Academic Prerequisites

All of the AANMC-member schools ND programs require a base of undergraduate science courses that include biology as well as general and organic chemistry. Physics, biochemistry, math and psychology courses may also be specified. When we receive your application, we review all of your academic information to ensure you are prepared for naturopathic medical school. MCAT scores are accepted and may be reviewed by school admissions. Check with each school you are considering in order to ensure that all prerequisite requirements are met.

In addition to the required coursework, additional courses to strengthen your background and to better prepare you for a naturopathic course of study include: anatomy, biochemistry, botany, developmental psychology and physiology.

Admission Requirements

In evaluating candidates for naturopathic medical programs, admissions counselors look for students who want to be challenged academically yet feel comfortable relying on their own intuition and creativity. They look for high-level critical thinkers who are flexible enough to deal with the challenge of formulating personalized treatment plans.

Applicants must demonstrate that they possess the internal qualities essential to becoming naturopathic physicians, including concern for others, integrity, curiosity, motivation and a strong belief in the efficacy of natural medicine. Prospective students must also demonstrate appropriate observational and communication skills, motor function, intellectual-conceptual abilities, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social maturity.

Advanced Standing

Now, more than ever, health professionals are exploring new opportunities to train as licensed naturopathic doctors (ND) as a means of offering more treatment options and therefore better patient care. Naturally, health professionals may expect to receive transfer credit for previous education and experience as they consider educational options to increase their skill set and marketability. In order to answer this need, virtually all AANMC member colleges schools offer “advanced standing status” to health care professionals who have completed doctoral level training. This allows qualified individuals to increase his or her effectiveness by being better able to respond to the changing landscape of health care and the needs of future patients.

View each college’s academic prerequisites below:

Note: While we do our best to keep this page updated, we recommend you also check directly with the schools to ensure you have the latest information as it becomes available.To view each college’s academic prerequisites click the college’s name.


Bastyr University

Applicants are considered on the basis of academic performance, maturity and demonstrated humanitarian qualities. In evaluating applicants, the Schools of Naturopathic Medicine seeks qualities of motivation, intellect and character essential to becoming a physician.

Concrete exposure to the practice of naturopathic medicine through job-shadowing or interviews with NDs is strongly recommended.  Work or volunteer experience in other types of health care is a plus. The prerequisite coursework is the minimum required preparation for the study of naturopathic medicine. Applicants may apply with coursework still in progress, but must complete prerequisites before beginning the program.

Please note: If you are unsure about a specific prerequisite, contact an admissions advisor before taking the course. The admissions office may require a course description to verify content. Descriptions may be read over the phone, e-mailed, faxed or sent by regular mail.

The following coursework is the minimum required preparation for the study of naturopathic medicine. Applicants may apply with coursework still in progress, but prerequisites must be completed prior to matriculation.

Overall Preparation

Completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university is required. No specific major is advised. In addition to a strong preparation in the sciences, a broad background in the humanities and liberal arts is encouraged. Prerequisite coursework is used to determine a student’s preparation for the naturopathic program. No credit is given for prerequisite coursework earning a C- or lower.

Prerequisite Coursework

  • College-level Algebra: 1 course
  • Chemistry (science-major level): at least 4 courses. Must include a minimum of either two sequential courses in organic chemistry or one course in organic chemistry and one course in biochemistry. The chemistry sequence should include an introduction to biological molecules. (The standard prerequisite for science-major level organic chemistry is one year of general chemistry.) Appropriate lab work required.
  • General Biology (science-major level): 2 semesters or 3 quarters. Must cover concepts in cellular biology and genetics. Appropriate lab work required. Individual courses in the biological sciences may count if the above competencies are met, i.e., anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and botany.
  • Physics: 1 college-level course. It must be algebra-based; calculus-based is also acceptable. A lab is not required.
  • Psychology: 1 course. Introduction to psychology is recommended.

Optional Summer Start

Applicants who have completed all of the prerequisite coursework and who have been fully admitted to the ND program may take selected first-year ND courses the summer prior to beginning the ND program. This helps to significantly lighten the first-year course load.

Strongly Recommended Courses

Though not required for admission, faculty recommend students complete biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, and botany coursework in addition to the prerequisite requirements. These courses will substantially enhance students’ ability to master the naturopathic course material.

Other Suggested Courses

Biomedical ethics, philosophy of science, public speaking and English composition.

Age of Course

Required chemistry and biology courses not taken within seven years of matriculation into the program are subject to review by the admissions committee. Additional coursework may be required.

Credit by Examination

Applicants may submit AP, IB and CLEP scores for prerequisite consideration for math and psychology, and AP or IB scores for physics. Students who have had prior AP or IB coursework in chemistry and biology may submit AP or IB scores for biology or chemistry exams. Students must submit the original score received directly from the testing center. Decisions regarding credit are assessed on a case-by-case basis. The admissions committee reviews test scores within the context of an applicant’s academic history. All equivalency decisions made by the admissions committee are final.

The following guides list acceptable courses that meet our prerequisite requirements for the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program. This list is updated annually in the fall; however, these courses are subject to change. If you have questions about a specific course, please contact an admissions advisor by calling (425) 602-3330.

Bastyr University is committed to providing equal opportunities for differently-abled persons. The following policy has been adapted from the American Association of Medical Colleges guidelines to ensure that prospective students have the physical and mental capacities to perform the required duties of a naturopathic physician.

Candidates for the naturopathic medicine degree must be able to demonstrate appropriate observational and communication skills, motor function, intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social maturity. Technology can compensate for some disabilities in certain areas, but candidates should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary means that a candidate’s judgment must be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation.

  • Observation: Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, including but not limited to microbiologic cultures and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. Candidates must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation requires the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. These are enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
  • Communication: Candidates must be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communications. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.
  • Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Candidates should be able to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), re-position a patient, carry out diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and read ECGs and x-rays. Candidates should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
  • Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  • Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing work loads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities assessed during the admissions and educational processes.

See the Bastyr University Catalog for more information.

The following courses are generally available to fill prerequisites during the summer quarter for the Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine program. Summer registration information is sent to all applicants by the admissions office each spring. Please contact Admissions with questions: (425) 602-3332.

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

  • Organic Chemistry I & II

Please see the Bastyr University Catalog for course descriptions (pdf). Many of these courses have their own prerequisites; please plan accordingly.

Bastyr University librarians have compiled volumes of useful reading material for NDs and other health care practitioners. The guide lists core books and journals that naturopathic doctors and other health practioners interested in natural medicine will find clinically useful.

Read more here.

Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine

Admissions Requirements & Prerequisites

Boucher is a graduate level naturopathic medical college. A degree and no less than 90 credits overall from a recognized or authorized Canadian or a regionally accredited American post-secondary institution is required for entry into the program.

For credentials and credits earned outside of Canada and the United States a “comprehensive evaluation” must be submitted from either International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) or World Education Services (WES) and must demonstrate equivalency to a North American degree and minimum credit requirements prior to matriculation.

Still Completing your Undergraduate Degree?

Prospective students may apply for admission in the final year of undergraduate study if you are able to provide an official transcript showing the degree conferred date as well as proof of successful completion of all prerequisites prior to matriculation.

The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine calculates a cumulative grade point average for all courses that constitute a degree. For a candidate to be considered a competitive applicant, the Admissions Committee expects a degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7. For candidates who have a cumulative GPA below the expected minimum, but who have completed additional degree(s) (i.e.: a second Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, Doctorate, or first professional degree), the Admissions Committee may take additional education into consideration when assessing academic preparation.

Applicants must show a minimum final grade of 60 percent or ‘C’ in each required prerequisite course. The expected overall minimum cumulative science GPA is 2.5 to compete for the limited program seats.

The Admissions Committee expects prerequisite courses to be completed no more than seven (7) years prior to an application for admission. Candidates must be prepared to show that they have kept themselves up-to-date in the sciences.

  • Biology (one full year or 6 credit hours).
  • General Chemistry (half year or 3 credit hours).
  • Organic Chemistry (half year or 3 credit hours).
  • Biochemistry (half year or 3 credit hours).
  • Psychology (half year or 3 credit hours).
  • English/Humanities (one full year or 6 credit hours).

According to both PTIB bylaws and Boucher Institute policy, minimum program admission requirements may not be waived.

The Boucher Institute may, at its discretion, accept prerequisite preparatory courses from other CNME-approved institutions. This option is generally reserved for students who apply as transfer students. It is preferable for first-year applicants to complete their prerequisite courses through a recognized university or college.

