Growth Through Partnerships: SAU Signs Five New Articulation Agreements


St. Ambrose University and Loras College signed five new articulation agreements on Thursday, April 20, to expand the growing partnership between the two institutions. The agreements will result in students earning undergraduate degrees at one college/university and a master’s or doctorate degree at the other.

“We are delighted to partner with St. Ambrose University to offer excellent educational opportunities for students at both institutions to access graduate-level programs that prepare them for careers in high-need healthcare areas on an accelerated timeline,” Loras College Provost Donna Heald said. “These agreements will reduce costs for students while also helping them to enter the workforce sooner.”

SAU and Loras College Demonstrate Strength of Iowa Higher Education Partnerships

St. Ambrose University President, Amy C. Novak, EdD shakes hands with Loras College President, Jim E. Collins. The two Catholic institutions have partnered to expand learning pathways for students in the health and human sciences.

The first agreement offers the opportunity for Loras students to earn a bachelor’s and doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) degree in six years, one year less than typical, through a 3+3 dual degree program. The top five qualified Loras students are guaranteed an interview for admission to the SAU Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Through this agreement, students would begin at Loras for their first three years of undergraduate coursework. If accepted to the OTD program, they begin their fourth year at St. Ambrose, earning their bachelor’s degree from Loras at the conclusion of the fourth year, before completing the last two years of the OTD degree program.

A pair of agreements in the Master of Science in Exercise Physiology (MSEP) and Master of Social Work (MSW) also begins a student journey at Loras before earning their advanced degree with SAU. For both 4+1 agreements, students earn an undergraduate degree from Loras before attending SAU for one year to earn the graduate degree. In the MSEP program, they can transfer up to six credits to SAU toward their degree.

For the other agreements, students pursuing a Master of Athletic Training (MAT) or Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) will pursue undergraduate coursework at SAU before transitioning to Loras for the graduate degree, each program will guarantee two seats each year for qualified SAU students. Students pursuing the MAT program will transition to Loras after three years and earn their master's degree after two years at Loras. The CMHC degree requires the completion of a four-year undergraduate degree at SAU and three years at Loras, with qualified students earning the credentials necessary for mental health licensure in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

“SAU’s unique approach to person-centered health services is a direct reflection of our commitment to continuously adapt and evolve to better serve our students and our community,” said Paul Koch, Ph.D., St. Ambrose University Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “We are proud to partner with Loras College to create accelerated pathways that not only increase access to education, but also deliver effective solutions that meet critical healthcare needs in our region.”

Increased Access and Affordability

The articulation agreements include a 3+3 dual degree program for SAU's doctor of occupational therapy as well as two 4+1 programs where Loras students can earn advanced degrees in Exercise Physiology and Social Work from SAU in just five years. Qualified undergraduate students from SAU may also transition to earn a Master of Athletic Training or Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Loras College.

These new agreements follow a 3+2.5 Doctor of Physical Therapy announcement in March between the two institutions. Students complete both a bachelor’s and a doctor of physical therapy degree in five and a half years. In addition, the agreement guarantees the top five Loras students interview with SAU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

Loras College and St. Ambrose University are both members of the Iowa Catholic Collegiate Association. Additional members include Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, Briar Cliff University in Sioux City and Clarke University in Dubuque.

ICCA members have a shared purpose to ensure Catholic higher education continues to provide students with collegiate experiences that promote the integration of faith and reason.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges. Loras is an innovator and leader of Catholic liberal arts education, forming students to be active learners, reflective thinkers, ethical decision makers and responsible contributors.


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