Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine - California

Quick Facts


Kenmore, Washington campus
San Diego, California campus

General Requirements

Length of Program

Tuition and Financial Aid

Performance Fact Sheet for the California ND Program

Pursuant to the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009, prospective students are encourage to preview Bastyr University California's 2016 Performance Fact Sheet for this program. New students will be required to sign this fact sheet prior to enrolling.

Career Opportunities

  • Naturopathic doctor working as a primary natural care physician in private practice or at a clinic dedicated to integrative medicine
  • Research scientist studying natural medicine
  • Naturopathic consultant/advocate in industry, insurance or the political arena
  • Wellness entrepreneur
  • Natural medicine spokesperson/advisor
  • Rural community doctor
  • Dietary supplement entrepreneur or natural products specialist
  • Corporate wellness educator
  • Public health administrator
  • Natural medicine author/public speaker
  • Faculty member in naturopathic or conventional medical institution

Where are Naturopathic Physicians Licensed?

Currently, 20 states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have passed laws regulating naturopathic doctors. Learn more about licensure from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

PDF icon Bastyr CA BPPE Performance Fact Sheet 2016 ND.pdf

Program Summary – ND California

Students study naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University California because they seek careers that match their values. They prepare to become successful naturopathic doctors (NDs) with the help of passionate faculty and a rigorous integrated curriculum that unites science and nature.

The program leans heavily on robust clinical training. Under the supervision of faculty clinicians, students learn to be compassionate, skillful practitioners who provide personalized treatment for their patients. Our graduates consistently achieve top scores on the Naturopathic Licensing Examinations (NPLEX). And because our graduates speak the common language of science, they work as colleagues with other health care providers in integrative settings.

Learn more about naturopathic medicine

Program Features

  • Highly accomplished faculty and a strong academic advising program.
  • Integrated, patient-centered curriculum that grounds students in basic sciences (including research training) and diverse naturopathic modalities.
  • Clinical training that begins in fall quarter of your first year at the University's teaching clinic, Bastyr University Clinic.
  • Regional accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Bastyr University School of Naturopathic Medicine is a recognized provider of postdoctoral natural medical education by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).
  • Close proximity to pristine beaches at Torrey Pines State Park and, next to campus, the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, with miles of protected trails.
  • Small class sizes.
  • Access to the University's numerous resources, including financial aid.
  • Robust student clubs, including Student Council and the Bastyr/UCSD Integrative Medicine Club.
  • Passionate, diverse classmates from across the United States.
  • Career planning assistance to help prepare for careers in independent practice, integrative health clinics, research, natural products or many other possibilities. Learn about the careers of alumni.


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.

Prerequisite Coursework

  • College-level Algebra: 1 course
  • Chemistry* (science-major level): Minimum of 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. (This latter option is highly recommended.) (The standard prerequisite for science-major level organic chemistry is one year of general chemistry.) Appropriate, hands-on lab work required. (Hands-on labs are those taken in person or using home lab kits.) 
  • General Biology* (science-major level): 2 semesters or 3 quarters. Must cover concepts in cellular biology and genetics. Appropriate hands-on 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/ General Psychology or Developmental/ Lifespan Psychology.

*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 (but is not always) required.  Please contact Admissions with any questions about older courses.

Prerequisite Course Guides

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 summer; however, these courses are subject to change. If you have questions about a specific course, please contact an admissions advisor by calling (425) 602-3332.

Summer Prerequisite Course(s)

The following course(s) are generally available to fill prerequisites during the summer quarter for the ND program. Summer registration information is sent to all applicants by the admissions office each spring. For further information, please contact Admissions at (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.

Strongly Recommended Courses

Though not required for admission, faculty recommend students complete biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology 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, immunology, medical terminology and English composition.

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.


Integrated, Hybrid Curriculum Focuses on Real-World Experiences

Naturopathic medicine students immediately gain real-world experience in the classroom as well as in a clinical setting through Bastyr University’s integrated, hybrid curriculum.

In fall semester of their first year, students begin clinical training as observers at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle or Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego, allowing them to bring patient stories and real clinical experiences back to the classroom.

