University of Mary - Cardinal Newman Society

University of Mary

Year Founded 1959
Number of Traditional Undergraduates 1,858
Location Bismarck, ND
Total Cost (Tuition, Room & Board) $23,114
Net Price (learn more) $16,929
Number of Majors 56
Catholic Students 70%
Catholic Faculty %
Median High School GPA 3.56

See the Q&A for more detailed information!

The University of Mary (U-Mary) is part of a second generation in the renewal of Catholic higher education. The 56-year-old University has been taking exciting steps to reinforce its academics, student life, and Catholic identity, following the example of Newman Guide colleges that have likewise embraced their Catholic mission.

In other ways, U-Mary is unique for The Newman Guide. It emphasizes career preparation, with a majority of students majoring in the health sciences or business-related fields. Previously, only about half of the students were Catholic, but this has grown to more than 60 percent.  Still, many do not attend U-Mary primarily for its Catholic identity.  Sixty percent of students attended public high schools.

But seriously Catholic students will want to take advantage of the new Catholic Studies Program and the residence halls dedicated to fostering spiritual development and discernment. Exemplary students can also participate in U-Mary’s unique program to develop “servant leaders of moral courage” in their chosen fields.

Monsignor James Shea, a diocesan priest who became president of U-Mary in 2009, has led the University’s renewal with the support of the founding Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation, who reside on campus and continue to help govern. The Diocese of Bismarck and the nearby Diocese of Fargo have also taken a strong interest in the University and its growing influence in North Dakota.

Monsignor Shea studied for the priesthood at The Catholic University of America (CUA) and observed the improvements at CUA during the tenure of Father David O’Connell, C.M. (now Bishop of Trenton). Bishop O’Connell helped the young U-Mary president prepare for his position—the very capable Msgr. Shea was an extraordinary 33 years old upon his appointment—and the path of both institutions has been similar.

“Catholic identity in education is the motivating passion of my life,” Msgr. Shea said before assuming the presidency. “I am committed to the deepening and the invigoration of the Catholic identity of the University of Mary.”

That he seems to be accomplishing much faster than anyone could have anticipated. No doubt that played a part in the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to name him “monsignor” and “Chaplain to His Holiness” in December 2012.

While students from out of state may require some time getting used to North Dakota winters, U-Mary is an attractive choice for students looking for a career-oriented university that is in good Catholic hands, and all at a quite affordable price.  Tuition, room and board for 201819 is just $23,114, not including options for financial aid. 

The general education requirements ensure that even pre-professional students are exposed to the liberal arts.  Students are required to take two theology and two philosophy courses, with courses ranging from basic Catholic instruction to a study of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Students are required to take a foundational philosophical ethics course, “Search for Truth,” and then one additional course in philosophy.

Every student also studies cultural anthropology, citizenship, composition, oral communication, a science lab, mathematics, and information technology. Following one course in each of these areas, students have substantial flexibility to choose 22 credits from at least two disciplines including the humanities, languages, math, physical sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. The electives allow a student some ability to tailor the general education curriculum to more closely match the student’s major.

One of Msgr. Shea’s innovations has been a complete restructuring of the University into four distinct schools: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Behavioral Sciences, and the popular Health Sciences. Students can choose among nearly 60 academic programs, ranging from Catholic studies to the liberal arts, social work, marketing, and nursing.

The commitment to health education is particularly impressive. The health sciences building includes large, state-of-the-art labs and workout rooms for physical therapy and athletic training. Students are taught medical ethics and bioethics consistent with Catholic teaching, particularly as both faculty and students benefit from the University’s innovative Master of Science in Bioethics program in partnership with the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC).

The Catholic Studies degree is modeled after the well-respected program at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota; founding director Dr. Matthew Gerlach formerly studied and taught in the UST program. The courses offer a firm grounding in the Catholic intellectual tradition, especially theology and philosophy. More than an academic program, Catholic Studies students and faculty form a community that meets weekly for Mass and dinner, participates in Eucharistic Adoration and confession, engages in service activities, attends the March for Life, and comes together for social activities.

Catholic Studies students are especially encouraged to study abroad at U-Mary’s campus in Rome, but other students are eligible to participate in the five-week or full-semester programs.

Through its new “Year-Round Campus” program, U-Mary enables students to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2.6 years and a master’s in four. The University is careful to explain that this program is not a typical “accelerated” program, but a complete campus experience for an entire calendar year that offers financial benefits over one’s lifetime.

Enhancing the relatively small liberal arts faculty, Msgr. Shea hired Dr. Carol Andreini, the longtime director of the Cardinal Muench Seminary’s classics program. Priests who studied under Dr. Andreini throughout the Bismarck and Fargo dioceses helped fund the position after the Seminary was closed.

Given the diversity of beliefs among students, U-Mary’s campus ministry is Catholic but also ecumenical, often taking a nondenominational approach to Christian prayer and social gatherings. Student participation has grown noticeably in recent years.

The University takes a peer ministry approach, with students assisting the full-time staff including the University chaplain (a priest from the Diocese of Bismarck) and three additional staff members.  At the beginning of students’ freshman year, each residence hall celebrates Mass and students receive a medal of St. Benedict. 

