Naturopathic Medicine (Naturopathy)

What is Naturopathic Medicine (Naturopathy)?

“Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary health care that promotes wellness and prevention of illness or disease. Naturopathic doctors are highly-educated primary care providers who integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies.”
From Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Techniques used by naturopathic doctors (naturopaths) include acupuncture/Asian medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine (such as massage and hydrotherapy), clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, and lifestyle counselling.

    What are typical academic requirements for ND programs?

    • Completion of a 3 or 4 year undergraduate program.
    • University level courses in Biology, Organic Chemistry, Physiology, Psychology and Humanities
    • Typically a minimum GPA score of 3.0 - each program administers this requirement differently.
    • Some institutions have minimum GPA requirements for pre-requisite courses.

    The preparation for registration/licensure as a naturopath includes:

    • Naturopathic degree (ND) from an accredited program through the Council of Naturopathic Medicine Education (CNME)
    • Passing the standardized North American Board exams known as the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX)
    • Registration in professional body (regulations vary by province)

    Application Components

    • Official transcripts from all previous post-secondary education.
    • Three references, including one academic and one from regulated health care professional
    • Statement of intent/personal statement.
    • Resume or CV.
    • Interviews (if GPA is competitive).

    Personal Statement

    Admission committees are looking for statements that demonstrate:

    • Your interest in naturopathic medicine
    • Your understanding of the role of a naturopathic doctor in the health care system and how you see the profession evolving.
    • How your experience and skills have prepared you for the challenges of the program and profession.

    Start Early!
    Naturopathic medicine programs require a strong GPA. Many look for demonstrated interest in healthcare on your application.

    Improve your GPA:
    Visit the AA&CC and the Centre for Teaching & Learning to improve your academic skills. AA&CC Events & Workshops are available via

    Cultivate References:
    Get to know a few professors early so that they write a strong reference letter for you.

    Get Involved:
    Join volunteer and co-curricular activities that demonstrate your skills and ongoing interest in a career in health care.

    What other considerations are there?

    • Most programs are full time and take 4 years to complete.
    • Programs involve course work as well as clinical hours.
    • To practice naturopathic medicine in Ontario you must register as a member of the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy and in the future, practitioners will register with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.

    Where can I study Naturopathic Medicine?

    The Council of Naturopathic Medicine Education (CNME) has certified the following Canadian naturopathic programs:

    • The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (New Westminster, BC)
    • The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto)

    See for a list of all accredited programs and their websites.

    In the U.S. the following universities have certified programs:

    • Bastyr University
    • National College of Natural Medicine
    • National University of Health Sciences
    • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences
    • University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine

    Looking for Related Experience?
    Review the Volunteering and Internships tip sheets, attend a Work Search Strategies workshop or book an appointment with a Career Counsellor or Career Strategist.

    How much does it cost?
    All health care programs have a significant tuition cost, because hiring strong instructors and providing up-to-date facilities cost a great deal. Annual tuition in Canada is approximately $22,000.

    Where can I find more information and resources?

    Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors
    Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors
    Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges
    Financial Support

    Professional Programs Guide accessible through CLN (Resources section)

    Application & Personal Statement Resources

    The AA&CC can help! Attend the Graduate & Professional Schools Fair (October), go to a Preparing for Professional & Graduate School workshop, meet professionals in the field through Extern, or speak with a Career Counsellor to learn how to get relevant experience!

    Please note: While this tip sheet aims to ensure accuracy, requirements do change. Consider it a starting point for your further research. Visit individual naturopathy programs for detailed, up-to-date information about admission requirements and application procedures

    Last update: May 2015