PhD in Herbal Medicine

While there aren't any Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) programs in herbal medicine available, you can find other degree options that incorporate herbal medicine into the study. Continue reading to learn more about Oriental medicine, acupuncture and naturopathy programs. See what you'll learn and what you can do after completing your program. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Ph.D. Programs Are Available in Herbal Medicine?

In the United States, no accredited schools offer a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in the field of herbal medicine. However, some alternative and comparative medicine degree programs that are accredited include a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.), a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and a Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Available Fields of Study Naturopathic medicine and Oriental medicine
Common Courses Herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, psychology, homeopathy, physiotherapy
Program Structure First year students learn introductions to naturopathy and behavioral medicine, while the final years consist of advanced coursework, hands-on labs and clinical experience
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree, completion of classes in biology, organic chemistry and mathematics, proven experience or interest in alternative or Oriental medicine
Career Options After obtaining official licensing, graduates can become a practicing physician with naturopathic or Oriental focus

What Will I Learn?

In an N.D. program, you'll explore the natural methods of healing, such as herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, psychology, homeopathy and physiotherapy to promote whole-body healing and prevention. Oriental medicine combines traditional Chinese medical practices, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, nutrition, therapeutic massages and breathing exercises, to maintain health and prevent disease.

What Will the Program Be Like?

In the first year of the naturopathy program, you'll take introductory courses that explore the philosophies and precepts of naturopathy. In your second and third years, you'll learn about diagnosing diseases and using herbs and therapy as possible treatments. In the final year, you'll study organ systems. Each year, you'll have to complete labs, clinical experiences or both, with clinical work making up the bulk of your study for the third and fourth years. Courses could include:

  • Behavioral medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Musculoskeletal anatomy
  • Botanical medicine

Through a doctorate program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, you'll learn to integrate both Oriental and western medicinal practices. Some Oriental medicine and acupuncture programs offer specializations, such as pain management and gynecology. Courses you could take include:

  • Diagnosis of pain
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Environmental medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Interaction with Western pharmaceuticals
  • Acupuncture therapeutics
  • Integrated medicine

What Are Some Typical Entrance Requirements?

For the naturopathic program, you must have at least a bachelor's degree. To be eligible for admission, you'll need to have taken classes in organic chemistry, biology and mathematics. Other recommended prerequisites are physics, anatomy, botany, biomedical ethics and immunology. For the doctoral degree programs in Oriental medicine, prerequisites often include completion of an accredited program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. A program may admit you without this degree if you have some experience in an acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine setting.

How Can I Use This Program?

With the completion of one of these programs, you could become a naturopathic medical doctor or a doctor who incorporates Oriental medicine. You could work in a hospital or open your own medical practice. With the degree, you could also become a university professor.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you must be licensed by the United States Medical Licensing Board before you can practice any type of medicine. State laws regarding additional requirements vary. Job opportunities for physicians in general are projected to increase by 14%, which is considered faster than average growth. According to a CDC National Health Statistics Report in 2007, 38% of adults (4 in 10) use complementary and alternative medicine.

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