The four campus chapels are Catholic, and Mass is offered at least once each weekday and on Sunday. Daily Mass attendance is about 180 students at last count, and the University reports that most of the Catholic undergraduates living on campus attend Sunday Mass.   The university also just completed construction of a beautiful Marian grotto on campus overlooking the Missouri River. 

The University has needed to significantly expand opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration and Confession; the latter is scheduled Tuesday through Thursday and by appointment, while Adoration is scheduled from morning to late afternoon or evening Monday through Friday. Students pray the Rosary and Morning Prayer four days a week, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy three days per week. Campus ministry hosts retreats for students every semester in their residence halls.  Lecture series and social events occur frequently to foster spiritual development and discuss moral issues.

Helping to strengthen students’ spirituality is the Catholic evangelization group FOCUS, which was invited to campus. FOCUS sponsors several Bible study groups and promotes Eucharistic Adoration. Mary has continued to grow a partnership with FOCUS, as the University’s campus in Bismarck will now join Ave Maria as a host to FOCUS’s new staff training activities over the summer.  

U-Mary’s Collegians for Life group is sponsored by campus ministry, adding a Catholic element to the usual pro-life activities such as a prayer night to honor St. Gianna Beretta Molla, who sacrificed her life for her child. Of particular note, the University was selected to lead the 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Campus ministry also travels each month to the North Dakota Youth Correctional Center, hosting Mass and holding praise and worship nights.

The University has recently increased its emphasis on vocational discernment. Each spring, the University hosts an annual “Vocation Jamboree,” welcoming religious communities and other Catholic apostolates from across the country to campus for an event. Throughout the year, the sponsoring Benedictine Sisters are available to be prayer partners for female students, who are also invited to spend a weekend living at the Annunciation Monastery. And for men, St. Joseph’s residence hall houses 30 students interested in living a virtuous life and possibly discerning a call to the priesthood. The hall also includes the living quarters for the diocese’s director of vocations. U-Mary has also launched a similar hall for women, St. Scholastica’s, with two Sisters living in the hall with 40 young women. 

University of Mary completed the process of transitioning from a mix of single-sex and coed residence halls to all single-sex residences for students in 2014. The University has continued to construct new housing facilities, including a new residence hall for freshmen women completed in the fall 2016. Freshman women now enjoy living in Roers Hall, which features common areas on each floor. 

Residence life staff are expected to uphold the University’s Benedictine values, encouraging students to pray and to live virtuously. Policies expressly forbid sexual activity outside of marriage, and priests and others talk to students about moral issues including chastity.

We have been told that North Dakota has problems with binge drinking as early as high school, and it carries over with some college students, especially off campus. However, students at the University under age 21 are not permitted to have alcohol on campus. The University sponsors several programs to discourage substance abuse and allows students to choose a roommate who is also committed to sobriety. Students who are 21, live in one of two specific residences, and have completed a special class are eligible to have alcohol in their rooms so long as everyone present is 21 years of age. Such students may also consume a limited number of alcoholic drinks at an on-campus club.

A campus health clinic and a counseling center operate under Catholic ethical guidelines.

The campus is distinctive and quite the opposite of the iconic ivy-covered academic campus or the small, intimate colleges in this Guide. Several of the large stone and concrete structures at U-Mary were designed by famed architect Marcel Breuer, and later construction continued in the Bauhaus style. It carries through to the interiors of the classroom buildings, residence halls, and even the Modernist-styled chapels.

The Bismarck-Mandan area is urban but not large, despite its population of about 120,000. Students can find what they need nearby, and a shopping mall is a five-minute drive away. Traveling to campus is easy along Interstate Route 94 or through the nearby Bismarck Municipal Airport, less than five miles from campus.

One of the typical benefits of a university is the greater variety of activities outside the classroom, and U-Mary doesn’t disappoint. The newly completed Lumen Vitae University Center serves as the hub of student activities and includes a 24/7 campus restaurant, student living rooms, work spaces, and the student involvement center.

The university offers many clubs tied to students’ academic interests, as well as a club dedicated to environmental awareness, an international club to celebrate the world’s cultures and diverse students at U-Mary, the Student Recreation Program for intramural and fitness activities, and a Political Interest Club. 

The University of Mary Knights of Columbus Council received the “Outstanding College Council Award” in 2017 from the national KCs College Councils Program. The Knights of Virtue (for men) and Vera Forma (for women) focus on the development of virtue and holiness, studying Scripture and the saints from a clearly Christian but not exclusively Catholic perspective. As noted above, campus ministry sponsors Collegians for Life.

The U-Mary Marauders field eight teams for men and nine for women in the NCAA Division II. These include basketball, cross country, soccer, and indoor and outdoor track and field for both men and women; baseball, football, and wrestling for men; and softball, swimming, tennis, and volleyball for women. Additionally, the University just launched a new men’s hockey program, that while not a NCAA sport at Mary, has been successful on the ice. The University has a Catholic priest serving as a full-time chaplain for Marauders Athletics, focusing on the spiritual needs of the scholar-athletes. FOCUS’s Varsity Catholic program, along with other student organizations, also work with the varsity athletes to strengthen their relationship with Christ, while also hosting basketball and “powder puff” football events for other students.

