Entrance into an accredited naturopathic medical program requires a bachelor’s degree. Naturopathic medical students study the same core medical sciences as MD students. Their education consists of four years of very rigorous professional-level coursework. They spend hours in science and clinical laboratories learning to recognize and understand the root causes of illness and the tools and treatments available to help future patients to attain and maintain health. Most importantly, they spend many hours working directly with patients under the supervision of a licensed naturopathic physician.



During their first two years of study, the curriculum focuses on basic and clinical sciences and diagnostics, covering:

Human physiology
Human pathology
Macro- and microbiology



For at least the final two years of their medical program, students intern in clinical settings under the close supervision of licensed professionals, learning various therapeutic modalities including:

Botanical medicine
Clinical nutrition
Laboratory & clinical diagnosis
Minor surgery
Naturopathic physical medicine
Nutritional science


Some naturopathic schools actually require more hours of basic and clinical science than many top allopathic medical schools. Students of naturopathic medicine use the Western medical sciences as a foundation on which to build a thorough knowledge of holistic, non-toxic therapies and develop skills in diagnosis, disease prevention and wellness optimization.

During the first two years, ND students’ credit loads are almost identical to those of MD students. In nearly every biomedical science, ND students are required to complete as many credits as, if not more than, MD students. Specifics vary by school, but a 2010 course comparison of the University of Washington’s (UW) MD program and Bastyr University’s ND program shows that during the first two years, UW MD students complete a total of 150 credits and Bastyr ND students complete 151.5 credits, most of them in comparable biomedical and diagnostic science courses.