Naturopaths focus on holistic, alternative and natural medicine, and may make diet and lifestyle recommendations or advise their clients to take nutritional supplements. A master's degree in naturopathy can prepare you to work in a doctor's office or as an independent consultant. Physicians may seek a naturopathy master's as a complementary degree to their M.D., because physicians with this degree can market themselves as holistic or natural physicians.
School and Degree Options
Most naturopathy degrees are at the doctoral, rather than master's, level. For example, the University of Bridgeport and Bastyr University both offer doctorates in naturopathic medicine. However, a few schools offer master's degrees in naturopathy and closely related fields. Kingdom College of Natural Health offers a Master of Science in natural health and a Master of Science in naturopathic psychology. Breyer State University has a master's program in natural health care and wellness consulting.
Admissions and Prerequisites
You'll have to complete a bachelor's degree before you can pursue a master's. Depending upon the school you choose, you may also have to demonstrate previous familiarity with the field. Kingdom College of Natural Health, for example, asks students about previous experience and publications in the field. Your college grades, teacher recommendations and extracurricular activities can also affect your chances of admission.
The specific courses you take will depend upon the program you choose. Kingdom College of Natural Health -- which is not accredited by any major accrediting organization -- offers courses such as biology, microbiology, allergies and nutritional management, chemistry and relaxation techniques. At Breyer State University, students take courses in natural health care, natural health-care protocols, herbology, homeopathy, food science, accupressure and similar topics.
Careers and Continuing Education
To independently practice as a naturopath, you'll need to pursue a doctoral degree in naturopathy. Your ability to practice your discipline may also be affected by state licensing requirements. For example, nutritionists have to be licensed by their state, so to become a naturopathic nutritionist you'll have to meet state licensing requirements for nutritionists. A master's degree, however, may prepare you to serve as a consultant, to make recommendations to doctors and to write about natural health issues.
- University of Bridgeport: Naturopathic Medicine
- Bastyr University: Study Naturopathic Medicine
- Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medicine Colleges: Naturopathic Medicine FAQ
- Kingdom College of Natural Health: Master of Naturopathic Psychology (M.N.Psy.)
- Kingdom College of Natural Health: Master of Science in Natural Health (M.Sc.)
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.