Naturopathy: Doctoral Degree Programs

If you are interested in a different approach to medicine, you might want to explore the options for a naturopathic doctoral program. This article shows you the areas of study, including neurology and embryology, that you can find in a program, along with career options upon earning your doctorate. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an ND Program Like?

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine programs typically take 4-6 years to complete. The curriculum is interdisciplinary, spanning fields like biological science, exercise science, nutrition and herbalism. Coursework covers medical subjects like anatomy and physiology, cardiology, embryology, neurology, gastroenterology and hematology. Additionally, you explore treatments like mind-body medicine, botanical medicine, environmental medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy and naturopathic counseling. Some schools even offer a program that combines studies in acupuncture and traditional Oriental medicine.

You may receive increasing responsibility in the later years, such as seeing patients on your own. Typically, you must take several exit exams and complete certain clinical procedures before you're awarded the degree.

Although they are rarely available, you may seek a residency position to refine your clinical abilities upon earning the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. During the residency, you complete rotations in areas like physical medicine, women's health and minor surgery.

Program LengthFour to six years
Admissions RequirementsBachelor's degree, personal essay and recommendation letters
Naturopathic Doctor CharacteristicsLess invasive, more natural, views body emotionally and spiritually along with mentally and physically
Career OptionsResearch scientist, natural pharmacist, industry consultant, public health administrator
Median Salary (2018)*$73,960 (for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)*16% growth (for all health diagnosing and treating practitioners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Prerequisites?

Most programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree prior to acceptance into the ND program. Before beginning ND coursework, you may have to complete additional classes, like biology, chemistry, psychology and physics, if you didn't take them during your undergraduate study. Programs may also require that you submit a personal essay and recommendation letters.

What Is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic doctors, or NDs, welcome all types of patients just like any primary care medical doctor would, from pediatric to geriatric. The difference is in how they treat the patients. NDs don't just want to see people when they are sick, and they don't simply go over symptoms and prescribe drugs to treat them. NDs look at the human body holistically in all of its physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions before they suggest a type of treatment. NDs are the first to promote the least invasive, most natural approach to healing a patient. They trust in the body's natural healing mechanism.

What Career Paths Can I Take?

Naturopathic doctors may work for various medical institutions, or they can choose to open a private clinic. States have varying requirements regarding what NDs can legally practice. In 16 states, you can become a licensed doctor by passing the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam, then being able to provide primary patient care.

Prospects should be good for NDs. According to a Harvard Magazine article titled 'The New Ancient Trend in Medicine', demand for alternative medicine is growing and showing no sign of slowing down. From 1990 to 1997, the number of people claiming to have visited an alternative medicine practitioner went up almost 50%, from 425 million to 625 million people. This trend in relying on alternative medicine continues through today.

However, you're not limited to being a practitioner of naturotherapy. Derived from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, the following list of occupations represents the many available options:

  • Research scientist
  • Industry consultant
  • Advisor to professionals in healthcare
  • Public health administrator
  • Natural pharmacist
  • Insurance company consultant

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

  • University of Bridgeport

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Bridgeport
  • 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
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham
  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame