The University of Mary is a small, private Catholic university in Bismarck, N.D. Established by Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation in 1959, U. of Mary maintains a strong tradition of liberal arts education reinforced by the Catholic faith. With a total enrollment of just over 3,000 students, the student-to-faculty ratio is 16 to 1, allowing for close relationships between learners and teachers. While the main campus is in Bismarck, satellite campuses can be found elsewhere in the U.S. Evening classes are offered in Phoenix, Kansas City, Fargo, N.D., Billings, Mt., Alexandria, Minn., and Fort Riley, Kan.
Following a typical liberal arts university curriculum, 53 U. of Mary undergraduate degree options range from business administration to education, language arts, theological studies, music, nursing, and marketing. U. of Mary is primarily devoted to awarding undergraduate degrees, but eight master’s degree options and a doctoral degree program are also available. Online options are numerous at U. of Mary, and many degree programs are available purely online. University of Mary’s online undergraduate degrees are in business, accounting, nursing, or organizational leadership. Graduate students have more options, and may choose between multiple MBA specialties, education, and allied health graduate degree programs.
Faculty and administrators at the U. of Mary strive to incorporate the Catholic faith into daily life on campus. The Catholic Studies program is an interdisciplinary program that students may opt into, aside from regular coursework. While it is not technically considered a minor, this program carries an expectation of rigorous attention and study of Christian culture. The history of Catholicism and the current role of the Church are explored, and serve to augment any student’s field of study. U. of Mary also operates a sister campus in Rome, and U.S. students have the option of studying abroad there during the course of their degree program. The campus is located just minutes from Vatican City, and students may earn course credit for a semester’s worth of classes in any major. On campus, student life is often focused on spiritual growth. Scripture study sessions, prayer groups, and social gatherings are also held on a regular basis.
Over 90% of students at U. of Mary receive some form of financial aid. Generous university endowments make it possible for students to apply for multiple university scholarships based on academic performance. First-time freshmen who attended Catholic high schools are also eligible for financial aid.
Music is a large part of student life, and several performance and music study degrees are available. Students can participate in or enjoy performances by ensemble groups, a capella choirs, and jazz musicians. The annual jazz festival is a campus highlight, bringing renowned artists to perform. Concerts, plays, musicals and opera performances are staged all year, giving every student the opportunity to perform or work behind the scenes.
U. of Mary is certainly geared toward students who both adhere to the Catholic faith and desire a liberal arts education, but the doors are open to all applicants. And thanks to the international study opportunities, numerous campus choices throughout the Midwest, and plentiful course options (both Univeristy of Mary’s online classes and their brick-and-mortar classes), this school is poised to remain a popular academic choice for years to come.