What Are the Best Alternative Medicine Schools?

Read about three accredited schools with programs in alternative medicine, and review the degree options you could pursue at each school. Find out what to look for when choosing a school with a strong alternative medicine program. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Characteristics of the Best Alternative Medicine Schools?

If you're looking for an alternative medicine school, you might want to choose one that's accredited by an entity recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. You also might want to find a school that offers clinical opportunities and a curriculum that can prepare you for licensing examinations to be a naturopathic doctor, chiropractor or dietician.

What Are Three Alternative Medicine Schools?

Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA

Bastyr is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Additionally, it holds specialized accreditation from the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. Its Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.) program is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).

Bastyr's Center for Natural Health provides clinical services and has herbal and Chinese medicine dispensaries. The university hosts the Integrative Oncology Research Center, and its research unit has received a training grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a student at Bastyr, you might participate in research through work-study and volunteer programs.

In Bastyr's didactic nutrition program, you could qualify for the national Registered Dietician (R.D.) examination. As an acupuncture and Oriental medicine student, you might participate in a China externship. These are some of the degree programs offered at Bastyr University:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Herbal Sciences
  • B.S. in Nutrition - Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
  • Combined Bachelor/Master of Science in Acupuncture
  • Combined Bachelor/Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Nutrition - DPD
  • M.S. in Midwifery
  • M.S in Nutrition and Clinical Health Psychology
  • M.S. in Acupuncture
  • M.S. in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.)
  • Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR

NCNM is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. The college's Helfgott Research Institute hosts a basic science laboratory and NIH-funded studies, providing research opportunities for 25% of the college's students each year. Additionally, NCNM's Teaching Clinic offers naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine services to the general public.

At NCNM, you can train to be a naturopathic doctor through the college's CNME-accredited N.D. program. Certificate programs are available in classical Chinese medicine; naturopathic obstetrics and midwifery; homeopathic or botanical medicine; Qigong and Shiatsu massage. Degree offerings include the following:

  • M.S. in Nutrition
  • M.S. in Oriental Medicine
  • M.S. in Integrative Medicine Research
  • Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL

NUHS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. It also holds specialized accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation and the Council on Chiropractic Education. The university's research department offers fellowships, research assistantships and postgraduate residencies.

NUHS offers educational programs at the undergraduate certificate through doctoral levels. If you want to pursue a doctorate in naturopathic or chiropractic medicine but lack the necessary science background, NUHS offers 8- and 15-week prerequisite programs at the Lombard campus. The university also offers continuing education programs to meet the needs of graduates. The following degree programs are offered at NUHS:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Massage Therapy
  • Certificate in Massage Therapy
  • B.S. in Biomedical Science
  • M.S. in Acupuncture
  • M.S. in Oriental Medicine
  • M.S. in Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Doctor of Chiropractic
  • Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Ten Schools with Alternative Medicine Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Academy for Five Element Acupuncture 4-year, Private Gainesville, Florida$45,000
Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine 4-year, Private Fort Lauderdale, Florida$18,000
California Institute of Integral Studies 4-year, Private San Francisco, California$21,000
John F. Kennedy University 4-year, Private Pleasant Hill, California$8,500
Northern Vermont University 4-Year, Public Johnson, Vermont$10,500
Maryland University of Integrative Health 4-year, Private Laurel, Maryland$21,000
New England School of Acupuncture 4-year, Private Newton, Massachusetts$22,500
Northwestern Health Sciences University 4-year, Private Bloomington, Minnesota$12,000
Prescott College 4-year, Private Prescott, Arizona$21,000
University of Bridgeport 4-year, Private Bridgeport, Connecticut$21,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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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