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) www.cnme.org
- Passing the standardized North American Board exams known as the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX)
- Registration in professional body (regulations vary by province)
- 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).
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.
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 cln.utoronto.ca
Get to know a few professors early so that they write a strong reference letter for you.
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 www.cnme.org 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
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?
Professional Programs Guide accessible through CLN (Resources section)
Application & Personal Statement Resources
- Effective Admission Letters (U of T Writing Centre)
- The Personal Statement: How to get it started
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab
- CTL’s Graduate School Application and Personal Statement Assignment Calculator
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