Admissions - Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine Program

Doctor of Chiropractic Degree

National University prepares students to become first-contact, primary care physicians fully qualified to diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of conditions. We believe a superior education starts with an evidence-based, broad-scope curriculum emphasizing integrative medicine. 

What is Chiropractic Medicine?

Chiropractic medicine is a comprehensive health care profession that addresses the wide variety of factors that impact upon human physiology. Chiropractic physicians specialize in natural, non-invasive health care and are trained to use a full range of medical diagnostic tools and a wide array of effective treatment options in patient care.

Chiropractic Philosophy

At National University, students are broadly educated and extensively trained in evidence based medicine to provide whole health healing to patients. During the course of study at National University, students study in an integrative learning environment alongside other natural health care focused professions. Students are well prepared to become first-contact, primary care physicians, ready to diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of patients and conditions.

Chiropractic Treatments

Treatment modalities can include performing adjustments, nutritional and lifestyle counseling, physical rehabilitation therapy or providing supplements including vitamins and natural herbal medicines. National University graduates are extensively trained as thorough diagnosticians to identify the appropriate treatment for their patients.

Chiropractic Careers

Chiropractor career outlook, job growth, salary infographic

Chiropractic Licensure

Licensure of chiropractic medicine has different rules and procedures depending which state, country, or international region you wish to practice. To practice as a chiropractic physician in the U.S., students must pass the national board examinations conducted by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE).  They must also apply for licensure in the state in which they plan to practice.  Students are responsible for familiarity with the state's scope of practice and licensing and renewal requirements.

To practice in Canada, students must pass the national board examination conducted by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB). Individuals interested in practicing in Canada should also inquire within their specific province or territory of interest for licensure requirements. Physicians wishing to practice in other international countries or regions may be required to pass the International Board of Chiropractic Examiners (IBCE) {link needed or other requirements specific to that location.  Students are urged to visit the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) for more information. 

The professional organizations representing chiropractic physicians include the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC).

Cybulski 2015_th

Choosing Between a Career in Chiropractic Medicine or Physical Therapy?

Chiropractic physicians enjoy a number of career advantages compared to physical therapists or certified athletic trainers. Learn more about these advantages and hear from NUHS graduate Dr. Randy Cybulski on why a DC degree could be a better choice for your long-term goals.

Chiropractic Sports Medicine

If you seek a career emphasis in chiropractic sports medicine, NUHS is an excellent choice. Learn more about sports medicine at NUHS.


Program Overview

You can earn your Doctor of Chiropractic degree in as little as ten trimesters at our Illinois campus or our Florida site. Students attend school year round and may complete the program in three years and four months. Trimesters are divided into three phases: Basic Sciences, Clinical Sciences and Clinical Practice.

Integrative Medicine

We believe in bringing together professionals from a broad range of medical specialties for the benefit of patients and the health care industry as a whole.

Superior Adjustment Techniques

As a student at National University, you will learn a variety of chiropractic techniques through our diversified technique curriculum, which includes training in flexion-distraction technique. Learn more about techniques »

Broad-Scope, Patient-Centered Care

We prepare our students to evaluate and address the full range of factors affecting human health. You'll learn to diagnose and treat each of your patients based on a thorough evaluation of their unique health history and profile. You won't base your care on just one symptom or one type of treatment, instead you'll learn to think in terms of "whole health healing." You'll draw from a wide range of healing modalities and work together with experts from other medical fields whenever it will benefit your patient.

Outstanding Facilities

Students are taught in modern classrooms utilizing state-of-the-art technology such as SMART boards. Well-equipped laboratories, such as our gross anatomy laboratory housing over 40 human cadavers, allow you to learn by hands-on dissection rather than prosection or virtual instruction. Active learning continues in our Training and Assessment Center where you will work with "standardized patients"  to develop your clinical and communication skills. Learn more »

Featured Alumni - Dr. Brian Hutcheson (DC '13)

Thumbnail of Brian Hutcheson, DCDr. Brian Hutcheson is the first DC hired by Hope Health, a regional medical center with 9 facilities and a patient base of 32,000. He will help develop their integrative medicine section, and serves on the center's integrative boards for diabetic patients and pain management. He says: "National is the only school that could have prepared me for this opportunity." Read more »


Consider National University for its distinct advantages and be well-prepared for the career that awaits you.

Integrative Learning

Students learn in the classroom with students in other health programs, as well as treat patients collaboratively within an integrative clinic. National University's focus on collaborative learning encourages students to become colleagues rather than competitors. This better prepares them for future careers in today's integrated health care. Additionally, NUHS students can expand their career credentials through enrolling in dual degree programs.

Rigorous Medical Education

The chiropractic program at National University emphasizes broad-scope, science based teachings through Evaluation & Management courses. These unique courses focus on pairing the knowledge learned in the basic science courses with clinical reasoning. You'll learn how to decide on the correct chiropractic adjustments and medical procedures needed to treat each patient condition.

We train students to work effectively with other health care professionals such as MDs, DOs, NDs and more. With such a thorough education in the basic and clinical sciences, graduates will speak the same language as those in other health care fields.

Primary Care Focused

Students in the chiropractic program at National University are trained to become primary care physicians, focused on providing patient-centered care and whole health healing. Central to the chiropractic curriculum at National University is thorough training in diagnosis and a focus on the complete health care of a patient and not merely specific issues or symptoms.

Learning Beyond the Lecture

Students are exposed from the beginning of their education to unique hands-on learning opportunities including a year working in the gross anatomy laboratory on full dissection (rather than prosection or virtual dissection) of a human cadaver. In addition to hands-on dissection, NUHS offers The Anatomage Table, today's most technologically advanced digital visualization system for anatomy education. During their clinical science studies, students work in the Training and Assessment Center on simulated patients and have the opportunity to intern in a wide-variety of settings prior to graduation.  

Geographic Location

National University is proud to offer the Doctor of Chiropractic program in two locations: Lombard, Illinois and St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Lombard campus is conveniently located 15 miles from the city of Chicago with easy access by car or Metra train. The St. Petersburg site is conveniently located 18 miles from downtown Tampa.

Both areas are home to some of the largest health care communities with hundreds of hospitals and area clinics, giving you countless opportunities to pursue a career in an integrated health care setting.

Our Curriculum

National University's distinctive and innovative curriculum provides you with a comprehensive base in human biology and anatomy and extensive hands-on training in diagnosis and treatment. We train you to think like a physician. Throughout the program, you will learn how to master a variety of chiropractic adjustments through our diversified technique curriculum, which also includes flexion-distraction technique. The chiropractic program is a three phase program. 

Phase I: Basic Sciences

  • Spend one full year of anatomy and physiology in our anatomy lab where you'll perform complete human dissection rather than learning by prosection or virtual instruction 

Phase II: Clinical Sciences

  • Learn how to diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of ailments
  • Practice evaluation and diagnostic techniques with "standardized patients"
  • Gain valuable business knowledge on how to ethically promote and market your practice 

Phase III: Clinical Practice

  • Experience your internship through one of a variety of clinical opportunities 
  • Expand your medical and leadership skills by participating community outreach events.

Learn more about the program's curriculum by viewing:

Our commitment to research is demonstrated by our journals, our extensive current research, and the number of student research opportunities available. You'll find evidence-based practice is an important part of each phase in our curriculum.

Nate PorcherNate Porcher - DC Student
As a student, Nate wrote a research article on sports-related concussions that was later published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine after he graduated. He had originally given a presentation on the research at the 2012 Chiropractic Sports Symposium.


See more student research success stories »


Each DC student serves a full year clinical internship that is designed to provide interns with the kind of challenging, real-world experience that is key to their future professional success.

Your clinical experience can be completed at either on-campus Whole Health Center, or a variety of other internship opportunities from non-profit clinics to clerkships or hospital rotations. Opportunities are available in Illinois and Florida. Learn more »

Other Program Opportunities

Dual Degrees
Students who earn their DC degree at National University have the option to earn a second degree (ND, MSOM or MSAc) through dual enrollment. Because there are shared courses between the programs, there will be a reduction of the total number of hours needed to complete the second degree. Students are not eligible to begin dual enrollment until the third trimester of their initial or primary program of study.

Postprofessional Programs
After graduation, students may pursue a number of postprofessional programs such as our master's and residency programs or a wide variety of continuing education classes. Additionally, students may pursue specific courses and programs while completing their first professional program. (Students must meet prerequisite requirements and attain approval from the Dean of Lincoln College prior to entry.)

Advanced Scholars Program
Qualified undergraduate students from South Dakota State University or the NUHS bachelor of science program, can earn a BS degree and a DC degree in less time and at less cost through our Advanced Scholars Program.  Your first year in the DC program will count toward both degrees, giving you the chance to finish both a BS and DC degree in 6.5 years.

DC MPH Coordinated Degree Program
Students pursuing a DC degree, have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Public Health degree or Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Through a coordinated program, students are able to utilize some of their NUHS coursework to shorten the length of the MPH program. Students must be accepted separately into the DC program at National University and the MPH and MS CTS programs at UIC.

Dana MadiganDana Madigan - DC/MPH Student
Dana researched access to chiropractic care in the country of Ghana, and presented her research at the American Public Health Association. Dana was also the first DC student selected for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and the first graduate of the coordinated DC/MPH degree program.