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What is a Naturopathic Physician

A LICENSED naturopathic physician (N.D.) attends a four-year graduate level federally accredited naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an M.D. but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in support of their personal health). A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by astate or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician.

Not all naturopathic doctors are created equal. In states that lack licensing laws, virtually anyone can use the title 'N.D.' or 'Naturopath', including people who have never graduated from a naturopathic medical college accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. Dept of Education (such as those whose degrees come from correspondence schools).    If you are at all uncertain as to the qualifications of someone using the N.D. title in an unlicensed state, you can contact the A.A.N.P. to see if that person is a member. Membership in the A.A.N.P. provides some quality assurance that persons identifying themselves as N.D.s meet the educational criteria for licensure. In the case of N.D.s who were licensed before accreditation became available, A.A.N.P. membership recognizes "era-appropriate" educational credentials.

Admission Requirements

Typical Admission Requirements In addition to the educational prerequisites, candidates for admission must demonstrate to the College that they possess outstanding moral character, maturity, academic aptitude, and commitment to naturopathic medicine. When selecting an undergraduate program to meet the prerequisites, students are advised to choose those courses that are recommended for premedical students. In addition, the following requirements must be met:

1) Bachelor's degree

2) Minimum GPA of 2.5

3) Standard medical prerequisites:

        20 semester/30 quarter credits of chemistry
        1 semester/2 quarters must be organic chemistry,
        all Chemistry and biology must include lab
        1 course in physics
        6 semester/9 quarter hours of social science,including at least one

        course in psychology
        6 semester/9 quarter credits of humanities


Only courses with grades of "C" or better, or the equivalent as determined by the College,will satisfy these specific course requirements.

Application

Each of the schools has its own application procedures.  Please link to each school to determine how to apply. Below is an example from the Natioal College of ANaturopathic Medicine's web site:

Deadline for application is February 2, 1998. Late applications will be considered only if space is available. NOTE: NCNM begins taking applications on September 1, 1997. Applicants will be admitted on a rolling basis, and well-qualified applicants who apply early are more likely to gain admission to the College. Therefore, it is highly recommended that applicants submit completed applications as early as possible.

Due to the competitive nature of admission to the College, failure to follow all instructions in this application may result in denial. To complete an admission file, applicants must submit the following items:
A completed application form.
Official course descriptions for all science prerequisites taken. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the Admissions Committee has all supporting documents to evaluate course work. Official catalogs and/or syllabi may be required.
A $60 non-refundable application processing fee.
A $50 non-refundable transcript evaluation fee for students seeking to transfer credit for advanced standing.
Official college transcripts for all colleges and university work sent directly to the Office of Admissions from the appropriate college or
university.
Note: All transcripts from foreign institutions must be evaluated by an approved credential evaluation service. Forms are available from the Office of Admissions. Transcripts from the following colleges are exempt from this requirement: Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria and the University of Alberta
Dean of Students Release Form mailed directly to the Office of Admissions from every college and university attended.
A one-page Chronological Resume of Work and Volunteer Experience.
Two Reference Forms, mailed directly to NCNM in sealed envelopes. We highly encourage applicants to seek references from a health care professional and a college faculty member who can speak to the pertinent issues raised on the form. Please note: References should be written by individuals who have known you for at least one year, and references must have been composed in the current year. References from close friends or relatives will not be accepted. All references are kept confidential and will be destroyed at the discretion of the Office of Admissions or the conclusion of the admission cycle.

It is the sole responsibility of the applicant during all phases of the admission process to ensure that materials are received on-time. All
application materials submitted become the property of the College and cannot be returned. The Office of Admissions and the National
College of Naturopathic Medicine assume no responsibility for applications which are not considered because they are incomplete. Completed applications will be evaluated and selected individuals will be invited to interview. The on-campus interview is required for acceptance.

Note: International Applicants must also:

Satisfy visa application requirements by showing adequate resources to cover anticipated period of study. Complete an International Student Financial Statement available upon request from the Office of Admissions.
If English is a second language, submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
If transcripts are not from a college in the United States or Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria or the University of Alberta in Canada, applicants must have transcripts translated and evaluated by an approved agency. Contact the Office of Admissions for more information.


Some useful links

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

List of Naturopathic Schools

Comparative Curriculum (Naturopathic vs Allopathic)

Legal Status of Naturopathic Medicine in the U.S.


 W. Guy Bradley, Ph.D.
Chair of the Health Careers Advisory Committee

last update was: 05/31/98