Master's - Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Because of program changes required to stay current with developments in the acupuncture profession, new students will not be admitted for this degree after Fall 2016.

Instead, starting in Fall 2017, we will be offering a four-year Doctorate in Acupuncture Medicine with similar prerequisite requirements, including an undergraduate entry option. Please check back for updates or contact Admissions for more information.

Master's - Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Because of program changes required to stay current with developments in the acupuncture profession, new students will not be admitted for this degree after Fall 2016.

Instead, starting in Fall 2017, we will be offering a four-year Doctorate in Acupuncture Medicine with similar prerequisite requirements, including an undergraduate entry option. Please check back for updates or contact Admissions for more information.

Quick Facts - MSAOM

Degree

Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Location

Kenmore, Washington campus

General Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Grade C or better in prerequisite course work
  • Experience with acupuncture (i.e. have been treated by a licensed acupuncturist (LAc)

Length of Program

3½ years, full time

Career Opportunities

  • Licensed acupuncturist (LAc) in private practice, with an integrative clinic
  • Acupuncturist working in international health
  • Writer on traditional Chinese medicine topics
  • Sports medicine specialist

See how our graduates use their degrees. 

Where are Acupuncturists Licensed?

Acupuncture is legally recognized in 44 states plus the District of Columbia. Learn more about state licensure.

MSAOM Program Summary

The Master of Science in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (MSAOM) is amodel comprehensive degree program. It includes all the didactic and clinical training of the Master of Science in Acupuncture (MSA), andalso includes Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese medical language. The MSAOM program is a three-and-a-half-calendar-year course of study.

Curriculum - MSAOM

Students earning the MSAOM must complete their degree requirements within six years, including any credits completed as a bachelor's student and applied toward the master's degree. To receive a license to practice acupuncture in most states, a student must earn either an MSA or MSAOM degree, pass the NCCAOM licensing exam and meet any additional state requirements.

Students may enter their course of study either into the combined BS/MS programs or directly into the MS programs. (The programs described below include required curriculum for the bachelor of science in natural health sciences.)

The curriculum tables below list the tentative schedule of courses each quarter. Next to each course are the number of credits per course (Crdt.), the lecture hours each week (Lec.), the lab/clinic hours each week (L/C) and the total contact hours for the course over the entire quarter (Tot).

Year I

Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Course descriptions are available in the Course Catalog. Credits Lec. L/C Total
Fall BC3100 Survey of Organic Chemistry 1 Corequisite courses to the MSAOM program: The MSAOM curriculum has been designed so students missing one or more of these courses may take them after matriculating at Bastyr University. Previously completed coursework from other accredited institutions may satisfy these corequisites. 4 4 0 44
  BC3134 Living Anatomy 4 4 0 44
  OM4106 Meridians & Points 1 4 4 0 44
  OM4118 TCM Fundamentals 4 4 0 44
  OM4315 TCM Bodywork: Tui Na 1 0 2 22
  OM4406 Qi Gong 1 0 2 22
  OM4800 Clinic Entry 2 2 0 22
  OM512 Medical Chinese 1 1 1 0 11
   
Quarterly Total:
21 19 4 253
Winter BC3135 Anatomy & Physiology 1 Lec/Lab 1 5 4 2 66
  BC3104 Biochemistry Corequisite courses to the MSAOM program: The MSAOM curriculum has been designed so students missing one or more of these courses may take them after matriculating at Bastyr University. Previously completed coursework from other accredited institutions may satisfy these corequisites. 4 4 0 44
  OM4107 Meridians & Points 2 4 4 0 44
  OM4211 TCM Diagnosis 1 3 3 0 33
  OM4221 TCM Pathology 1 3 3 0 33
  OM4411 TCM Techniques 1 2 2 0 22
  OM4803 Clinic Observation 1 Observation 1-3 can be taken in any of the five quarters preceding clinician status. 2 0 4 44
  OM5442 Tai Chi 1 0 2 22
   
Quarterly Total:
24 20 8 308
Spring BC3136 Anatomy & Physiology 2 Lec//Lab1 4 3 2 55
  BC4105 Intro to Western Pathology 3 3 0 33
  OM4108 Meridians & Points 3 4 4 0 44
  OM4212 TCM Diagnosis 2 3 2 2 44
  OM4222 TCM Pathology 2 3 3 0 33
  OM4804 Clinic Observation 2 Observation 1-3 can be taken in any of the five quarters preceding clinician status. 2 0 4 44
  OM5430 TCM Techniques 2 2 2 0 22
   
Quarterly Total:
21 17 8 275
 
Summer BO2101 Introduction to Botany Corequisite courses to the MSAOM program: The MSAOM curriculum has been designed so students missing one or more of these courses may take them after matriculating at Bastyr University. Previously completed coursework from other accredited institutions may satisfy these corequisites. 3 2 2 44
  CH6421 Chinese Materia Medica 1 4 4 0 44
  CH6831 CHM Dispensary 1 May be taken any quarter in the herbal program. 2 0 4 44
  OM5122 Medical Chinese 2 1 1 0 11
   
Quarterly Total:
10 7 6 143

Year II

Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Course descriptions are available in the Course Catalog. Credits Lec. L/C Total
Fall BC4104 Microbiology Lec 1 3 3 0 33
  CH6422 Chinese Materia Medica 2 4 4 0 44
  OM5123 Medical Chinese 3 2 2 0 22
  OM5321 Survey Of Western Clinical Sciences 1 3 3 0 33
  OM5414 Acupuncture Therapeutics 1 2 2 0 22
  OM5415 Acupuncture Therapeutics 2 2 2 0 22
  OM5436 TCM Techniques 3 2 2 0 22
  OM5803 Clinic Observation 3 Observation 1-3 can be taken in any of the five quarters preceding clinician status. 2 0 4 44
   
Quarterly Total:
20 18 4 242
Winter BC4125 Pharmacology Overview for AOM 4 4 0 44
  CH6423 Chinese Materia Medica 3 4 4 0 44
  OM4806 AOM Preceptor Observation Preceptorship can be taken during observation or clinician phase, once Observation 1 is completed. 2 0 4 44
  OM5124 Medical Chinese 4 2 2 0 22
  OM5322 Survey of Western Clinical Sciences 2 3 3 0 33
  OM5416 Acupuncture Therapeutics 3 2 2 0 22
  OM5417 Acupuncture Therapeutics 4 2 2 0 22
  OM5438 TCM Techniques Lab 1 0 2 22
   
Quarterly Total:
20 17 6 253
Spring CH6431 CHM Herbal Formulations 1 4 4 0 44
  OM5300 Auricular Therapy 2 2 0 22
  OM5302 Public Health Issues in AOM 2 2 0 22
  OM5324 Survey of Western Clinical Sciences 3 3 3 0 33
  OM5418 Acupuncture Therapeutics 5 2 2 0 22
  OM5419 Acupuncture Therapeutics 6 2 2 0 22
  OM5813-14 AOM Clinic 1-2 4 0 8 88
  OM6305 Survey of Biophysics/ Electroacupuncture 2 2 0 22
   
Quarterly Total:
21 17 8 275
Summer OM5815-18 AOM Clinic 3-6 8 0 16 176
  CH6432 CHM Herbal Formulations 2 4 4 0 44
  PS5205 Patient Communications 3 3 0 33
   
Quarterly Total:
15 7 16 253

Year III

Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Credits Lec. L/C Total
Fall CH6408 Chinese Herbal Therapeutics 1 4 4 0 44
  OM5405 TCM Whole Foods Nutrition 2 2 0 22
  OM6110 TCM Medical Classics 2 2 0 22
  TR6105 Nutrition & Dietary Systems 1 3 3 0 33
  OM6417 Acupuncture Therapeutics 7 2 2 0 22
  OM6827-29 AOM Clinic 7-9 6 0 12 132
  PS6100 Motivational Interviewing 2 2 0 22
   
Quarterly Total:
21 15 12 297
Winter BC6100 Pharmacology of CHM & Drug Interactions 2 2 0 22
  CH6409 Chinese Herbal Therapeutics 2 4 4 0 44
  CH6803-4 Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic 1-2 4 0 8 88
  OM4101 History of Medicine 2 2 0 22
  OM6111 Practice Management 1 2 2 0 22
  OM6315 Clinical Theatre 2 2 0 22
  OM6310 Case Review 2 2 0 22
  OM6830-32 AOM Clinic 10-12 6 0 12 132
   
Quarterly Total:
24 14 20 374
Spring BC5140 Research Methods in AOM 3 3 0 33
  CH6410 Chinese Herbal Therapeutics 3 4 4 0 44
  CH6832 CHM Dispensary 2 May be taken any quarter in the herbal program. 2 0 4 44
  CH6805-6 Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic 3-4 4 0 8 88
  OM5819 AOM Interim Clinic Students are required to complete a total of 36 interim clinic hours. (Usually students staff the shifts they were assigned to in the quarter just ended.) Students register for and pay for this shift in their last year of attendance. 1.5 0 3.3 36
  OM6105 Jurisprudence/Ethics 1 1 0 11
  OM6112 Practice Management 2 1 1 0 11
  OM6833-34 AOM Clinic 13-14 4 0 8 88
   
