Natural Health: Doctoral Degree

If you are passionate about alternative health options, you may consider obtaining a doctoral degree in the field. This article contains information about accredited programs and what you will learn as part of a doctoral program. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Natural Health Doctoral Degree Program?

A doctoral degree program in natural health provides you with advanced training on one or more holistic medicine disciplines/specialties. Holistic medicine combines conventional medical science with alternative medical practices to treat patients through dietary changes, lifestyle changes and other natural therapies. Doctoral degrees in natural health may focus on naturopathic medicine, acupuncture or oriental medicine.

Program FormatIn-class or online, though online programs from some schools aren't accredited and won't lead to professional licensure
Degree FocusAcupuncture, oriental medicine, naturopathic medicine
Health CoursesCardiology, gastroenterology, nutrition, oncology
Other RequirementsInternship

What Will I Learn?

You train to provide treatment for conditions that are typically handled by primary care physicians and/or some specialists, ranging from high blood pressure to cancer. Your curriculum for naturopathic medicine includes training in traditional life sciences such as pathology, microbiology, anatomy, biochemistry, histology and neurophysiology. But then you also learn natural health disciplines, such as oriental medicine, homeopathy and hydrotherapy. Your coursework consists of classroom instruction and clinical training.

If your doctoral degree program is specific to acupuncture and oriental medicine, your coursework covers conventional Eastern and Western medical disciplines and subjects. Topics may include gastroenterology, cardiology, oncology, nutrition and sports medicine. Natural health coursework may include Chinese techniques and system-based acupuncture. You may also need to participate in a clinical internship.

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

Doctoral degree programs in natural medicine are available online; however, as of 2011, they are highly controversial within the alternative medicine community. While some authorities accredit online programs, such as the American Naturopathic Medical Board, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) and others do not.

The CNME only accredits programs that offer residential/on-campus curriculums. Because of this restriction, if you complete an online doctorate program in naturopathic medicine, you would not be eligible to sit for the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX) issued by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. You may be eligible to receive board certification through the American Alternative Medical Association and the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board, but these agencies were not registered with the U.S. Department of Education as of 2012.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Tempe
  • National University of Health Sciences

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Lombard
  • National College of Natural Medicine

    Campus Locations:

    • Oregon: Portland
  • Bastyr University

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Kenmore
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • University of Bridgeport

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Bridgeport
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia