University of Mary

  • University of Mary

    Bismarck, ND

  • University of Mary

    Bismarck, ND

  • University of Mary

    Bismarck, ND

  • University of Mary

    Bismarck, ND

  • University of Mary

    Bismarck, ND




Catholic Faculty


Catholic Students


On-campus students in single-sex dorms


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.

Bottom Line

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

Each year, the Newman Society asks the colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to answer the following questions. Below you will find the responses that we received directly from the University of Mary.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association? (Yes/No)


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).  Our most recent comprehensive visitation was 2013, which delivered a laudatory review with no recommendations and the authority to expand graduate programs.

Peer reviewed discipline DOE-approved 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

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

2018 Data (most recent) showed 98% of job placement rate for graduates within 6 months of graduation (see career services at for additional details).

  • 67% employed
  • 31% 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:

  • The University of Mary’s Nursing Program is ranked #1 in the nation by Mountain Measurements. For several years running, all bachelor’s-level nursing graduates in all programs have passed their certifying exam on the first try – a 100% pass rate. Master’s and Doctoral programs in nursing are also highly ranked.
  • The Doctorate in PT Program’s 2017 and 2018 graduating cohorts both achieved 100% ultimate pass rates which were significantly above the national average of 88.13%.
  • The Respiratory Therapy Program received the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) for the 6th time in the past 8 years, which placed the program in the top 5% 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 Make” college rankings. (Ranking based on a composite of all variables.)
  •  “Hidden Gem” college/university in North Dakota, according to College Raptor.

Without neglecting difficult topics and ideas, how does your institution avoid leading students into serious error and spiritual harm through blasphemous, dissident, or heretical material in the bookstore, library, lectures, and course content?

As a condition of their hire and employment, teaching faculty are expected to uphold the Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine identity of the University of Mary.  They receive extensive formation and training in this regard from the president and academic and administrative leadership of the university.  Neither the bookstore nor the library carry material that contains blasphemous, dissident, or heretical content.

How are the insights of the Catholic faith integrated throughout the curriculum and course content in all subject areas?

In their first year of employment, all teaching faculty are required to participate in a formation seminar led by the president of the university. The seminar serves to ground faculty in the Catholic intellectual tradition, encouraging and enabling their integration of the university’s Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine identity into the way they teach and serve their students. Over the course of their careers here, faculty are then required to include in each of their syllabi their courses’ connections to the specific Benedictine values and virtues the university community strives to manifest. In this way, the university’s Catholic identity is incorporated into each of its courses.

In addition, as a result of a shared core curriculum which is rich in philosophy, theology, history, and art, all University of Mary students procure a deep sense for the way the faith looks upon and responds to the whole of reality – in relation to ethics, education, business, science, the professions, and so on. As a result, our students, having developed a shared language which evinces the Catholic imagination, have much to say about the Catholic faith’s relationship to all the various subject areas in which they study. Thus, their formation and conversation is a profound source of the faith’s integration into the whole of the University of Mary’s curriculum.

A recent book-length essay by the president of the university, Monsignor Shea, details the University of Mary’s intentional approach to these questions:  The Vocation of the Catholic University Professor.

How does the institution’s academic program form students in love and knowledge of God, for sainthood?

Every student is required to take the foundational theology course “Search for God,” a course which takes as its starting point the triune God’s revelation in Jesus Christ and which unveils the narrative of salvation history as revealed in Sacred Scripture. Students are also required to take a second theology course, “Benedict: Yesterday and Today,” which examines the influence of St. Benedict and the Benedictines on the history of Western thought and culture and considers the potency of monasticism for ongoing spiritual and cultural renewal. Finally, students are required to take two philosophy courses rooted in Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, lodestars for the Catholic intellectual tradition. The first, Search for Truth, shows how we can know the truth about the world by reason. The second, an Ethics course, concentrates on virtue ethics and natural law. With these courses, we give every student in every major the tools to reject relativism and embrace truth. Combined with their required courses in Theology, students come to see the harmony of faith and reason, which in Pope St. John Paul’s words are the “two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” These four courses in theology and philosophy serve the fundamental purpose ordered to the formation of our students in holiness: as they tell the story of Christianity, they invite our young people into the great adventure of life with Christ.

In line with the vision of  Ex corde ecclesiae and in the spirit of St. John Henry Newman, UMary seeks to form the whole person in the philosophic habit of mind necessary to receive the whole truth about God and man in the midst of our fragmented age. One particular vehicle for accomplishing this task is our Catholic Studies program, the fastest-growing such program in the nation. The Catholic studies program at the University of Mary is deeply rooted in the insights of Newman, along with other greats like Saint Thomas Aquinas and Christopher Dawson, and instills in students a life-long capacity to relate the Faith to every aspect of work and life.

How does the institution’s academic program prepare students for the renewal of culture in the light of Christ?

At the heart of the University of Mary’s identity is its mission to prepare leaders in the service of truth. As president emerita Sister Thomas Welder remarks, this form of leadership consists in “a pattern of living marked by competence in one’s chosen profession, courage in making ethical decisions based on Benedictine values, and compassion in serving the needs of others.” Students are encouraged always to seek the truth, to see themselves as whole and unique individuals responsible to God and to one another, and it is this vision of leadership which all teaching faculty are responsible to cultivate in their classrooms and curriculum. Syllabi are required to relate course content to students’ formation in servant leadership by incorporating competencies in spirituality and ethics and/or moral courage, such that each course offered at the University of Mary endeavors to prepare students to be at the service of the common good in their chosen profession.

In addition, the University of Mary renamed their School of Health Sciences after Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. The young mother and doctor had given her life to save the life of her child when a tumor was found in her uterus in the midst of her fourth pregnancy, serving as a shining example of life-giving, self-sacrificial love, steadfast in seeking the good of the other. Preparing leaders in moral courage and compassionate care, the Saint Gianna School of Health Sciences endeavors to change the landscape of both Catholic and secular healthcare, sending out into world fearless advocates for the life and dignity of each person.

The Gary Tharaldson School of Business also offers certificates in Catholic Philanthropy, Virtuous Leadership, preparing students for their careers in business, fundraising, or administration in a way that encourages a habit of self-gift and service.

For more rigorous formation in leadership, students are encouraged to apply for the university’s Emerging Leaders Academy, a program that three of the university’s four schools coordinate for their respective students. The aim of the program is to prepare students to be exemplary professionals in their chosen field, offering mentorship programs, structured leadership training, experiential leadership opportunities, and service learning opportunities. The Emerging Leaders Academy thus serves to bolster the university’s efforts to prepare students who might serve the renewal of culture.

In addition, all freshmen are required to take the “President’s Seminar” course in their first semester on campus. Taught by Monsignor James Shea, the course aims to usher students into adulthood, into a season of life in which their formation, friendships, and vocations are understood with due gravity. In doing so, the course encourages students to cleave to the truth about themselves and about one another, whatever their state in life, and to hold forth that truth to the wider world with courage and perseverance.

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

SAT: 1140

ACT: 24

What is the median H.S. GPA of your most recently admitted class?


Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics? (Yes/No)


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


Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution? (Yes/No)


How are faculty members informed of this responsibility?

There is a vibrant hiring for mission program, in which all applicants express written and explicit support for a clear statement of Catholic 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.” The full procedure and statement can be found at 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.”

Are members of your teaching faculty required, as a condition of employment, to be faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church in all teaching activities? (Yes/No)


Are members of your teaching faculty required, as a condition of employment, to conform to Catholic moral teaching in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?

The University’s Statement on Academic Freedom, crafted with significant faculty input, reminds faculty that Ex Corde Ecclesiae is binding on all Catholic Universities. As such, the Statement expressly obligates faculty to the following: “In a Catholic university, the obligation to be guided by the truth also confirms the obligation to give particular attention and respect to the authoritative teachings of the Church in regard to the truths of the faith. A Catholic is obliged to support those teachings, while other members of the university community are obliged to acknowledge them and accord them respect.”

