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
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.
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
1 semester/2 quarters must be organic
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.
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
Official college transcripts for all colleges and university work sent directly to the
Office of Admissions from the appropriate college or
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
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
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
Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Curriculum (Naturopathic vs Allopathic)
Legal Status of
Naturopathic Medicine in the U.S.
Chair of the Health Careers Advisory Committee
last update was: 05/31/98