Naturopathic Medicine Program Admissions

For general information on the admissions process, please refer to the Admissions section in this catalog. The information below refers only to the naturopathic medicine program.

Naturopathic Medicine Prerequisites

In selecting applicants for admission, the Bastyr University naturopathic medicine program seeks those qualities of motivation, intellect and character essential to becoming a physician. Applicants are considered on the basis of academic performance, maturity and demonstrated humanitarian qualities. Work and/or volunteer experience in health care, coupled with a concrete exposure to the field of natural medicine (especially shadowing or interviewing a practicing naturopathic physician) is strongly recommended. Applications without evidence of concrete exposure to the field are considered weak. 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.

Please note: If in doubt about a specific prerequisite, contact an admissions advisor before taking the course.

The admissions office may require a course description or course syllabus to verify content. Descriptions may be emailed, faxed or sent by regular mail.

Overall Preparation

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. Students submitting prerequisite coursework with grades of P (passing) may be required to submit additional information to demonstrate their competency in that subject.

Prerequisite Coursework

College-level Algebra 1 course
Chemistry (science-major level)

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.

At least 4 courses
General Biology (science-major level)

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.

2 semesters or 3 quarters

Course must be algebra-based; calculus-based is also accepted. Lab is not required.

1 college-level course

*Intro to General Psych or Developmental/Lifespan Psych

1 course

Strongly Recommended Courses

Though not required for admission, the faculty recommends that students complete biochemistry, anatomy and physiology 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, medical terminology, 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, psychology and physics (there is no CLEP exam for physics). Students who have had prior AP coursework in chemistry and biology may submit AP scores for biology or chemistry exams. Students must submit either the original score received directly from the testing center, or a copy of their high school or college transcripts showing the score results. Since so few high school or college transcripts show score results, it may be most expedient to automatically request test scores be sent 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.

Required Abilities/Skills for Naturopathic Medicine Program Admission

Bastyr University is committed to providing equal opportunities for differently abled people. 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:

A candidate 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. Technological compensation can be made for some disabilities in certain of these areas, but a candidate 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: The candidate 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. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. These are enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.

Communication: A candidate must be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in English 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. A candidate should have the manual dexterity to be able to perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as blood draw, urinalysis, read electrocardiograms (ECGs) and X-rays, and be able to reposition a patient.

A candidate 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 and the suturing of simple wounds. 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, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of her/his 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 workloads 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 that are assessed during the admissions and educational processes.

Admissions Criteria

The admissions committee of the naturopathic medicine program determines the processes and procedures that guide the selection of candidates for the naturopathic program. The committee reviews undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) academic records and performance in the required prerequisite courses. The personal statement, references, resumes and in-person interviews are also evaluated for evidence of the abilities and skills required of naturopathic physicians. The interview also explores the candidate’s awareness of the practice of naturopathic medicine. Bastyr University’s naturopathic medicine program is academically challenging. While no minimum GPA is specified, the mean GPA for entering students in the last five years has exceeded 3.3 for both overall GPA and prerequisite course GPA.


Qualified applicants who submit complete applications and meet the prerequisites may be invited to interview. Applicants are expected to interview at the campus to which they apply, either in Kenmore or San Diego. A limited number of exceptions are made to accommodate special circumstances.