2024-2025 College Catalog 
    Jun 21, 2024  
2024-2025 College Catalog

A Unique College

The mission of College of the Ozarks - providing an intentionally Christian education for youth of both sexes, especially those found worthy, but who are without sufficient means - has never changed. The College was founded with Jesus Christ and his kingdom at its center, and continues to this day to help students grow up fully into the Christian faith, not only in their intellectual life, but as whole persons (Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:1-2). Through a five-fold mission emphasizing academic, Christian, vocational, cultural, and patriotic growth, the College aims to “develop citizens of Christ-like character who are well-educated, hard-working, and patriotic.” Student debt is openly discouraged, and all full-time students learn the discipline of hard work in the Work Education Program, as an integral part of their overall education experience. The core liberal arts education, fundamental to all degrees provided by the College’s dedicated and Christ-following faculty, is designed to broaden and strengthen each student’s heart, soul, and mind so they can love God and neighbor, and to help them develop an informed and biblically faithful understanding of the world (Matthew 22:36-40; Colossians 2:6-8). The major programs provide focused learning in specific areas to prepare students to serve Christ effectively and uphold the values of Christ’s kingdom in a wide variety of professions. 

The faculty, administration, and staff of College of the Ozarks welcome young men and women who desire to grow up fully in Christ and provide leadership in our country and throughout the world into the 21st century.


The mission of College of the Ozarks is to provide the advantages of a Christian education for youth of both sexes, especially those found worthy, but who are without sufficient means to procure such training.

Vision and Goals

The vision of College of the Ozarks is to develop citizens of Christ-like character who are well-educated, hard-working, and patriotic.

To achieve this vision, the College has Academic, Vocational, Christian, Patriotic and Cultural goals. Even as College of the Ozarks has evolved through secondary and junior college stages to the present four-year liberal arts institution, the fundamental goals have remained the same.

Academic Goal

To provide a sound education, based in the liberal arts.

Vocational Goal

To promote a strong work ethic, encouraging the development of good character and values.

Christian Goal

To foster the Christian faith through the integration of faith with learning, living, and service.

Patriotic Goal

To encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it.

Cultural Goal

To cultivate an appreciation of the fine arts, an understanding of the world, and adherence to high personal standards.

Revised and approved by the Board of Trustees

October 28, 2008


Core Values

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that [b]they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16


I.  Steward Faithfully. God calls us to faithfully steward his gifts, therefore, we will faithfully steward the College’s mission, vision, goals, and resources (people, finances, time).

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2


II.  Create Community. God calls us to grow up together into Christ, therefore we will cultivate a community that fosters personal growth and thriving by valuing, respecting, and lovingly speaking and receiving the truth from one another.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16


III.  Pursue Good. God calls us to be salt and light, therefore, we will influence others for good, both inside and outside the College, through selfless service, the pursuit of excellence, and living with Christ-like character and integrity.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9-10


IV.  Practice Hospitality. God calls us to be hospitable; therefore, we will provide a gracious, welcoming environment for all we meet.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13


V.  Demonstrate Gratitude. God calls us to give thanks; therefore, we will practice gratitude in all we do.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20


Approved by the Board of Trustees

April 25, 2023

Overview of College of the Ozarks

Type: Four-year private, liberal arts college

Founded: 1906

Size and Location: 1000-acre campus at Point Lookout, MO, 40 miles south of Springfield, near Branson and Hollister, MO

Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission, Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Missouri State Board of Nursing. 

Student Body: Approximately 1,400 undergraduate students

Faculty: 98 full-time, 40 adjuncts, 60 percent hold a doctoral/terminal degree

Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1

Library: Approximately 100,000 physical volumes as well as periodical databases and e-books. Interlibrary loan services are provided to students, staff, and faculty. Computers, printers, photocopiers, scanners, and Wi-Fi are available. 

Fields of Study: Accounting, Agriculture, Allied Health Science, Art, Biblical and Theological Studies, Biology, Biochemistry, Business, Chemistry, Child Studies, Computer Sciences, Communication Arts, Conservation and Wildlife Management, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Education, Engineering, English, Exercise Science, Family Studies and Social Services, History, Hospitality Management, Mathematics and Physics, Military Science, Music, Nursing, Nutrition, Physical Education, Psychology, Recreation and Sports Management, Spanish, Technology, and Theatre. Preprofessional preparation in Law, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Physician’s Assistant.

Admissions: Upon receipt of the application for admission, the Office of Admissions will email instructions. Items required for the application process include ACT, high school transcript, reference forms, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and a personal interview. Transfer students must also submit college transcripts, and a transfer student form.

Costs and Financial Aid: Room and board (presently $4,400 per semester/$8,800 fall + spring) is paid by the student/family and/or campus summer Work Education Program scholarships, or other scholarships. Books, supplies, and fees amount to approximately $1,645 per year and are paid by the student/family or eligible financial aid. The tuition of $21,800 for full-time students is covered by participation in the Work Education Program and other forms of financial aid.

Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Calendar: The academic year is divided into fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Work Education Program: This feature of the College makes it unique. All full-time students work 15 hours per week and two 40-hour work weeks per year at assigned campus jobs as part of their education.

Campus Housing: Approximately 95 percent of the student body lives on campus in four men’s residence halls and six women’s residence halls.

Student Services: Financial aid, academic counseling, career counseling, placement, men’s and women’s varsity athletics, intramural activities, housing, food service, health service, social activities, campus publications, and other extra-curricular activities.

Campus Office Hours: Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until noon and 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Summer hours (mid-May through mid-August): 7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

History of College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks began as a dream. In 1905, James Forsythe, a Presbyterian missionary, expressed this dream to the Missouri Synod of the Presbyterian Church when he wrote:


Dear Sirs:

Once again I am petitioning the Synod for help to found a school here in the Ozarks. As I have pointed out previously, the need is present and it should be the mission of the church to undertake the task of providing the boys and girls of the Ozarks with an education. The primary object of such a school should be to offer the best intellectual training under the best possible moral and Christian auspices. It should be our hope to build a great school not only through the advantages gained by the location of the school in such a healthful climate, in the midst of such inspiring scenery and with such opportunities as are present here for outdoor-recreation, but most of all through advantages which could be offered to those of both sexes who are deserving, but yet financially unable to secure an education above the free school. The purpose should be to make the school a self-sustaining “family” by requiring all students to spend a portion of their time in the various duties assigned to them in the classroom building or on the campus and farm, such as kitchen, dining room and laundry work, or in securing fuel and provisions, improving property, etc.

Forsythe’s dream came true in 1906 when the Synod established The School of the Ozarks® and was granted a charter by the State of Missouri for the purpose of “providing Christian education for youth of both sexes especially those found worthy but who are without sufficient means to procure such training.” By the end of the first term, the enrollment at The School was 180, with 36 boarders.

Originally, the purpose of The School was to provide an opportunity for a pre-collegiate Christ-centered education for young people of the Ozarks plateau. This mission was pursued without significant change until 1956. By this time, improved transportation, better communications, and the increasing number of consolidated school districts had made a high school education readily accessible to most young people in the Ozarks area. Consequently, in 1956, The School of the Ozarks® added two years of junior college to the four-year high school program. The two-year program was initially accredited by the University of Missouri and in 1961 was accredited by the North Central Association. This format continued until 1964, when the Board of Trustees and the faculty voted to expand the two-year program into a four-year liberal arts program.

The four-year college program of The School of the Ozarks®, which began classes for juniors in September 1965, was given preliminary accreditation by the North Central Association that same year. Preliminary accreditation was continued in 1969. In August 1971, the North Central Association notified the College’s president, Dr. M. Graham Clark, that:


It is a pleasure to inform you officially that the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, at its meeting on July 30, 1971,voted to grant full accreditation to The School of the Ozarks® as a bachelor’s degree-granting institution. The action of the Association was based on the visiting team’s report and on subsequent discussions held by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.


