Naturopaths seek to improve health and treat disease chiefly by assisting the body's innate capacity to recover from illness and injury. Naturopathic practice may include manual therapy, herbalism, acupuncture, counseling, aromatherapy, nutritional counseling, or homeopathy. Practitioners tend to emphasize a holistic approach to patient care. Naturopathic practitioners prefer not to use invasive surgery, or most synthetic drugs, preferring "natural" remedies. Licensed physicians from accredited schools are trained to use diagnostic tests such as imaging and blood tests before deciding upon the full course of treatment. Naturopathic medicine is becoming more accepted in the US, but some insurance companies may not pay for naturopathic treatment, and some states do not require licensure of individuals to practice. Many of the same courses required for a traditional medicine program are required for entry into accredited naturopathic medicine programs.

Pre-Requisite Course Work

While prerequisites courses for each naturopathic program may vary, most have the following general requirements. Typically the courses must have been completed within the last 7 years.

  • General Biology (Bio 112, Bio 113 and lab)
  • General Chemistry (Chem 150 and lab, Chem 151 and lab)
  • Organic Chemistry (Chem 250 and lab, Chem 251 and lab)
  • General Physiology (Bio 321 and lab)
  • Human Anatomy (Bio 233 and lab)
  • Physics (Phys 201 and lab)
  • Psychology - 6 credit hours including Lifespan and Human Development (Psyc 254)
  • English Composition (Comp 150, Comp 250)
  • Humanities - 6 credit hours
  • Bachelor's degree in any discipline

Strongly recommended courses:

  • Biochemistry or Cellular Biology (Chem 311 or Bio 455)
  • Genetics (Bio 260 and lab)
  • Botany (Bio 206 and lab)
  • Statistics (Math 201)

Other suggested courses/activities:

  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Microbiology (Bio 331 and lab)
  • Immunology (Bio 460 and lab)

Application Procedures & Timeline

There are several colleges of naturopathic medicine throughout the US. Each may have specific deadlines. In general application materials are available for submission one year prior to the time you would like to enter. So for example, if you were interested in attending your first classes and clinical rotations in the fall of 2012, you would be applying for admission in September 2011. Please see each individual institution for their admission requirements and deadlines.

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