Holistic medicine encompasses many different types of non-Western health practices, from Yoga to aromatherapy to Chinese herbal remedies. Schools offer programs in holistic medicine that result in undergraduate and graduate certificates and degrees.
10 Schools with Holistic Medical Programs
These are ten of the best schools offering holistic medical education in the United States as of 2016, featuring up-to-date tuition information from the 2015-2016 school year.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Metropolitan State University of Denver||Denver, CO||4-year, Public||Undergraduate Certificate, Bachelor's|| $6,420 for in-state
$20,057 for out-of-state
|Drexel University||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Private||Graduate Certificate||$31,519|
|Front Range Community College||Westminster, CO||2-year, Public||Undergraduate Certificate, Associate's|| $3,527 for in-state
$13,244 for out-of-state
|Anoka - Ramsey Community College||Coon Rapids, MN||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$5,022|
|Georgian Court University||Lakewood, NJ||4-year, Private||Graduate Certificate, Master's||$16,070|
|St. Catherine University||Saint Paul, MN||4-year, Private||Master's, Graduate Certificate||$13,878|
|University of Bridgeport||Bridgeport, CT||4-year, Private||Doctorate||$13,200**|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||Gardner, MA||2-year, Public||Undergraduate Certificate, Associate's|| $5,188 for in-state
$10,108 for out-of-state
|Daemen College||Amherst, NY||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$25,995|
|Johnson State College||Johnson, VT||4-year, Public||Bachelor's|| $11,018 for in-state
$23,714 for out-of-state
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School website (2016-2017)
School Selection Criteria
There are many factors to consider when choosing where to attend school for holistic medicine. Consider the following when looking for holistic medical schools:
- Students must consider the availability of specialties offered by holistic medical schools, including homeopathy, reflexology, massage therapy, and nutrition.
- Many of the largest schools offering holistic medical programs are private, so cost is an important factor.
- Joint or dual degree programs in holistic medicine and another field are available at some holistic health colleges.
- Only six schools in the United States offer Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) programs that have been accredited by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC). Prospective doctoral students may want to limit their school search to these institutions.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in holistic or complementary health require students to take core classes in holistic health and wellness, as well as general education classes. From there, they can take electives to direct their education toward particular alternative health practices, such as yoga, massage therapy, Reiki, reflexology and/or aromatherapy. Depending on the specialization(s) they choose, students may be prepared for national certification exams when they graduate.
Undergraduate Certificate Programs
Undergraduate programs in holistic health provide a basic overview of the field, featuring introductory courses to topics such as naturopathic medicine and therapeutic touch. Certificates focusing on a specific holistic health practice, such as massage therapy, are also available. These programs can prepare students for national certification exams.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Available bachelor's degree programs that cover holistic medicine topics include Bachelor of Science in Integrative Health programs and Bachelor of Arts in Complementary and Alternative Health programs. Like associate's degree programs, these programs are wide-ranging, providing a broad overview of holistic medicine and an introduction to specific practices within the field.
Master's Degree Programs
Master's degree programs in holistic health typically give students the chance to take advanced courses in wellness and conduct research in holistic health topics, culminating in a final research project or paper. Often, students who pursue this degree are professionals in other fields, such as nursing or mental health, who want to augment their medical knowledge with holistic health studies. Therefore, many programs provide classes in the evenings or in distance learning formats so that students can continue to work full-time.
Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs consist of a short series of courses that introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of holistic medicine, and they are often aimed at healthcare professionals who want to expand their knowledge in alternative medicine practices. As a result, like master's degree programs, they are usually provided in part-time or online formats. The coursework can be completed in less than a year, but in self-paced programs, students may be permitted to take up to three years to meet the requirements.
Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) Programs
In order to practice as a naturopathic doctor, it is necessary to complete a four-year ND program at an AANMC-accredited institution. These programs include advanced biomedical coursework and real-world clinical training. Students may also conduct research in holistic medicine-related fields, such as herbal supplements and alternative cancer treatments.
Students have the opportunity to enroll in graduate and undergraduate degrees in holistic medicine, as well as certificate programs. Degrees are rarely in 'holistic medicine' in general, instead focusing on one specialization or area.