Prerequisites Overview (ND)
Applicants are considered on the basis of academic performance, maturity and demonstrated humanitarian qualities. In evaluating applicants, the Schools of Naturopathic Medicine seeks qualities of motivation, intellect and character essential to becoming a physician.
Concrete exposure to the practice of naturopathic medicine through job-shadowing or interviews with NDs is strongly recommended. Work or volunteer experience in other types of health care is a plus. The prerequisite coursework is the minimum required preparation for the study of naturopathic medicine. Applicants may apply with coursework still in progress, but must complete prerequisites before beginning the program.
Please note: If you are unsure about a specific prerequisite, contact an admissions advisor before taking the course. The admissions office may require a course description to verify content. Descriptions may be read over the phone, e-mailed, faxed or sent by regular mail.
Suggested Reading for ND Applicants
Bastyr University librarians have compiled volumes of useful reading material for NDs and other health care practitioners. The guide lists core books and journals that naturopathic doctors and other health practioners interested in natural medicine will find clinically useful.
Fulfill ND Prerequisites in Summer
The following courses are generally available to fill prerequisites during the summer quarter for the Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine program. Summer registration information is sent to all applicants by the admissions office each spring. Please contact Admissions with questions: (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.
Required Abilities & Skills (ND)
Bastyr University is committed to providing equal opportunities for differently-abled persons. The following policy has been adapted from the American Association of Medical Colleges guidelines to ensure that prospective students have the physical and mental capacities to perform the required duties of a naturopathic physician.
Candidates for the naturopathic medicine degree must be able to demonstrate appropriate observational and communication skills, motor function, intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social maturity. Technology can compensate for some disabilities in certain areas, but candidates should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary means that a candidate's judgment must be mediated by someone else's power of selection and observation.
- Observation: Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, including but not limited to microbiologic cultures and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. Candidates must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation requires the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. These are enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
- Communication: Candidates must be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communications. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.
- Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Candidates should be able to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), re-position a patient, carry out diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and read ECGs and x-rays. Candidates should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
- Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
- Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing work loads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities assessed during the admissions and educational processes.
See the Bastyr University Catalog for more information.
Prerequisite Coursework (ND)
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.
Completion of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college/university is required. No specific major is advised. In addition to a strong preparation in the sciences, a broad background in the humanities and liberal arts is encouraged. Prerequisite coursework is used to determine a student’s preparation for the naturopathic program. No credit is given for prerequisite coursework earning a C- or lower.
- College-level Algebra: 1 course
- Chemistry (science-major level): at least 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. The chemistry sequence should include an introduction to biological molecules. (The standard prerequisite for science-major level organic chemistry is one year of general chemistry.) Appropriate lab work required.
- General Biology (science-major level): 2 semesters or 3 quarters. Must cover concepts in cellular biology and genetics. Appropriate 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 psychology is recommended.
Optional Summer Start
Applicants who have completed all of the prerequisite coursework and who have been fully admitted to the ND program may take selected first-year ND courses the summer prior to beginning the ND program. This helps to significantly lighten the first-year course load.
Strongly Recommended Courses
Though not required for admission, faculty recommend students complete biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, and botany 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 and English composition.
Age of Course
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 required.
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.
Courses that Meet Prerequisite Requirements (ND)
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 fall; however, these courses are subject to change. If you have questions about a specific course, please contact an admissions advisor by calling (425) 602-3330.