College of the Ozarks has continued its accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and maintained its reputation for excellence. In 1994, the Missouri Department of Education awarded C of O a “#1” ranking-the only such ranking ever given by the Department-in recognition of the College’s commitment to Mission.

The transition from high school, to junior college, to four-year liberal arts college has brought about many changes. The years after 1967, when the last secondary school class and the first college class graduated, were a time of great expansion. Approximately ten new areas of study (majors) were developed, the faculty doubled, and the geographical range of the students broadened. Now that the College has passed its 100th anniversary, the goal is to build even greater quality into existing programs in order to fulfill James Forsythe’s dream of offering “the best intellectual training under the best possible moral and Christian auspices.”

In 1990, the Board of Trustees approved changing the operating name of The School of the Ozarks® to College of the Ozarks. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including recent awards as the No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly and the Forbes Magazine 2019 Least Student Debt for America’s Best Value Colleges. In addition, U.S. News & World Report has ranked C of O a Top College in the Midwest since 1989, and in 2020, ranked the College No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest. C of O has been listed among The Best 385 Colleges in the Nation by The Princeton Review, and has been recognized by numerous other national publications.

In 2012, the College reopened School of the Ozarks, a laboratory high school grades 9-12. Subsequently, the College opened grades K-6 in August 2014 and added grades 7-8 in August of 2015, completing the K-college model.

In October 2016, the College’s Board of Trustees affirmed its historic Christian faith commitment by entering into a covenant relationship with the Presbytery of Mid-America, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, so that they together can bring glory to God by carrying out the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

Statement on Unity

As a distinctively Christian institution, College of the Ozarks affirms the creation of man and woman in the image of the triune God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one being (unity) in three persons (difference), eternally submitting to one another in loving relationship. The creation of humans as male and female reflects this divine community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - men and women together are to embody and reflect God’s nature of unity in difference.

This understanding of God and humankind has implications for the way the College understands its mission. First, because each human being bears the image of God, we seek to treat all as equally valuable, without respect to age, ethnicity, race, and sex. Second, we grieve humankind’s fall into sin, which led to mistrust and enmity among people. Rather than delight in godly unity, humans now compete for recognition and divide themselves based on many factors, including age, ethnicity, race, and sex. The fall resulted in a fracturing of human relationships so that they no longer embody the divine community, but rather emphasize division. Third, we celebrate the reality that in Jesus Christ God has not only redeemed humankind but also broken down the barriers of division. God calls his redeemed people to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). For “[Jesus] himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). In light of this redemption, the College pursues the vision of the new creation, characterized by a unity among people and with the created order, as envisioned by John the Apostle: “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).

Contemporary American culture is fragmented by divisions. For this reason, College of the Ozarks chooses to focus on a unity that reflects God’s nature and intentions for humanity. This unity will include men and women, young and old, and people of different races and ethnicities. The College will continue to seek students from its primary recruiting area, which is the Ozarks plateau region. Within this region the College will recruit all kinds of students who qualify academically and financially and seek an education compatible with the College’s mission, vision, and goals. The College will continue to advertise faculty positions nationally and hire faculty members from a variety of regions around the country, without respect to age, ethnicity, race, and sex. As with students, the College will hire faculty and staff who seek a work environment compatible with its mission, vision, and goals. With Jesus Christ at the center, the College will seek within its community a unity of different people that reflects the divine community.

The Keeter Center for Character Education

Founded in 1997, The Keeter Center for Character Education at College of the Ozarks was created to provide programs and activities to enhance the development of character and good citizenship. In so doing, the Center reflects the principle upon which the College was established: that character in young people is best developed from an education of the head, the heart, and the hands.

The Center serves as the programmatic arm of The Keeter Center facility on campus. Both students and community members benefit from the wide variety of programs. The Gittinger Community Convocation Series has brought noted speakers to campus including Margaret Thatcher, Franklin Graham, Benjamin Netanyahu, Laura Bush, Dave Ramsey, Ben Carson, Tim Tebow, Amy Grant, and Dr. Alveda King.

The Center hosts a forum with a theme that rotates among the topics of character, citizenship, and work ethic. A group of students from the College and visiting institutions benefit from small group discussions and a question and answer session with each distinguished speaker. Forum speakers have included Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, Louis Zamperini, Harris Faulkner, Steve Forbes, and Mike Rowe.

The Center also oversees the THRIVE initiative, which is a four-year character development and leadership program available to all students at the College. THRIVE provides a framework for a variety of initiatives and activities, as well as academic coursework, that foster character development and also provide an e-portfolio as a way to capture feedback and artifacts that demonstrate growth for each student.

The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education

Former Vice President Michael R. Pence dedicated The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education on Constitution Day 2021. The Center serves as the hub for numerous patriotic education initiatives, programs, and courses facilitated by College of the Ozarks and School of the Ozarks, the College’s K-12 laboratory school. 

The Center is also a national leader in patriotic education through its innovative The National Symposium on Patriotic Education, programs, and curriculum. In addition, it serves as a digital hub for parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens interested in cultivating historic American values and virtues in youth - Kindergarten through College.

The Center advocates the idea that the essence of patriotic education is learning about liberty. Learning about liberty is not limited to a set of historical dates or pieces of information. It requires that Americans cultivate a common, shared identity inspired by the ideals and heritage that formed our nation.

By Learning Liberty’s Foundation, Liberty’s Lessons, Liberty’s Cost, and Liberty’s Legacy-the Four Pillars of Patriotic Education-Americans can embody the ideals and vision of America’s founding for future generations. This is especially important on the eve of America’s 250th anniversary as factions undermine historic American values and virtues. America is not a perfect nation; however, its ideals shape America’s future and afford millions of people life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education structures its curriculum and programs around these Four Pillars of Patriotic Education to revive a love of Learning Liberty’s Foundation, Lessons, Cost, and Legacy among American youth.

The College hosted The National Symposium on Patriotic Education on September 16, 17, 2021, featuring speeches by former Vice President Michael R. Pence, Dr. Ben Carson, Mrs. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and others to promote this framework. The purpose of the Symposium was to highlight the importance of patriotic education for the future of our nation, offer tested patriotic education programs and curricula, connect everyday Americans with experienced thought-leaders and practitioners, and provide innovative patriotic education content and resources. 

In the academic program, all students are expected to participate in a Patriotic Education sequence, including a core patriotic education course, that encourages students to consider the importance of character, the Bible, history, reason and logic, work, and their vocation for the American identity.



PAT 103 Patriotic Education




Year 1

CC 100 Character Camp

CC 10V Base Camp

PAT 103 Patriotic Education

BTS 1003 Christian Worldview I

Years 2 and 3

HTY 253 American Experience

ENG 253 American Rhetoric

Year 4

BTS 4003 Christian Worldview II


School of the Ozarks
A Laboratory School of College of the Ozarks

As a department of the College, School of the Ozarks plays an important role in the mission of the College of the Ozarks. As a classical Christian school, it exists to encourage excellence and creativity with a distinctly Christian worldview in a K-12 setting. As a member of the International Association of Laboratory Schools and the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, the School seeks to be a leader and an example of what is best for American education. Lab schools are affiliated with a college or university for specific purposes that go beyond the scope of traditional public and private institutions.

Operating under The Keeter Center for Character Education, the School provides numerous opportunities for faculty and students from various departments across campus to interface with the School on a regular basis. The mission, vision, and five goals of the College - academic, Christian, vocational, cultural, and patriotic - are embedded in the curriculum and programs of School of the Ozarks, providing a well-rounded educational experience for each student.

School of the Ozarks hosts the annual Classical Christian Educators (CCE) Conference each spring and also offers a CCE teacher training in the summer. In 2024, the College established the Center for Classical Christian Education for training and supporting teachers and administrators in the Classical Christian Education movement.