Further, the Employee Handbook, which bears not only on faculty but on all employees, explicitly states: “Employees of the University commit to uphold and respect the Christian, Catholic and Benedictine identity of the University of Mary. It is understood that this commitment precludes public advocacy against Catholic moral teaching, which would undermine the University’s reputation and the public’s trust and confidence in the University as a Christian, Catholic, Benedictine university. The commitment also precludes the expectation that the University administer in contradiction to Catholic teaching.”

Do all Catholic faculty members make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)

All teaching faculty Theology, Philosophy, and Catholic Studies are required to do so annually. All others are invited to do so.

Please identify key undergraduate faculty members 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. Leroy Huizenga, Administrative Chair of Arts and Letters, Professor of Theology; Specialization in New Testament; books with Brill, Baylor University Press, and Emmaus Road Publishing; 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 rehabilitation; 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. Mary Dockter, Dean, St. Gianna School of Health Sciences; specialization in Physical Therapy; published in Health, Interprofessional Practice & Education; Women’s Health Physical Therapy; WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation

Dr. David Tamisiea, Dean, School of Arts & Sciences; J.D. from University of Texas School of Law, Ph.D. in Theology from Ave Maria University; specialization in Ecclesiology and Moral Theology; published in The Catholic Social Science Review and Angelicum

Dr. John Kincaid, Administrative Chair of University-Wide Programs, Assistant Professor of Theology; specialization in Systematic Theology; books with Eerdmans and T&T Clark and publications in Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters and Letter & Spirit

Dr. Michon Matthiesen, Assistant Professor of Theology; specialization in Liturgical Theology, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Literature; published with The Catholic University of America Press; publications in Antiphon and New Blackfriars and in books with Cambridge University Press and Ignatius Press

Dr. Jeremy Skrzypek (Assistant Professor of Philosophy, specialization in metaphysics and medieval philosophy. Publications in the Journal of Analytic Theology, Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, and Metaphysics.)

Dr. Joseph Stuart (Associate Professor of History. Specialization in modern intellectual history. Publications in The Newman Rambler, Renewal of Catholic Higher Education: Essays on Catholic Studies in Honor of Don J. Briel, The Defendant: Newsletter of the Australian Chesterton Society, The Political Science Reviewer, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review.)

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?


Does every faculty member in the theological disciplines have the mandatum (or the “canonical mission” for ecclesiastical faculties) approved by the appropriate Church authority, as required by Canon Law? (Yes/No)


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)

Theology professors, along with professors in Catholic Studies and Philosophy, take the oath of fidelity at the time of their hire, and renew it annually  All other faculty are invited to join them.

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? (Yes/No)

Yes.  All Theology classes are taught in a manner which authentically upholds 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:

The Gen Ed core requires two specific courses: THE 120 – Search for God and THE 234 – Benedict: Yesterday & Today. Additional theology courses are available as liberal arts electives or as part of a major or minor in Theology or a related discipline. The theology department is chaired by Dr. Christopher Collins.

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

All students take two required foundational courses in theology. The Search for God includes an exploration of the triune God revealed in Jesus Christ as the heart of all reality. The course involves discussion of the relationship of Faith and Reason, the love God the Father has for His people, and the promise and challenge of faith in ages past and present. Benedict: Yesterday & Today serves as an introduction to the Christian, Catholic, Benedictine mission of the university and the influence of Benedictines and monastic culture throughout history. Additionally, students are required to complete both an introductory philosophy course, The Search for Truth, and a more advanced course in ethics which addresses the many problems of Relativism.

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 me 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:

The Search for Truth, The Search for God, Benedict: Yesterday & Today, Responsible Citizenship, Composition II, Oral Communication, Freshman Seminar and President’s Seminar, Senior Competency Assessment.

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

Art Core: choose from Intro to Photography, Intro to Film, Intro to the Art of Rome & Paris, Intro to Drawing, Topics in Textile Arts, Visual Communication, Intro to Narrative, Intro to Music, Acting Technique I, Concert Choir, Concert Band. 3 Semester Credits.

