Bastyr University

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Bastyr University
Students 0006.JPG
Former names
John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine
Bastyr College
Motto Leading innovation in natural health education
Established 1978
President Charles "Mac" Powell
Provost Timothy C. Callahan
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 1018
Location Kenmore, Washington,

47°43′49″N 122°15′10″W / 47.7304°N 122.2528°W / 47.7304; -122.2528
Campus 51 acres

Bastyr University is an alternative medicine university with a campus in Kenmore, Washington, and one in San Diego, California. Programs include naturopathy, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, nutrition, herbal medicine, ayurvedic medicine, psychology, and midwifery among others. Its main campus is on a forested property just north of Seattle, and its second campus opened in San Diego in September 2012. Bastyr operates a teaching clinic, Bastyr Center for Natural Health, in Seattle's Fremont/ Wallingford neighborhood.

Bastyr's programs are controversial for teaching subjects that are considered pseudoscience and quackery by the scientific and medical communities.[1][2] Quackwatch includes Bastyr University in its list of "questionable organizations" as a school which is "accredited but not recommended".[3]


Bastyr University was established in 1978 as the John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine in Seattle, Washington, by Sheila Quinn, Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr., William A. Mitchell, Jr., and Les Griffith. It is named after John Bastyr, a naturopath and chiropractor in the Seattle area who promoted naturopathic medicine through the 1960s.[4] It has offered baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degree programs since 1989.[5] Pizzorno served as president until his retirement in June 2000.[6] During his tenure, Bastyr became the first accredited, university of natural medicine and the first NIH-funded center for alternative medicine research.[6]

In 1984, the school was renamed Bastyr College. In 1994, it became Bastyr University. In 1996, Bastyr relocated to its current location in the Saint Thomas Center, formerly St. Edward Seminary, a Catholic seminary building in the Inglewood-Finn Hill neighborhood of Kenmore, Washington. Its campus is surrounded by Saint Edward State Park's fir and hemlock forest. In November, 2005, the university purchased the property, which it had been leasing from the Archdiocese of Seattle.[7] In 2010, Bastyr merged with Seattle Midwifery School and established the nation's first regionally accredited and articulated direct-entry Master of Science in Midwifery degree.[8][better source needed]

Bastyr University Medicinal Herb Garden
Bastyr University courtyard - resident turtles
Medicinal herb garden

Academic programs[edit]

Bastyr offers bachelor's completion, master's, combined undergraduate/masters, doctoral, and certificate programs.[5] Average first-year cost (tuition, fees, and books) not including room and board for undergraduate programs is $26,523,[9] and for the doctorate in naturopathic medicine is $39,589.[10]

Doctoral programs[edit]

  • Naturopathic Medicine

Master's programs[edit]

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Ayurvedic Sciences (Program began in fall 2013.)
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Midwifery
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition and Clinical Health Psychology

Undergraduate programs[edit]

The Bachelor of Science degree completion programs require an average of two years' undergraduate coursework at another institution before transferring to Bastyr.

  • Exercise Science and Wellness
  • Health Psychology
  • Herbal Sciences
  • Integrated Human Biology
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition and Culinary Arts
  • Nutrition and Exercise Science

Combined bachelor's/master's programs[edit]

  • Acupuncture or Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • Midwifery

Certificate programs[edit]

  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Holistic Landscape Design

Continuing education[edit]

Bastyr also offers many non-degree continuing education courses. The Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations offers courses for birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and lactation and childbirth educators.[11]


Bastyr's main campus sits on 51 acres of forests and athletic fields near Lake Washington. The Saint Edward State Park forest surrounds it on three sides. In 2009, the Kenmore City Council approved Bastyr University’s Master Plan. The plan was bolstered by Bastyr's offer to lease on-campus athletic fields for public use and community scheduling.[12] Facilities include a student village of 11 cottage-style buildings designed to blend into the campus's natural setting it was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification, and other green awards.[13][14] The campus includes a secular European-style chapel used for choral performances, weddings, and other events.[15] Built in the 1950s the building was originally St. Edward Seminary, features include, hand-carved oak paneling, marble columns, terrazzo floors and glass mosaic artwork. The chapel's acoustics have attracted Hollywood filmmakers, scores for Brokeback Mountain, About Schmidt, Mr. Holland's Opus, Mirror Mirror, and other films (and, more recently, video games) have been recorded in the chapel. The musician Dave Matthews used it to record the orchestral track for one of his albums.[16] The Seattle Times reported that the acoustics were a deliberate focus on the first major assignment of a new architect in the late 1950s.[17] The library holds materials on alternative and conventional medicine including a collection of journals.[18] Seattle chef Jim Watkins became director of food services in 2011 and introduced meat dishes to the vegetarian menu. [19] Watkins' leadership and the dining commons have been featured in The Seattle Times,[20] Edible Seattle,[21] and U.S. News & World Report.[22]

California campus[edit]

Bastyr University California opened in San Diego in September 2012 and offers the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program. The campus also offers birth professions training through Bastyr's Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations. Bastyr University California is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education as of February 2012.[23] The campus includes the Bastyr University Clinic, which offers training for students and naturopathic care for patients.

Research programs[edit]

The Tierney Basic Sciences Research Laboratory was the first research laboratory at a natural health university when it opened in 2000.[7] The center researches detoxification.[24][25][dubious ] The Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Center (BIORC), located at the Clinical Research Center, conducts studies of integrative care for breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other cancers.[citation needed] One study is funded by a $3.1 million grant awarded in 2010 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health.[citation needed] The Center for Student Research supports, funds, and provides faculty mentorship for student projects.[26]


Bastyr University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).

The Master of Science in Acupuncture (MSA), the Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MSAOM), and the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).[citation needed]

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has accredited Bastyr's Bachelor of Science with a Major in Nutrition with Didactic Program in Dietetics, Master of Science in Nutrition with Didactic Program in Dietetics, and Dietetic Internship.[27]

Bastyr University has received approval from the state of Washington as a recognized midwifery training facility and provides education for midwifery students in the articulated Bachelor/Master of Science in Midwifery degree. Both programs are accredited through the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council.[28]

The university is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges and Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.[citation needed]


Further information: Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Pseudoscience

The Bastyr curriculum has been criticized for teaching pseudoscience and quackery, as courses in homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, and ayurvedic methods lack a compelling evidence basis.[29][30] Clinical training in the naturopathic medicine program was revealed to be significantly fewer hours than what Bastyr claims to provide its students, focusing on dubious diagnostics to prescribe experimental and pseudoscientific treatments that do not adhere to medical standards of care.[31] Research conducted at Bastyr has been criticized as being a waste of taxpayer dollars by studying implausible treatments inconsistent with the best understandings of science and medicine.[32][33]

Naturopaths trained at Bastyr are required to study homeopathy.[34] David Gorski has been highly critical of this requirement; for him this makes the university fail the "litmus test" of whether it adheres to "science and reality".[35]

In 2007, Bastyr University was found by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to have violated the standards of academic freedom and shared governance for faculty members who were fired without cause of academic due process.[36] Bastyr has been placed on the AAUP censure list for violating generally recognized principles of academic freedom and tenure.[37][38]


  1. ^ Atwood, Kimball C., IV (2003). "Naturopathy: A critical appraisal". Medscape General Medicine 5 (4): 39. PMID 14745386. (registration required)
  2. ^ Barrett, Stephen (November 26, 2013). "A close look at naturopathy". QuackWatch. Retrieved 2015-09-25. 
  3. ^ "Questionable Organizations: An Overview". Quackwatch. Retrieved January 2015. 
  4. ^ History & Heritage | Bastyr University
  5. ^ a b NWCCU Institutions A - D
  6. ^ a b Biography: Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr., ND
  7. ^ a b History & Heritage | Bastyr University
  8. ^ Bastyr University Department of Midwifery | Formerly Seattle Midwifery School | Midwifery Training Through the Nations Oldest Direct-Entry Program
  9. ^ "Fund Your Undergraduate Degree". Bastyr University. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Fund Your Graduate Degree: Graduate Tuition". Bastyr University. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "Health, Science & Environment". The Washington Post. August 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ The City of Kenmore, Kenmore City Council Unanimously Approves Bastyr University Master Plan PDF
  13. ^ Comfort Zone - September/October 2011 - Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club
  14. ^ Sustainable On Campus Housing | Bastyr University
  15. ^ Seattle Area Wedding Chapel Rental | Bastyr University
  16. ^ Long, Katherine (July 1, 2009). "Bastyr Chapel is feast for ears, eyes". The Seattle Times. 
  17. ^ Long, Katherine (August 10, 2009). "Bastyr Chapel architect sets record straight on acoustics". The Seattle Times. 
  18. ^ Library | Bastyr University
  19. ^ Chef Jim Watkins Stirs up Plans for the Bastyr Cafeteria | Bastyr University
  20. ^ Cicero, Providence (January 7, 2012). "Mindful eating is Bastyr chef's mission". The Seattle Times. 
  21. ^ Sophisticated Nutrition | November/December 2011
  22. ^ Colleges That Offer Courses, Choices for Vegetarians - US News and World Report
  23. ^ Bastyr's California Campus Receives Accreditation | Bastyr University
  24. ^ Sweating for science: Bastyr studying if saunas are helpful or harmful | King 5 News
  25. ^ Study: Are saunas the best way to rid your body of toxins? - Seattle News -
  26. ^ Alternative Medicine Research Training | Bastyr University
  27. ^ "Didactic Programs in Dietetics". Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  28. ^ Accreditation | Bastyr University
  29. ^ Atwood IV, Kimball. C. (March 26, 2004). "Naturopathy, pseudoscience, and medicine: Myths and fallacies vs truth". Medscape General Medicine 6 (1): 33. PMC 1140750. PMID 15208545. 
  30. ^ Palmer, Brian (3 June 2014). "Quacking All the Way to the Bank". Slate. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  31. ^ Hermes, Britt. "ND Confession, Part 1: Clinical training inside and out". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  32. ^ Mielczarek, Eugenie V.; Engler, Brian D. (2014). "Selling Pseudoscience: A Rent in the Fabric of American Medicine". Skeptical Inquirer 38.3. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  33. ^ Atwood, Kimball C. (2003). "The Ongoing Problem with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine". Skeptical Inquirer 25.7. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  34. ^ "Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Program". Bastyr University. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  35. ^ Gorski D (21 February 2011). "Naturopathy and science". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved March 2015. 
  36. ^ American Association of University Professors (2007). Academic Freedom and Tenure: Bastyr University (PDF) (Report). American Association of University Professors. Retrieved 1 September 2015.  line feed character in |title= at position 17 (help)
  37. ^ "Censure List". American Association of University Professors. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  38. ^ Academic Freedom and Tenure: Bastyr University by AAIP

External links[edit]