Acupuncture Admission Qualifications - Academic and Technical Standards

All students must meet both our academic standards and our technical standards in order to be admitted, progress through, and graduate from the Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine program.

Academic standards

Academic standards refer to acceptable demonstrations of competency in various disciplines, before admission and after, as judged by faculty members, examinations, and other measurements of performance.

For detailed information about academic standards, refer to the University Student Handbook.

Technical standards

A student must possess the following abilities, with or without reasonable accommodation, for completion of the Master of Acupuncture and Doctor of Acupuncture degree programs. Accommodation may be deemed unreasonable if it would compromise essential elements of the curriculum or would require a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program, service, or activity:

  • Ability to apply acupuncture and accessory techniques, such as cupping, moxibustion and tui na, over the full range of a patient’s body, utilizing appropriate physical positioning in relation to the patient, for periods of up to one hour without interruption. Such abilities require standing, leaning, reaching, stooping, kneading, grasping, twisting both body and wrists, and applying pressure with hands.
  • Ability to place acupuncture needles precisely in a patient’s body and manipulate needles within a minute range of motion.
  • Ability to perform clinical techniques and procedures under the direct supervision of instructors, classmates, patients or families of patients, within fixed time limits that reflect the patient flow and delivery of services in a typical clinical environment.
  • Ability to work cohesively and harmoniously in a team of two or more students in the performance of assigned class and clinical activities.
  • Ability to see and hear, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to interview patients, conduct patient intakes, elicit necessary diagnostic indicators, maintain patient records, provide instructions to patients, perform appropriate examinations, and provide routine patient treatment and safety services.
  • Ability to perform in all laboratory and clinical settings without posing a threat to herself/himself, to the safety and well-being of fellow students, or to patients.
  • Ability and willingness to receive acupuncture and accessory treatment. Much of the technical instruction in the programs requires reciprocal application of the techniques of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture needling, moxibustion, tui na bodywork, etc. Receiving techniques is necessary in order for the student to learn proper procedures and to receive and provide learning feedback. Reciprocal application of techniques is also useful for developing sensitivity to patient needs. Northwestern may temporarily excuse a student from receiving acupuncture or other modalities provided that specific medical contraindication information is provided by a licensed healthcare professional.

In addition to the abilities required of students in the Master of Acupuncture program (stated above), a student must possess the following abilities, with or without reasonable accommodation, for completion of the Master of Acupuncture or Doctor of Acupuncture degree program:

  • Ability to identify the odors, tastes, colors, and other physical properties of herbs and other organic and mineral substances utilized in Chinese medical therapy.
  • Ability to document and prepare herbal formulae, in accordance with Chinese medical therapeutic principles, including but not limited to reading, writing, chopping, reaching, mixing, and grasping.

All students, with or without reasonable accommodation, must carry out clinical assignments and diagnostic interpretation. Qualified persons with disabilities, with or without reasonable accommodation, must be able to pass oral, written, and practical examinations and meet all of the program’s clinical requirements.

It is in the best interest of both the student and Northwestern to assess the degree of limitation caused by disability. However, Northwestern will make the final determination of whether or not an individual meets all qualifications for study at the University. Northwestern’s accommodations process is found under Disability Services for Prospective Students. Questions regarding qualifications or accommodations should be directed to the Office of Student Affairs.