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Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Prerequisites, Requirements & Application Process

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences accepts students for two incoming cohorts per year – one each spring and fall. Below, you’ll find information about the admissions process including requirements, deadlines and more.

Questions? We’re here to help. Call us at 480-222-1136 or email

General Admissions

The following are general admission requirements that must completed and submitted:

  • Complete a four-year bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) prior to matriculation. Total post-secondary coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited or candidate college or university. To search for your institution in the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions visit
  • Official Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended must be sent directly to SCNM electronically to or directly to NDCAS.
  • Complete all prerequisite coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.0 at a regionally accredited or candidate college or university prior to matriculation into the ND program. (Applicants with science courses older than seven (7) years must demonstrate competency in the discipline(s) in question and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.)
  • Laptop and reliable high-speed internet for use in completing college course work.  For a complete listing of SCNM technical requirements please visit our IT Tech Check.
  • 12 semester credits in biology with labs (for science majors)
  • 3 semester credits in general organic chemistry with lab (for science majors)
  • 3 semester credits in biochemistry OR an additional 3 semester credits in organic chemistry (for science majors)
  • 3 semester credits in psychology (developmental psychology is recommended, behavioral or cognitive learning courses will also be considered in lieu of psychology)
  • 6 semester credits in English (3 credits must be in English composition)
  • 6 semester credits in humanities (philosophy, religious studies, fine arts, history, foreign languages, women’s studies, performing arts)

COVID-19 Prerequisite Considerations

SCNM’s admissions will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of our regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant.

In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/No Record (or Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail) and other grading options during the unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruptions.

In addition to Pass/Fail, we will accept spring prerequisites that are delivered via online or distance learning from a regionally accredited institution.

Questions or concerns can be directed to your admissions team.

We encourage you to send us your unofficial transcripts for a prerequisite evaluation. Please email your unofficial transcripts to and include your full name, mailing address and phone number. The above list indicates minimum prerequisite requirements – it should not be inferred that admission is guaranteed for any applicant who meets these requirements.

SCNM accepts either the SCNM Admissions Portal application –or– the NDCAS application. Please select and submit only one application and submit required application documents as directed through that application service.

  1. Applicants for SCNM’s ND program need to submit application through either SCNM’s direct portal or through NDCAS.
  2. Three letters of recommendation mailed directly to either NDCAS or SCNM: One academic reference, one reference from a regulated health care professional, one additional reference from either of the above categories or a past employer/volunteer supervisor.
  3. Personal essay
  4. Curriculum vitae (CV) or professional resume
  5. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, including military training transcripts for veterans, traditional college coursework, and vocational training, showing completion of academic requirements.
  6. In-person interview (qualified applicants selected for interview will be contacted by the Admissions Office)
  7. If accepted into the ND program, you will be required to undergo a criminal background check (CBC) and give permission for the results to be provided to SCNM. All expenses associated with the CBC are the responsibility of the applicant. The offer of admission will not be considered final until completion of the background check, with results deemed acceptable by SCNM.

Spring and Fall 2022 applications are currently being accepted. Please contact your Admissions Representative today to verify term eligibility!

An application fee waiver will be considered once you have completed a transcript pre-evaluation to the naturopathic medicine degree program.

Please contact your admissions representative for more information.

*$115 Fee Waiver Value. Applications submitted through NDCAS do not apply.

The Admissions Committee makes the final decision regarding an applicant’s admission. The decision may be one of the following:

  • Accepted with provisions – must meet admission requirements prior to matriculation
  • Application pooled – admission decision pending review of additional information
  • Admission denied – applicants who are denied may reapply after one (1) year

Applicants who have been offered either full or provisional admission may, in extreme circumstances, apply for a deferral of their entrance, not to exceed two quarters. Applications for deferrals are accepted on a space-available basis.

An application for deferral will not be processed until the admission deposit is received. Students deferring admission must do so by the end of the first week of class in the quarter for which they were accepted. Students applying for a deferral of admission must meet any and all new admission requirements for that entrance year. A student who desires a deferral must make a request in writing to the Admissions Office. A nonrefundable deferral application fee is required to transfer a deposit to a new entering class.

