Degree type(s): Doctorate
Degree field(s): Healthcare
Location(s): Bismarck, ND
Program offerings by location and modality are subject to change.

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, and Benedictine values of the university. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is 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 society through the advancement of practice, advocacy, education, and service 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.
  • Collaborate with other healthcare profession students to learn how to provide evidence-based interprofessional care to patients and clients. 
  • 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 international 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: Curriculum Outcomes

  1. Practice in a safe, legal and ethical manner.
  2. Practice autonomously and collaboratively and recognize when a problem or need is outside the scope of physical therapist practice.
  3. Effectively communicate in verbal, non-verbal, written and electronic formats with all stakeholders.
  4. Competently examine and manage patients/clients in diverse settings
  5. Apply knowledge of diversity into practice, service, and scholarship.
  6. Educate others using a variety of teaching methods commensurate with learner characteristics.
  7. Apply evidence to the clinical decision making process in the practice of PT that result in effective outcomes for patients and clients.
  8. Participate in the administration of the practice setting.
  9. Provide prevention and wellness programs appropriate to physical therapy.
  10. Demonstrate a commitment to professionalism including lifelong learning, advocacy and servant leadership.
  11. Demonstrate the ability to discover, integrate, and apply knowledge for the advancement of PT practice.

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 all 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. The 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, Professionalism

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 526 -- 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 II -- 3
PTH 634 -- Health Promotion and Wellness -- 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 -- 2
PTH 765 -- Professional Development -- 2
PTH 775 -- Differential Diagnosis -- 2
PTH 824 -- Sports Med Elective -- 1
PTH 835 -- Pediatrics Elective -- 1

Semester Credits -- 13 or 14

Year Three

Fall Semester

PTH 831 -- Clinical Experience III (10 wks) -- 8
PTH 811 -- LAMP III Administration and Mngt -- 2
PTH 819 -- ICE V -- 1
PTH 843 -- Clinical Inquiry III -- 1
PTH 859 -- Complex Case Mngt -- 2
PTH 826 -- Sports Med Elective -- 1
PTH 836 -- Pediatrics Elective -- 1
PTH 845 -- Women’s Health Elective -- 2
PTH 855 -- Neuro Vestibular Elective -- 2
IPE 501 Interprofessional Health Care (only if not taken as undergraduate at University of Mary)

Semester Credits -- 15 or 16

Spring Semester

PTH 832 -- Clinical Experience IV (10 wks) -- 8
PTH 812 -- LAMP IV Leadership and Professionalism -- 2
PTH 820 -- ICE VI -- 1
PTH 853 -- Clinical Inquiry IV -- 1
PTH 860 -- Complex Case Mngt II -- 2

Semester Credits -- 14

Total Semester Credits -- 125

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, Ecology, Evolution and Zoology not acceptable) Cell, Embryology, General, Genetics, Histology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular BIO 103 and BIO 209

A two course sequence in human/mammalian anatomy and physiology


One course in human/mammalian anatomy with Lab

One course in human/mammalian physiology with Lab

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. It is highly recommended that the hours are from diverse areas of practice.
  • 2 Satisfactory letters of recommendation
  • Official GRE Scores

Rolling Admissions

The PT program does participate in rolling admissions. Qualified applicants may be invited to interview 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.

Early Decision Option 

Early Decision is for applicants who apply through PTCAS. They must have completed 8 of 10 core classes with a prerequisite GPA of 3.5 and submit GRE scores. Applicants will designate the University of Mary as their Early Decision school and complete their application by the Early Decision Deadline. If they meet the criteria, their application, observation hours, and letters of recommendation will be reviewed and they may be invited to an interview with PT faculty. Approved applicants will be offered an opening in the PT program. If the applicant accepts the offer, they are unable to apply to other PT programs through PTCAS.

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.

International Students

Applicants from countries in which English is not the native language are required to prove a minimum level of English proficiency. The University of Mary will accept scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Official TOEFL scores must be submitted to PTCAS by the application deadline.

Test Score Requirements

Applicants who are applying to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program are required to achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 89 or 90 on the Internet-based test (iBT). The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program also requires a minimum TOEFL iBT Speaking subscale score of 24, TOEFL iBT Writing subscale score of 22, TOEFL iBT Reading subscale score of 22, and iBT Listening subscale score of 21.

All exams are valid for two years.

Foreign Transcripts

The University of Mary Doctor of Physical Therapy only accepts prerequisite coursework taken at an accredited US or Canadian institution. Coursework completed in Canada should be submitted to PTCAS for evaluation.

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.

  • 100% of graduates are employed as physical therapists in a variety of settings across the nation.
  • The acceptance rate (2016-2018) is 32%.
  • The matriculation rate (2016-2018) is 12%.
  • The average graduation rate over the past 3 years (2016-2018) was 95%.
  • The overall three-year pass rate on the NPTE (2016-2018) was 100%. The average first time pass rate over the past three years (2016-2018) was 92%.

A selected group of high school students may apply for early assurance 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. Applicants in the early assurance program apply directly to the Physical Therapy program and not through PTCAS.

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. All complaints submitted in writing with a signature, or by speaking directly with the Physical Therapy Program Director or the Dean of the School of health Sciences will be reviewed.

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: