The National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), Portland, Oregon, will begin offering undergraduate programs—a bachelor of science in integrative health sciences and a bachelor of science in nutrition—in fall 2016. NCNM received approval to begin both programs from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the regional accreditation agency for postsecondary educational institutions recognized by the US Department of Education. The new 2-year undergraduate degree programs, offered by the new School of Undergraduate & Part-Time Studies, will join the medical school’s rapidly expanding roster of postgraduate programs, which include the schools of naturopathic medicine, classical Chinese medicine, and research and graduate studies.
The increasing interest in natural and integrative medicine, as well as the critical need to strengthen the healthcare workforce in the United States, has heightened the importance of adequately preparing students for professions in the health and wellness fields. As integrative medicine expands into hospitals and clinics throughout the country, it becomes ever more necessary for NCNM and other educational institutions to provide accessible pathways for future students in graduate and doctoral medical programs. These new undergraduate degrees are designed to help them develop the critical thinking and skills required for future graduate medical training.
The programs are designed for students who have previously completed 2 years of college course work: community college students who want to complete their undergrad degree; transfer students from a traditional 4-year college or university; or students who have previously withdrawn from a bachelor’s program but want to continue.
Degree Program Overview
Both undergrad programs blend traditional healing knowledge with contemporary science and evidence-based medicine. To accomplish these goals, each program consists of 2 threads that are integrated throughout the curriculum: a core thread (integrative health sciences or nutrition), a hard sciences thread (eg, genetics, immunology, or physics), and a social sciences thread (eg, ethics, cultural competency, or self-reflection).
The integrative health sciences degree features a variety of complementary and integrative medical topics such as herbal medicine, whole-food nutrition, and mind-body medicine. The nutrition degree focuses on topics such as whole-foods nutrition and the connection between diet and disease. Both programs feature a capstone project in which students are required to draw on all aspects of the curriculum to develop a final project or research paper or complete an internship.