Naturopathic Medicine

There are many pieces to the naturopathic medical school application, including your GPA, personal statement, list of experiences, letters of recommendation, and biographical information. Use the navigation below to explore each aspect of preparing for naturopathic medical school.

What is a Naturopathic Physician?

Becoming a Naturopathic Physician

Academic Preparation


Applying to Naturopathic Medical School

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Naturopathic Physician


The scope of practice NDs are trained in can include:
  • Nutrition
  • Botanical medicine
  • Physical medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Physical and clinical diagnosis
  • Laboratory diagnosis and diagnostic imaging
  • Emergency medicine
  • Psychology
  • Pharmacology
  • Minor surgery
  • Acupuncture and Oriental medicine*

*Included in scope of practice in some states and provinces.

  • Naturopathic Medicine combines both nature and modern medicine to stimulate the body to heal itself.  Naturopathic Physicians (ND) are primary care providers trained to diagnose and treat patients with a range of acute and chronic health conditions.  Naturopathic Medicine believes in looking at more than just the body and take into account the mind and spirit of the individual.  To learn more about Naturopathic Medicine, visit AANMC's website. 

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Becoming a Naturopathic Physician

  1. Obtain a bachelor's degree and complete all pre-medical requirements, including prerequisites and experiences (4+ years)
  2. Attend a naturopathic medical school (4 years)
  3. Pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX)
  4. Become licensed in the state you wish to practice
  5. Maintain certification & complete Continuing Medical Education (ongoing)

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Academic Preparation

Myth: If I'm going to get a C- in a class, I should intentionally get a D or F in that class in order to retake it for a better grade.

Fact: Do not fail a class on purpose in order to retake it for a better grade. Even though the lower grade will not be included in your UC Davis GPA, it will remain on your transcript and most centralized applications will count that first grade into your application GPA.

Additionally, the health profession schools will still see it. It is better to have a C- in the course and improve through other courses in the same discipline than to take a D or F.

Most health professional schools require all prerequisites to be completed with a C or higher. Although you cannot repeat the C- at UC Davis, you will need to repeat it somewhere else either over a summer or after graduation.

If you need to discuss this or any other academic difficulty futher, please make an appointment with a staff advisor. 


Most schools require:
General Biology (2ABC)
General Chemistry (2ABC)
Organic Chemistry
Physics (7ABC)
Psychology (PSC 1)
English Composition

*Check your major requirements before choosing classes.

Note: The above courses are only suggested, not absolute. 

  • You may choose any major while planning to pursue Naturopathic Medicine, however some schools prefer majors in or having a strong foundation in the sciences. 
  • All pre-health students should strive for a minimum GPA of 3.0, although the better you perform, the more opportunities you will have. Students who enter the program will typically have an average GPA between 3.1 – 3.3 at each institution.  Most ND schools want to see students receive no less than a C in each of their pre-requisite courses.   
  • Visit AANMC's prerequisite page to view the list of prerequisites required by each naturopathic medical school. 

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Standardized Tests

  • The MCAT and/or the GRE are not required for admission into naturopathic medical school.  


Myth: I can do a lot of meaningful experiences to make up for a weaker GPA.

Fact:  Having many meaningful activities will NOT make up for a low GPA.

You must focus on your grades during your undergraduate years, earn at least a 3.0, and then begin adding experiences. You can always take a year or two off after graduation to gain more experience. It is better to graduate from UC Davis with a higher GPA and less experiences than lots of experiences but a low GPA. 

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Applying to Naturopathic Medical School

  • The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Centralized Application Services (NDCAS) is used by 4 out of the 7 Naturopathic Medicine Schools:
    • Boucher Institute of Medicine
    • Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
    • Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences
    • University of Bridgepoint College of Naturopathic Medicine
  • The 3 remaining schools require that potential applicants apply through their website or own application system.  Please check their websites for further details. 
Personal Statement
  • The NDCAS personal statement contains the following prompts:
    • Why do you want to become a naturopathic doctor?
    • What is the role of naturopathic medicine/naturopathic doctors in the healthcare system?
    • How do you see the naturopathic profession evolving?
    • Discuss any life experiences that have helped to prepare you for the rigorous academic demands and individual challenges associated with this program of study.
  • The naturopathic medical school personal statement also varies by school, but generally the personal statement will answer how and why there is an interest in the specific ND program to which the applicant is applying to. 
  • Personal statements are limited to 6000 characters (including spaces), approximately 1 page in length.
  • The personal statement is your first chance to provide admissions committees with subjective information about your qualifications and your reasons for choosing this particular career. In other words, the personal statement is your initial opportunity to present yourself as an interesting and unique applicant who deserves a closer look.
Letters of Recommendation
  • Naturopathic medical schools require a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation, or evaluations. The maximum amount that can be submitted is 5.
  • One reference must be academic (i.e. faculty), one reference must be from a healthcare professional, and other evaluators can be employers or advisors that can attest to your abilities.
  • Interviews are required by all naturopathic medical schools and are offered to eligible applicants later on in the admissions process. Interview styles include conversations with faculty members, admissions counselors, and/or current students, and can be traditional or situational type interviews. 
Supplemental Applications
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resumes may be requested by schools as a supplement to your application. Check with schools to see if a CV or Resume is required to be submitted with NDCAS. 
Choosing Naturopathic Medical Schools

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I study abroad?

Studying abroad is a wonderful experience that we encourage you to pursue. It is a valuable experience that provides the opportunity for growth in both maturity and cultural awareness.

You should not study abroad because you are pre-health in an effort to make your application stand out. You should study abroad because you want to gain the experience.

If your study abroad program was through UC Davis Study Abroad or UC Education Abroad (UCEAP), then your coursework will be on your official UC Davis transcript and fullfil prerequisites. If you studied abroad directly through a foreign institution, then your coursework will be on a "foreign transcript," which most health professional schools do not accept.

Which classes count towards the science GPA?

You can find which classes are calculated in your science GPA here.

To calculate your science GPA, pull up your Academic Record in OASIS. Along the left side of the course list you will see boxes next to each course. Check off the boxes for the courses you wish to be included in the GPA calculation on the right side of the page.

When should I start writing my personal statement?

The personal statement should be a reflective, well-polished document. You can create your first draft as soon as you want. The more time you give yourself to get feedback and revise the better. Health Professions Advising advisors are happy to read your essay and give you feedback, but please make the appointment at least a month before your deadline.

Please bring a printed draft of your personal statement to appointments and drop-in advising.

What is the difference between ND and MD?

There are many similarities between a naturopathic doctor and allopathic doctor in terms of education and practice. However, both professions also have different approaches, philosophies, and treatments to health issues and healthcare. Medical doctors attend allopathic medical schools while naturopathic doctors attend accredited naturopathic medical schools; however, much of the curriculum for both schools can be similar. Both schools teach the same general education for the first two years of schooling, i.e. biomedical sciences (anatomy, physiology, etc.). To differentiate the two, ND schools focus more on non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical treatments in regards to patient care, and are also more in-depth with learning about lifestyle, diet/nutrition, and other aspects of healthy living. Naturopathic medicine differs from allopathic medicine in that ND's tend to be more centered within primary care and will often focus more on prevention of illness and the treatment of chronic ailments. 

What can I do with an ND degree?

Naturopathic doctors can work in clinics or hospitals treating patients, become administrators within healthcare industries and companies, and work in academia as educators or researchers.

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