Learn How to Be an Herbalist
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.
We are more than an "herbal school," and this is more than an "herb program." This bachelor's degree is the first of its kind to be offered at an accredited university in the United States. The program equips students with both scientific knowledge and a multifaceted, personal understanding of plants, empowering them to bridge the gap between traditional herbalism and modern science.
Study Herbs in an Academic Environment
The program curriculum, facilitated through our School of Naturopathic Medicine and Department of Botanical Medicine, includes such study areas as:
- Botanical identification of medicinal herbs
- Disease prevention and health maintenance using medicinal herbs
- Learning to cultivate herbs
- Cultural, historical, sociopolitical and economic perspectives on botanical medicine
- Herbal manufacturing and quality assurance
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.
Herbal Program Features
- Bastyr University's 51-acre campus — set next to the 316-acre Saint Edward State Park — is the perfect outdoor classroom for studying plants throughout the seasons. The park features miles of wooded hiking, running and biking trails and offers many opportunities for nature study.
- Expert faculty coupled with a strong academic advising program.
- Hands-on curriculum equips students with real-world skills in evaluating and maintaining quality control of herbs, thus preparing graduates for direct employment in the herbal products field.
- A 44-hour practicum helps students transition confidently to the workforce, providing a valuable interface with herbal manufacturers, growers, wildcrafting experts, practitioners and researchers.
- Bastyr Medicinal Herb Garden features more than 350 species of Western and Chinese herbs. The garden allows students to learn to grow herbs year-round, harvest herbs for classroom study or for making herbal products, and fulfill relevant work-study hours.
- An on-campus herb lab allows students to hone their skills in herbal medicine making.
- Innovative classes such as Northwest Herbs and Herbs and Food.
- Summer outdoor elective and study abroad options include: Cascade Herb Experience, Island Herb Experience, two-week herbal medicine in Italy immersion experience, and an herbal medicine trip throughout Oregon, among others.
Curriculum - Herbal Sciences Degree
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.
Expected Learning Outcomes
The Department of Botanical Medicine has established the following expected learning outcomes for the Bachelor of Science with a Major in Herbal Sciences programs:
- Identify most commonly used medicinal plants utilizing botanical, organoleptic and analytical methods of identification and their medicinal indications and actions.
- Convey understanding of current political issues and trends pertaining to herbal industry as well as history of traditional use of herbs in medicine.
- Produce commonly used herbal preparations and discuss their potential in medicinal applications.
- Analyze herbal products using knowledge of pharmacognosy and QAQC test methods and apply this analysis to potential research applications.
- Develop sound foundations in the sciences that prepare the student for science based industry or graduate level study such as ethnobotany, pharmacology, pharmacognosy, clinical graduate work, research, herbal product development and QAQC, bulk herb supplier or herbal agriculture.
- Exhibit knowledge of safety parameters for use of medicinal plants.
Curriculum and course changes in the 2014-2015 Bastyr University Catalog are applicable to students entering during the 2014-2015 academic year. Please refer to the appropriate catalog if interested in curriculum and courses required for any other entering year.Click here to download the PDF file.
Prerequisites - Study Herbal Science
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.
Basic Proficiency and Science Requirements
|English literature or composition||9 quarter credits|
|General psychology||3 quarter credits|
|College Algebra||4 quarter credits|
(science major level with lab)
|8 quarter credits|
|General biology (with lab)||4 quarter credits|
|Botany||3 quarter credits|
General Education Requirements
|Natural science and mathematics||8 quarter credits|
|Arts and humanities||15 quarter credits|
|Social sciences||15 quarter credits|
|Speech communication or
|3 quarter credits|
|Electives||18 quarter creditsThe number of elective credits may vary depending upon the exact number of quarter credits earned in the other prerequisite categories. Total prerequisite credits must equal at least 90 quarter credits.|
Want to know which classes fulfill these prerequisites? Check these lists:
Tuition for Bachelor's Degrees
Average first-year costs for a typical credit load in the 2014-2015 academic year. The first year is considered fall, winter and spring quarters.
Tuition & FeesFees include a $25 quarterly student activity fee. See the University catalog for a full schedule of fees.
Books & Supplies
TotalThe budget used to determine financial-aid eligibility allows for an additional $21,600 for a 9-month period of living expenses.
|Bachelor of Science (All Majors)||45||$23,355||$2,250||$25,605|
See also Financial Aid at Bastyr
PLEASE NOTE: For financial aid purposes, cost of attendance includes costs above, plus $21,600 per nine months to cover room & board, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.
Request Information and Get Updates
Complete this form to do any of the following:
- Request printed information on one of our degree programs
- Sign up to receive our newsletters
If you have already requested materials, or want to proceed directly to the application, you can create an application account here.
Quick Facts - Herbal Sciences Degree
Bachelor of Science with a Major in Herbal Sciences
Kenmore, Washington campus
- 90 transferable quarter credits (60 semester credits).
- 2.75 cumulative GPA or higher,
- Grade C or better in all basic proficiency and science requirement courses
Length of Herbal Program
2 years, full time
Career Opportunities for Graduates
- Herbal industry representative, consultant, formulator, manufacturer or manager
- Quality assurance specialist
- Teacher/instructor at an herbal school
- Production and processing specialist
- Herb cultivator or wildcrafter
- Work in the health/wellness/supplements/cosmetics industry
- Preparation for graduate studies in natural medicine, ethnobotany, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, phytotherapy, botany, horticulture, pharmacognosy, pharmacology, medicine, nursing or nutrition
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.