University of Mary’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Earns Full 10-Year Re-accreditation

Physical Therapy students with child

BISMARCK, ND — The University of Mary’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in the Saint Gianna School of Health Sciences has once again earned a full, 10-year re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

CAPTE has been recognized as an independent agency since 1977 and has been the only agency to accredit physical therapy programs since 1983, and the only accreditation agency endorsed by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

In 2003, Mary’s DPT program became the first doctoral degree offered at the university. Since that time, it has earned three successive 10-year approvals without requiring additional compliance reports.

“It’s quite the feat for the University of Mary DPT program to be amongst only a handful of programs across the country to be granted accreditation while not needing to complete any additional requirements,” stated Dr. Mary Dockter, Dean of the Saint Gianna School of Health Sciences at Mary. “We are very proud of our tradition of excellence within our Saint Gianna School of Health Sciences, and in this case, especially our DPT program.”

Dr. Jody Eckert, associate professor, and Chair of the PT department at Mary, says the comments by the CAPTE site review team were very positive and highlight the program’s:

  • mature and driven students
  • accomplished alumni who are independent learners
  • outstanding team of faculty who serve as role models in the profession
  • excellent program and university leadership
  • mission-driven focus guiding all decisions
  • tremendously supportive employers and clinical faculty to the program and students
  • stellar program curriculum

“Also, indicative of our excellent course offerings, not one suggestion was offered by CAPTE to improve curriculum pedagogy and teaching strategies,” remarked Eckert. “The faculty team endured a rigorous and challenging site visit but are assured that the program is an excellent representation of the University of Mary, Saint Gianna School of Health Sciences, and the PT program mission and vision. We are grateful and proud of our university administration and staff, faculty, graduates, and current students who were collaborative in the program’s successful re-accreditation.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of physical therapists to grow by 15% through 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. The health care industry and those specifically in DPT career paths such as physical therapists, researchers, educators, clinic directors, and policy advocates, expect to confront growing challenges in chronic disease and disability.

The University of Mary accepts 48 DPT students every year into its prestigious program. Students gain full-time clinical education experiences at diverse settings throughout the country, can complete the degree in three years, and they help manage a pro-bono clinic on campus and provide physical therapy services under faculty guidance honing their practice skills while serving the people of the region. Unique to the program is the Early Assurance initiative for high school seniors and undergraduates who begin their undergraduate studies at Mary; as well as a Priority Admissions plan for undergraduate juniors who have transferred to the University of Mary doctoral program.

Anyone who wishes to learn more about the University of Mary can do so at or, or by contacting an admissions representative at, or by calling (701) 355-8030. The University of Mary is one of only 15 Recommended Cardinal Newman Society Residential Colleges and Universities in the US.

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, 18 master’s, and five doctoral programs—in Business Administration, Education, Nursing Practice, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The 20-sport Athletic Department adheres to its Greatness Through Virtue mission under the governance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), and the USA College Clay Target League. With more than 3,800 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Rome, Italy, as well as vibrant online offerings.

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