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 of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Kenmore, Washington campus
3½ years, full time
See how our graduates use their degrees.
Acupuncture is legally recognized in 44 states plus the District of Columbia. Learn more about state licensure.
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.
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).
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:
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.
Entering students must have a bachelor's degree and must have completed the following courses:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Becoming an effective practitioner of acupuncture medicine involves close mentoring and instruction by experienced faculty members in a variety of patient-care settings.
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.
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:
Average costs for the first academic year with a typical credit load in the 2018-19 academic year.
Master of Science in Nutrition with Didactic Program in Dietetics
See also Financial Aid at Bastyr
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.