Degree type(s): Doctorate
Degree field(s): Healthcare
Location(s): Bismarck, ND

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Three year program: Doctor of Physical therapy (DPT)

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Mary prepares physical therapists who are leaders in service through evidence-based practice, education, and scholarly activity. Graduates of the program are prepared to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) administered through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

The program is based on the Mission of Professional Education for the Physical Therapist and grounded in the Christian, Catholic, Benedictine values of the university. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program consists of three years, including summers, of professional work. A bachelor’s degree must be completed prior to beginning the program.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is offered at a newly renovated, downtown facility located in town in proximity to the major medical facilities.

Physical Therapy Program Highlights

The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is designed to prepare competent, ethical, compassionate, and caring physical therapists who serve the diverse healthcare needs of their communities in accordance with the Benedictine values. The professional curriculum consists of unique experiences provided within a supportive health care community:

  • Take part in full-time clinical education experiences at diverse settings throughout the U.S., which are spaced throughout the educational program.
  • Manage a pro bono clinic on campus and provide physical therapy services under faculty guidance in order to practice skills and serve the needs of the people in the region.
  • Participate in an optional service-learning experience in Guatemala or Peru.
  • Learn from experienced faculty, representing several specialty areas of practice, who are assisted by adjunct faculty, including physical therapists, physicians and other healthcare professionals.
  • Benefit from smaller class sizes and personal interaction with faculty.

Doctor of Physical Therapy: Program Outcomes

  • 100 percent of graduates are employed as physical therapists in a variety of settings across the nation.
  • The average graduation rate over the past 3 years (2012-2014) was 99 percent.
  • The overall three-year pass rate on the NPTE (2012-2014) is 99 percent. The average first time pass rate over the past three years (2012-2014) was 94.3 percent, which is above the national average.

The University of Mary is a member of the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), available at  Students should submit their application to PTCAS and indicate that the University of Mary is one of their choices. PTCAS will send the documentation to the Department of Physical Therapy Admissions Committee for consideration.

After receipt of application through PTCAS, the Admissions Committee selects candidates eligible for the required personal interview. The final class is selected on an objective point system based on prerequisite GPA, GRE scores, and interview score. The deadline for submission of the application to PTCAS is in December of the year prior to entry into the professional physical therapy program. Interviews are conducted throughout the fall and early spring. University of Mary does participate in the PTCAS Early Decision option.

Year One

Fall Semester

PTH 505 -- Anatomy I -- 4

PTH 507 -- Physiology Foundations -- 2

PTH 509 -- Kinesiology I -- 3

PTH 511 -- *LAMP I -- 2

PTH 513 -- Systems Screening -- 4

PTH 515 -- Essential Skills I -- 2

PTH 519 -- ICE I -- 1

Semester credits -- 18

*LAMP=Leadership, Administration, Management,


Spring Semester

PTH 506 -- Anatomy II -- 2

PTH 508 -- Neuroscience -- 3

PTH 510 -- Kinesiology II -- 3

PTH 512 -- Musculoskeletal Assessment I -- 4                             

PTH 514 -- Systems Screening II -- 2

PTH 516 -- Essential Skills II -- 3

PTH 520 -- ICE II -- 1

Semester  credits -- 18


PTH 521 -- LAMP II -- 1

PTH 525 -- Systems Screening III -- 2

PTH 527 -- Essential Skills III -- 4

PTH 531 -- Clinical Experience I (6 wks) -- 4

Semester credits -- 11

Year Two

Fall Semester

PTH 619 -- ICE III -- 1       

PTH 621 -- Orthopedic Mngt I -- 4

PTH 627 -- Exercise Physiology -- 1

PTH 629 -- Neuromotor PT I -- 3

PTH 633 -- Cardiopulmonary Mngt I -- 3

PTH 641 -- Lifespan I:  Pediatric PT -- 4

PTH 643 -- Clinical Inquiry I -- 1

Semester Credits -- 17

Spring Semester

PTH 620 -- ICE IV -- 1

PTH 622 -- Orthopedic Mngt II -- 4

PTH 628 -- Psychosocial Aspects -- 2

PTH 630 -- Neuromotor PT I -- 3

PTH 634 -- Cardiopulmonary Mngt II -- 2

PTH 636 -- Integumentary Mngt -- 2

PTH 642 -- Geriatric Mngt -- 3

PTH 660 -- SOLE I -- 1

Semester Credits -- 18


PTH 731 -- Clinical Experience II (8 wks) -- 6

PTH 743 -- Clinical Inquiry II -- 1

PTH 760 -- SOLE II -- 1

PTH 761 -- Diagnostic Imaging and Procedures -- 1

PTH 765 -- Professional Development -- 2

PTH 775 -- Differential Diagnosis -- 1

PTH 825.1 -- Sports Med Elective -- 1

PTH 835.1 -- Peds Elective -- 1

Semester Credits -- 12 or 13

Year Three

Fall Semester

PTH 832 -- Clinical Experience III (10 wks) -- 8

PTH 811 -- LAMP III Administration and Mngt -- 2

PTH 819 -- ICE V.1 -- 1

PTH 843 -- Clinical Inquiry III -- 1

PTH 859 -- Complex Case Mngt -- 2

PTH 860 -- SOLE III -- 1

PTH 825.2 -- Sports Med Elective -- 1

PTH 835.2 -- Peds Elective -- 1

PTH 845 -- Women’s Health Elective -- 2

PTH 855 -- Vestibular Elective -- 2

Semester Credits -- 16 or 17

Spring Semester

PTH 832 -- Clinical Experience IV (10 wks) -- 8

PTH 812 -- LAMP IV Leadership and Professionalism -- 2

PTH 820 -- ICE V.2 -- 1

PTH 853 -- Clinical Inquiry IV -- 1

PTH 860 -- Complex Case Mngt II -- 2

Semester Credits -- 14

Total Semester Credits -- 124

The following are the program prerequisites and minimum criteria for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy professional program.

Prerequisite Requirements

Required Courses Acceptable Courses UMary Equivalent
Two courses in biological sciences (Botany and Zoology not acceptable) Cell, Embryology, General, Genetics, Histology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular BIO 103 and BIO 209

One course in anatomy with Lab

One course in physiology with Lab

Or a two course sequence in anatomy and physiology

Human Anatomy and Physiology I and Human Anatomy and Physiology II


 Human Anatomy and Human Physiology

BIO 207 and BIO 208

Two courses in general chemistry with Lab

General, Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic

CHEM 109 and 110 OR

CHEM 111 and CHEM 112

Two courses in general physics with Lab

Physics I and II

PHY 203 and PHY 304

Developmental or Lifespan Psychology

Lifespan and Developmental Psychology

PSY 207

Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal Psychology

PSY 406


Business Statistics, Math Statistics, Psychology Statistics

MAT 180

Medical Terminology**

Course not required

HPS 206 suggested

*Statistics is not included in the prerequisite course GPA calculation.

**Students must demonstrate competence in medical terminology by either passing a medical terminology course prior to entering the program OR independently studying and then passing a medical terminology test in the first semester of the PT program.

Minimum Academic Requirements

The minimum criteria for admission to the doctoral program in physical therapy include:  

  • Seven prerequisite courses completed prior to application
  • GPA of 2.75 on all undergraduate college work on a 4.0 scale.
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all PT prerequisite course requirements and a minimum of a 2.0 on any course.
  • A candidate may retake any prerequisite course one time.  The higher of the two grades will be used when calculating the prerequisite GPA.
  • No more than 2 retakes in the prerequisites will be considered. 
  • 40 hours of volunteer or paid experience with one or more licensed physical therapists within 2 years of application. Highly recommended to have hours from diverse areas of practice.
  • 2 Satisfactory letters of recommendation
  • Official GRE Scores

Rolling Admissions

The PT program does participate in rolling admissions in that qualified applicants may be sent an invitation to interview early as their application is received and reviewed by the admissions committee through PTCAS. Students must meet all criteria previously outlined and participate in the formal interview process.

Transfer Students

Advisement of transfer students occurs through the Office of Admissions. Transfer students must have a bachelor’s degree and meet all prerequisite requirements prior to admission into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Clinical Observation or Work Experience Requirement

Forty hours of volunteer or paid experience are required (with one or more licensed and practicing physical therapists). It is highly recommended that the hours occur in more than one area of clinical practice. The clinical experience hours must have taken place within two years of the application deadline. Students submit evidence of clinical hours to Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) as part of their application.

Acceptance at the University of Mary does not automatically qualify you to pursue a program in one of the academic programs of study. Application requirements are specific to each major or academic program.

Apply Now

We recommend consulting your advisor for details. Applications are reviewed by the faculty members of the program. You will be notified that you have been admitted, admitted provisionally, or denied admission to the program.

A selected group of high school students may apply for early entrance into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Applicants for early enrollment must be outstanding in their own high schools; having at least a composite score of 24 on the ACT or a GPA of 3.5. A member of the PT faculty interviews these students and determines acceptance. Students accepted for this program sign an agreement detailing specific requirements.

Program Advisors: D. Allen; M. Dockter (Program Director); J. Eckert; L. Emmel; J. Hogan; H. Lundeen; M. Parker; J. Roller; R. Schulte; M. Taylor.

The Physical Therapy Program Director, Dr. Mary Dockter, may be reached at (701) 355-8045 or via e-mail at [email protected].

The Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Dr. Joellen Roller, may be reached at (701) 355-8189 or via email at [email protected].

The Physical Therapy Program values constructive feedback. Faculty and administration strive to respond to complaints and concerns in a timely and appropriate manner. A complaint is considered genuine when the individual voicing the concern submits it in writing with a signature, or speaks directly with the Physical Therapy Program Director or Dean of the School of Health Sciences.

If you are considering a the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, you might also be interested in the following programs offered at the University of Mary: