May 22, 2024  
2022 - 2023 Catalog 
2022 - 2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Physical Therapy

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FACULTY: Allen (Director of Admissions), Eckert (Program Director), Emmel (Director of Clinical Education), Hogan, Keller, Lundeen, Schumacher, Taylor

Program Overview

The 8 trimester Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum consists of a comprehensive mixture of academic, laboratory, and clinical experiences in addition to other unique experiences including an optional international service-learning experience in Guatemala. A research project or an extensive case study is required to complete the clinical inquiry portion of the curriculum. Integrated clinical education experiences are offered throughout the program to allow students exposure to a wide variety of practice settings. These are augmented by four full-time clinical education experiences which are completed at a variety of diverse settings throughout the US and are spaced throughout the educational program. Students manage a pro bono clinic and provide physical therapy services under faculty guidance in order to practice their skills and serve the needs of the people in the community. Students also experience many interprofessional learning opportunities. The experienced faculty, representing several specialty areas of practice, are assisted by adjunct faculty, including physical therapists, physicians, and other health care professionals. The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree is awarded upon successful completion of both the academic and clinical portions of the curriculum.

Concentration Option - Business and Physical Therapy

Students in the final year of the University of Mary’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program have the option of completing nine additional credits of coursework that will lead to a concentration in business. Students will complete online courses in an interprofessional format that will improve their business acumen to better meet the demands of modern health care practice. Students must formally declare the optional Physical Therapy, Business Concentration  to have it added to their program of study, reflected on their academic transcript, and eligible to be included in their Title IV federal financial aid package.

Program Goals

Goal 1. The program, through the 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.

Goal 2. Students and graduates will be competent and ethical physical therapists who practice in diverse, collaborative settings, thrive in a constantly changing health care environment, commit to a life of service, and engage in life-long learning and personal development.

Goal 3. Students will critically evaluate and apply evidence as a foundation for physical therapy practice.

Goal 4. Faculty will engage in scholarly activity to inform their teaching and contribute to the body of knowledge.

Goal 5. Faculty will serve as role models and mentors by actively engaging in professional development or service activities that benefit the students, university, community, and physical therapy profession.


The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Mary is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 13030 Potomac Ave., Suite 1, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 800-999-2782; email:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 701-355-8053 or email

Graduate Outcomes

Students in the University of Mary Program in Physical Therapy benefit from small class sizes and personal interaction with faculty.

  • 100% of graduates (2021-2022) are employed as physical therapists in a variety of settings across the nation.
  • The average graduation rate (2021-2022) is 96%.
  • The first time licensure exam pass rate (2021-2022) is 88%.
  • The ultimate licensure exam pass rate (2021-2022) is 99%.


Guided by the University of Mary’s Benedictine values of Service, Prayer, Moderation, Respect for Person, Hospitality and Community, our mission is to prepare physical therapists for life.


Our 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.

Evaluation and Grading

The program uses a variety of teaching methods including lectures and discussion, laboratory activities, service learning, student presentations and integrated clinical experiences. Competency and proficiency are determined by written examinations, practical examinations, class presentations, and projects.

Students must meet the academic requirements of this program in compliance with the policies laid out in the Physical Therapy Student Handbook. The minimum cumulative GPA requirement is a 3.2 for the DPT program.

Application and Admission

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. The deadline for submission of the application to PTCAS is January 3 prior to the September start date. PTCAS will send the documentation to the Physical Therapy Admissions Committee for consideration.

After review of the applications, the Admissions Committee selects candidates for the required personal interview. Interviews are conducted throughout the fall and early spring. Students are selected on an objective point system based on academic criteria and interview score.

The following are the program prerequisites for admission to the Doctor of Physical Therapy professional program:

  • Required Courses: Two courses in biological sciences (Botany, Zoology, Evolution, and Ecology are not acceptable)
    U-Mary Equivalent: BIO 103  and BIO 209  
  • Required Courses: One course in anatomy with lab, one course in physiology with lab, or a two course sequence in anatomy and physiology
    U-Mary Equivalent: BIO 207  and BIO 208  
  • Required Courses: Two courses in general chemistry with lab
    U-Mary Equivalent: CHE 109  and CHE 110 , or CHE 111  and CHE 112  
  • Required Courses: Two courses in general physics with lab
    U-Mary Equivalent: PHY 203  and PHY 304  
  • Required Courses: 2 Psychology Courses beyond General Psychology (recommend Abnormal and Developmental)
    U-Mary Equivalent: PSY 207  and PSY 406  
  • Required Courses: Statistics
    U-Mary Equivalent: MAT 180  

Recommended Courses

If students plan on participating in the optional service-learning experience in Guatemala, they are encouraged to take Spanish language coursework.

Transfer Students

Transfer students are welcome to apply. Advising of transfer students occurs through the Office of Admissions at 701-355-8235 or

Minimum Criteria for Admission

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

  • 7 out of 11 of the prerequisite courses completed prior to application
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.75 on all undergraduate college work
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all prerequisite courses 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 (2) retakes in the prerequisites will be considered.
  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree by the time of admission into the professional program
  • In addition to the programmatic admission requirements, applicants must meet all of the University of Mary’s general admission requirements for graduate studies, found at

Clinical Observation or Work Experience Requirement

The candidate must complete 40 hours of observation or volunteer experience with one or more licensed and practicing physical therapists within two years of the application deadline. For each clinical experience, the student and the supervising physical therapist complete a Clinical Experience Form. These forms are available on the PTCAS website. It is highly recommended that the hours occur in more than one area of clinical practice.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must have two letters of recommendation describing the applicant’s suitability for physical therapy. At least one letter of recommendation must be from a physical therapist.

Early Assurance

High school seniors and University of Mary freshman and sophomore students may apply for early assurance into the program. High school applicants for early assurance must have    at least a composite score of 24 on the ACT or a GPA of 3.5. University of Mary early assurance applicants must be on track to meet the program requirements. An interview with a University of Mary Saint Gianna School of Health Science faculty member is required for acceptance into early assurance program. Students accepted for this program sign an agreement detailing specific GPA requirements for their undergraduate coursework including having a minimum GPA of 3.25 on the prerequisite courses, minimum overall GPA of 3.25, no retakes of prerequisite courses, completion of 40 PT observation hours, and two acceptable letters of recommendation. After acceptance into the early assurance program, all undergraduate courses must be completed at the University of Mary. Applicants with early assurance do not apply through PTCAS. Applicants with early assurance who meet all of the criteria are admitted into the PT program within one year of their completion of their bachelor’s degree.

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 by the application deadline on the PTCAS application (Code: 5312). Applicants who are applying to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program are required to achieve a minimum TOEFL score of an 89 on the Internet-based test (iBT®). The Doctor of Physical Therapy also requires a minimum TOEFL iBT® Speaking subscale score of a 26, TOEFL iBT® Writing subscale score of 24, TOEFL iBT® Reading subscale score of a 21, and a TOEFL Listening subscale score of an 18.

All exams are valid for two years.

Foreign Transcripts

The University of Mary Doctor of Physical Therapy Program does not accept foreign or international coursework to meet the prerequisite requirements; only courses taken within the U.S. and Canada will be considered. A foreign bachelor’s or any higher degree does meet the requirement of a bachelor’s degree.

Rolling Admissions

The Physical Therapy program does participate in rolling admissions in that qualified applicants may be sent an invitation to interview early in the fall 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.


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.

The Physical Therapy Program Director, Dr. Jody Eckert, may be reached at (701) 355-8246 or via email at The Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Dr. Mary Dockter, may be reached at (701) 355-8045 or via email at


    ConcentrationGraduate Major

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