Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MSAOM) provides the didactic and clinical training necessary for eligibility to sit for the national board exam to become a licensed acupuncturist.
Length of Program: 3 years
Campus: Kenmore, Washington

Quick Facts


Kenmore, Washington campus

General Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or a minimum of 135 quarter credits
  • Grade C or better in prerequisite course work
  • Experience with acupuncture is recommended (i.e. have been treated by a licensed acupuncturist (LAc)

Length of Program

3 years, full time

Tuition and Financial Aid

Career Opportunities

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

See how our graduates use their degrees. 


The curriculum of the MSAOM is fortified with rigorous didactic and clinical training.   Our students are trained in safe and effective care of patients and are skilled in both traditional Chinese medicine modalities AND Western health care disciplines.   Bastyr’s community of students, faculty and staff nurtures each students’ own passion for East Asian medicine and challenges them to think beyond the borders of their own discipline.   Students graduate as a highly qualified, broadly and deeply educated practitioners.


Acupuncture is legally recognized in 47 states plus the District of Columbia. Learn more about state licensure.


Bastyr University’s master’s-level program in acupuncture (MSA), master’s-level program in Oriental medicine (MSAOM), and advanced practice doctoral (DAOM) program are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Institution/program accreditation history, notes, and dates of review may be viewed at:

The Bastyr University professional doctoral (DAc) program, approved to begin enrolling students, is not yet accredited or pre-accredited by ACAOM. Graduates of this program are not considered to have graduated from an ACAOM-accredited or pre-accredited program and may not rely on ACAOM accreditation or pre-accreditation for professional licensure or other purposes.

This program is eligible for ACAOM accreditation, and Bastyr is currently in the process of seeking ACAOM pre-accreditation/accreditation for the program. However, the University can provide no assurance that pre-accreditation or accreditation will be granted by ACAOM.

ACAOM is recognized by the United States Department of Education as the specialized accreditation agency for institutions/programs preparing acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners. ACAOM is located at 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347; phone 952/212-2434; fax 952/657-7068;


Students have two entry options for the MSAOM:

  • Option 1: Students may enter with a completed bachelor’s degree and the required prerequisite coursework. (see below)
  • 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.
Intermediate Algebra1 course
General Chemistry (allied health-level with lab)1,21 course 
General Biology (allied health-level with lab)21 course
General Psychology1 course
General Physics1 course


Note: All students must complete a Basic Life Support CPR class (100% classroom-based) prior to entering clinic.

1Survey-level class that covers inorganic chemistry and includes a lab component. Intended for students in allied-health majors.

2Science classes must have been taken within seven years of entering the program. If not, additional coursework may be required after the admissions committee review

Corequisites for the MSAOM Program

OM3111, BC3135, BC3136 and BC4104 are corequisite courses to the MSAOM program. The MSAOM curriculum has been designed so students missing one or more of these may take them after matriculating at Bastyr University. Previously completed coursework from other accredited institutions may satisfy these corequisites.


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

  1. Safe and effective in the care of patients by demonstrating in-depth ability in the following areas:
    1. Knowledgeable of traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic strategies and their application to individual cases;
    2. Skilled in the traditional methods of assessing patients, including interviewing, palpation and observation;
    3. Competent in selecting the appropriate treatment modalities and plans for a patient utilizing acupuncture, tui na, Chinese herbs (relevant to the MSAOM), lifestyle and dietary counseling, and other modalities within the scope of practice;
    4. Skilled in the application of acupuncture techniques in an appropriate and safe fashion for each patient;
    5. Physical examination, orthopedic and neurological assessment, and pain management;
    6. Critical thinking using cognitive skills to increase the probability of desirable patient outcomes and the development of professional judgment.
  2. 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
  3. 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 East Asian Medicine field
  4. Capable of accessing research information, critically assessing the value of published clinical research in the field
  5. Able to 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
  6. Qualified to pass national and state acupuncture and/or herbal exams
Reference the curriculum table in our course catalog for the course schedule, lecture and clinic hours and total contact hours. 

Clinical Training

Becoming an effective practitioner of Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine (AEAM) involves close mentoring and instruction by experienced faculty members in a variety of patient-care settings.

Consistency and Quality in Training

AEAM clinical programs focus the majority of the clinic shifts in the University's Seattle teaching clinic, Bastyr Center for Natural Health. Bastyr's Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine program is science-based, led highly qualified and experienced faculty, many of whom have been in practice more than 20 years in the United States and China.

This prepares the graduate for licensure in the 44 states (and District of Columbia) that legally recognize acupuncture.

Diverse Patient Population

During clinical training, students have the opportunity to provide care to a wide range of patients with a variety of medical conditions. There are  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

  • Students obtain a minimum of 400 patient contacts with 100 different patients, a requirement that ensures the ability to be successful as a graduate.
  • Students spend 44 preceptor hours shadowing and observing acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine professionals in their private practices.
  • The Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine contains 1,356 total clinical training hours.
  • Master’s 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
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