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Just Announced: 5-Year Program and New Academic Calendar

Just Announced: 5-Year Program and New Academic Calendar


Since SCNM was the first naturopathic medical school to reinvent the curriculum in more than 30 years, it should come as no surprise that we are the first to revise it again. Over the past four years, we reviewed course evaluations, measured student stress, sought feedback from faculty, and listened to students. For the past 13 months, a faculty-led task force met to explore ways to improve students' learning experiences and decrease stress. These improvements include:

  • The academic calendar will be comprised of four 11-week quarters.
    • The summer quarter, which students felt was stressful, will increase from 8 to 11 weeks. The 11-week summer quarter will include a 3-week NPLEX review class. 
    • Fall classes begin Oct. 6, 2014 (Mandatory new student orientation is Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, 2014)
    • Winter start has been changed to the spring. Classes begin Apr. 13, 2015 (Mandatory new student orientation is Apr. 7 - 10, 2015)
  • Redefining year one Human Biology for improved student learning, comprehension and flexibility. The HUBI (Human Biology) block will be broken into five courses. In the past, the 24-credit HUBI had a long-lasting effect on student GPAs. The course content will still be taught in a systems-based format, aligning subject matter by biological systems rather than by discipline (i.e., students will learn the cardiovascular system concurrently in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, histology and embryology). View the 4-year Program of Study here.
  • Addition of a HUBI capstone course at the end of year one. To enhance knowledge retention throughout the information-rich first year, this cumulative course integrates content to better prepare students for preclinical medicine in year two and for the NPLEX Part I exam.
  • NPLEX Part I review course at the end of year two. The curriculum provides a significant block of time to formally review, and integrate knowledge from the first two years. This course will also enhance preparation for NPLEX Part I.
  • NPLEX Part II review course at the end of year four.
  • Addition of a 5-year program for the ND degree. Some students take longer to complete their naturopathic degree. In response, the College is offering a 5-year track allowing students to distribute the basic science and preclinical medicine courses across three years (instead of two); the remaining two years are unchanged. The 5-year track offers flexibility for students who begin in the 4-year track but struggle with courses in the Human Biology track by offering an uninterrupted alternate program of study. View the 5-year Program of Study here.

At SCNM, we value student perspectives when making such significant changes. Students played a key role in this process by participating in committees, focus groups and the Curriculum Committee. Students, staff and faculty widely endorse these revisions and look forward to continued improvement in the SCNM experience.

We are very excited about these changes and understand that you'll have some questions. If you do, please don't hesitate to reach out to the admissions department at 888.882.7266.

Thank you,

Paul Mittman, ND, EdD


Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine