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Grad Program: Naturopathy/Naturopathic Medicine

Basic Information

Naturopathic medicine--a holistic approach to health and healing--is a collection of ancient practice that are regaining popularity today. Rather than isolating and treating patients’ symptoms alone, naturopathic practitioners focus on the complete well-being of a person and consider the patient an active participant in their own recovery and well-being.

In addition to the same basic science and clinical training conventional medical doctors receive, naturopathy students are grounded in naturopathic philosophy and theory and explore an exhaustive array of both Western and Eastern medical techniques. These include classical Chinese medicine, nutrition, herbal medicine and homeopathy, natural childbirth, hydrotherapy and naturopathic manipulative therapy, as well as standard medical practices such as pharmacology, diagnostic medicine, and surgery.

Students gain firsthand clinical experience in patient examinations, and graduates are eligible to take state board exams for licensure (where applicable) as a naturopathic physician (N.D.).

Degree Information

Becoming a naturopathic doctor requires a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree. (The initials right behind your name on your business card would be “N.D.”) It’s typically a four-year, post-baccalaureate program, though many students complete it in five.

A popular related degree is the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.), a four-year program focused on Classical Chinese Medicine. While N.D. majors explore some facets of Chinese medicine, M.S.O.M. students delve deeply into it and are challenged to bring this practice, intact, into their framework of Western scientific thought. Graduates are eligible to test for certification in acupuncture and herbal medicine. At some schools, it is possible to complete a dual N.D. and M.S.O.M. degree in a six-year, combined program of study.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • What are the licensure or certification requirements in your state?
  • Does your school feed into a licensing or certification program?
  • Is an internship or job-placement program operating at this school?
  • What specialized, naturopathic modalities are taught at this school?

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