The University has completed a new fitness and wellness center, opened in January of 2017. The facility includes a 200-meter track and full fitness center available for all students.

In the local area, students can find numerous outdoor bike and walking trails, parks, a zoo, and the Missouri River which runs near campus. Out of the cold, there are many restaurants, museums, performances, and cultural activities.

The University of Mary’s renewed vitality as a Catholic university is exciting and pervasive. The faithful curriculum and attention to ethical development, the Catholic Studies degree, the move to discernment-based residence halls, the Rome campus, and other factors combine to make U-Mary a wonderful college for The Newman Guide.

But U-Mary is also unique among most Guide colleges, with its heavier emphasis on career preparation in health, business, and education. We anticipate that its impressive renewal is not complete, as Msgr. Shea and a number of committed officials and faculty members continue to strengthen the academic program and campus life, so that Catholic students will find a faithful and increasingly fervent atmosphere at U-Mary. The University is seeking students who are eager to take advantage of the current offerings while contributing to U-Mary’s development.

Questions & Answers

Answers from the college on the most important questions. Click a topic below to read more.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?


Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities (NCA), recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

2017 Data (most recent) showed 98% of job placement rate for graduates within 6 months of graduation (see career services at for additional details).

  • 68% employed
  • 28% continuing education

Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.

The University of Mary has been recognized nationally as a “College of Distinction,” honored for Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes.

Mary and her programs have been ranked nationally by a host of entities. A few examples include:

  • Doctorate in Physical Therapy program ranked 31 of 192 programs in the country in licensure pass rates (96.67% vs. U.S. avg. 88.13%).
  • The Respiratory Therapy Program received the National Excellence in Education Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), which placed the program in the top 25% of all programs in the United States.
  • The Center on Education and the Workforce ranked Mary in the top 5% in the nation in their data-driven study, “Where You Go and What You’ll Make” college rankings
  • “Hidden Gem” college/university in North Dakota, according to College Raptor.

Peer reviewed discipline accreditation by: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, National Council on Social Work Education, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapist Education, Committee on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education Programs, International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education

In 2013, we were visited by our accrediting body the Higher Learning Commission [HLC], who delivered a sparkling review with no recommendations.

What is the median SAT and ACT of your incoming class? (Note that some colleges may not require one or both scores from all students) 


ACT: 23.7

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?

In accordance with North Dakota state law, U-Mary does not maintain record of religious affiliation of employees.

Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?

Not applicable, see above.

Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?


Are members of your teaching faculty expected, as a condition of employment, to respect Catholic teaching and comply with Catholic morality in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?

There is a vibrant hiring for mission program, in which all applicants express support for a statement of mission which includes: “Our common discourse ever takes place in a spirit of authentic respect for Catholic teaching and practice. We acknowledge the Catholic faith as a path to moral integrity and personal holiness. We are joyfully Catholic.” Contracts for faculty employment include the following: “The employee is responsible at all times to serve as an effective role model of the university’s Christian, Catholic, Benedictine mission and values.”

Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):

Dr. David Fleischacker (Dean, School of Arts & Sciences. Newman scholar. Publications in Logos, Newman Studies Journal, Journal of Philosophy & Education. Director of the Lonergan Institute, Washington, DC);

Dr. Leroy Huizenga (Chair of Theology Department, Associate Professor of Theology. Specialization in New Testament. Books with Brill & Baylor University Press, published in First Things, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Novum Testamentum).

Dr. Thomas Porter (Professor of Music, multiple sacred & secular compositions published in GIA, Homesteading, Prairie Public Broadcasting & commissioned pieces for episcopal ordination, diocesan centennial celebration, presidential inauguration).

Dr. David Ronderos (Assistant Professor of Biology. Neuroscience PhD from UT Southwestern Med. Ctr., Postdoctoral Fellow at John Hopkins School of Medicine, Ruth L. Kirschstein award recipient. Publications in Current Biology, Journal of Neuroscience).

Dr. Michael Parker (Professor of Physical Therapy, specialization in muscle strength rehab. Published in the Journal of Neurologic PT & the Journal of Orth. & Sports PT);

Dr. Rod Jonas (Dean, School of Education & Behavioral Sciences. Appointed by the Governor to the North Dakota Education Standards Board);

Dr. Joellen Roller (Dean, School of Health Sciences. Publications in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation).

Dr. Christine Fleischacker (Assistant Professor of Biology, research publications in Immunity and Journal of Immunology, Microbiology lab manual author, specialization in immunology, microbiology and developmental biology).

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?


Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines have a mandatum according to the procedures established by the local bishop or other competent ecclesiastical authority?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?

Theology professors take the oath of fidelity at the time of their hire.

Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?

Theology classes, even those which are not specifically Catholic, are taught in a manner authentically respectful of Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine faith and practice.

Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

Theology courses are taught by various faculty members, depending on the needs of each semester. Core offerings include: Basic Catholic Beliefs; Introduction to the Bible; Introduction to Theology; Introduction to Christian Ethics; Virtue and Character; Faith and Justice Courses are commonly taught by Dr. Leroy Huizenga and Dr. Fleischacker.

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

All students take a required foundational course in theology that includes an introduction to the Christian, Catholic, Benedictine mission of the University as well as a required upper division theology course and a required course in ethics. These courses are designed to provide the foundation for the core curricular concept of ‘Spirituality and Ethics’.

Additional Theology Information, clarification or description (optional):

Timothy Cardinal Dolan visited our campus in October of 2013. Here is a selection from his words:

“If there is anybody around who thinks that a university cannot be exuberantly, faithfully Catholic and yet a vibrant, academically rigorous, radiantly welcoming university, I say let them come to the University of Mary and they will see differently.

We, the rest of the country, the rest of the world are watching you because you represent something fresh, something daring. You represent something exciting and promising and we are watching and we like what we see.

Terrific things are happening here at Mary and I’m looking around at the people that make it happen and I want you to know and to hear my say as a visitor from afar, thank you. Thank you for what you do for the University of Mary.”

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

Introduction to  Cultural Anthropology, Responsible Citizenship, Composition II, Oral Communication, Freshman Leadership Seminar, Search for Truth, Philosophical Ethics.

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

Art Core: choose from The Art of Rome and Paris, Intro to Photography, Intro to Literature, Intro to Music; Intro to Drawing; Intro to Visual Arts

Science Core: choose from multiple lab science offerings in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical, Earth, or Environmental Science;

Mathematics Core: choose from multiple offerings at the level of College Algebra or higher;

Foundational Theology Core: choose from Basic Catholic Beliefs, Introduction to the Bible, Introduction to Theology, Benedict: Yesterday & Today;

Additional required course in Theology -choose an upper level theology course;

Information Technology: CIS 101 or equivalent challenge exam;

Remaining core electives: Credits from remaining disciplines including Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities, Languages, Math, Physical Sciences, Philosophy and Theology to total 52-56 credits.

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

124 credits    44%

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

See “Foundational Theology Core,” above.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?


Additional Core Curriculum information, clarification or description (optional):

The Core curriculum is developed to operationalize the goal of graduating servant leaders with moral courage. The foundational core concepts are Global Stewardship, Critical Thinking, Spirituality and Ethics, and Communication. The Benedictine values of Community, Hospitality, Respect for Persons, Prayer, Service, and Moderation are integrated throughout all programs of study.

List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

Bachelor’s Degree Programs (Majors/Minors): Accounting, Addiction Counseling, Athletic Training, Biology, Biology Education, Business, Business Administration, Business Communication, Business Education, Catholic Studies, Chemistry, Coaching, Communication Disorders (preparation for graduate program in Speech Pathology), Computer Information Systems, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Engineering Science, English, English Education, Environmental Science, Exercise Science, Financial Services and Banking, Government and Political Philosophy, Health Education, Healthcare Administration, History, History Education, Indian Studies, Information Technology Management, Liberal Arts, Liturgy, Marketing, Mass Communications, Mathematics, Mathematics Education, Medical Laboratory Science, Music, Music Education, Music Performance, Music with an Emphasis in Sacred Music, Nursing, Organizational Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Philosophy, Philosophy-Theology, Physical Education, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Public Relations, Radiologic Technology, Religious Education, Respiratory Therapy, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Social Studies Education, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Special Education, Speech, Sport and Leisure Management, Theater, Theological Studies, Theology, Web Design, Wellness.

PRE-PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS: Chiropractic, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Physician Assistant, Law, Podiatry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Optometry, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.


What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Nursing, 12%

Combined Pre-Physical Therapy Tracks, 8%

Biology, 7%

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?


If yes, please describe:

U-Mary hosts a convocation series which includes:

Annual Prayer Day: featuring national speakers, workshops, and Mass with the Bishop of Bismarck;

A popular series on Ethics in the Professions. One example is a series on Bioethics for Medical Professionals, held in partnership with the National Catholic Bioethics Center;

Presentations on Servant Leadership;

Student presentations on the Rome Campus experience, including the hallmark  course “Benedict: Yesterday and Today.”

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?


If yes, please describe.

The foundational content for our core concepts, Spirituality and Ethics, Global Stewardship, Critical Thinking, and Communication, provided in required and elective core courses primarily by faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences are integrated in all major programs necessitating collaboration and cooperation between faculty in the liberal arts and professions.

Additional Programs of Study information, clarification or description:

The entire university was recently re-organized into four distinct and interdisciplinary schools: Health Sciences, Arts & Sciences, Business, Education & Behavioral Sciences. Top students participate in the Emerging Leaders Academy, which offers foundational and experiential education for the formation of servant leaders of moral courage. Fully one-third of the student body is enrolled in selective and rigorous programs for the training of ethical and competent health care professionals.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?


Does your institution offer Mass on campus at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?


On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 


Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?

180 students or approximately 11%

Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?


Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?


Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?


Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Mo 12:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

4:30 p.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

Tu 12:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

4:30 p.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

We 10:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, Traditional/Contemporary mix

Th 12:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

4:30 p.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

Fr 12:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

Sa 10:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

11:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, Monastery, Monastic Chant

Su 11:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, Monastery, Monastic Chant

8:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, Traditional/Contemporary mix

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?


List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Sun 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. 

Mon 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.  

Tu 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. & 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.  

Wed 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. & 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  

Th 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. 

Fr 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. 

Other: By appointment before or after Mass  

As the hours for Confession have increased throughout the academic year, please see the University Ministry schedule, published online at, to see the most updated times for Confession. 

Other: By appointment before or after Mass 

As the hours for Confession have increased throughout the academic year, please see the University Ministry schedule, published online at, to see the most updated times for Confession. 

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

Mon 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. 

Tu 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. 

Wed 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

Th 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. 

Fr 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. 

As increased student demand regularly impacts the schedule, please see the University Ministry schedule, published online at, to see the most updated times for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

Holy Rosary: The Knights of Columbus invite the community to pray the rosary in the new Marian Grotto every weekday at 4:00 pm.  

Divine Office: 7:30 a.m. Monday-Friday 

Divine Mercy Chaplet: 3:00 p.m. Monday-Friday 

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?


Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

Saint Joseph’s Hall for Men is a 36-bed facility for men willing to make a commitment to living a virtuous life and supporting others who have made the same commitment. Spiritual direction is provided by the Diocesan Vocations Director, Father Joshua Waltz, who has an apartment within the hall.

The University of Mary recently launched a similar residence for women, dedicated to Saint Scholastica. Located in a building that once served as the home of our sponsoring community, Saint Scholastica Hall is a 38-bed facility. Spiritual direction for the women is provided by two Benedictine sisters—including the Director of Vocations from the Monastery—who live with the residents in apartments located in the hall.

Additionally, Our sponsoring community, the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, offer opportunities for female students to discern their vocation by:
1) Having a Sister as a prayer partner;
2) Several options each year to participate in a live-in weekend experience at the Monastery;
3) Multiple and varied opportunities to come to the Monastery to meet the Sisters.

If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?


Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

Yes, among our alumni are numbered several Benedictine Sisters and monks, as well as diocesan priests and religious of other orders and congregations.

Additional Chaplaincy information, clarification or description (optional):

The last few years have seen notable and very encouraging growth in all aspects of chaplaincy and campus ministry activities.

Mass attendance percentages are calculated from Catholic students living on campus.

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

On-campus options include:

The University of Mary offers both male and female students an opportunity to apply for a faith-based residence life experience where residents make a common commitment to pursuing a virtuous life together as a community while receiving spiritual direction to discern their vocation.  Saint Joseph’s Hall for Men is a 36-bed facility with a chapel. Spiritual direction is provided by the former Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Bismarck, Bishop Paul Zipfel, and the Diocesan Vocations Director, Father Joshua Waltz, who each have an apartment within the hall.

Roers Hall: a newly constructed women’s residence located in front of Welder Library, which opened in in fall of 2016. It features desirable two-bedroom suites and houses 284 women. Each floor boasts a community space. The hall features a community kitchen and laundry facilities as well.

Saint Scholastica Hall for women is located on the third floor of Roers Hall, and features 20 two-bedroom suites. The residence life community is for women who desire to live in community and grow in faith. Spiritual direction for the women is provided by two Benedictine sisters (including the Director of Vocations from the Monastery) who live with the residents in apartments located in the hall.

North Hall: a traditional, 225-bed, residence hall for men with community bath and shower facilities. In 2014-2015 North Hall will become the home of all first-year men at the University.

Hillside Hall: a 123 bed, suite-style residence hall for women. Each suite consists of two double occupancy rooms and a common bath/shower facility.

Greg Butler Hall: a 143-bed, suite-style residence hall for women. Each suite consists of two double occupancy rooms and a common bath/shower facility.

Deichert and Boyle Halls are almost identical apartment-style facilities. Diechert Hall is a 72 bed facility for men while Boyle Hall is a 120 bed facility for women.

Boniface Hall: an 87-bed traditional residence hall for women with community bath and shower facilities.

The Cloisters: Facilities designed for upper-level students (juniors, seniors and graduate students). Named for monasteries in Italy started by Saint Benedict, Subiaco is a twelve-plex apartment for women and Monte Cassino is a twelve-plex for men. Each of these facilities feature 11 two-bedroom units and a single one-bedroom unit with full kitchen, laundry facilities, patio or balcony and a beautiful view of the Missouri River Valley and the City of Bismarck below.

Off campus options: U-Mary does not currently offer any off-campus options, apart from the University’s 150-bed campus in Rome.

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?


Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):

X  All students
Any Student who wishes
No students
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
Only freshmen

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?


If your institution offers co-ed residence halls, how are students of the opposite sex separated (choose all that apply):

When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 

Friday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to Midnight

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)


If yes, when?

Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 

Friday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to Midnight 

If students of the opposite sex are permitted to visit students’ bedrooms, does your institution have an “open bolt” policy? Please describe.


How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

High-risk (binge) drinking is a serious regional and national problem among young people, and evidence shows that the problem starts in high school and continues at the college level. We are aware that this is a significant challenge for our student population. Our approach to address the problem is comprehensive and consists of the following:

1) Prevention Policies: Students of all ages are prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol on campus and from being intoxicated on campus. Violators are vigorously tracked with the goal of early intervention in the form of education and counseling. Parents, coaches and advisors are notified of violations. First-time violators are required to complete an education program. Second-time violators as well as any student deemed to be heavily intoxicated and any student who gets into other serious problems while under the influence of alcohol are required to undergo an evaluation by a licensed substance abuse counselor and comply with all resulting recommendations.

2) Off-Campus Violations: Through close cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, off-campus violations are also tracked and treated identically to violations that occur on campus.

3) Education: The University of Mary engaged local substance abuse experts to develop a comprehensive alcohol education program for its students. The class is offered monthly on campus. In addition, frequent alcohol abuse and substance abuse programming, including alcohol awareness week and programming during key events such as homecoming and winter week celebrations, is offered. Our student health clinic sponsors a peer-education program, Health PRO (Peers Reaching Out), which sponsors numerous programs.

4) Activities: Alcohol-free activities are offered on-campus every Friday and Saturday night.

5) Alcohol-Free Lifestyle: We offer students the option of choosing a roommate who is committed to an alcohol-free lifestyle. We group students who have made this commitment together on a specific wing or floor of a residence hall.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

Our students have been affected by the “hook-up” culture, and we are aware of instances of promiscuity and the use of internet pornography (mainly by young men).

Our approach to foster an environment that promotes and supports chastity includes:

1) Our residence hall policy specifically addresses the issue of pre-marital sex. It states:
“…the University of Mary affirms the Catholic belief that human sexuality is a sacred gift from God that should always be treated with the utmost respect and reverence, expressed only within an all-encompassing union of life and love within the context of marriage …. The University of Mary Community Standards for Students expressly prohibits sexual intimacy between persons who are not married to one another in the university’s residence halls.”

2) Staff are specifically instructed to refrain from treating instances where sexual activity occurs as mere violations of our visitation policy. They are instructed to document all such instances so conduct officers can address the deeper moral issues involved.

3) Educational Programing to Support a Culture of Chastity includes: a) Morals and Mocha, where area priests talk with students about moral issues selected by students. Theology of the Body is one of the topics frequently requested: b) Love and Lattes, featuring faithful Catholic couples who talk to students about topics such as dating and chastity, faith and marriage, and natural family planning.

4) Two new student organizations have been formed, one for men (Knights of Virtue) and one for women (Vera Forma). Each group provides support and fellowship for students who have made a commitment to live a virtuous life.

5) In the past few years, we have opened Saint Joseph’s Hall for men and St. Scholastica Hall for women. St. Joseph’s is a 36-bed facility for men who have made a commitment to live a virtuous life and support other residents in their commitment to virtue. St. Scholastica is a 38-bed facility for women with the same goals.

Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?


If yes, please describe:

In partnership with FOCUS, Bible studies and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament have become very popular among students.

Room blessings are offered at the beginning of the academic year.

Campus Ministry offers a retreat in each residence hall each semester.

Over the course of the first-semester, residents in each specific residence hall are invited to attend Mass together where they receive a special blessing and a medal of Saint Benedict.

The residence life programming model is based on the University’s Benedictine Values. Under the value of Prayer, the Residence Life staff strives to provide opportunities for students to:
1) Reflect upon God’s presence in life and ask Him to teach and guide them in all they do;
2) Gain a sense of their purpose, vocation, and character;
3) Learn about Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine values and life choices so that they may grow in appreciation for the values that inspire and guide the University of Mary on a daily basis.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

foster spiritual development:

1) Knights of Columbus: The college council of the Knights of Columbus on the University of Mary campus strives to promote the moral, intellectual, and spiritual development of the future leaders of society, the Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic Church. The University’s Council received the “Outstanding College Council Award” in 2017 from the national KCs College Councils Program.

2) Knights of Virtue : Open to men of all faiths, participants strive to grow in holiness as men committed to leading a virtuous life, using Christ and His many saints as exemplars. The study of the virtuous life is based on Scripture and Tradition and incorporates the writings and teachings of experts in the field of masculine spirituality.

3) Vera Forma: Open to women of all faiths, participants contemplate Christ and His many saints as they strive  to advance on the path to holiness. Study and conversation of Scripture, Tradition, and the writings of experts in the field of feminine spirituality reveal that which defines, sustains, and inspires the virtuous life of women.

4) Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA): FCA stresses commitment and accountability in striving daily to emulate Christ, the servant leader. Students gather to reflect on Scripture and relevant issues facing emerging adults. FCA warmly welcomes students of every faith.

5) Collegians for Life (CFL): Through education and genuine love, CFL promotes the sanctity of human life in all stages of development. They meet to discuss pertinent life issues and host speakers who advocate protection for the most vulnerable among us:  the unborn, the sick, the elderly.

6) Praise the Lord (PTL):  Dedicated to praise and worship, PTL is a student-led ecumenical activity sponsored by Campus Ministry. Meetings include Scripture readings, personal witness, moral challenge, praise through song.

engage in corporal works of mercy:

1) Circle K: This service group sponsors blood drives, provides Christmas presents for needy children, visits nursing homes to play bingo with residents, and assists with repairs in the homes of elderly and disabled persons.

2) Lions Club: This service group serves various needs, including SPONSORSHIP of a successful fund drive to benefit homeless persons and victims of domestic abuse.

3) Optimist Club:  This service group’s ACTIVITIES include the raising of funds for children in need.

4) SPURS:  This service group has sponsored clothing drives for poor families at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

5) Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF):  This very active service group coordinates a popular service trip during Spring Break.

address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

1) Collegians for Life (CFL): Through education and genuine love, CFL promotes the sanctity of human life in all stages of development. They meet to discuss pertinent life issues and host speakers who advocate protection for the most vulnerable among us: the unborn, the sick, the elderly.

2) Morals and Mocha: A four-week program sponsored by Campus Ministry, local diocesan priests meet with students to discuss moral issues selected by students. Topics have included politics, birth control, the sanctity of life, euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality, alcohol use, falling in love, and many others.

3) Love and Lattes: A four-week program sponsored by Campus Ministry, married couples meet with students to discuss faith and marriage. Topics have included natural family planning, finances, conflict resolution, parenting, and many others.

4) Catholic Studies Discussion Night:  Every Thursday night the Catholic Studies program sponsors a discussion night over dinner. Topics are drawn from books and readings of the Catholic intellectual tradition and address issues of acute interest to today’s emerging adults.

address issues of social concern:

1) Environmental Coalition of Students (ECOS): The purpose of ECOS is to promote environmental awareness among the University of Mary students. The club is active in recycling of paper, organizing discussions about current environmental issues, and writing letters to local representatives. Membership in the club is open to all students and employees of the University of Mary. Members actively promote campus beautification efforts and the activities related to the celebration of the annual Earth Day.

address particular academic interests:

1) International Association of Business Communicators (IABC); 2) Marauders on Business (MOB); 3) Math/Science Association (MSA); 4) Music Education (CMENC); 5) Nursing Students Association (NSA); 6) PACS (Psychology/Pastoral Ministry, Addiction Counseling, Criminal Justice, Social Work/Social and Behavioral Sciences); 7) PI THETA EPSILON (Beta Pi Chapter) – National Honor Society for Occupational Therapy students; 8) Pre-Dental Club; 9) Pre-Law Club; 10) Respiratory Care Club; 11) Student Equity Club (Finance Club which manages $100,000 of the University’s endowment); 12) Student North Dakota Education Association (SNDEA); 13) Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA); 14) Student Physical Therapy Association; 15) Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE); 16) University of Mary Athletic Training Student Association (UMATSA); 17) University of Mary Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance (UMPHERD).

address particular cultural interests:

1) Spanish Club: The Spanish Club welcomes anyone who is currently enrolled in Spanish studies or students who have an interest in perfecting their Spanish conversational skills. Spanish Club offers an opportunity to become involved in Spanish activities as well as to meet Spanish speakers.

2) International Club: The purpose of the International Club is to foster an appreciation for the cultures of the world. All students are welcome to join, including those who come to the University from foreign countries, those who are members of various ethnic groups, and those interested in learning more about the world’s cultures. Activities include cultural nights, international cuisine, and occasional activities with the international club in the local community.

provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

1) Varsity sports: The University of Mary has 17 varsity sports for men and women, see below.

2) Fellowship of Christian Athletes: In addition to spiritual activities detailed above, FCA sponsors various athletic events, including a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and powder puff football.

3) Student Recreation Program: Offers a wide variety of intramural and fitness programs to the student body.

If applicable, in which athletic Division and Conference does your institution compete? (Please specify NCAA, NAIA, etc. as well as Division Level.)   

The University of Mary competes in NCAA Division II for all of its 17 varsity sports.  

Additionally, the University has just launched a men’s ice hockey team competing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association [ACHA].

What athletic teams are offered for men and women?  

Women’s Sports:  


Cross Country 

Indoor Track and Field 

Outdoor Track and Field 







Men’s Sports:  



Cross Country 


Indoor Track and Field 


Outdoor Track and Field 



ACHA: Men’s Ice Hockey 

How do you help develop the mind, body, and soul of student-athletes? 

Our administration works closely with athletic coaches in developing a philosophy of sport. Foundationally, our athletic programs are oriented first toward development of virtue.

In January of 2019, the University welcomed a Catholic priest to serve as a full-time Chaplain for Marauders Athletics, serving in a particular way the spiritual needs of our scholar-athletes.

Like all of our staff, the athletic coaches have participated in a three-day formation seminar rooting them in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

Additionally, FOCUS’s Varsity Catholic program has two missionaries working with student-athletes and coaches to facilitate an encounter with Christ and His Church.  

please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:

Marauders on Politics: The purpose of this organization is to actively engage students at the University of Mary in political activism, and to promote the general good of free elections, candidates, and beliefs. Membership in this group shall be open to all students that are interested and believe in the purpose of supporting and participating in free elections.

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?


How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

New student organizations must obtain official approval to form and the approval process requires each organization to submit an official constitution and bylaws that stipulate that the organization must function in compliance with the University of Mary’s mission and values. Organizations that are recognized go through an automatic review every three years. In the interim, any organization that functions in conflict with the University’s mission and values may have its status reviewed at the discretion of the University. The initial goal of such a review would be to educate the group about Catholic teaching and the group would be given an official notice of what steps it would have to take to comply with University expectations. Groups that refuse to comply with University expectations would be subject to sanctions up to loss of their charter.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?


Additional Student Activities information, clarification or description (optional):

Our student health clinic is conducted under the following directive: “All services are provided in a manner consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

Our counseling service is also staffed by a faithful Catholic who is committed to providing services in compliance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


What is your institution’s mission statement:

The full mission & identity statement is available at  Excerpts:

“The University of Mary exists to serve the religious, academic and cultural needs of the people in this region and beyond. It takes its tone from the commitment of the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery. These Sisters founded the University in 1959 and continue to sponsor it today. It is Christian, it is Catholic, and it is Benedictine.”

• FAITHFULLY CHRISTIAN: We strive to accomplish our mission in faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We regard each human person as created in the image and likeness of God, gifted with life and dignity. We seek to be agents of cultural renewal in our time and place, courageous advocates for justice and peace. Our Christian commitment is born from and sustained by the encounter of the Risen Lord, who came not to be served but to serve. As He humbly washed the feet of His disciples on the night before He died, so we seek to serve one another.

• JOYFULLY CATHOLIC: We joyfully draw our life from the heart of the Church, identifying with the ancient tradition which gave rise to the first universities in medieval Europe. This Catholic intellectual tradition proposes an integrated spiritual and philosophical approach to the most enduring questions of human life. Thus we seek to advance the vital dialogue between faith and reason, while acknowledging the proper autonomy of the arts, sciences, and professions. A university is a place for the free exchange of ideas, and so we warmly welcome students and faculty of many faiths and convictions. At the same time, our common discourse ever takes place in a spirit of authentic respect for Catholic teaching and practice. We acknowledge the Catholic faith as a path to moral integrity and personal holiness.

• GRATEFULLY BENEDICTINE: We remember with gratitude the Benedictine Sisters who came to Dakota Territory in 1878, bringing ministries of teaching and healing. This community of Sisters would become our founders and sponsors and, through them, we share in the 1500-year-old heritage of the Benedictines. Inspired by lives of prayer, community, and service, Saint Benedict and his spiritual followers through the ages have been a stable source of tremendous good in the world: renewing the Church, preserving learning, cultivating wisdom, modeling humane virtues of balance and generosity. The life of our Sisters shapes our life.

Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”


How does your institution address student and faculty invitations to speakers and honorees who have publicly opposed or acted contrary to Catholic moral teaching?

The University fully intends to abide by the 2004 USCCB statement, “Catholics in Political Life,” and all major speakers and honorees are approved through the Office of the President.

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of undergraduates: 1858

Male: 40%  Female: 60% 

Catholic: 70%; 16% Other Christian; 14% Not Reported/Other 

Number of states represented: 47
Top three states: North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana
Students from top three states: 69% 

Catholic HS: 30% Homeschool: 10%
Other: 60% 

Most up-to-date information provide by the University

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Additional Student Body Information:

In addition to our thriving undergraduate campus in Bismarck, North Dakota, the University of Mary also offers degree-granting programs specifically designed for working adults through the University of Mary Worldwide. The University serves over one thousand students in these programs.

Programs are often offered entirely online, and some are available in the evenings at site-based programs throughout the region.

Included in these offerings is an innovative M.S. in Bioethics program, offered in partnership with the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC).

Additionally, our graduate business programs offer an MBA in Virtuous Leadership, which explores and elucidates how the Catholic Intellectual Tradition informs business practice

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?


Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


President's Note

A message from the president.

Dear Parents and Prospective Students:

Every faithful, college-bound Catholic must weigh carefully two goals: finding an institution committed to fidelity with the Church, but also obtaining an education that prepares them for a meaningful professional career. Our students get both at the University of Mary, the most affordable, serious Catholic university in the nation.

Through our Catholic Studies program, two vocation-based residence halls, and a campus in Rome, Mary offers students an authentic Catholic experience. Yet this unwavering commitment to the Church does not diminish students’ professional development. With over 70 undergraduate programs in the health sciences, engineering, education, business and more, Mary produces professionals who contribute to the common good.

Students will also find a complete college experience, with NCAA Division II athletic programs, musical ensembles, and over 30 student organizations. Come to Mary, and discover a serious, Catholic education at an exceptional value.

Yours in Christ,

Reverend Monsignor James P. Shea K.C.H.S

Contact University of Mary


7500 University Dr
Bismarck, ND 58504

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