English Chinese (Simplified) Japanese Korean Spanish

Master of Science in Acupuncture - Chicago


Master of Science in Acupuncture (MSAc)

If you're searching for acupuncture master's programs, join our welcoming community and explore the benefits of Chinese medicine and the kind of care you can provide future patients. Our expert faculty will provide one-on-one support to help you hone this ancient medicine and apply it to modern healthcare. Discover your future career with us.

The purpose of the Master of Science in Acupuncture program is to train practitioners of acupuncture to function as primary, independent healthcare providers, focusing on Acupuncture and related modalities of Oriental medicine to achieve health and well-being, and most importantly, become an integral part of the modern healthcare system.

The Master of Science in Acupuncture program is not just the Master of Science (Traditional Oriental Medicine) program without herbal study, rather the instruction of diagnosis and treatment in the Acupuncture Therapeutics series, focused on material most relevant for acupuncture-focused practitioners. In addition, the new MSAc program provides a shorter route to acupuncture licensure with more flexible scheduling options.

Following the vision of an “East meets West” environment, students learn and apply the best of Asian medicine with a firm foundation in Western medicine. Students explore physiology, etiology, and the diagnostic and treatment systems of Chinese medicine as they learn to model the use of biomedicine in the modern acupuncture practice.

The Master of Science in Acupuncture is a 3 to 4-year graduate program (9 to 11 terms) consisting of 133 units and 2512.5 credit hours of theory and practice. Graduates are eligible for the national certification examination (NCCAOM), which enables students to become licensed in states that regulate acupuncture and Oriental medicine using the NCCAOM exam to qualify for licensure, but do not require the study and practice of Herbology.

Some of the coursework includes:

  • Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine
  • Acupuncture Channels and Points
  • Acupuncture Therapeutics
  • Needle and Advanced Needle Technique
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Tui Na Hand and Structural Technique (massage courses)
  • Eastern and Western Nutrition

Graduates of the Master of Science in Acupuncture program will be able to:

  • Understand and demonstrate personal and professional ethical standards.
  • Understand the etiology of disease from a traditional Oriental and biomedical perspective, and apply this understanding by recommending disease prevention strategies.
  • Evaluate patients exhibiting complaints commonly seen and treated by Oriental medicine, and in a manner that indicates cognizance of all relevant Oriental medical diagnostic paradigms.
  • Recognize signs and symptoms necessitating referral to appropriate complementary healthcare providers.
  • Formulate treatment principles in a manner that prioritizes treatment procedures for patients that follow logically from the diagnosis.
  • Formulate acupuncture and supplemental treatment plans, while providing a logical rationale for such plans.
  • Personally administer the designated treatment plan, or use the appropriate support personnel.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of clinical sciences from a traditional Oriental and bio-medical perspective.
  • Communicate in a professional and knowledgeable manner about Oriental medicine and biomedicine with relevant health 

Federal Consumer Disclosure Information About This Program

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Information on completion and placement rates and median debt incurred are not yet available for this new Fall 2015 program. The tuition for students who start the program in Fall 2015 is $50,957.25.

First Professional Doctorate (FPD)

PCOM Receives Approval from WASC to Offer FPD

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) is well into the process of developing and offering what has become known as the first professional doctorate in acupuncture and/or Oriental medicine. The College has received approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) to offer the program. At the same time, the College's academic leadership team is using this as an opportunity to review its master's of science programs with the goal of reducing repetition, increasing efficiency, and creating better articulation with the College's post-graduate doctorate (DAOM).


What is the First Professional Doctorate (FPD)?

PCOM's current doctoral degree, the Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM), is a post-graduate degree. It requires students to first complete a master's degree in acupuncture and/or Oriental medicine. The post-graduate DAOM does not provide entry-level training. Pacific's DAOM is designed for existing practitioners to become leaders through specialization; language skills; research; advanced, integrative clinical training; and the study of Chinese Classics. On the other hand, students can enter FPDs directly from undergraduate programs without prior acupuncture and/or Oriental medicine training and receive a doctoral degree upon graduation.

The FPD should be distinguished from the common term "first professional or entry level degree", which is the first professional degree leading to entry into a profession. Pacific College already has that. It is the master's degree. There is currently no movement to alter the minimum entry-level degree requirement on a nationwide basis and it is not expected to change in California, New York, or Illinois.

What is presently proposed for the FPD is a degree that expands on the minimum ACAOM standards for master's programs. For some schools that will be quite an expansion. However, Pacific College's MSTOM exceeds ACAOM's minimum master's training standards by approximately 900 hours and exceeds the first professional doctorate degree standards by approximately 500 hours.

The ACAOM FPD standards allow for separate Oriental medicine and acupuncture degrees, paralleling the MSTOM and MSAc degrees currently offered by Pacific College (the MSAc is offered in NY only at this time).

Will the professional doctorate (FPD) require a bachelor's degree?

No. The proposed admissions standards require three years (90 semester credits) of undergraduate education, which must include courses in biology, psychology, and chemistry. This is in contrast to the current two-year prerequisite for the master's programs.

Will the FPD graduates receive a different license to practice than those who graduate from MSTOM program?

No. Graduates of the Pacific College's MSTOM and MSAc programs would be eligible to sit for the same state and national licensing exams as they are now, and it is expected that FPD graduates will have the same right. However, the NCCAOM has no public statement yet regarding FPD graduates. There are no state initiatives to change the entry-level degree requirements or change the scope of practice for someone holding an FPD.

How will I earn a doctorate if I'm already in a master's program or have already graduated?

PCOM has developed a principle, "No Master's Left Behind", which it will advocate to ACAOM. Given the nearly identical content of the College's comprehensive master's degree and the FPD, Pacific College believes that 100% transfer credit should be awarded to master's students and graduates and that they should be required to take only those few credits that are different.

Will the professional doctorate (FPD) replace the post-graduate doctorate (DAOM)?

No. Even if the FPD is widely adopted, which is uncertain and may take a generation, the DAOM will serve the vital function of training advanced clinicians, specialists, researchers, and teachers for our profession.

What does this mean for the profession and what other professions have undergone a standard degree title change?

Many professions have gone through what has been commonly referred to as "degree creep," an increase in degree titles without significant changes to curriculum. Usually graduates who earned the earlier degree titles do not change their degrees. Examples of this include our own profession. Some of your more experienced teachers graduated from non-degree programs in the 1980s or 90s and do not have a master's degree, yet have all the rights and privileges to practice acupuncture. Another is the field of pharmacy, where students used to earn a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, while current students earn a Doctor of Pharmacy, with added time largely making room for general education. Both have the same right to practice. The entry-level education for physical therapists used to be a Master's of Physical Therapy. It is now a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT). The physical therapy profession designed a transitional doctorate that enabled those with master's degrees to easily earn a doctorate. Our profession is exploring the option as well since many practitioners did not graduate from a master's program as comprehensive as PCOM's and may need significantly more courses to bridge the difference between the degrees.

Massage Programs - San Diego


Massage Therapist/Asian Bodywork Certificate

The purpose of the Massage Therapist/Asian Bodywork program is to prepare students for employment in massage therapy either in private practice, or a wide variety of healthcare or spa settings. Emphasis is placed on Oriental medical theory and Chinese therapeutic massage.

Read more ...

programs icon associates

Associate of Applied Science
(Holistic Health Science)

The purpose of the Associate of Applied Science program is to develop the student into an expertly trained body therapist. Focus is on Oriental medical theory with a comprehensive training in practical massage skills, including tui na, shiatsu, Thai massage, and a variety of other Asian bodywork therapies.

Read more ...

programs icon associates

Associate of Science
(Massage Therapy/Asian Bodywork)

The purpose of the Associate of Science program is to develop the student into an expertly trained body therapist, while providing the general education units required to advance into the Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program.

Read more ...

programs icon bachelors

Bachelor of Health Science
(Asian Holistic Health and Massage)

The purpose of the bachelor’s program is to provide those with a related prerequisite Associates degree advanced training and application in Oriental medicine theory and massage practice.

Read more ...

Have questions on how distance education works? Visit our Distance Education Frequently Asked Questions Page.

Acupuncture and Massage programs available at our school in San Diego, California

programs icon mstom


Acupuncture is the practice of inserting very fine needles into strategically selected acupoints, specific points on the body that correlate to various meridians and organs, to free and aid one's "qi", or energy. This ancient method of healing originated in China over 3,500 years ago and aims to treat the whole person rather than just the symptoms of disease.

View All Acupuncture Programs offered at our school in San Diego ...

programs icon bachelors


Massage is an ancient practice that combines the healing power of touch with the anatomical knowledge of the body. Asian Bodywork is a term that encompasses many massage modalities including Tui Na, Shiatsu, and Thai Massage, many of which also incorporate acupoints.

View All Massage Programs offered at our school in San Diego ...

Our Acupuncture and Massage School in San Diego is close to the following Socal cities: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods , Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange County, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda. San Diego is a city in California which neighbors states like Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

Acupuncture Programs - San Diego

programs icon daom

Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The purpose of the doctoral program is to foster self-directed learning and critical thinking skills within the framework of traditional Chinese medicine to where it becomes a defining characteristic of the graduate's professionalism.

Read more ...

programs icon mstom

Master of Science (Traditional Oriental Medicine)

The purpose of the Master’s program is to train practitioners of Oriental medicine and to enable them to function as primary, independent healthcare providers, and most importantly, to become an integral part of the modern healthcare system.

Read more ...


Chicago Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
65 East Wacker Place
21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (773) 477-4822
Toll free: (888) 729-4811
Fax: (773) 477-4109


Get Directions