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Requirements for Doctoral program in Acupuncture and Oriental medicine

Preference is given to applicants who demonstrate strong clinical reasoning skills and motivation to advance their career and the profession of Oriental medicine through specialization, classical studies, translation, and research. Individuals with a strong academic and professional background and those who have demonstrated evidence of exceptional potential to make a contribution to the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine are encouraged to apply. Pacific College values creativity, scholarship, and an independent spirit in the discovery and application of new knowledge.

The following criteria will be given high importance in evaluating applications:

  • Clear statement of purpose
  • Ability to write and think critically
  • Written and oral proficiency in English
  • Ability to utilize academic, professional and community resources to achieve learning objectives
  • Computer literacy, familiarity with electronic databases, and access to e-mail and the Internet
  • Ability to function as an independent learner The following are required for admission to the doctoral program:
  • Evidence of satisfactory completion of a Master's degree or a Master's level program in acupuncture or Oriental medicine from an ACAOM-accredited or candidate institution, or international equivalent.
  • A grade point average of 3.0 or better in previous graduate level work
  • Acupuncture license (California preferred). In some cases, an applicant who is currently scheduled to sit for a license exam will be considered.
  • Currently engaged in a clinical practice preferred

Special Admissions
Due to the emerging nature of the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree program, ACAOM standards allow a special admission policy for experienced practitioners who have been actively engaged in the profession for at least five years, but have not attained the master degree or its equivalent.

Experienced Practitioners
The program may admit applicants who are experienced practitioners who do not otherwise meet the criteria for standard admissions but who:

1. Complete an entrance evaluation to establish a foundation of knowledge skills and abilities that are appropriate for admission to a clinical doctorate;
2. Document at least five years of full-time clinical practice in acupuncture or Oriental medicine.
3. Complete any of the prerequisite Master's courses that were not completed in previous acupuncture/OM training. Credit for these courses may be earned through the completion of specified courses, or by demonstrating achievement of the specific course objectives through successful completion of challenge examinations. Please note that the completion of the core Master's curriculum and doctoral program does not necessarily, and most likely will not, result in the award of a Master's degree or eligibility to sit for the California Acupuncture Licensing Examination (CALE). At this time, only the actual completion of the entire Master's degree curriculum enables a student to take the CALE and earn Pacific College's Master's degree.

Admissions with Deficiencies
The program may admit applicants with particular educational deficiencies of a limited nature who possess an ACAOM-accredited or candidate degree or master's level diploma or international equivalent provided that such persons complete any course work deficiencies prior to taking relevant doctoral program courses for which such course work is a prerequisite.


Non-Matriculated Students
Non-matriculated students may enroll in doctoral level coursework if the student meets all entry requirements and course prerequisites for participation in particular courses. Such students must successfully petition the Chair of Doctoral Studies for approval prior to registration. The Chair of Doctoral Studies will consult with the appropriate faculty member(s) to determine if allowing any non-matriculated student to take a given course would adversely affect the quality of instruction.


Transfer Credit
The program may accept limited transfer credit (no more than one-third of didactic credits) for prior coursework toward the clinical doctoral program that the Admissions Committee judges to be equivalent to the requirements for graduation from the doctoral program. Transfer credit may only be awarded for didactic course work that is equivalent to the doctoral level, supports the program's objectives and meets the credits for completion of the program. These credits must come from an accredited institution or its international equivalent. The applicant must demonstrate that they meet the objectives of the courses being transferred by way of an examination or interview with the relevant faculty member.

Admission Procedure
Application to the Pacific College DAOM degree program is self-managed, that is, following the submission of the application form, we request that the student obtain all transcripts and letters of recommendation and complete all writing assignments and then submit an Admissions Portfolio to Pacific College - San Diego campus, Admissions Office. Please include a note if you are aware that some materials will be arriving under separate cover, i.e., transcripts or recommendation letters. The Admissions Office will acknowledge receipt of your Admissions Portfolio and notify you of any missing documents, or that the material is complete and ready for review.

1. First, complete the application form and submit it along with a nonrefundable application fee of $100.
2. Once Pacific College has received your application and fee, the Admissions Department will mail you three sample Case Studies. You will respond to one. Please submit no more than three pages of detailed diagnosis and treatment information in response to the case study you have selected. Include this as part of your Admissions Portfolio (described further in item 3 below). This writing sample should represent the level of training and expertise you currently have in the given context.
3. Submit your completed case study along with the rest of your Admissions Portfolio, which shall contain the following:

a. Two sealed recommendations from professional colleagues, supervisors or former teachers.
b. Official Transcripts - Obtain official transcripts in sealed, stamped envelopes from all previous colleges and universities you have attended, regardless of whether or not you completed a degree. Send them unopened with your application.
c. An updated resume - Include a current resume that lists the following:

  • Education (both academic and continuing education)
  • Work history (include description of all clinical practice experience)
  • Experience in teaching and/or research
  • Publications and formal conference presentations
  • Membership in professional organizations
  • Honors and awards.

d. Statement of Purpose - Your one- to two-page Statement of Purpose should explain your desire to undertake graduate studies at this point in your life. The statement should encompass your scholarly and professional interests and goals and link them with the academic and research components of Pacific College's doctoral program
e. Evidence of licensure status.
f. International students for whom English is a second language must provide evidence of a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 600.
g. Two passport-size photos


Admissions Interview
The Doctoral Admissions Committee will review the Admissions Portfolios. Applicants whose portfolio indicates likely success in the doctoral program will be invited to an interview with one or more members of the Doctoral Admissions Committee in San Diego, following which a final admissions decision will be made.

Deferred Acceptance
If you are invited for an admissions interview but cannot make the appointment, you can request to have your Admissions Portfolio reviewed for the next session. No new materials or fees will be required. A second invitation to interview, however, is not guaranteed.

Orientation and Planning Session (OPS)
If accepted, you will receive an information packet which will include your admissions agreement, reservation forms, OPS schedule information, and materials to prepare for planned activities at the full-day OPS. Attendance at the OPS is required in order to enroll in subsequent courses. The full day Orientation and Planning Session will include:

  • Introduction to doctoral administration and faculty
  • Overview of the doctoral program: didactic and clinical
  • Academic policy and procedures including grading philosophy
  • Doctoral class and clinic scheduling
  • The doctoral educational process and doctoral instructional design
  • Assessment of individual student strengths and weaknesses
  • Self-directed learning skills
  • Doctoral writing skills
  • Communicating with faculty and administration
  • College participation in accreditation and students' role in the process
  • Open forum