In addition to the mandatory prerequisites, prospective students would benefit by completing additional courses in some or all of the following areas:

  • Anatomy
  • Business
  • Calculus
  • Cell Biology
  • Community/ Cultural Studies
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Genetics
  • Global/ International Studies
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Religious Studies
  • Research
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

For a guide to prerequisites accepted at the Boucher Institute, or for information on what type of courses satisfy the Boucher Institute requirements, as well as a limited list of acceptable courses from specific institutions please see Admissions FAQ.

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission into the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program:

  • Have completed their degree (all degree credits) at an institution where the official language of instruction is English, completed secondary school (all grades from grade 8), and received their high school diploma at a secondary school where the official language of instruction is English will meet the minimum language requirement, provided there are no concerns regarding language ability during the admissions interview.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum score of 95 overall with a minimum of 23 in each testing section. Scores over three years old at the time of application will not be accepted.
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum score of 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each testing section. Scores over three years old at the time of application will not be accepted.
The primary objective of the applicant screening process is to ensure that accepted applicants have made an informed commitment to Naturopathic Medicine. Applicants must be both temperamentally and morally suitable to the profession, and have a reasonable probability of becoming licensed to practice in a regulated jurisdiction. The criteria described below are used in the evaluation of applicants in order to achieve this objective.

The successful applicant is expected to:

  • Have demonstrated reasonable academic ability in previous educational endeavours;
  • Have reasonable knowledge of, and realistic attitudes towards health and healing, and towards naturopathic medicine in particular. They are expected to understand the importance of self-care, to demonstrate a reasonable understanding of holistic health care, and to be able to discuss the role of the healer in a person’s natural self-healing process;
  • Have some knowledge and personal experience of naturopathic medicine;
  • Recognize the ongoing responsibilities inherent in a life of service to the community as a naturopathic physician;
  • Understand that naturopathic medicine is a rapidly changing field. Practitioners have a responsibility to maintain and update their skills and knowledge by keeping current with journals and through continuing education;
  • Have realistic expectations regarding the income potential of naturopathic physicians, be aware of the potential for mental and emotional stress involved in this occupation, and have an understanding of the relationship of naturopathic medicine to other health care professions;
  • Understand that naturopathic medicine is an entrepreneurial undertaking that requires business skills and marketing acumen;
  • Have devoted sufficient time and energy to researching the naturopathic medicine profession and – considering their personal goals and expectations – are confident in their career choice;
  • Have an appreciation of the importance of a diverse society, and show evidence by way of appropriate life experience, maturity, emotional stability, and physical capability necessary to engage in the activities required for naturopathic training and practice;
  • Demonstrate critical thinking;
  • Have excellent communication skills;
  • Be able to discuss professionalism as it applies to the provision of health care;
  • Be able to provide references as to character and ability;
  • Be able to demonstrate adequate financial resources to become a full time student for four years.

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Prerequisite Science Courses (click to open)
To be considered for admission to the naturopathic program, applicants must have completed a three- or four-year bachelor’s degree in any discipline at an accredited institution. For September admission, courses must be completed by August 31 of the year of application. For January admission, courses must be completed by December 31.

Required courses  Credit hours Units Requirements
General Biology 6 1.0
May be fulfilled either by a one-year biology course or by two semesters of courses such as anatomy, botany, cell biology, endocrinology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, or zoology.
Example: Athabasca University – BIOL204-Principles of Biology I and BIOL205-Principles of Biology II or CCNM SBI100 Biology
Physiology 6 1.0
May be fulfilled either by a one-year physiology course or a one-year anatomy and physiology course.
Example: McMaster University – HTH SCI 2F03-Human Physiology and Anatomy I and HTH SCI 2FF3-Human Physiology and Anatomy II or CCNM SPH100 Physiology
Chemistry 6 1.0
May be filled either by a one-year chemistry course or two semesters of any chemistry.  General, organic and/or biochemistry courses would be accepted towards this requirement.
Example: Athabasca University CHEM217 Chemical Principles I and CHEM218 Chemical Principles II or University of Guelph CHEM1040 General Chemistry I and CHEM1050 General Chemistry II or CCNM SGC100 General Chemistry
Psychology 3 0.5
May be fulfilled either by one semester of introductory psychology, health psychology, developmental psychology, or other similar courses.
Example: University of Toronto – PSY100Y-Introductory Psychology or Athabasca University – PSYC290-General Psychology
Humanities elective 6 1.0
Acceptable courses include, but are not limited to: English, sociology, psychology, history, women’s studies, religious studies, etc. Must include an essay-writing component. Foreign language courses are not accepted towards the humanities prerequisite.
Example: Lakehead University – Nursing 2500-Concepts of Health

Credit will not be given for the completion of prerequisites unless a grade of C-minus (60 per cent) or better is earned.

Some prerequisite sciences courses can be completed at CCNM.

Note: In addition to the required courses outlined above, we recommend that applicants complete courses in some or all of the following areas to prepare for the naturopathic program curriculum:

  • *anatomy
  • *biochemistry
  • organic chemistry
  • environmental science
  • genetics
  • microbiology
  • physics
  • sociology
  • statistics
  • English composition

* Offered via CCNM’s Prepare to Excel program designed to help you get a head start in your naturopathic education.

Admission decision 
The decision to admit an applicant is based primarily on the applicant’s undergraduate grade point average. Additional criteria may include:

  • applicant’s academic history
  • personal statement
  • references
  • resume
  • interview

Historically, the average cumulative GPA of accepted students has been 3.3 on a four-point scale, encompassing a range of 2.7 to 4.0.

Statement of Equal Opportunity
The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine works to ensure that the principles of the Ontario Human Rights Code are reflected in our dealings with all of our constituents. The Ontario Human Rights Code states:

Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, same-sex partnership status, family status, or handicap.

This applies to all matters of the College.

Personal statement/essay 
Applicants are required to complete and submit a personal statement/essay with their application. Questions include:

– Why do you want to become a naturopathic doctor?
– What is the role of naturopathic medicine/naturopathic doctors in the health-care system?
– How do you see the naturopathic profession evolving?
– Discuss any life experiences that have helped to prepare you for the rigorous academic demands and individual challenges associated with this program of study.

Confidential references:
Three letters of reference must be submitted online. The following references are required:

– One academic reference is required
– One reference from a regulated healthcare professional is required
– One additional reference from either of the above categories or a past employer/volunteer supervisor is required
– Referees should know you for a minimum of one year, although it is strongly recommended that you choose someone who has known you for 2 years or more

When selecting your referee, you should choose someone who can comment on your capacity in the following areas:

– Ability to handle stressful situations
– Business management skills
– Commitment to upholding high ethical standards
– Demonstration of tolerance, compassion and empathy
– Initiative
– Maturity
– Problem solving skills
– Self-discipline


Applicants must submit a current curriculum vitae/resume including the following information:

– Education
– Work experience
– Volunteer experience
– Awards
– Skills and abilities

Experienced student policy
As stated in the above section, completion of a Bachelor’s degree is expected. A limited number of exceptions are made for experienced students. Experienced students wishing to apply to CCNM must have completed a minimum of three years of university study (90 credit hours, 15 full courses) towards a bachelor’s degree. Competitive applications should have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3 on a four-point scale (equivalent to B+). A lower grade point average (minimum 2.7) may be acceptable, depending on the applicant’s academic history, interview, essay, references and career-related experience. Applicants applying as experienced students must have the minimum prerequisites as outlined in the above section on admission requirements. In addition, anyone applying as an experienced student must be able to demonstrate a minimum of four years of work and life experience outside of university. Please note that possessing the published minimum admission requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission. Please contact Admissions and Student Services for more information.

Proficiency in the English language 
As CCNM curriculum is delivered in English, all applicants are expected to demonstrate sufficient facility in the English language to fully participate in the learning process. If an applicant’s post-secondary studies were completed outside of North America in a language other than English, proof of English proficiency must be submitted to CCNM. Our minimum requirements are indicated below.

IELTS: minimum overall band score of 6.5 or higher (on a 9 point scale)
TOEFL IBT: minimum 86 out of 120
(CCNM TOEFL DI Code: 0245)

National University of Natural Medicine

Doctor of Naturopathic Program (ND) Application requirements (click to open)
  • Application for admission
  • $75.00 application fee
  • Resume or curriculum vita
  • Designated essay questions
  • Official copy of all transcripts
  • One letter of recommendation (preferably academic)
  • Complete prerequisite table in the application for admission
    • Catalog course descriptions for all prerequisite courses
  • Bachelor’s degree – candidates may apply while in progress
  • Grade of C or better in prerequisite coursework – candidates may apply while in progress
  • B or higher cumulative GPA is strongly recommended
  • Familiarity with or exposure to naturopathic medicine
  • On campus interview for admission – by invitation only

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis

National University of Health Sciences

Prerequisites for Admission

Students are expected to have completed 24 hours of general education credits and 24 hours of life and physical science credits before entering the chiropractic or naturopathic programs.