Applicants who have submitted an application for admission to SCNM and do not complete the process may reactivate their application for up to one year after the initial application. The applicant must submit the requirements outlined below directly to SCNM. Applicants who were denied admission to SCNM may reapply after one (1) year and must submit a new application (see Admission Requirements for prescribed program of study).

Below are the requirements for the reapplication process:

  1. Application through SCNM website ( our Application Portal or through NDCAS (
  2. Non-refundable application fee
  3. Updated curriculum vitae/resume
  4. Official transcripts for any post-secondary coursework completed since original application
  5. In-person interview required for ND candidates (qualified applicants selected for interview will be contacted by the Admissions Office). An interview may be required for MS candidates at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.
  6. Any additional admission requirements for prescribed program of study.
  7. If admitted into the ND program, you will be required to undergo a criminal background check (CBC) and give permission for the results to be provided to SCNM. All expenses associated with the CBC are the responsibility of the applicant. The offer of admission will not be considered final until completion of the background check, with results deemed acceptable by SCNM

International Students

Your foreign transcripts must be evaluated by a member organization of either the National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Education Credentials (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE). Fees for this service are the responsibility of the applicant.

SCNM’s Admissions Office reserves the right to require International applicants whose first language is not English to provide an English Language Test report (IELTS or TOEFL preferred) from an approved testing site. SCNM requires a minimum score of 80 on the Internet-based test or IELTS Band 6.5.

International students do not qualify for U.S. federal financial aid. However, there are other options to help fund your SCNM education including alternative or private loans. Please be aware that these options require a United States citizen or permanent resident as a co-signer.

If you are a non-immigrant student, your spouse and children may be admitted into the United States in the F-1 classification during your course of full-time study. This does not apply if you hold dual citizenship, are lawful permanent residents, or have a valid business visa.

If you are applying for an F-1 Student Visa, you must satisfy/submit the following SEVIS requirements:

  1. Complete all outstanding admission requirements
  2. Submit an admission deposit
  3. Submit a completed SCNM Financial Guarantee Form
  4. Supply documentation of sufficient funds. Sufficient funds must cover the cost of the first year of school, books, student fees, and all living expenses. All payments to the College must be made in US funds. Official bank statements, a signed letter of support or an affidavit of support (available from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services), sponsor income verification, or other proof of liquid assets is required to document sufficient funds. The amount required to cover expenses for the first year is listed on the SCNM Financial Guarantee form.

Documentation of sufficient funds is required because the U.S. federal government prohibits off-campus employment during the first year of international study. International students are limited to no more than 20 hours a week of on-campus employment while school is in session and may work full-time during vacation periods, as long as they have maintained status and intend to register for the following quarter. International students are not eligible for federal or state funded student aid programs but may obtain private loans with a U.S. citizen or resident co-borrower. Canadian students also have access to the Canadian federal student loan program.

Upon acceptance to SCNM, you can begin working with the admissions office to initiate the I-20 application immediately. The director of admissions processes and issues the I-20 forms for students with full admission after receipt of admission deposit.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our admissions team.

Your designated school officials (DSOs) are people dedicated to help you, as an F or M student, to maintain your non-immigrant status while you attend a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school.

Dean Ken Donnelly
Dean of Students

Melissa Winquist
Vice President of Student Affairs

Overview of F-1 Optional Practical Training

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is available for F-1 students who are about to graduate/graduated and have secured or are in the process of securing a full-time work opportunity and wish to remain in the U.S. In order to secure optional practical training (OPT) a student must find and secure an employment opportunity, complete a required form and follow an application process. An initial period of 12 months may be awarded by Immigration (USCIS) per degree level. OPT requires that you pursue employment in your area of study, but does not require a specific employer at the time of filing.

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT) and what do you need to know?

  • Optional practical training is one type of work permission available for eligible F-1 students. It allows graduates to get real-world work experience related to their field of study.
  • While a Designated School Official (DSO) recommends OPT in SEVIS, it is the student who must apply for the work permit with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). If the OPT is approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The student must not begin working before the start date on the EAD.
  • No more than 90 days of unemployment is permitted during the initial 12 months of post-completion OPT. Exceeding the limit of unemployment constitutes a loss of your legal status. Be sure to report your changes in employment and address to your Designated Student Officer (DSO) promptly.

