Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

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


Mission Statement:

We educate naturopathic primary care physicians who care for the health and well-being of their communities, through education, research, leadership, and clinical services. Respecting the naturopathic principles, we integrate science, nature and spirit.

Students study naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University because they seek a career that resonates with their core values, including a belief in natural healing and whole-person medicine. They prepare for success as naturopathic doctors with the support of our state-of-the-art clinical training model, which prepares students to formulate effective, personalized treatment plans for patients.

This in-depth clinical training, coupled with Bastyr's robust basic sciences curriculum, is responsible for our graduates consistently earning top scores on the Naturopathic Licensing Examinations (NPLEX). And because our graduates speak the common language of science, they work as peers with other health care providers in integrative settings.

Program Features

  • Beginning in fall quarter of their first year, extensive training at the University's teaching clinics, as well as at several community clinics in the San Diego and Seattle areas.
  • Passionate faculty and a strong academic advising program.
  • A multi-disciplinary curriculum that allows students to explore natural health care modalities in the University's other degree programs.
  • A research institute supported in part by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), allows students to engage in numerous research projects, including studies on botanical medicines, herbal supplements and complementary oncology therapies.
  • Small class sizes coupled with the University's numerous resources.
  • A well-developed residency program for naturopathic doctors.
  • A diverse student body drawn from all across the United States and 28 other countries.

Dual-Degree Options

Naturopathic medicine students at the Kenmore campus can broaden their therapeutic knowledge and future practice by earning a dual degree. With careful planning, adding a second professional licensure to an ND degree can benefit future clinical work by broadening the scope of your practice.

Dual-degree options for ND students at Bastyr University in Washington include:

Pursuing a second degree during the ND program is a rigorous undertaking, and requires students to remain in good standing in each program. Dual-degree students begin the ND program first. Then they typically apply to the additional degree program during the second year of the four-year ND track or third year of the five-year extended track, although earlier entry may be possible.

Advantages, challenges and application processes can vary for each dual-degree program. Contact for more information.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Spa Medicine in Germany - September (annually)

Students on this two- to three-week trip study spa (or "sanitas per aqua") medicine, physical medicine, hydrotherapy and nature cure, and learn about the roots of naturopathic medicine in the country of its birth. There is a physical medicine prerequisite for this course. Coordinator: Dr. Aimee Huyck

Additional Opportunities

In addition to this opportunity within the naturopathic medicine program, there are study abroad/away opportunities offered by the Acupuncture Medicine and Herbal Sciences programs.

And while not affiliated with Bastyr University, the non-profit Natural Doctors International offers service learning opportunities to experience the unique combination of Nicaragua, naturopathic medicine, and teaching methods developed by educator and philosopher Paulo Freire. 


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

Clinical Training

An education in naturopathic medicine requires much more than textbooks and medical equipment. Careful faculty mentorship is a significant part of Bastyr's Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program.

Consistency and Quality in Training

At Bastyr's teaching clinics as well as at off-site community care clinics, you are trained to be a primary care physician capable of treating a broad spectrum of patients. This training emphasizes the highest standards in patient assessment, differential diagnosis, medical record documentation, referral practices and patient follow-up.

You will learn from faculty who are outstanding physicians and recognized leaders in their fields. Your shift supervisor encourages, leads and directs each patient/clinician encounter while allowing you gradually increasing levels of autonomy.

Diverse Patient Population

Between the over 40,000 yearly patient visits to Bastyr Center and our community care clinic sites in the Seattle and San Diego areas, you will have many opportunities to treat a wide variety of patient populations, including:

  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Non-English-speaking
  • Low-income

While the majority of shifts concentrate on general medicine, specialized training shifts also are available in:

  • Homeopathy
  • Physical medicine (including hydrotherapy)
  • Nutrition
  • Lifestyle counseling
  • Environmental medicine
  • Immune wellness
  • Minor office procedures (such as wound repair and skin lesion removal)
  • Integrative pain clinic
  • Integrated acupuncture and naturopathic medicine
  • Diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Lyme disease

Patient Contacts/Training Hours

  • You will average close to 600 patient contacts through a minimum of 1,200 clinical training hours.
  • Bastyr's clinics utilize a "team care" training approach, assigning two advanced naturopathic student clinicians to one exam room with one instructor observing and supervising their work for an entire quarter.
  • You will know in advance which patients you'll be seeing at the clinic each day, giving you time to properly prepare.
  • You also are required to complete 132 preceptor hours shadowing health care professionals in their practices.

Residency Program

Bastyr University has a well-established residency program at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. In addition, the University has several affiliate residency training programs. The School of Naturopathic Medicine is a recognized sponsor of postdoctoral naturopathic medical education by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). 

All these programs are highly competitive and attract graduates from other institutions as well as from Bastyr University. Each residency is a closely supervised program in which a resident progresses from a purely observational role into an independent role over the course of one year. This progression is monitored and facilitated by a faculty mentor and program administrator.

For questions regarding the application process or on the available residency programs, please contact Dr. Gary Garcia, Director of Graduate and Community Medicine at (206) 834-4124 or via email at

Kenmore Campus Location

The 51-acre Bastyr University campus, nestled among fields and woodlands on the northeast shore of Lake Washington, is uniquely suited for the study of natural health sciences.
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