Each year, the case study discussion classes build on prior years by continually bringing in concepts learned earlier. To help students think more like doctors instead of scientists from the start, disciplines such as anatomy and physiology are combined with case study classes and the clinical experience.

Throughout the curriculum, faculty coordinate their lessons to help students learn how the concepts connect and how the disciplines work together to support each body system (i.e. respiratory system, circulatory system, cardiovascular system). This hybrid curriculum encourages a more independent and interactive learning environment with preparatory online coursework, voice-over PowerPoint lectures, webinars and other multimedia, so the classroom discussions can be a case-based application of the course content.

Program Outcomes

A graduate of the Naturopathic medical program at the School of Naturopathic Medicine, Bastyr University will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competency in biomedical and clinical sciences in order to practice safely and effectively as a naturopathic physician
  • Provide patient-centered clinical services as a naturopathic primary care physician
  • Apply the philosophy and principles of naturopathic medicine to efficiently and effectively practice naturopathic primary care
  • Uphold ethical standards and demonstrate respect and integrity in professional interactions.
  • Apply information literacy skills to efficiently and effectively practice evidence-informed naturopathic primary care.
  • Demonstrate cultural humility through self-awareness and a commitment to engage in culturally-responsive naturopathic practice in their communities
  • Cultivate the development and dissemination of new knowledge in naturopathic medicine through education, scholarship or research

The following curriculum tables list the tentative schedule of courses each quarter. Next to each course are the number of credits per course (Crdt.), the lecture hours each week (Lec.) the lab/clinic hours each week (L/C) and the total contact hours for the course over the entire quarter (Tot.).

Click here for the curriculum for students starting in Fall 2019. Please note that changes to the curriculum may still occur before the start of the Fall 2019 academic year. For the 2019-2020 course catalog, click here. 

5-Year Extended Track

Students have the option of completing the naturopathic medicine program in a five-year extended-track curriculum, although all students do their first term according to the four-year track schedule. Moving to the five-year track slightly lessens the number of course credits each quarter.  Students can extend the program by stretching out the first two years of their program to three years (referred to as 5XA).

  • The first two years of the program averages 25.6 credits per term and includes more basic sciences than clinical sciences.
  • This 5-year option allows students to spread this credit load over three years, dropping the average credit load to 21 in the first year, 15.5 in the second year and 16 in the third year.
  • The basic science classes are concentrated in your first and second years, with modality classes in your third year.
  • Starting the summer of your third year you return to the four-year credit load for your 4/5 (19.75) and 5/5 (13.25) years.
  • Clinic Observation 1 is completed in Year 1 and Clinic Observation 2 is completed in Year 3.   You enter clinic as an NMS3 in your 4/5 year.
  • You take your Basic Science boards during the summer between your 2/5 and 3/5 year.
  • Usually about 20 percent of any class is on the 5-year track.

Students can also extend the program by stretching out the last two years of their program to three years (referred to as 5XB).  Generally, students opt for the 5XA extension during the first year of the program, and the 5XB extension late in the 2nd year of the program.  The extra room in either schedule allows for the addition of a second program.  


PDF icon 2019-20 ND.pdf

San Diego ND Clinical Training

The teaching clinic at the San Diego campus, Bastyr University Cliniclets students develop clinical skills while offering stellar natural health care to patients. The clinic's services range from prevention to optimal health, and from acute to chronic disease. Services include naturopathic primary care, nutrition counseling, botanical medicine, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, craniosacral therapy, mind-body-spirit medicine and women’s health care (including hormonal support and annual exams). 

A recent expansion into a second building gives the teaching clinic more space to continue growing into the future. The space at 4110 Sorrento Valley Boulevard includes 11 clinical examination rooms, an IV clinic and laboratory, hydrotherapy and sauna facilities, physical medicine and exercise space, a botanical medicine lab and herbal storage facilities. 

To make an appointment at the clinic, call (858) 246-9730.

Off-Site Clinics

In addition to on-campus training at Bastyr University Clinic, naturopathic medicine students program provide care to diverse, often underserved community members in the greater San Diego community at off-campus clinical sites.

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