OPT Eligibility

To apply for OPT you must first obtain a new I-20 from an SCNM DSO documenting your eligibility for OPT. You will subsequently submit a paper-based application for employment authorization to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). You must be in lawful F-1 status at the time of filing, and your period of OPT may commence only immediately following at least two full and continuous quarters of enrollment.

Application Essentials

Applications for post-completion OPT must be filed and reach USCIS:

  • No earlier than 90 days prior to the completion of study which corresponds to the end date of your I-20.
  • No later than during the grace period, presuming you have not departed the U.S. once studies are completed.
  • Within 30 days of the issuance, date on the original OPT-endorsed Form I-20 given to you by the SCNM DSO.

NOTE: If you have not completed all coursework for your degree and are unsure that you will complete your degree on time, you should consult your SCNM DSO before submitting the application for OPT.

Requesting Start & End Dates of Employment

Students may request OPT to begin on any date from the day after the date of completion of studies up to 60 days after the date of completion of study. Applications for OPT can take three months or more for the USCIS to adjudicate so it is very important to plan accordingly.

Authorized Period of Employment

Students may not begin working until they have received a valid OPT employment authorization card (EAD) issued by the USCIS and the start date has been reached.

How to Apply for F-1 OPT

Step One: Complete the SCNM Online I-20 Request for OPT and Form I-765. Visit the USCIS website for more information. Please complete Form I-765 electronically, save it and print it.

Step Two: Bring printed Form 1-765 along with supporting materials (if available) to an SCNM DSO. Do not submit to our office earlier than the 90 days prior to the end of your I-20.

Step Three: DSO will review all materials and endorse. Pick up the endorsed Forms I-20 and Form I-765 from the SCNM DSO, and follow the OPT USCIS Filing Instructions. The OPT I-20 and full application must be in the hands of Immigration no later than 30 days after the OPT I-20’s issue date. Do not E-File your application.

Step Four (optional): Complete Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, if you wish to receive email and/or text messages when your application has been received. NOTE: USCIS will continue to mail the receipt notices to you. Completion and submission of this form for email and/or text message notification is an option for you and not a required form.

Reporting Requirements While on OPT

While on OPT, students will must report address, phone number and employment information to their DSO. Coming soon: Students will be able to report address, phone number and employment information themselves directly through the SEVP Portal.

  • Name
  • Residential Address
  • Phone & Email Address
  • Employer Information including full address
  • Start Date of Employment and End Date (if known)
  • Job Title
  • Supervisor’s Name, Email Address and Phone Number
  • Any period of unemployment. You must inform your employer that they are also required to inform the SCNM DSO of a loss of employment.
  • Date of departure from the U.S.

Transfer Students

In addition to the standard admission requirements, transfer applicants must also submit the following materials. These letters must be mailed directly from the references to the Admissions Office.

  1. Letter of recommendation from the dean of the school or program from which the applicant is transferring, indicating the student is leaving in good academic standing.
  2. Letter of recommendation from a biomedical science faculty member of the college from which the applicant is transferring, indicating the student is leaving in good academic standing.
  3. SCNM Verification of Student Conduct form signed by the dean of students or registrar of the previously attended institution, verifying that the student was not subject to any disciplinary actions.

Transfer students may matriculate at the beginning of the Fall or Spring quarters.

Transfer applicants studying in the U.S. on a visa must work with the institution they are transferring from to transfer their student visa to SCNM.

The Registrar’s Office makes determinations of acceptable transfer credits. Transfer students must submit a request for an Advanced Standing Evaluation at least one quarter prior to the date of planned matriculation – full materials must be received no later than ten weeks prior to the student’s first day of classes. Students must request and submit transcripts from all prior institutions, including military training transcripts for veterans, traditional college coursework, and vocational training. The possibility of transfer credit can be determined only during the admission process.

All graduate-level courses from U.S. institutions must have been taken at an accredited or candidate institution. Foreign courses will be examined by the academic department. Only those courses that meet each program’s minimum grade requirement will be considered for evaluation (ND requires a “C” or higher, MS programs require a “B” or higher).  All foreign coursework must meet standards approved by the National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Education Credentials. Applicants must request a subject analysis transcript evaluation by an International Transcript Evaluation Service that holds membership in the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

The transfer credit evaluation must include grades, hours, and equivalencies. A course description and/or syllabus must be submitted for each course being evaluated. Course work must have been taken within seven (7) years prior to application. Courses older than seven (7) years may be required to take a challenge examination with the appropriate fees. We reserve the right in all cases to require a competency and/or evaluation or challenge examination, which may result in an additional fee.

Students with graduate course-work in psychology, research, biology, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, physiotherapy or any of the natural medicine modalities (transfer students) typically apply.

There is a $300 evaluation fee for a transfer credit evaluation if completed prior to matriculation into the program. Evaluations for Quarter 1 classes must be finalized and complete prior to the start of Quarter 1. Classes later in the program may be finished during the student’s first term at SCNM.  An official transcript must be on file for the review to be initiated, at which time a review of all appropriate materials will be reviewed.  The student must submit the appropriate syllabus for the offering of the course the student attended and/or college catalog from all schools attended. SCNM may also require the student to submit course syllabi and/or course examinations, if relevant to the request.

Transfer work and Advanced Standing status does not guarantee that a student will graduate in less than the normal four (4) years it takes other students to complete the program.  Not all classes are eligible for transfer work.  Transfer work may only be awarded for classes which have the bulk of the course materials covered to ensure student success in the next sequence of the program.  Advanced standing prior to acceptance does not guarantee admission.


SCNM thanks you for your service! To apply to SCNM, please complete all the standard admission requirements.

SCNM’s ND program is an approved program of study by the Arizona State Approving Agency (ASAA). Eligibility for VA benefits is determined by the appropriate VA benefits office. Students must contact the VA office and complete required approval forms to determine eligibility.

After the student has completed the process, the student must submit their notice of eligibility and status of benefits to the Registrar’s Office. VA benefits are not considered Estimated Financial Assistance when determining eligibility for Federal Direct Loans. Veterans must continue to achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards their educational program(s) each quarter in order to remain eligible for benefits. SCNM must report to the VA office if a student is not meeting SAP or if there is a change in enrollment status.

If you served on active duty, you might be eligible for education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. For example, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® provides financial support for educational and housing expenses to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001 or individuals discharged with a service connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

If you are currently serving in the military, you may be eligible for funding offered through the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance program. Check your eligibility status and the amount for which you qualify with your service prior to enrolling.

If you are the spouse or child of a service member, you may be eligible for transfer of the service member’s Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to you.

SCNM is an approved participant in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement program (Yellow Ribbon program). Individuals who qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill® at the 100% rate may be eligible for additional funding to help them achieve their educational goals.

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post 9/11 GI Bill® that allows veterans to attend private schools and graduate programs costing more than the annual state tuition cap. Under the program, SCNM offers a veterans-only scholarship which the VA will then match. This benefit is offered to a limited number of students on a first come, first-served basis. Veterans should contact the Registrar’s Office for further inquiry of benefits and submission of the Yellow Ribbon Program Application.

Any individual covered by VA benefits is eligible to attend or participate in courses during the period beginning on the date on which the individual provides SCNM a certificate of eligibility for entitlement to educational assistance under Chapter 31 or 33 (a “certificate of eligibility” can also include a “Statement of Benefits” obtained from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) website – eBenefits, or a VAF 28-1905 form for chapter 31 authorization purposes) and ending on the earlier of the following dates: (1) the date on which payment from the VA is made to SCNM, or (2) 90 days after the date SCNM certified tuition and fees following the receipt of the certificate of eligibility.

SCNM will not impose any penalty, including assessment of late fees; the denial of access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities; or the requirement that a covered individual borrow additional funds on any covered individual because of the individual’s inability to meet their financial obligations to the institution due to the delayed disbursement funding from VA under Chapter 31 or 33 (refer to Military Leave of Absence and to the Withdrawal Refund Policy).

SCNM has agreed to comply with the Principles of Excellence as issued in Executive Order 13607 and signed on 4/27/2012.

Out-of-state students, please contact your VA regional office in your area. In-state students, please contact the Muskogee office at 1.888.442.4551 or via email at

For GI Bill benefits, please log onto; all other inquiries log onto