Quarterly Total:
20.5 9 23.3 355
Summer CH6411 Chinese Herbal Therapeutics 4 4 4 0 44
  CH6807-8 Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic 5-6 4 0 8 88
  OM6835 AOM Clinic 15 2 0 4 44
    Quarterly Totals: Students are required to complete a total of 36 interim clinic hours. (Usually students staff the shifts they were assigned to in the quarter just ended.) Students register for and pay for this shift in their last year of attendance. 10 4 12 176

Year IV

Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Course descriptions are available in the Course Catalog. Credits Lec. L/C Total
Fall CH6105 Chinese Herb Preparations May also be taken in the summer of year two or three. 1 0 2 22
  CH6809-10 Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic 7-8 4 0 8 88
  OM6836 AOM Clinic 16 2 0 4 44
   
Quarterly Total:
7 0 14 154

Elective Requirements

Quarter Cat. No. Course Title Course descriptions are available in the Course Catalog. Credits Lec. L/C Total
Variable   Elective & Special Topics 5 5 0 55
   
Total Elective Credits and Hours:
5 5 0 55

Electives/Special Topics:

  • The MSAOM program requires a total of six (6) elective/special topics credits. These credits may be any general electives/special topics as long as the prerequisites for each course are met.
  • Clinic in China is an eight (8) credit experience to be applied toward AOM Clinical, CHM shifts and/or elective credit. These credits may not be audited.

Total Requirements

  Credits Lec. L/C Total
Total Core Course Credits and Hours 150 144 12 1716
Total Corequisites 23 20 6 286
Total Elective Credits and Hours 5 5 0 55
Clinic Credits and Hours 61.5 0 123.3 1356
Total Requirements
239.5 169 141.3 3413

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Expected Learning Outcomes

The Department of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has established the following expected learning outcomes for all Master of Science in Acupuncture/Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine programs. Graduates will be trained to be:

  • Safe and effective in the care of patients by demonstrating in-depth ability in the following areas:
  • Knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine  diagnostic strategies and their application to individual cases
  • Skill in the traditional methods of assessment of patients including interviewing, palpation and observation
  • Competence in selecting the appropriate treatment modalities and plans for a patient utilizing acupuncture, tui na, Chinese herbs (relevant to the MSAOM) and lifestyle counseling
  • Skill in the application of acupuncture techniques in an appropriate and safe fashion for each patient
  • Able to integrate Eastern and Western paradigms of medicine for the purposes of informing the practice of traditional Chinese medicine, communicating with other health care professionals and patients, and making appropriate medical referrals when necessary
  • Professional in their approach to setting up and maintaining a private practice, collaborating with other health care professionals, working in an integrated health care setting and providing leadership within the acupuncture and Oriental medicine field
  • Capable of accessing research information and critically assessing the value of published clinical research in the field
  • Able to provide health 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
  • Qualified to pass national and state acupuncture and/or herbal exam

The attached PDF is the proposed curriculum for students starting in Fall 2016. Please note that changes to the curriculum may still occur before the start of the Fall 2016 academic year. For the 2015-2016 course catalog, click here.

PDF icon 15-16 Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.pdf

Prerequisites for MSA & MSAOM

Entering students must have a bachelor's degree and must have completed the following courses:

Intermediate algebra 1 course
Survey level chemistry with lab 1 course Survey-level class that covers inorganic chemistry, including a lab component. Intended for students in allied health majors.
General cell biology with lab 1 course
General physics 1 course
General psychology 1 course

Required chemistry and biology courses not taken within seven years of matriculation into the program are subject to review by the admissions committee. Additional coursework may be required.

Note: All students must complete a CPR-C level course or equivalent prior to entering intern clinic.

See the Washington state college/university prerequisite guide for the MSA/MSAOM programs.

China Externship

Many acupuncture programs in the United States offer students a trip to China. Bastyr University offers students something more: a three-week long elective-credit externship that uniquely prepares practitioners to work in integrative settings, with high patient volumes, and with people who have serious and unusual illnesses.