Ethics: choose from Philosophical Ethics or Search for Happiness: Faith & Reason in Life. 3 Semester Credits.

Global Stewardship: choose from Into to Cultural Anthropology, General Sociology, Western Civ I, Western Civ II, Economics of Social Issues, Grandeur of Rome, Catholicism & the Modern World, a 3/400 level foreign language/literature course. 3 Semester Credits.

Lab Science: choose from multiple lab science offerings in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical, Earth, or Environmental Science. 4 Semester Credits.

Mathematics Core: choose from multiple offerings at the level of College Algebra or higher. 4 Semester Credits.

Information Technology: CIS 101 or equivalent challenge exam. 3 Semester Credits (or 0 for exam).

Remaining core electives: Credits from remaining disciplines including Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities, Languages, Math, Physical Sciences, Philosophy and Theology to total a minimum of 52 semester credits in the liberal arts.

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? (Yes/No)


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? (Yes/No)


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.

Number of majors:


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
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Biology Education
  • Biomechanics
  • Business Administration
  • Business Communication
  • Business Education
  • Business Management
  • Catechesis and the New Evangelization
  • Catholic Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Classical Studies
  • Coaching
  • Coaching & Sport Studies
  • Communication
  • Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Computer Science with an emphasis in Cyber Security
  • Construction Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Elementary Education
  • English
  • English Education
  • Environmental Science
  • Exceptional Learners
  • Exercise Science
  • Financial Services and Banking
  • Health Education
  • Healthcare Administration
  • History
  • History Education
  • Information Technology Management
  • Liberal Arts
  • Liturgy
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics Education
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Media Production
  • Medical Laboratory Science
  • Music
  • Music Education
  • Music Performance
  • Music with an Emphasis in Sacred Music
  • Nursing
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy-Theology
  • Physical Education
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Social Studies Education
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Special Education
  • Speech
  • Sport and Leisure Management
  • STEM Research
  • Theology
  • University Studies
  • Web Design
  • Wellness

Pre-professional programs:

  • Chiropractic
  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physician Assistant
  • Podiatry
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • 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%

Biology with Combined Pre-Physical Therapy Tracks, 15%

Business Administration, 6%

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study? (Yes/No)


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines? (Yes/No – if yes, please describe)

Yes. The University of 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;”

Through the Catholic Studies program, students have the chance to participate in a contemporary version of a medieval “disputation,” where faculty and students ponder and debate philosophical and theological questions.

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research, and other academic activities? (Yes/No – if yes, please describe)

Yes. 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 five distinct and interdisciplinary schools: Arts & Sciences, Business, Education & Behavioral Sciences, Engineering, and Health 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 institution have one or more priest chaplains on campus for the Sacraments and spiritual direction? (Yes/No)


On average, how many hours per week is a priest chaplain on campus and available to students?

Between our full-time university chaplain, associate chaplain, and full-time priest chaplain for athletics, a priest is available on campus every day of the week for appointments with students all during the day and in the evening.

Please describe the priests who minister to students and celebrate the Sacraments on campus.

Father Robert Shea is the University Chaplain, Director of the Saint John Paull II Center for University Ministry, and a professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Mary. He is a priest of the diocese of Bismarck and has been ordained for 6 years. Father Shea celebrates Mass on campus, hears confessions, offers spiritual direction, visits students who are sick, and meets one-on-one with students who are in need of spiritual guidance or assistance.

Father Anthony Baker is the Associate Chaplain for the University of Mary and the full-time Chaplain for the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, the founders and sponsors of the University. He is a Benedictine monk of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota. Father Anthony celebrates Mass on campus, hears confessions, and offers spiritual direction to students.

Father Craig Vasek is the Chaplain for Marauder Athletics. He is a priest of the diocese of Crookston, Minnesota and has been ordained 9 years. Father Vasek ministers to the 450 student athletes on campus by attending practices and games and ensuring that athletic teams have the opportunity to attend Sunday Mass on travel weekends. Father Vasek celebrates Mass on campus, hears confessions, offers spiritual direction to student athletes, and meets one-on-one with students who are in need of spiritual guidance or assistance.

