Is this career right for you?

  • Are you interested in alternatives to Western medicine?
  • Do you like the sciences?
  • Can you market yourself?
  • Can you handle bureaucracy and state-by-state licensing requirements?

Prerequisite courses

Naturopathic medical schools seek applicants who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and have done well in their coursework. Naturopathic medical schools are seeking well-rounded, compassionate, creative, bright, service-minded individuals. Any major is acceptable to pursue this career. The best major to choose is one you find interesting and challenging.

Refer to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges for a list of programs in North America as well as academic prerequisite coursework.

The courses listed below meet the requirements for most Naturopathic medical schools, however, there is variability among school policies. Several programs require or recommend coursework in Social Sciences, Humanities, Psychology, and English. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges provides a list of school’s prerequisites and admissions requirements.

You are responsible for verifying the prerequisites for each of the schools that interest you. 

All schools have differing policies for AP and IB credits and it is important to verify each school’s policy for which you would like to apply. The Association of Chiropractic Colleges provides a list of school’s prerequisites and admissions requirements. It is important to take associated labs with science-based courses.


Most schools require 6 semester credits (with labs) in biology, but some require as many as 12 semester credits. There are two options at CU Boulder available to fulfill the general biology requirements.

Option 1:

  • General Biology 1 and Lab (EBIO 1210 and EBIO 1230), 4 credits
  • General Biology 2 and Lab (EBIO 1220 and EBIO 1240), 4 credits

Option 2:

  • Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology (MCDB 1150), 3 credits
  • Principles of Genetics (MCDB 2150), 3 credits
  • 2 credits of first-year biology labs - choose one:
    • From Dirt to DNA: Phage Genomics Lab (MCDB 1161), 2 credits
    • Drug Discovery Through Hands-on Screens (MCDB 1171), 2 credits
    • Biological Probiotic/Drug Discovery Through Hands-on Screens (MCDB 1181/IPHY 1181), 2 credits
    • Drug Discovery Through Hands-on Screens 2 (MCDB 2171), 2 credits

Additionally, for those schools that require more than 6 semester credits of biology courses, students may want to consider other courses, such as genetics, cell biology, immunology, microbiology, anatomy, or physiology. Occasionally, genetics, micropbiology, anatomy, and physiology courses will be expected of students, even though they may not be required.


Generally two courses with associated labs in general (inorganic) chemistry, one course in organic chemistry, and one in biochemistry are required.

  • Introductory Chemistry (CHEM 1021), 4 credits (Recommended, but optional to provide foundational knowledge)
  • General Chemistry 1 and Lab (CHEM 1113 and CHEM 1114), 5 credits
  • General Chemistry 2 and Lab (CHEM 1133 and CHEM 1134), 5 credits
  • Organic Chemistry 1 and Lab (CHEM 3311 and CHEM 3321), 5 credits
  • Biochemistry (BCHM 4611), 3 credits

Note: Biochemistry majors should follow major guidelines for chemistry and biochemistry courses.


Not all schools require Physics, but there are some that require at least one college-level Physics course. At CU Boulder, you have the option of taking an algebra-based sequence or a calculus-based sequence. Many schools recommend the algebra-based sequence.

  • General Physics 1 (PHYS 2010), 5 credits, lab included


Some schools specifically expect College Algebra (MATH 1011), 3 credits.

Writing/English Composition

Most schools will look for one to two semesters of writing or English Literature/Composition courses.


Some schools expect one semester of General Psychology (PSYC 1001), 3 credits.

Additional Classes

Some programs require or recommend additional coursework in at least 6 semester credits of humanities courses, such as sociology, philosophy, fine arts, history, or women's studies. Some schools will include foreign language courses in this section, and some will not.

Other Desired Traits and Experiences

The prerequisite coursework is the minimum required preparation for the study of naturopathic medicine. In addition to focusing on strong academic preparation, Pre-Naturopathic students should also engage in activities that develop and demonstrate the personal attributes that are valued in healthcare professionals and should engage in shadowing experiences, observing naturopathic medical practitioners and in work or volutneer experience, especially experiences in healthcare.

Updated June 2022