PhD in Holistic Health and Medicine: Degree Info for Doctoral Students

Learn about Ph.D. programs that are related to holistic health and medicine. Read about the prerequisites for doctoral students, and explore their typical coursework. Check out popular careers and employment outlook information.

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Essential Information

Holistic health is a medical alternative that focuses on a whole-body approach to healing, medicine and overall health. While holistic health and medicine is not offered as a doctoral degree program, students can enroll in a mind-body medicine Ph.D. program. Programs such as the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mind-Body Medicine are designed to prepare students to research, teach and practice alternative medicine and to apply holistic health theories to the promotion of physical and emotional wellness.

Students in this degree program study healthcare systems, mind-body approaches to grief, loss and stress, psychophysiology and ethics in healthcare. Program participants attend seminars, complete a clinical practicum and write a doctoral thesis that demonstrates mastery in the field. Acupuncturists, psychologists and chiropractors are among the potential professional outcomes of such programs. Candidates who also hold traditional medical degrees may qualify for board certification.

Education Prerequisites

Admission to a Ph.D. program in mind-body medicine requires a bachelor's and master's degree from an accredited institution. Other admission requirements include a high undergraduate or graduate GPA, academic and professional references, a personal statement essay and a resume.

Program Coursework

Coursework in this program includes the comprehensive study of physical and emotional health through non-traditional healing and wellness methods. Typical courses in this program include:

  • Meditation
  • Biofeedback
  • Hypnosis
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition

Popular Careers

Mind-body medicine and holistic health professionals are employed in a variety of health care settings. Many graduates of this Ph.D. program pursue a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and become practicing physicians. Popular career choices for graduates include:

  • Chiropractor
  • Acupuncturist
  • Nutritionist
  • Massage therapist
  • Psychologist

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of November 2013, did not keep statistics specifically on holistic medicine occupations. The BLS projected that job growth for health diagnosing and treating practitioners in general would be 26% from 2010-2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, healthcare support occupations could expect much faster-than-average job growth of 34% during this decade.

Massage therapists could expect job growth of 20% and, as of May 2012, these professionals made a median annual salary of $35,970. Another example are chiropractors who, the BLS reported, could expect job growth of 28% from 2010-2020 and who made a median annual salary of $66,160 as of May 2012.

Dietitians and nutritionists could expect 20% job growth and earned a median annual salary of $55,240. For psychologists, the job growth projection was 22%. Clinical, counseling and school psychologists earned a median annual salary of $67,650 as of May 2012, the BLS reported.

Continuing Education Information

Mind-body medicine Ph.D. graduates who also hold a M.D. or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine can pursue board certification from the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM). Board certification requires a professional reference, autobiographical essay, in-person interview and passing scores on an examination. The ABIHM also offers continuing education credits through an annual Science and Clinical Application of Integrative Holistic Medicine conference.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics