Bastyr University's herbal sciences degree completion program trains professionals who can respond to the growing demand for herbal medicine experts. This is not a clinical degree program and does not qualify graduates to treat patients medically. By studying with master herbalists, students undertake a thorough and scientifically rigorous education. Graduates complete the program in two years and are prepared to enter the herbal products field directly, begin work as botanical medicine experts or pursue further education in related areas.
The program curriculum, facilitated through our School of Naturopathic Medicine and Department of Botanical Medicine, includes such study areas as:
In the past, herbalists were either self-taught or trained through certificate programs or apprenticeships. This program brings much-needed academic credentials to the field while also offering a traditional, holistic study of herbs. The curriculum provides students with a deep foundation in current research methods, preparing them for direct employment as an herbalist in the herbal products field.
Entering undergraduates must have at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA with a grade of C or better in all basic proficiency and science requirement courses. Exceptional applicants who do not meet this minimum requirement will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Prior to enrolling, students must have completed 90 quarter credits (60 semester credits), including a minimum number of credits in the basic proficiency, science and general education categories.
Note: students may apply to the program while completing prerequisite coursework.
Want to know which classes fulfill these prerequisites? Check these lists:
Kenmore, Washington campus
2 years, full time
See examples of how our graduates use their herbal sciences degrees.
This program does not lead to a clinical license and therefore does not qualify graduates to treat patients without further training in clinical diagnostic skills, such as a medical graduate program.
The herbal sciences program is enriched by the study away programs that offer some of the most powerful, formative experiences of our students' education.
Early September (every other year)
This two-week intensive explores the history, folklore and culture of herbal medicine. Students learn about plant identification, medicinal preparations and clinical applications, talking to herbalists, botanists, teachers and others who love plants and plant medicine. Students travel to three regions – Sansepolcro in the region of Tuscany, Salerno in the region of Campania and Colipardo in the region of Lazio. The group visits herb companies, herb museums and gardens. Yoga classes are woven throughout the course to help maintain balance and centering.
Coordinator: Robin DiPasquale, ND, RH (AHG)
Winter (every other year)
Over 10 days, students explore botanical medicine in jungle canopies, rivers, mountains and ocean beaches. The group visits herbal farms, preservation gardens, jungle wilderness and sustainable communities. Students meet with long-time folk herbalists and world-renowned modern permaculturists, learning about herbal medicine, Latin American culture and holistic land stewardship.
Coordinator: Jenn Dazey, ND, RH (AHG)
Late June (every other year)
This 10-day course explores traditional early-American uses of native plants and experiences the music, scenery and culture of the Appalachian hills in Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. Students visit the homes of families who have been herbal wildcrafters since the 1700s, along with the Great Smoky Mountains, the Land of the Waterfalls scenic area and many historical sites. Students learn plant identification, harvesting and traditional medicine-making.
Coordinator: Sheila Kingsbury, ND, RH (AHG)
Summer quarter every year (three weekends)
Students spend three weekends camping and hiking in Washington state's Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges learning botany, plant identification and medicinal uses of native plants.
Coordinator: Eric Yarnell, ND
Late June (every year)
Students spend seven days camping, hiking and touring herb farms and herbal production companies. The focus is on developing a deeper understanding of herbal medicine through the Oregon herbal community. Students car pool to the cities of Williams, Eugene and Sandy and set up base camps, then head out to day trips to woods, fields, farms and production facilities.
Coordinator: Crystal Hamby
One weekend in summer quarter (every year)
Students spend a weekend learning to identify native plants in the North Cascade mountains near Mount Vernon, Washington. They also learn from a local herbal wildcrafter how to harvest native medicinal plants sustainably and how to make medicine from them.
Coordinator: Crystal Hamby and Suzanne Jordan
Basic science courses within the herbal sciences program include anatomy, physiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology and disease processes. These courses serve as a foundation for understanding the human body and provide students with the necessary skills and competency to pursue course work in their chosen field.
The basic sciences faculty leads students beyond the simple learning of scientific facts to integrate systematically the information from basic science disciplines into a unified model of human organization and function. Problem-solving, clinical cases and examples are an integral part of the basic science curriculum.
The Department of Botanical Medicine has established the following expected learning outcomes for the Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences programs:
The attached PDF is the proposed curriculum for students starting in Fall 2017. Please note that changes to the curriculum may still occur before the start of the Fall 2017 academic year. For the 2017-2018 course catalog, click here.