Doctor of Acupuncture Medicine

The Doctor of Acupuncture Medicine (DAcM) provides the didactic and clinical training necessary for eligibility to sit for the national board exam to become a licensed acupuncturist.
Length of Program: 4 years, full time.
Campus: Kenmore, Washington

Quick Facts


Kenmore, Washington campus

General Requirements

Students have two entry options for the Doctoral program in Acupuncture Medicine.

  • Option 1: Students may enter with a completed bachelor’s degree and the required prerequisite coursework.
  • Option 2: Students may enter the program without a bachelor’s degree, but must complete the required prerequisite coursework, in addition to the detailed general education requirements, totaling a minimum of 135 quarter credits. 

Length of Program

4 years (16 quarters) 


The program of study will be comprised of 274 quarter credits (3724 clock hours). 198 credits are didactic courses, 48 credits are clinical (1056 hours), and the remainder is laboratory/practical credits.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Career Opportunities

  • Licensed acupuncturist (LAc) in private practice or within an integrative clinic
  • Expert author/writer on Acupuncture
  • A teaching position in a school providing Acupuncture and Chinese medicine programs
  • Acupuncture Medicine research

See how our graduates use their degrees.


Acupuncture is legally recognized in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Requirements for licensure can vary from state to state, with the majority of states requiring the successful completion of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) exam. Students interested in licensure in a state other than Washington or California should learn the licensing requirements of that particular state to ensure there are no outstanding academic requirements at the time of graduation. Academic advising is available to help students intending to meet additional state licensing requirements.

For the latest licensure information, please consult the NCCAOM website.


The Doctorate in Acupuncture Medicine (DAcM) is designed to train acupuncturists to the highest level of competency that this growing field is demanding. This is replacing the previously offered Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program.

The DAcM program is approved and accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Bastyr’s Master’s programs and curriculum in acupuncture and Oriental medicine are accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) - 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55347, phone: (952) 212-2434, ACAOM has placed all Bastyr University ACAOM-accredited programs under a Warning sanction effective February 25, 2017 until February 2018 for non-compliance with Commission Standards / Criteria. The institution retains accredited status during this period.

Bastyr University is submitting a substantive change application to upgrade this programmatic accreditation to the doctoral level by incorporating the 82 competencies required by ACAOM.

The DAcM program also provides the classroom and clinical training necessary for eligibility for the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture an Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) board exam, which is the basis for licensing in most states.

Expected Learning Outcomes

The Doctorate in Acupuncture Medicine (DAcM) trains graduates to do the following:

  • Provide safe and effective care to patients, demonstrating in-depth ability in the following areas:
    • Knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic strategies and their application to individual cases;
    • Traditional methods of assessing patients, including interviewing, palpation and observations;
    • Selecting the appropriate treatment modalities and plans for a patient using acupuncture, tui na, Chinese herbs, lifestyle and dietary counseling, and other modalities within the scope of practice;
    • Application of acupuncture techniques in an appropriate and safe fashion for each patient;
    • Physical examination, orthopedic and neurological assessment and pain management; and
    • Critical thinking using cognitive skills to increase the probability of desirable patient outcomes and development of professional judgment
  • Integrate Eastern and Western paradigms of medicine for the purposes of informing the practice of traditional Chinese medicine, communicating with other healthcare professionals and patients, and making appropriate medical referrals.
  • Establish and maintain a professional, private practice with other healthcare professionals, working in an integrated healthcare setting and providing leadership in the Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine field.
  • Assess the value of published clinical research in the field and evidence-based and evidence-informed medicine.
  • Provide health promotion and disease prevention measures based on traditional Chinese medicine theory (such as tai chi, qigong, and therapeutic nutrition) to support the well-being of their patients and themselves.
  • Possess a comprehensive knowledge of ethics and practice management to succeed in professional practice.
  • Qualified to pass national and state acupuncture and/or herbal exams.


All entering students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 to be considered for admission.  A grade of C or better is also required in all prerequisite coursework.  

Students may apply to the program while completing prerequisite coursework but must have a plan for completing prerequisites before the start of the program in the fall.

Courses Required for all Students:

General Chemistry with lab (survey level)

4 quarter credits

General Biology with lab (survey level)

4 quarter credits


3 quarter credits

General Psychology 

3 quarter credits

Intermediate Algebra*

1 course

*Intermediate Algebra is not college level, and credits will not transfer towards undergraduate degree completion.

Undergraduate Entry Option

In addition to the detailed prerequisites listed above, applicants who plan to start the program without an awarded bachelor’s degree must also complete the following General Education Requirements:

English Literature and Composition

9 quarter credits

Speech Communication or Public Speaking

3 quarter credits

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

9 quarter credits

Arts and Humanities

15 quarter credits

Social Sciences

15 quarter credits


70 quarter credits

Recommended Elective Courses

For students entering the program without a bachelor's degree, the following are strongly recommended courses to take while completing your general education requirements: 


Chinese Language (Mandarin)


Chinese History/Culture/Philosophy

Organic Chemistry




Cellular Biology


Want to know which classes fulfill these prerequisites? Check these lists:

Interested in completing some prerequisite courses online? Learn more about which lower-division courses can be fulfilled through the Alternative Credit Project.


The curriculum for students starting in the Doctor of Acupuncture Medicine program in Fall 2017 is currently being finalized. Please check back for updates.

Clinical Training

Becoming an effective practitioner of acupuncture medicine involves close mentoring and instruction by experienced faculty members in a variety of patient-care settings.

Consistency and Quality in Training

The DAcM clinical program focus the majority of your clinic shifts in the University's Seattle teaching clinic, Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

Bastyr's Acupuncture and Oriental medicine program is science-based, led by highly qualified and experienced faculty, many of whom have been in practice more than 20 years in the United States and China.

You will be prepared for licensure in the 46 states (and District of Columbia) that legally recognize acupuncture.

Diverse Patient Population

During your clinical training, you will have the opportunity to provide care to a wide range of patients with a variety of medical conditions. Within Bastyr Center, there are several different types of patient care shifts available to students:

  • General acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine
  • Immune wellness care for patients with HIV/AIDS
  • Integrated acupuncture and naturopathic medicine (for students enrolled in both programs)
  • Opportunities to rotate through off-site community care clinics that provide affordable health care to diverse populations, including seniors, low-income and immigrant communities.

Patient Contacts/Training Hours

  • You will obtain a minimum of 300 patient contacts with 100 different patients, a requirement that ensures your ability to be successful as a graduate.
  • You will spend 44 preceptor hours shadowing and observing acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine professionals in their private practices.
  • You will have 1,056 total clinical training hours.
  • Doctoral degree students have the unique opportunity to study acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine at one of our sister schools in either Shanghai or Chengdu, China, under the leadership of Bastyr faculty. For information about the China externship, see above on this page.
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