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

Earn Your Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) In As Few As Three Years

Be a leader who is prepared to meet society’s diverse health care needs. With your Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, you’ll be equipped to advance the practice of physical therapy while advocating for, educating, and serving the populations that need you. And, you’ll earn your degree on an efficient timeline.

As a premier physical therapy graduate school choice, the University of Mary’s DPT degree program focuses on three critical areas of PT leadership — evidence-based practice, education, and scholarly activity. In this program, you’ll gain the skills you need for career advancement and graduate prepared to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) administered through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

This DPT program is offered at our downtown Bismarck facility — convenient to major medical facilities in the community.

To learn more about the program and admissions process, request information today.

Physical Therapy Program Highlights

  1. Small Classes and Clinical Experiences

    Collaborate closely with other health care professionals and faculty in the program and take part in enriching full-time clinical education experiences at diverse settings throughout the U.S., which are spaced throughout the program.

  2. Complete in Three Years

    Students enrolled full time can earn the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in three years. A bachelor’s degree must be completed prior to beginning the program.

  3. Unique Service-Learning Experiences

    Develop your understanding of how to work with populations in need. At Mary, you’ll help 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. You also have an option to participate in an international service-learning experience in Guatemala or Peru.

  4. A Foundation of Values in Service

    At Mary, your education goes beyond just career skills. Our DPT program is guided by the Mission of Professional Education for the Physical Therapist and grounded in the Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine values of servant leadership. Our program’s vision is that our graduates will be competent, ethical, compassionate, and caring physical therapists who optimize the human experience through the advancement of practice, advocacy, education, and service.



Doctor of Physical Therapy: Program Goals

  1. Faculty and students will recognize the dignity of the human person through commitment to advocacy, health and wellness, education, and servant leadership to the people in this region and beyond.
  2. Students and graduates will be competent and ethical physical therapists who practice in diverse and collaborative settings, thrive in a constantly change health care environment, commit to a life of service, and engage in life-long learning and personal development.
  3. Students will critically evaluate and apply evidence as a foundation for physical therapy practice and contribute to the body of knowledge.

What is a DPT Program?

As we face an aging population, the health care industry will inevitably have to confront growing challenges in chronic disease and disability. Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs help address these challenges by preparing health care professionals who specialize in helping injured or ill individuals improve their movement and manage their pain. In a doctoral program, students not only focus on the practice of treatment and rehabilitation, but also in the research, education, and preventative care needed to confront such challenges at a systemic level.

Growing Demand for DPTs

Inevitably, physical therapists are going to grow not only in demand, but also in the breadth of solutions they will provide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22% job growth for physical therapists prepared at the doctoral level — much faster than average.

At the University of Mary, you’ll be prepared to enter the field. Our graduates enjoy strong program outcomes:

  • 100% of graduates are employed as physical therapists in a variety of settings across the nation.
  • The acceptance rate (2017-2019) is 34%.
  • The matriculation rate (2017-2019) is 14%.
  • The average graduation rate over the past three years (2017-2019) was 96%.
  • The overall three-year pass rate on the NPTE (2016-2018) was 100%. The average first-time pass rate over the past three years (2017-2019) was 91%.

What You’ll Learn

This comprehensive doctoral program covers a breadth of skills needed for effective practice as a physical therapist. Throughout your studies, you will:

  • Provide health and wellness services to the community with the supervision of faculty.
  • Participate in and hold leadership roles within partner organizations that align with the program’s mission and goals.
  • Meet all academic and professional behavior standards for the program that reflect current evidence-based physical therapy practice and research.
  • Commit to professional development by practicing lifelong learning and demonstrating service to your community and profession.
  • Engage in a variety of clinical experiences, interprofessional collaboration, and management activities.
  • Complete and present a scholarly project.
For a list of courses for the Loading..., please visit the catalog.

To view a sample program of study, click here.

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

Two courses in psychology beyond general psychology

Developmental Psychology, Lifespan Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, etc.

PSY 207, PSY 406


Business Statistics, Math Statistics, Psychology Statistics

MAT 180

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 two retakes in the prerequisites will be considered. 
  • 40 hours of volunteer or paid experience with one or more licensed physical therapists within two years of application. It is highly recommended that the hours are from diverse areas of practice.
  • Two Satisfactory letters of recommendation.
  • Official GRE Scores (PTCAS GRE Code: 7564).

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.

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.

The University of Mary is a member of the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), available at

If you’re ready to apply, you must submit your application to PTCAS and indicate the University of Mary to receive your application materials. 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.

Donald Allen
Associate Professor

Jody Eckert
Associate Professor, Director of Clinical Education

Lauren Emmel
Assistant Professor, Co-Director of Clinical Education

Jason Hogan
Assistant Professor

Michelle Keller

Heather Lundeen
Associate Professor

Michael Parker

Matt Schumacher
Assistant Professor

Jodi Roller
Professor, Interim Program Coordinator

Melissa Taylor
Associate Professor

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.

If you are interested in the Early Assurance option for high school students, contact our Admissions Office at 701-355-8030 or [email protected].

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