Monsignor James Shea is the President of the University of Mary. He is a priest of the diocese of Bismarck and has been ordained for 17 years. Monsignor Shea regularly celebrates Mass on campus and hears confessions.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your priest chaplain(s)? (Yes/No)


Does the institution have one or more campus ministers on campus (lay or religious, but not priests) who are available to students for spiritual direction? (Yes/No)


Please describe the campus ministers who are not priests.

The University Ministry Team includes a lay Assistant Director, a Director of the Schola and Chapel Choir, and an Events Coordinator.  A team of 15 student workers assist them.  In addition to four priests who are available for spiritual direction, University Ministry offers students the opportunity to meet with seven trained spiritual directors who are lay or religious. The seven lay/religious spiritual directors include two religious sisters, three University of Mary teaching faculty who are lay people, and two lay people from the region.

Does your institution offer Mass to students at least on Sundays and other days of obligation? (Yes/No)


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

48% attend on campus.  Many more are members who attend one of the 8 Catholic parishes in Bismarck/Mandan.

Does your institution offer daily Mass to students? (Yes/No)


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

Approximately 250 students; 13%

Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students? (Yes/No – if yes, when and how often?)


Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives? (Yes/No)


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 Hymnody/Polyphony

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

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

Fr 7:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, Chant

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 Hymnody/Polyphony

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly? (Yes/No)


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 walk-in to the University Ministry Center or by appointment

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly? (Yes/No)


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

Mon 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Tu 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Wed 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Th 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Fr 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 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 Marian Grotto every weekday at 4:00 pm.

Divine Office: 7:30 a.m. and 4:10 p.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? (Yes/No)


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

Saint Joseph’s Hall for Men is a 36-bed discernment 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 Assistant Vocations Director, Father Dominic Bouck, who has an apartment within the hall.

Saint Scholastica Hall for Women is a 38-bed discernment residence for women willing to make a commitment to living a virtuous life and support others who have made the same commitment.

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 many diocesan priests and religious of other orders and congregations.

Does your institution limit religious services and activities on campus (not including private prayer and devotions) to faithfully Catholic activities? (Yes/No)

The university offers a weekly “Chapel of the Word” service, which serves as an experience of common worship. Its purpose is to provide the opportunity for vibrant, joyful, and faithful worship of Jesus Christ to all students on our campus. It incorporates praise and worship music and a reflection on Sacred Scripture from a University of Mary student, faculty, or staff member. Our Chaplain for Athletics, Father Craig Vasek, and our Assistant Director of University Ministry, Ed Konieczka, co-lead the event, which is attended by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

 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. Saint Scholastica Hall for women is located on the third floor of Roers Hall and features 20 two-bedroom suites and a chapel. The residence life community is for women who desire to live in community and grow in faith.

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.

North Hall: a traditional, 225-bed, residence hall for men with community bath and shower facilities.

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

What percentage of students reside in housing offered by your institution?


Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls? (Yes/No)


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?


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 ever permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular “open house” events, once or twice a semester.) (Yes/No – if yes, when?)

Yes. 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 visiting students’ bedrooms, does your institution require that doors are fully open and lights on? 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. Our approach to address the problem is comprehensive and consists of the following:

1) Prevention Policies: Students under the age of 21 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 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 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.

How does your institution foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?

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.

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) Marauders for Christ (MFC): MFC stresses commitment and accountability in striving daily to emulate Christ, the true source of Victory. Students gather to reflect on Scripture and relevant issues facing emerging adults. MFC warmly welcomes students of every faith, and members of Varsity Catholic, a branch of FOCUS, are involved.

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 activity sponsored by University Ministry. Meetings include Scripture readings, personal witness, moral challenge, praise through song.

7) Grounds for Belief: This is a monthly speaker series which covers topics related to faith, morals, prayer, discernment, and growth in the spiritual life.

…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.