General education credits should include coursework in the following areas:

  • English
  • Psychology
  • Social Science/Humanities

Life and physical science coursework should include both lecture and laboratory components in each of the following areas:

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

Additional coursework is recommended, but not required for admission:

  • Anatomy (human or comparative)
  • Biochemistry

All courses must be taken at an accredited institution and must be transferable at the baccalaureate level. All courses must be completed with a “C” grade (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) or higher. A grade of “C-” is not satisfactory unless it is equivalent to a 2.00 on a 4.00 scale.

Please contact the Admissions Office at 1-800-826-6285 or for more detailed information on required prerequisites.

Students must have earned a baccalaureate degree and a minimum GPA of 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale). Applicants will be required to have a baccalaureate degree and a minimum GPA of 3.00. Those between a 2.75 and 2.99 may be considered for admission under an Alternative Admissions Track Plan (AATP).
In addition, ND students must read and understand the technical standards for the ND program.
Students who desire a naturopathic education but have undergraduate degrees with a non-science major, or those who fall short of the required science credit hours to meet National University admission requirements, may enroll in the Prerequisite Program. Under the prerequisite program, students can finish the above prerequisites in an accelerated format during two eight-week mini-terms prior to starting their doctoral program.

Students who have not completed their baccalaureate degree may enroll in the NUHS Bachelor of Biomedical Science Degree completion program. It is designed for students with a two-year/associate’s degree or 60 semester hours of general education credits, who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree to prepare for a career in science or health care.

Students who are in the process of completing the above prerequisites at another institution are still welcome and encouraged to apply. Please contact the Office of Admissions at 1-800-826-6285 or to speak with an Admissions Counselor regarding admission.

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

All prospective students who wish to enter the ND program must complete and submit these general admission requirements:

  1. Completed a four-year bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) prior to matriculation. Total post-secondary course work must be completed at a regionally accredited or candidate college or university. To search for your institution in the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions visit
  2. Completed the following academic prerequisite coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.0 at a regionally accredited or candidate college or university prior to matriculation into the ND program. (Applicants with science courses older than seven (7) years must demonstrate competency in the discipline(s) in question and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis).
  3. Knowledge of computers and access to a reliable computer and software for use in completing college course work.
  1. Application through NDCAS non-refundable application fee $115. To learn more about NDCAS, visit their FAQs page.

  2. Three letters of recommendation mailed directly to NDCAS
    • One academic reference
    • One reference from a regulated health care professional
    • One additional reference from either of the above categories or a past employer/volunteer supervisor
  3. Personal essay
  4. Curriculum vitae (CV) or professional resume
  5. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, showing completion of SCNM academic requirements
  6. In person interview (qualified applicants selected for interview will be contacted by the Admissions Office)
  7. If accepted into the ND program, you will be required to undergo a criminal background check (CBC) and give permission for the results to be provided to SCNM. All expenses associated with the CBC are the responsibility of the applicant. The offer of admission will not be considered final until completion of the background check, with results deemed acceptable by SCNM.
  8. If accepted into the ND program, you will be required to obtain and read Medical Terminology: A Short Course, 5th Edition By Davi-Ellen Chabner, BA, MAT, prior to New Student Orientation. An examination on medical terminology will be administered to all new students at orientation.
  • 12 semester credits in biology with labs (for science majors)
  • 3 semester credits in general organic chemistry with lab (for science majors)
  • 3 semester credits in biochemistry OR an additional 3 semester credits in organic chemistry (for science majors)
  • 6 semester credits in psychology (Developmental psychology is recommended. Behavioral or cognitive learning courses will also be considered in lieu of psychology).
  • 6 semester credits in English (3 credits must be in English composition.)
  • 6 semester credits in humanities (philosophy, religious studies, fine arts, history, foreign languages, women’s studies, performing arts).

You’re encouraged to send us your unofficial transcripts for a prerequisite evaluation. The above list indicates minimum requirements but it should not be inferred that admission is guaranteed for any applicant who meets them.