I was discussing homeopathy with my regular doctor today, and she said that one of her coworkers, during her education, learned about homeopathy and alternative medicine in addition to other medical topics. Apparently, this coworker learned about alternative medicine in medical school!

Are there any mainstream medical schools that teach their students about alternative medicine and homeopathy as well as mainstream medical practice? If so, what do these school teach about the topics, and does this suggest that homeopathy has some credibility? If not, how can I best understand my doctor's coworker's experience? Here is an example of one place that teaches homeopathy.

I've seen the questions indicating that homeopathy is pseudoscience. I'm asking whether homeopathy is taught in medical schools, which is a different question.

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    "Reputable" is a personal judgement and we can't find an objective answer to it. However, as evidenced in the linked question, homeopathy has been proven not to work. Hopefully this answer your question in as sideways manner.
    – Sklivvz
    Oct 15, 2014 at 22:53
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    @ChrisW that's what "does not work" means in medicine :-) Less than a placebo would mean it actively harms patients!
    – Sklivvz
    Oct 15, 2014 at 23:00
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    I don't believe my question is a duplicate. I'm asking specifically whether there are any medical schools that teach homeopathy, not what research indicates about homeopathy.
    – Kevin
    Oct 15, 2014 at 23:33
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    Thanks, ChrisW! I'll look at my question some more when I have more time, and if I can edit it to make your suggested changes, I will.
    – Kevin
    Oct 16, 2014 at 0:22
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    This has several problems. The most obvious already mentioned: "reputable" is a judgement call. Second, what is meant by "teach?" Many schools will teach about homeopathy, if only to debunk it. I assume you mean a school which offers a degree/certification in homeopathy/AM. Last, "alternative medicine" is a broad spectrum. Certain aspects of are accepted, to varying degrees, by the "mainline" medical community. I.e, while there's a tension (pun intended) between chiropractors and massage therapists, chiropractors will learn something about massage in their "mainstream" training.
    – Flimzy
    Oct 16, 2014 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


UK Universities have taught homeopathy

While some universities have since moved away from teaching Homeopathy and other pseudo-sciences, David Colquhoun's Improbable Science Blog documented a few examples in the UK around 2008.

This story was picked up by The Times.

Compiled by trawling the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and university websites, they conclude that 43 institutions offer a total of 155 "unscientific" courses in areas including homoeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, aromatherapy, Naad yoga (healing through music) and general complementary medicine.

It was also picked up by Nature: Article, Special Report

For example: Thames Valley University:

Thames Valley University is one of those shameful institutions that offer Bachelor of Science degrees in homeopathy. They don’t stop there though. They’ll teach you several other forms of make-believe medicine. Among these is “nutritional medicine”. This is taught at the Plaskett Nutritional Medicine College which is now part of Thames Valley University.

Are they reputable?

The question as to whether they are reputable is troublesome, partly because that isn't a well-defined idea.

For example, the Thames Valley University, mentioned above, (and now part of the University of West London) was a proper accredited public university, not some backyard operation. It now (in its modern form) has over 47,000 students. Is that sufficient to be considered "reputable"?

Another aspect is that a university may have many departments which have varying reputations.

We can use the Complete University Guide league tables as a proxy for reputation.

The University of Westminster (mentioned in the articles, about 24,000 students) is ranked in the "leagues tables" as the 4th best university in the UK in the area of Complementary Medicine. So, it has a good reputation for complementary medicine!

Overall, however, it rates 96th overall (out of 123).

The University of Lincoln offers a BSc in Herbal Medicine and is overall ranked 55th of 123, which I think could fairly be described as reputable.

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    With regards to the point about courses are those literally single courses or are they entire qualification granting programs? I think an argument could be made for a CAM course being a useful offering for medical practitioners just on the grounds of "Here's a detailed look at what some people believe, why it doesn't work, and how to address their concerns in a clinical setting." So in that sense it might make sense to expand the answer a bit to make it clear if they are just courses or qualifications.
    – rjzii
    Oct 16, 2014 at 13:02
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    Charles Sturt Uni (regional New South Wales, Australia) teaches Complementary Medicine but "CSU does not teach homeopathy, iridology, reflexology or any other subjects that are not based on experimental evidence." and "This course is not designed to teach you to become a complementary medicine practitioner, so there are no subjects that teach specific modalities." It is supposed to teach you how to evaluate research on complementary medicines.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 16, 2014 at 15:02
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    You still see limited demand for herbalists in countries that don't have access to pharmaceutical medicine for obvious reasons and some pharmaceutical companies will try and have "herbalists" on staff so they can evaluate the claims made about traditional medicines (usually herbs) to determine if there is a compound that is worthy of investigation. Military survival schools will also have some trainers that have had training in it as well, again for obvious reasons. Herbalism is an odd duck since one of the major reasons it is "alternative" is because we have better alternatives for it ...
    – rjzii
    Oct 16, 2014 at 17:17
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    ... in the form of purified compounds in measured doses. Don't forget that herbalism was taught as part of an MD up until about the 1960's if I recall correctly and most pharmacists also had training in it as well.
    – rjzii
    Oct 16, 2014 at 17:24
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    One might argue that claiming to teach homeopathy has in itself a negative effect on the reputation of the institution, making it less 'reputable'.
    – A E
    Mar 4, 2015 at 12:09

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