Masters in Holistic Medicine

With more people turning to alternative medicine for their healthcare needs, the need for professionals in holistic medicine is increasing every day. Learn more about the field of holistic medicine, what the prerequisites are for a master's degree program, what courses may be included, what jobs you can get after graduation and online program availability. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine is a type of healthcare dealing with promoting the maximum physical, emotional, mental and spiritual good health using conventional and alternative medicine. As opposed to dealing with sickness or one particular part of the body, holistic medicine focuses on the body, mind and spirit and ensuring they are all in balance. When discussing holistic medicine, we often hear terms like alternative medicine (herbal medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture), natural healing and complementary medicine. While conventional practitioners sometimes frown on some alternative medicine techniques, more people are turning towards holistic medicine for their healthcare needs.

Important Prerequisites General education courses, a bachelor's in related field, GRE scores, up-to-date immunizations; some programs require a professional license or certification in your chosen field
Common Courses Herbalism and botanical medicine, mind-body care, holistic nutrition, laws regarding alternative medicine, homeopathy
Online Availability Available as on-campus, online and blended programs
Careers Health consultant, teacher, clinical herbalist, advisor in medical centers or clinics, nutritionist (requires further certification)
Median Salary (2018) $73,960 (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% growth (for health diagnosing and treating practitioners, all other)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Prerequisites for a Master's in Holistic Medicine?

The prerequisites for a holistic medicine master's degree program may include completion of general education courses, a bachelor's degree in a related field, competitive GRE or GPA scores, letters of recommendation and a written essay describing your interests and career goals. You may also need to provide proof of immunizations, such as a tuberculosis skin test and hepatitis B vaccination. Some programs require you to have a professional license or certification in the field you're studying.

What Courses Will I Take?

The holistic medicine master's degree program may be offered as a Master of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) or Master of Science in Physiology - Complementary & Alternative Medicine. Your coursework may vary, depending on the program and your area of interest. You may also be required to complete a capstone project. In addition to coursework, you may also have to complete a practicum in a public health field or a CAM-based setting, which may include a designated number of hours of supervised clinical education. Topic of study may include:

  • Mind-body approach to patient care
  • Herbal and dietary supplements
  • Dynamic phytotherapy practices
  • Toxicology & safe use of botanical medicine
  • Legal issues with complementary alternative medicine
  • Homeopathy & homeopathy remedies
  • Holistic nutrition for disease prevention
  • Fundamentals of material medica

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

Master's in holistic medicine degree programs are offered in both on-campus and online formats. Through discussion boards, synchronous chat sessions and online collaboration groups, you'll be able to interact with your instructors and other students. The virtual classroom offers you online tutoring, an online research library and the same faculty and courses you'd have in an on-campus program. You'll need a computer with Internet access and an e-mail account. Your coursework may be delivered via e-mail, CD/DVDs, streaming videos or a Web-based course management system. In addition to your coursework, you may be required to complete a graduate project.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

A master's degree in holistic medicine will provide you with additional training for a holistic health career as an instructor or healthcare advocate, or it can help you advance in an existing healthcare profession. Graduates of holistic medicine master's degree programs have many career choices, including teaching, veterinary medicine or clinical herbalism, as well as positions in medical centers, clinics or CAM-related industries. Many graduates enter medical or dental school. You may also choose to advance your education by pursuing a Ph.D. in natural health sciences.

Depending on your career choice, this degree may not be sufficient on its own. You may also need additional degrees, licensure or both. Credentialing requirements vary by state, so check with your state board on their requirements for certification. For instance, upon completion a master's degree in holistic nutrition program, you may choose to sit for the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB) examination to earn board certification in holistic nutrition.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Regent University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    • Connecticut: Bridgeport
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    • New York: New York
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