University of Mary’s New Doctorate of Business Administration Degree Awarded Accreditation

Two business students having a discussion with a professor

BISMARCK, ND — The University of Mary’s Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) program just became accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and is the first college or university in North or South Dakota and Montana to offer the online terminal degree and one of only a handful across the entire United States.

The University of Mary is once again answering the call and need locally, regionally, and nationally with its new online (DBA) degree to be launched this Spring Semester, January 2022.

Karel Sovak Portrait
Dr. Karel Sovak, Dean of the School of Business

The degree falls under the popular Gary Tharaldson School of Business at the University of Mary. The school’s dean, Dr. Karel Sovak, who has spent decades interacting with businesses to get to know their needs, believes this degree is long overdue in the workforce, not only in North Dakota, but nationally.

“We have long felt the need for an advanced practitioner’s degree for our business leaders, and the DBA is a perfect fit for hardworking individuals who would like to advance in their profession or simply further develop their skillset,” said Sovak. “It is incredibly important to develop a program around our mission-driven business education that is going to carry on the philosophy of the formation of the whole person as our current undergraduate and graduate programs offer. We know this will be a valuable addition to our portfolio of offerings and upholds the vision of our university and the Gary Tharaldson School of Business. We are blessed in the confidence our administration and the Board of Trustees has given us to pursue this opportunity and look forward to being the leading educational institution in furthering the development of virtuous, servant-leaders in our region and beyond. In 1959, our founders the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery began what was then Mary College, committed to meeting the needs of the region and beyond so that our students and graduates could grow, live, and work with gratitude — for life. This DBA is another commitment to that vision here at the University of Mary.”

A DBA provides a key differentiator for those who want to elevate their career or status as a leader in business or academia, while bolstering their expertise and potential for increase in salaries.

Dr. Jeff Moser, DBA Program Coordinator

“Business should be a force for good,” said Dr. Jeff Moser, coordinator of the new DBA program and a Mary alum with undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration, and a doctorate from Keiser University. “This degree allows our students to achieve that outcome by gaining critical skill sets to make both an immediate and long-lasting impacts within their business and industry. Our program offers a dissertation that’s integrated into the coursework. Classes are all online — which is rare — and offered in a cohort model with other peers. The DBA is perfect for busy, working adults, and students can potentially complete their degree in three years.”

Moser adds, Mary will require 54 credits to complete the DBA degree, and as initial prerequisites for admission into the program a minimum 3.0 GPA master’s degree from an accredited institution, a resume or curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation. 

To learn more about the University of Mary DBA program, the public is invited to an open house December 2, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Butler Center on South Seventh Street in Bismarck. During this “Let's Talk Business” meet and greet, information about all of University of Mary’s business programs will be available, and guests can talk with Mary’s admissions team and faculty.

There were only 28 online DBA programs across the nation in 2018, with less than half fully online. According to Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), DBA graduates increased by 10 percent annually from 2010 to 2018.

Career positions that benefit from a DBA include business professors, business analysts, business consultants, business developers, program directors, economists, and upper-level executives such as managers, managerial consultants, and chief financial officers or financial managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that top business executives took home over $165,000 in median annual wages in 2010. Also, BLS projects employment for financial managers to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than average — and a median annual salary of $129,890. Further statistics show, upcoming job opportunities will be plentiful as employment in top-level positions within business is expected to grow by 8 percent between 2016 and 2026. In the same time period, the demand for management consultants will increase by 12 percent.

For more information about the University of Mary DBA program or to apply visit

 About the University of Mary

True to its motto “lumen vitae”—The Light of Life—the University of Mary offers education for the whole of life through cutting-edge professional programs and graduate programs animated by moral courage and leadership in chosen professions and service to the community. A private, co-educational Catholic institution, the University of Mary welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.

 A Christian, Catholic, Benedictine institution founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Mary offers nearly 60 bachelor’s, 15 master’s, and four doctoral programs—in Education, Nursing Practice, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The 19-sport Athletic Department adheres to its Greatness Through Virtue mission under the governance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) conferences. With more than 3,800 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Arizona, Rome, Italy, as well as vibrant online offerings.

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