Natural Medicine Schools and Universities in the U.S.

Students interested in natural medicine should first consider what career path they wish to take. Natural medicine encompasses acupuncture, homeopathy, Ayurveda medicine and Chinese medicine. Learn about how to choose the best natural medicine school for your needs, and see some of the schools in the U.S. that offer natural medicine programs.

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There are many schools nationwide offering natural medicine programs. They are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Schools with Natural Medicine Programs

The table below lists a few of the schools in the country that offer programs in natural medicine.

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
University of Bridgeport Bridgeport, CT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $16,450 (Graduate)
Bastyr University Kenmore, WA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $24,275 (Graduate)
Northwestern Health Sciences University Bloomington, MN 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $13,204 (Graduate)
National University of Health Sciences Lombard, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $17,869 (Graduate)
South Baylo University Anaheim, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Undergraduate certificate, Master's & Doctoral $7,950 (Undergraduate)
$10,325 (Graduate)
Southern California University of Health Sciences Whittier, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Undergraduate Certificate, Master's & Doctoral $8,779 (Undergraduate)
$21,135 (Graduate)
Maryland University of Integrative Health Laurel, MD 4-year, Private not-for-profit Graduate Certificate, Master's & Doctoral $18,605
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences Tempe, AZ 4-year, Private not-for-profit Doctoral $35,354 (1st year Graduate, 2016-2017)
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine San Francisco, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's & Doctoral $16,393 (Graduate)
New England School of Acupuncture Newton, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $21,384 (Graduate)

*Sources: National Center for Education Statistics, School websites

School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following when choosing a natural medicine program:

  • In order to work as a naturopathic practitioner, it is necessary to earn a Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) degree from school that has been accredited by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC). It is important to note that only five schools in the United States have been accredited.
  • If you're pursing an ND, it can be helpful to find out what the pass rate is for graduates on the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX).
  • Some programs allow students to specialize their studies in particular areas within the broad field of natural medicine.
  • Working healthcare professionals who want to boost their careers through natural medicine studies may want to look for programs that are available in online or hybrid formats.

Associate's Degree Programs

At the associate's degree level, natural medicine education is available through programs in complementary and alternative medicine. These programs cover basic biomedical topics, such as anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, and they introduce students to the theory and practice of natural medicine. Students who wish to specialize their studies may be able to declare a concentration in a subject such as aromatherapy, holistic spa or herbal medicine. Prior to graduation from a two-year associate's degree programs, students must also complete a core set of general education courses.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science (BS) programs in natural medicine and closely related fields typically begin with the same introductory coursework as associate's degree programs, but because they last for four years instead of two, they provide a more comprehensive overview of the field. Students have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of natural medicine-related electives, such as herbology, acupuncture, nutrition and exercise science. Alternatively, students who already hold an associate's degree may choose a degree-completion program that results in a bachelor's degree in a specialized field, such as herbal sciences.

Master's Degree Programs

At the master's degree level, students can find both broad-based and focused programs related to natural medicine. Some master's programs provide a broad overview of the field and allow students to conduct research on the integration of natural medicine in today's healthcare industry. An alternative option is a master's degree that focuses on a particular subfield of natural medicine, such as holistic nutrition. Many of these programs are intended for working professionals who have health-related careers, so they are offered online or in part-time formats.

Doctoral Degree Programs

To become a naturopathic doctor, it is necessary to earn an ND degree from an AANMC-accredited institution. These programs combine traditional medical coursework with extensive studies in natural medicine. Students also gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations. When they finish, graduates are ready to take the NPLEX so that they can become licensed and start practicing in the field.

Certificate Programs

Certificates in natural medicine and closely related subjects are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Like associate's degree programs, they provide a short series of basic courses in the field, but they usually do not include any general education requirements. In graduate certificate programs, bachelor's degree-holders have the chance to take more advanced classes in particular areas of the field. Like master's degree programs, graduate certificates can boost the careers of professionals working in fields such as medicine, education and social work.

Natural medicine covers a variety of non-traditional treatment procedures that health care practitioners may want to specialize in or add to their practice. For aspiring naturopathic doctors, it is important to choose an AANMC-accredited school that provides adequate preparation for the licensure exam.

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