About the Externship

Students and a pediatrics specialist meet a patient at Chengdu University.Students in Bastyr's graduate acupuncture programs can spend three weeks or more in the fall studying abroad and learning traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) at two of China's most prestigious schools, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine or the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The trip maximizes students' hands-on clinical training by putting them in both outpatient and inpatient settings in teaching hospitals. In a typical day, students shadow Chinese teaching physicians as they make rounds, check tongues and pulses, perform tests, make herb/medication changes, and sometimes recommend or administer acupuncture treatments.

Value for Students

The common cold, a sore back, a stroke, cancer — in China every medical condition falls under the TCM practitioner's purview. This cultural difference means TCM physicians in China see triple the daily patient load typical for practitioners in America. For students on the externship, it means exposure to conditions and situations they probably won't encounter during clinical training in the United States.

Clinical training on the China externship brings theory to life and helps students understand how to apply principles to effectively treat disease and alleviate suffering.

Integration Benefits U.S. Patients

Opening ceremony at Chengdu University with Bastyr faculty leaders Kyo Mitchell, DAOM, LAc, and Rosey Ma, MD, LAc, in front.Clinical training in China offers another advantage: The teaching physicians are trained in both Western and Eastern medicine. These doctors model an integrative approach to treatment, often prescribing X-rays and laboratory tests alongside TCM treatments, which acupuncturists in America cannot do.

Bastyr students spend years learning to be "gatekeepers" — identifying when treatment is appropriate, but also when Western interventions are needed. During the externship, students witness an extremely integrative approach.

Nicolette Behne, a recent DAOM graduate, says the idea of integrating Eastern and Western medicine "really hit home during the externship." She came home with many ideas on how to integrate Eastern and Western medicine in her private practice.

"It's about combining TCM and Western medicine in the best way possible to help people live longer with an improved quality of life," Behne says, noting that in China oncology patients can receive "Western" or "herbal" chemotherapy one day and then, on a non-chemo day, take support herbs that help with the side effects. "This allows patients to continue their chemo regimen. TCM and Western medicine can work together the same way here in the U.S."

Future of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the U.S.

By learning a more integrative model of care in China, students gain a glimpse into how TCM could evolve as a health care service in the United States. As TCM becomes more familiar to the American public and as its benefits become more widely recognized, practitioners must learn how to operate in integrative settings and work within a greater scope of practice. 

Bastyr students are educated in traditional Chinese medical theory and western science. These two complementary perspectives deepen students’ understanding of health and medicine beyond what can be understood from a single-model perspective.

Required Abilities & Skills for AOM Program Admission

Candidates for Bastyr University's acupuncture and Oriental medicine degree programs must be able to demonstrate appropriate observational and communication skills, motor function, intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social maturity. Candidates should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

  • Observation: A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. These are enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
  • Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients such as CPR and application of pressure to stop bleeding and the opening of obstructed airways. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the sense of touch and vision. Observation and motor skills must be in coordination with each other in order to safely practice many of the diagnostic and clinical techniques specific to Oriental medicine. A combination of observation and motor skills are required for acquiring diagnostic information from patients as well as for the clinical portion of the training which includes the safe insertion and manipulation of acupuncture needles, cupping, moxibustion, etc.
  • Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.
  • Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem-solving, which is a critical skill for health care practitioners, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  • Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of her/his intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing work loads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admissions and education processes.

About Acupuncture 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 45 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. Learn more about the China externship.

 

Tuition for Master's & Doctoral Degrees

Average costs for the first academic year with a typical credit load in the 2018-19 academic year.

Degree Program Average Credits - First year Tuition & Fees Books & Supplies Total
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine 77.5 $36,357 $6,375 $42,732
Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine 28.63 $17,375 $1,432 $18,807
Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine 60 $30,267 $3,000 $33,267
Master of Science in Nutrition 45

$25,709

$2,250 $27,959

Master of Science in Nutrition with Didactic Program in Dietetics

46 $26,439 $2,350 $28,789
Master of Science in Nutrition and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology 51 $27,831 $2,550 $30,081
Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness 43 $26,091 $2,150 $28,241
Master of Science in Midwifery 42.5 $26,439 $2,125 $28,564
Master of Public Health 34 $22,857 $1,850 $24,707
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology 34 $21,684 $1,700 $23,384
Master of Arts in Maternal-Child Health Systems 35 $23,686 $1,750 $25,436

See also Financial Aid at Bastyr
*University Catalog

PLEASE NOTE: For financial aid purposes, cost of attendance includes costs above plus $21,600 per nine months to cover room & board, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.

Master's - Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine | Bastyr University