For students who have completed the Apprenticeship, or who already have significant foundational experience and understanding of herbs and herbal medicine, we offer advanced classes covering all elements of professional clinical herbalism. For students who would like to transfer into the Advanced Studies Program from other schools, there is a pre-requisite exam.
The Advanced Studies Program and Clinical Rotations are offered in two nine-month segments, with an exam in between.
After completing the Advanced Studies Program and Clinical Rotations, you will be capable and comfortable working with clients as a clinical herbalist in your own private practice or as a member of a holistic health partnership. Students have also gone on to create herbal products companies, to teach, farm, run herbal conferences, and other herbal-related pursuits.
Advanced Studies Program
This program includes a number of learning modalities, both in our class time together and in assigned homework, projects, and exercises.
- We spend a fair amount of class time in lecture and discussion, explaining the concepts and strategies we use to work with herbs and people. This course focuses on advanced pathology (insulin resistance, Lyme disease, cancer, etc), materia medica, and clinical skills. We devote major class time to clinical nutrition, sleep therapy, and stress management – cornerstones of vitalist healing practice. We will also start to incorporate new modalities into your training, including appropriate movement habits, structural alignment, lifestyle amendment, and more! And we work more deeply into formulation, with specific emphasis on formulating herbal preparations appropriate to your client’s constitution.
- Students in this program observe client sessions conducted by faculty, to see how the principles of herbalism are applied in practice. They then report their impressions and questions at the next class meeting, and we set aside time for detailed discussion of these case studies each month.
- This program’s homework requirements include a number of monthly projects. We continue with our Herb of the Month practice from the Apprenticeship, focusing now on lesser-known herbs or more advanced uses. Students commit to month-long personal lifestyle interventions, including diet changes, sleep prioritization, and daily meditation practice, in the interest of developing personal fluency in these skills so they can be more effectively imparted to future clients. There are also more extensive research projects in this program – for example, after our discussion of clinical nutrition, students write up detailed diet plans for a number of theoretical client cases, including low-income situations. Finally, there are skill-building exercises to develop aptitudes for assessment, case analysis, and formulation.
- A thorough understanding of Anatomy and Physiology is required at this level. If you have not already completed a college level A&P course, you can enroll in Tammi Sweet’s Anatomy and Physiology for Herbalists course, which takes place each year in January and February. There is special pricing for our Advanced Program students.
- Clinical herbalists are teachers, first and foremost. There will be opportunities for each student to practice teaching skills with their peers, including leading herb walks, explaining key health concepts, and presenting on various herbal topics.
- Our online forum is a major component of the program. There, we post each month’s homework readings, project assignments, and class recordings. We expect all students to submit homework, ask questions, and participate in discussions of our readings and projects on the forum.
- All sessions are recorded and these class recordings are made available in our forum as soon as possible after each session, so that they can be reviewed again at leisure during the time between classes. This also allows students to catch up on any classes they miss during the program. Based on our experience with past years’ students, we find that it’s best if students listen to the recordings of our classes each month, even if they were present at the live sessions – we talk fast and cover a lot of material, and it helps to have the reinforcement.
- We recommend a number of books to our students, and while none are required, reading them does expand upon and deepen the material from our class sessions.
It’s important to make sure that you have the time in your schedule to commit to weekly study, including completing homework assignments, readings, research projects, and so on. We estimate this should amount to 7-10 hours each week, separate from the in-class time we spend together.
The curriculum for the Advanced Studies Program includes:
- Traditional Western Herbalism – Ground, Presence, and Horizon
- Herbal Energetics in Clinical Practice
- Advanced Pathologies:
- Working with Chronic Illness
- Insulin Resistance
- Lyme Disease
- Endocrine System Disorders
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Reproductive Health Topics:
- Natural Birth Control Options
- Prenatal & Postpartum Use of Herbs
- Vitalist Lifestyle Interventions:
- Clincal Nutrition
- Stress Management
- Movement Habits
- Clinical Skills:
- Seeing Clients
- Intake Process & Case Analysis
- Assessment Skills
- Herb-Drug Interactions & Herb Safety
- Flower Essence Therapy
- Advanced Formulation
- Sensory Integration for the Practitioner
In the Clinical Rotations year, students begin seeing their own clients with our support. All cases are brought to Clinical Roundtable, to be discussed in the group so that students learn not only from their own cases, but from each others’. In this part of the program, we also work on project planning, scheduling, and goal setting and achieving milestones to set up your own herbal practice or herb-related business. In addition to clinical work, students launch their websites, market their services, publish case studies and contribute articles to respected journals and magazines, teach in the community, and more.
The average of the hourly tuition rates at a dozen rural and sub-urban herbalism schools in the Northeast is approximately $15/hour, which would come to $3000 for a 200-hour program like ours; in urban areas, the average is $19/hour, which would be $3,800. In an effort to make our program affordable to as many people as possible, we offer two price points, based on your ability to pay. You’ll note that the higher price point still comes in well below the average for urban herb schools, and the lower price point is well below the average for rural areas. We will accept up to ten students into each tuition rate.
- $2500 ($12.50/hour)
- $3000 ($15/hour)
Please choose a payment plan that accurately reflects your means. If you are able to eat out in a restaurant more than once a month, buy a latte at a café every day, or maintain a gym membership, you can probably afford our higher tier.
Most schools do not offer tiered pricing; we believe that quality education should be as accessible as possible, so we depend on folks choosing an appropriate level for their own means. Those of you who pay the full cost of the program make it possible for folks who are truly unable to do so to still attend at one of the lower prices: thank you!
Enrollment in the program constitutes a commitment to pay the entire tuition.
A non-refundable deposit of $300 is required to complete enrollment and reserve your space in the program. We expect to reach our maximum capacity for students again this year, so it is wise to submit your deposit as soon as you are notified that your application has been accepted.
The remainder of the tuition may be paid all at once by cash or check, or in monthly installments. If you prefer to pay in installments, you can sign up for an automated recurring debit via PayPal. (This will require you to have or create a PayPal account, but you will then be able to use any credit card or bank account to pay.) There is a $15/month administrative cost for this option.
Either the full tuition payment must be made, or the PayPal subscription must be completed, within 14 days of our first class session.
We extend an elder’s discount of 20% to anyone over the age of 60. A 20% discount is also available to veterans and active service members. We support Native American tribal members, local farmers, and street medics with discounts and scholarships when possible – contact us for more information.
course materials and incidentals
There are no required books for the program, but several are strongly recommended. A budget of $50-$100 should more than cover the costs for a few basic books, and many of the books we recommend are available in the Boston Public Library system. All of our assigned readings are in the form of articles, studies, monographs, and other resources which are accessible online for free.
Students will also be expected to acquire their own herbs and other medicine-making ingredients and tools for materia medica study and practice: tea strainers, oils, beeswax, alcohol for tinctures, bottles, etc. We provide information about local herb shops and suppliers.
We estimate total incidental expenses should amount to no more than $25-75 per month.
We expect those who enroll in this program to be serious students who are committed to completing the whole course. For this reason, we offer a two-week window at the beginning of the session when you can withdraw from the program if it doesn’t seem to be a good educational match for you. After that point, we do not offer tuition refunds.
- The $300 deposit is non-refundable. This deposit is deducted from the total tuition once the course begins.
- A refund of the remainder of the tuition will be given to a student who withdraws in writing within 14 days of the first day of class. This year’s drop date is January 26th, 2018.
- After the drop date, students are committed to the course and no refunds will be issued. Automated recurring debits will continue to be collected even if the student is unable to attend the classes.
student discount on other classes
All students who are enrolled in the Advanced Studies Program receive a discount on all community classes we offer, and are invited to all of our public herb walks free of charge!
schedule & location
The Advanced Studies Program meets one long weekend a month, January – October: classes take place 10:00am – 5:00pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each weekend we meet, and are held at our school/clinic space: 25 Saint Mary’s Court, Brookline MA 02446.
Clinical observation time is scheduled separately. Each student is expected to observe a minimum of four client sessions over the course of the program. These observation sessions are generally scheduled for evenings and weekends. Students will need to be flexible about planning for these sessions around work and other commitments they may have.
One of our weekends is a camping trip, which will include hiking and sleeping in tents. Students will be given the details of this excursion upon enrollment.
The 2018 Advanced Studies Program’s dates are as follows:
- January 12, 13, 14
- February 9, 10, 11
- March 2, 3, 4
- April 6, 7, 8
- May 4, 5, 6
- June 8, 9, 10
- July 6, 7, 8
- August 3, 4, 5 – camping
- September 7, 8, 9
- October 5, 6, 7 – exam
Advanced classes are open to all graduates of our Apprenticeship Program.
For students who are hoping to transfer in after completing a program at another school, we have an assessment exam. This covers the broad strokes of what’s learned in our first year program, and we ask anyone looking to come from another school (or from prior self-study) to complete it before we accept them into the Advanced Program, because herbal schools and teachers differ substantially in what their programs include. If you’d like to take a look at it, just contact us!
After completing the Advanced Studies Program and the exam, you will be ready to begin seeing clients for yourself. You can do this with the support of our Clinical Rotation Program, which gives you the mentorship and support you need, as well as mentorship in business and self-employment, to be a successful practitioner, or to succeed in other herbal pursuits. Students in this program are given the opportunity to schedule private client visits in our space, using our consultation room and apothecary. We schedule this using a shared online calendar; time slots in the clinic are first come, first served. (If you prefer, you can also meet with clients in your home or elsewhere.)
Students are expected to see a minimum of two clients each month. You’ll write up case reports for each client you see, and submit them for review and discussion. Faculty members read and comment on the case, providing answers to questions and making suggestions.
We meet twice a month, on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-9:00pm. Sessions consist of roundtable discussion of each case that was seen in clinic, question-and-answer sessions about concepts or strategies applicable to client work, conversations about business skills and the mechanics of maintaining a private practice, or short courses to flesh out your knowledge. In this way you can begin to establish your own client base, while still receiving guidance and support from our faculty, and gaining insight into all of the cases your classmates present – multiplying your clinical experience manyfold! In addition, we believe that each student has the ability to teach and offer guidance: the Clinical Rotations Program is a chance to strengthen your community of support, building ties that will continue long into the future. We encourage all students to review and comment on all cases as well, because everyone has unique experience to offer, and thinking about how you would proceed with each case you encounter enhances your training.
Clinical Rotations are open to students who have completed the Advanced Studies Program and performed well on the exam.
You can find out about some of our successful graduates on our Students and Graduates page.
If you have a question that wasn’t answered on this page, check the FAQ!