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PhD in Alternative Medicine Program Information

Although one can earn a master's degree in alternative medicine, no Ph.D. programs are available in the subject. However, doctoral degrees are available in various areas within the alternative medicine world. Read on for more program information.

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Essential Information

Doctoral degrees may be found in areas such as acupuncture, Ayurveda, herbalism, homeopathy, naturopathy and Oriental medicine. Students of Oriental medicine learn to understand the relationships between body organs and use acupuncture and traditional herbs as the primary tools to adjust balance. A Ph.D. program in Oriental medicine applies a mix of classroom study and clinical practice to teach this approach to treatment and patient care, with an emphasis on clinical experience. Programs also aim to reconcile Oriental medicine with Western medicine so degree holders can work with conventional practitioners and in U.S. hospitals and clinics. To begin a doctorate level program, a master's degree in the same subject or a related one is typically required.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Acupuncture and Acupressure
  • Alternative and Complementary Medicine
  • Herbalist
  • Homeopathic Medicine
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Movement Therapies
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Polarity Therapy
  • Traditional Eastern Medicine and Herbology
  • Yoga Therapy and Instructor

Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine

Oriental medicine aims to restore and maintain balance within the body to promote health. Many of the classes in an Oriental medicine Ph.D. program have multiple units at different levels of complexity. For example, one might take acupuncture I, II and III. Courses include:

  • Chinese herbs and pharmaceuticals
  • Acupuncture and pain treatment
  • Anatomy
  • Gynecology
  • Oncology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted 17% job growth in the health diagnosing and treating professions for the years 2014-2024. The BLS predicted the best career prospects for health diagnosing and treating practitioners who specialize in disorders common among the Baby Boom generation and for those practitioners willing to work in rural and low-income areas. The BLS does not keep statistics specifically on acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners. The Bureau reported the median salary for health diagnosing and treating practitioners not listed elsewhere was $74,710 as of May 2015.

While doctorate level programs are not available for alternative medicine in general, students may pursue a Ph.D. in an area such as oriental medicine, which involves the study of subjects like acupuncture and herbalism through a mixture of classroom learning and clinical practice.

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