In addition to student groups that engage in corporal works of mercy, many students at the University of Mary participate in opportunities to serve others. Some of these include the annual Day of Service, which is a day each fall when the entire student body participates in service projects in Bismarck-Mandan and around the region and the world, and Juvenile Detention visits to the Youth Correctional Center. Furthermore, the university’s Mission for Life Office works with students to find available volunteer opportunities and mission trips.

…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) Catholic Studies Convivium: 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.

3) Grounds for Belief: This is a monthly speaker series which covers topics related to faith, morals, prayer, discernment, and growth in the spiritual life.

4) In addition to these specific student groups on campus, the university hosts Bioethics Seminars, which examine topics such as abortion, gene-edited babies, and end of life care.

…address issues of social concern:

1) Friends of the Poor

2) Environmental Coalition of Students (ECOS).

…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 Student 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); 18) Beta Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE); 19) Creative Writing Club; 20) Engineering Club; 21) Exercise Physiology Club; 22) Music Student Organization (MSO); 23) National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSHLA); 24) Omicron Delta Kappa; 25) Science and Pre Professional Association (SPA).

…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 18 NCAA Division II varsity sports for men and women, where through our “Greatness Through Virtue” strategic plan, it is our mission to not only form excellent competitors in their sport, but to also be the preeminent intercollegiate athletic department for developing greatness within each human person through the practice of virtues and the formation of authentic friendships.

2) Marauders for Christ: In addition to spiritual activities detailed above, MFC 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.

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

Catholic Athletes for Christ, Catholic Medical Association, Marauders on Politics, History Society, Marauders on Media, Musical Theater Troupe, Outdoor Adventure Club, Performance Dance Troupe, Running Club, Social Dance Club, Students North Dakota United (SNDU), TEDxUMary, University of Mary Disability Advocacy Club

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 launched a men’s ice hockey team competing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association [ACHA].

What athletic teams are offered for men and women?

NCAA Women’s Sports:  


Cross Country


Indoor Track and Field

Outdoor Track and Field



Swimming and Diving



NCAA 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?

The University of Mary aspires to be the preeminent intercollegiate athletic department for developing the greatness within each human person through the practice of virtue and the formation of authentic friendships. In August 2019, we launched our athletic strategic plan, Greatness through Virtue, which details how we will foster and pursue greatness through virtue in our athletic programs.

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.

Our athletic coaches and staff are dedicated to the spiritual, academic, and athletic excellence of our scholar-athletes. Six virtues are the backbone of our work with scholar-athletes, informing all that we do and aspire to be: magnanimity, humility, prudence, courage, justice, and temperance.

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

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching? (Yes/No)


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? (Yes/No)


How does your institution restrict student access to obscene and pornographic material, including computer and network access, the library, and the bookstore?

By formal request of the student body, the University of Mary server prohibits access to websites containing pornographic material, and the library and bookstore, in being required to uphold the mission and identity of the University of Mary, are prohibited from carrying such material, as well.

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 services are provided by CHI St. Alexius Health in a manner consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic? (Yes/No)


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex Corde Ecclesiae? (Yes/No)


Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex Corde Ecclesiae? (Yes/No)


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 prohibiting awards, honors, or speaking platforms for individuals or organizations that defy, by public action or statement, fundamental Catholic moral principles including the sacredness and dignity of human life and the sanctity of marriage? (See United States bishops, “Catholics in Political Life.”)(Yes/No)


Please give or explain your campus speaker and honoree policy in light of 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: 1931

Male: 41%  Female: 59%

Catholic: 72%; 22% Other Christian; 6% Not Reported/Other

Number of states represented: 47
Top three states: North Dakota, Minnesota, California
Students from top three states: 67%

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

Most up-to-date information provided by the University

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

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 University of Mary Online. The University serves over 1,000 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? (Yes/No)


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics? (Yes/No)


Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic? (Yes/No)


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)


A Message from the President

Dear Prospective Students and Parents:

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 more than 50 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, Ph.L, K.C.H.S

Visit Campus

Get in touch with the University of Mary to schedule your campus visit:


7500 University Dr
Bismarck, ND 58504

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