Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (First-Year Online)

Complete your first year of naturopathy courses online

As interest in our Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree has expanded across the globe, so has the demand for greater accessibility to distance learning in all fields of higher education. Starting Fall 2021, we will begin offering students the ability to complete their first year of the naturopathic medicine program at NUNM entirely online.

We’re proud to be the first and only university to offer a CNME approved year-one online ND program. By offering the first year of our naturopathic medicine program online, we’re giving prospective naturopathic medical students a more affordable and accessible option for their first year of medical school.

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Online Naturopathic Degree FAQs

The workload is intensive and equivalent to the in-person ND medical program.

Students who enroll in the NUNM first-year online naturopathy program will complete the first year of their naturopathic medicine degree online over three terms (Fall, Winter, Spring). Each of the three terms will include 26 credits, or 312 hours, of instructional delivery.

Students should expect approximately 21 hours of online, self-paced, asynchronous coursework and five hours of synchronous, scheduled tutorials with faculty.

For each hour of instructional delivery, ND medical students should expect to spend 1-2 hours of studying, group work, completing assignments, and preparing for examinations. The total workload estimate is approximately 60+ hours per week.

Students in their first year of online naturopathic school can expect about 80% (20-22 hours) of instructional delivery in an asynchronous manner, providing students the freedom to access the courses and their instructional materials at any time they choose. The other 20% (4-6 hours) will be conducted synchronously as scheduled tutorials with faculty. The schedule of synchronous activities will be provided well in advance of the start of each term, allowing students to create their own schedule and complete the majority of their coursework independently.

At NUNM, clinical education is equivalent between the in-person and online cohort program. Students begin cultivating real-world ND clinical skills their first year.

A student in either the in-person or online program will take a series of courses, named Clinical Education I, II, and III. Each course consists of 30 didactic/tutorial hours and 10 clinical observation hours.

In the online cohort, the 30 hours of direct clinical observation happens through secure video conference technology. Those 30 hours of clinical observation count towards the 1,200 clinical training hours required for graduation. Total hours will count towards the 4,100 clock hour minimum required by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) for accreditation.

Yes, first year students enrolled in the online ND program will have the option to take electives. ND students are required to complete a total of 16 elective credits to enhance the breadth of their education, but we suggest students take no more than three electives in their first year.

The tutorials will be delivered via a hybrid delivery model: independent and group work, along with scheduled synchronous time.

Labs will be postponed to in-person intensive practicums. Students will complete approximately 14 hours of weekly lab hours during the second year of the program.

Though 80% of the instructional time is asynchronous and can be completed flexibly during the week, the workload is estimated at 60+ hours per week (approximately 26 hours of instructional delivery + 52 hours of studying and completing assignments). This is a level of academic intensity that many have not encountered prior to medical school and does not leave a significant amount of time for work. If you are considering a few hours of part time work per week, we encourage you to wait until you have experienced the first term.
Yes, first year students who already live in Portland may choose to enroll in either the first-year online ND program or the in-person ND program. While our traditional in-person program may be desired for those who learn best in a more structured environment with a fixed schedule, the online program is also available to local residents who require a more flexible schedule or desire a more independent environment for their first year.
The Office of Student Life will actively serve as a comprehensive resource for students transitioning from their 1st year online to their 2nd year on campus. Prior to the commencing 2nd year studies, Student Life will host a customized orientation (training, activities, social events, resources) aimed at preparing the students for the in-person component of the ND program. Resources about available housing will also be shared with students well in advance of the start of the in-person program.
Yes, students will be able complete their first year of their naturopathy degree online and begin to pursue a dual degree in their second year of studies.
No, the online naturopathy courses are only available for the first year of the ND program. While there are no completely-online medical school programs in the US, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education’s (CME) Handbook of Accreditation for Naturopathic Medicine Programs states that “while distance learning may play a role in naturopathic medical education, the CNME task force maintains that the majority of the academic component should occur face-to-face and that any on-line activity should include the provision for peers and instructors to interact with one another in meeting course objectives” Our online naturopathy program remains in compliance with accreditation standards while allowing students to complete the first 25% of their ND degree online while the other 75% of the program remains in-person with required demonstrated clinical and hands-on competencies.

Customize your own career path

NUNM students can pursue areas of focus within the field of natural medicine. With additional degree programs, certificate tracks and faculty mentors, our students have the option to specialize in:

  • Nutrition
  • Global health
  • Chinese medicine and acupuncture
  • Integrative medicine research
  • Midwifery and obstetrics
  • Homeopathy
  • Shiatsu
  • Oncology
  • Physical medicine and bodywork
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pain and opioid management

Have a successful career as a naturopathic doctor

NUNM students are ready for a successful career. In the first year after graduation, more than 90% of our ND graduates have jobs using their degree.* Our curriculum prepares students to pass licensure exams, match with postgraduate residencies, and start a practice.

In their final year, students take a 70-hour course to prepare them for the NPLEX licensing exam and, in 2017, our graduates scored an average of 96% on the NPLEX II.

Our graduates are uniquely qualified to serve in a wide variety of healthcare careers and positions, from primary care doctors in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), to complementary providers in leading oncology hospitals.

*This data was created using a snapshot of employment outcomes collected 15 months after graduation.

Wondering what your career after NUNM could look like?

