduling, memory management, synchronization and concurrency, and deadlock. This course involves three or four major design and implementation projects.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) An analysis of data communication hardware and systems is the focus of this course. Topics include telecommunications, network architecture and analysis, TCP/IP protocols, security, and installation.
Computer Architecture and Assembly Programming
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) Good programming skills require a knowledge of what happens at the hardware level. This includes topics such as the instruction execution cycle, computer arithmetic, memory access and usage, hardware interfaces, and the basics of logic design. Understanding of these topics is enhanced through programming homework in assembly language.
- Humanities Department
Two semesters (1 unit of credit) This survey course emphasizes the written analysis of literature from the nineteenth century to the present. Students also participate in writing lab. Required of all juniors.
Two semesters (1 unit of credit) This course for seniors emphasizes the analysis of masterpieces of world literature from the ninth century B.C. to the present. Required of all seniors.
Principles of English Composition
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course prepares students for a variety of writing tasks encountered in college and in the workplace. Emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking skills, applying rhetorical strategies, and utilizing techniques for effective and efficient communication. Required of all seniors.
Two semesters (1 unit of credit) A survey of the political and social forces that have determined the course of this nation since the pre-Columbian era. Attention will be given to analytical skills and to effective writing in history.
Two semesters (1 unit of credit) This course focuses on the historical development of culture, society, government, and thought in Europe and the Mediterranean from the dawn of civilization in 3500 B.C. to the present. Reading from both primary and secondary sources, students are required to analytically consider the Western past through discussion and writing. Required of all seniors.
East Asian History
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) An introduction to the traditional societies and cultures of China, Korea, and Japan. The varied responses made to Western challenges during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries will be studied during the latter half of this course. Prerequisite: American History.
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) A survey of Arabic history and culture beginning with the 7th Century rise of Islam and concluding with issues facing Middle Eastern nations today. Prerequisite: American History.
Two years of the same foreign language required for graduation (1/2 unit of credit per semester) Languages offered include Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin and Spanish. Students entering OSSM may receive credit for previous work completed in a foreign language. However, if the foreign language requirement has been completed at the student’s home school, an additional two elective units are required while in residence at OSSM in courses of the student’s choice.
Two semesters (1 unit of credit). Students must enroll in a Fine Arts class for one or more semesters each year as required for graduation. Classes will be pre-arranged and will include specialized areas of art, music, theatre, photography and dance.
- Physical Education
Four semesters (2 units of credit required for graduation.) A student must participate in physical education each semester while at OSSM.
- Directed Studies
One semester (1/2 unit of credit) This course is designed to allow students to pursue individual research interests in biology. Work is performed under the supervision of a faculty member and a final oral presentation may be required. Offered by permission. Specific Directed Studies topics include Advanced Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Taxonomy
A mentorship is a form of learning which integrates theory and application through work experience. The student collaborates with a scientist on a research project. The scope of the project is agreed upon in advance and the student's progress is monitored closely by a faculty member in consultation with the research scientist. A final report and/or an oral presentation is required. Follow the link for details and mentorship descriptions: https://sites.google.com/site/ossmmentorship/.
Brent Richards, Ph.D., Mentorship Coordinator Phone: (405) 521-6436 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Is OSSM a private school?
No, the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics is a two-year public residential high school created and funded by the Oklahoma legislature. The school is open to all students across the state who wish to apply during their sophomore year. OSSM is categorized as a state agency. See the Admissions webpage for details and application deadlines.
- What is the tuition to attend OSSM?
There is no tuition for a student to attend the school. Room and board are provided by the state. Students may wish to have "pocket money" available for incidentals like school supplies, snack bar items or a weekend trip to a local restaurant, movie theatre, bookstore or mall.
- Who can attend OSSM?
OSSM is open to all Oklahoma students who are entering their junior year of high school. Applications are due in March of the sophomore year.
- What high school is the only one in Oklahoma that teaches Geoscience courses?
What high school is the only one in Oklahoma that teaches Computer Science courses?