Curriculum Overview

Degrees offered

Program length

  • Master of Acupuncture - 8 trimesters, 2 2/3 years
  • Master of Oriental Medicine - 9 trimesters, 3 years  

Program schedule, credits and contact hours

  • Full-time day program, classes held Monday through Friday
  • Master of Acupuncture: More than 117 trimester credits and 2,300 contact hours
  • Master of Oriental Medicine: More than 156 trimester credits and 3,000 contact hours

Program admission


Curriculum organization

Master of Acupuncture

The curriculum for the Master of Acupuncture program provides comprehensive education and training in the following areas:

  • Cultural and philosophical foundations of traditional Chinese medicine
  • Traditional Chinese medical concepts (physiology, pathology, diagnostics, point location and point energetics)
  • Acupuncture treatment principles and practical skills
  • Tui Na
  • Related studies, including introductory Chinese language skills, ethics and practice management
  • Qi Development
  • Nutrition
  • Biomedical clinical sciences to a level required for competence in contemporary practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine
  • Clinical internship

Clinical requirements include:

  • A minimum of 150 hours of observation/assistantship
  • 525 hours of supervised clinical practice to fulfill your masters in acpun

Master of Oriental Medicine

The curriculum for the Master of Oriental Medicine program is similar to that of the Acupuncture program but also includes:

  • Traditional Chinese herbal medicine
  • Herbal dispensary management
  • Clinical herbal internship

Clinical requirements include:

  • A minimum of 150 hours of observation/assistantship
  • 720 hours of supervised clinical practice

Course sequences

Classroom training sequences

  • Acupuncture and Basic Theory (Trimesters 1-8): Learn basic Chinese medical principles in your lecture classes while building hands-on skills in point location, needling, accessory techniques and tui na in your methods classes.
  • Bioscience (Trimesters 1-9): Learn medical principles that are directly relevant to an acupuncture or Oriental medicine practice through lecture and lab classes.
  • Oriental Medicine (Trimesters 3-9): Begin the study of Chinese herbal medicine with a study of the Materia Medica, continue through formulations and treatment strategies, and complete your study with clinical treatment strategies.

Clinical training sequences

  • Clinical Observation (Trimesters 1-6): Consolidate your learning as you witness the principles you learned in class applied in a real-life treatment setting.
  • Phase I Clinical Internship (Trimesters 5-6): Perform treatments on staff and students in the University Health Service and begin to hone your Chinese medical diagnostic and treatment skills.
  • Phase II Clinical Internship (Trimesters 7-8 or 9 depending on program): Begin treatment of the public at one or more of our clinical internship sites and develop increasing independence as a Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnostician and practitioner.

Northwestern Health Sciences University reserves the right to change or discontinue academic programs at the University’s discretion.

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