  • Specialist in an integrative cancer clinic. Watch the video.
  • Best-selling author and expert in women’s health and Post-Birth Control Syndrome. Read the story.
  • Dean of students for health and well-being at a leading liberal arts college. Read the story.
  • Provider in a functional and regenerative medicine clinic. Watch the video.
  • Leading expert, speaker and lecturer on functional gastroenterology. Read the bio.
  • Medical director for a certified laboratory revolutionizing the way hormones are tested. Read the story.

Admissions Requirements for Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university or its foreign equivalent

A GPA of 3.0 or higher (strongly recommended)

Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite courses are designed to ensure entering students are academically prepared for the curriculum of the program. Prerequisite courses may be substituted with comparable coursework if the learning objectives are met at the determination of the Admissions Committee, utilizing the evaluation procedures set by that committee.

Biological Sciences 2 Science-major level. Competencies may be met through courses such as: cell biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, genetics, botany, etc. Content should cover cell biology. Lab work required.
Chemical Sciences 4 Science-major level. Two sequential courses in both general and organic chemistry; biochemistry may serve as a substitute for one organic chemistry course. Lab work required for the general chemistry series.
General Physics 1
Mathematics 1 Must be in algebra, calculus, or statistics.
English Composition 1
Psychology 1 Any general psychology course 100-level or higher.
Social Sciences & Humanities 2 Courses in the areas of anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, linguistics, politics, psychology, sociology art, religion, philosophy, literature, music and other related fields will satisfy this requirement.
  • Biological Sciences — 2 Courses
    Science-major level. Competencies may be met through courses such as: cell biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, genetics, botany, etc. Content should cover cell biology. Lab work required.
  • Chemical Sciences — 4 Courses
    Science-major level. Two sequential courses in both general and organic chemistry; biochemistry may serve as a substitute for one organic chemistry course. Lab work required for the general chemistry series.
  • General Physics — 1 Course
  • Mathematics — 1 Course
    Must be in algebra, calculus, or statistics.
  • English Composition — 1 Course
  • Psychology — 1 Course
    Any general psychology course 100-level or higher.
  • Social Sciences & Humanities — 2 Courses
    Courses in the areas of anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, linguistics, politics, psychology, sociology art, religion, philosophy, literature, music and other related fields will satisfy this requirement.

A grade of C or better is required for all prerequisite coursework. Candidates may apply while in progress.

Documents & Essays

Applicants are required to submit essays to be considered for admission. Essays provide applicants the opportunity to share their background, abilities, interests and experiences, and how these will make them a good candidate for the programs at NUNM. Applicants should share some personal experiences and genuine thoughts in their essays. Explaining why you are applying to NUNM and how you would enrich that community is also helpful. The Admissions Committee will look for writing ability, as well as content when reading the essays.

Required Documents and Essays for the ND Program

  • Resume

    A chronological resume of work, educational, and volunteer experience. Include work experience, internships, research, activities, publications, community service, and any honors/awards received.

  • Personal Statement

    Please write a 2–3 page personal statement, which should include: the development of your decision to become a naturopathic physician or CCM practitioner; recent steps taken to further explore this career path; qualities and/or attributes you might bring to NUNM that might distinguish you from other applicants. (double spaced)

  • ND: Primary Care

    While you might not choose to ultimately practice as a primary care physician, you will be trained as such at NUNM and will be expected to work with all patients without bias or discrimination. Please discuss how you anticipate dealing with the following situations while you are a student at NUNM: a) Providing healthcare to patients who may differ from you in terms of gender identity, religion, political viewpoints, race, sexual orientation, etc. b) Providing treatments that you may have conflicting personal beliefs around but are necessary parts of your naturopathic education, including but not limited to administration of immunizations, pharmaceutical drugs, homeopathy, hormone therapies for patients undergoing gender transitions, etc. (maximum 1,000 words, double spaced)

Estimated Program Cost

First-Year Tuition & Fees for ND*
Credits 82.75
Cost/Credit $464
Tuition $38,396
Fees** $1,077
Total $39,473

* The prices listed above reflect an estimate based on the 2020-2021 academic year.

** Click the dollar amount to see an itemized list of fees for the ND program.

Total ND Degree Credits

  • Core program credits

    286

  • Elective credits

    16

  • Total required credits

    302

    Program News

    Faculty Highlight

    Kimberly Windstar, MEd, ND

    With more than 30 years of teaching experience, Dr. Kimberly Windstar’s extensive medical practice and personal growth work have helped her develop a distinctive style of care. “I strive to create a space of unconditional acceptance for my patients,” she says. Dr. Windstar uses a variety of treatments in her practice, including lifestyle education, botanical medicine, diet and nutritional supplementation, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, holistic pelvic care and more.

    A recognized authority in women’s health, Dr. Windstar supervises student interns on clinical rotations at the NUNM Health Centers and teaches courses in gynecology, tutorials throughout the core curriculum, practitioner cultivation and mindful self-compassion. She is also the course director for the reproductive systems block. Her love of teaching led Dr. Windstar to create unique clinical mentorship opportunities for naturopathic students for nearly 15 years.

    Dr. Windstar received a Master of Education degree from California State College in 1982, and graduated from National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1991 (now known as National University of Natural Medicine) with a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree.