Transitional Doctorate for Acupuncture Graduates

Acupuncture Doctorate Completion Program with Integrative Medicine Focus

Join the original transitional doctorate program created for acupuncture graduates. Over the years, Pacific College has grown the largest network of acupuncture doctorate graduates in the nation! Pacific College’s transitional Doctorate of Acupuncture is the next step in education for those with a master’s in acupuncture or equivalent: students with a master’s in acupuncture or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc), and students that also have herbal studies will earn a Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization (DAcCHM).

Designed for working practitioners, this online program can be completed by taking one course per semester, or by enrolling full time and completing the program in as few as two semesters.

The main objective of Pacific College’s curriculum is to deepen students’ understanding of biomedicine, Chinese medicine, acupuncture and of their role in integrative health care practice. Through a one-on-one online mentorship, students will receive guidance over the course of their professional development of ethics and communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills.

Students will study evidence-informed practice, healthcare systems, and integrative case management.

Unite with a community of other pioneers in our profession – and enjoy sharing best practices, collaborating, and acquiring new insights and knowledge to prepare you join the ranks of doctors in the holistic healthcare movement.

Next term starts on September 3rd, 2024!

Request Information

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Real stories on how this program
impacted our alumni’s careers.

Program Highlights

Enroll in a flexible and interactive online program designed for the working practitioner
Enrich and further your current understanding of both biomedicine and Chinese medicine
Develop skills that can help you achieve success in the integrative healthcare system
Complete the program in as few as two semesters or study part time
Learn from a Pacific College faculty member in a dedicated mentorship format
Study applications of interprofessional communication by observing a healthcare practitioner
Earn a Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc) or Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization (DAcCHM) credential
Join the ranks of doctors in the holistic healthcare movement

Pacific College is accredited by WSCUC


Pacific College’s acupuncture and
Chinese medicine programs are
accredited by ACAHM

Financial Aid is Available to Those who Qualify

How does it work?

The program is open to alumni from all acupuncture colleges and universities.
The online acupuncture degree program is typically completed in 2 to 4 semesters. The classes are online and in real-time. You can see and hear your teacher and fellow doctoral candidates. A true sense of camaraderie is developed, and with no travel to San Diego required.
Because the 28 doctoral competencies are the same for all students, candidates who enter with a master’s in Chinese herbal medicine or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization (DAcCHM), while those entering with a master’s in acupuncture or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc).
Following application, non-Pacific College graduates will start the admissions process with a comparison of their master’s curriculum to Pacific College’s. All applicants will evidence the following:

  • Pre-Requisites: 90 semester units of undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.0 within your acupuncture education
  • Co-Requisites: Upon evaluation of your transcripts, additional co-requisites may be required. Please note that if co-requisite requirements are identified, you may begin your program and have until graduation to complete these.

Contact a Doctoral Admissions Representative for the wide variety of ways to meet the pre- or co-requisites.

A note about degree title: The term “Transitional” or “T” is used in advertising and catalogs to distinguish between this course of study taken by practicing acupuncturists and the one taken by new, entry-level students. However, because the goal of the program is to achieve degree parity, a “T” is not and should not be placed on the degree, consistent with the practice of the physical therapy profession and Pacific College’s approval by WSCUC. Graduates of these Pacific College programs will have an earned doctorate from a regionally accredited college.

The transitional doctorate curriculum was developed by doctoral educators, subject matter experts, and experienced distance education designers.
It is based on the 28 entry-level doctoral competencies. The online delivery method has been developed and refined since 2012 in our undergraduate degrees and post-graduate Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) program. It has been tremendously well received and embraced by students at all levels of computer literacy. The curriculum has been vetted by Pacific College alumni since fall 2015.

Model Curriculum

Term 1 Units Hours
Foundations of Evidence-Informed Practice 3 45
Inter-Professional Communication 1 15
Healthcare Systems 3 45
Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2 30
Advanced Integrative Diagnostics 3 45
Term 2
Integrative Pain Management 2 30
Integrative Case Management 3 45
Practice-Based Learning 3 45
Applications for Inter-Professional Communication 2 60
Program Total: 22 360

In this program, you will find an emphasis on advancing your knowledge and skills to work effectively in a variety of integrative healthcare systems. In so doing, you will expand the opportunities for yourself and future generations of acupuncturists by being an active part of the integrative healthcare movement. Most importantly, you will be expanding the primary care and wellness options of your patients. Pacific College is proud to be at the forefront of entry-level doctoral education for new students. With this post-graduate program, it provides the same opportunity for the pioneers and experienced practitioners.Contact a Doctoral Admissions Representative for a complimentary assessment of the 90 undergraduate credit requirement. There may be credits found within your acupuncture education that we can count toward your undergraduate credit requirement!

“The fact that I am legally a doctor of my craft and can have “Dr.” on my business card speaks volumes. It brings a level of legitimacy and confidence to the patient that I don’t think was noticed before. Because of the title, I was able to raise my prices without any hesitation. I am forever grateful to Pacific College for helping me help people as part of a very rewarding lifestyle. When I graduated, I thought the tuition for acupuncture school was too expensive, but now I see that even if the tuition had been $50k or $75k more, it still would have been worth it!“
-Dr. Alex Ezzati, Transitional Doctorate Graduate,

Meet Your Faculty

Contact a Doctoral Admissions Representative for a complimentary assessment of the 90 undergraduate credit requirement. There may be credits found within your acupuncture education that we can count toward your undergraduate credit requirement!

Ready to Apply?

Transitional Doctorate FAQs

Are alumni from all acupuncture colleges and universities eligible for this program?

Yes. All acupuncturists deserve an opportunity to bridge the gap between their master’s training and the new doctorate.

What is the degree that will be awarded upon successful completion of the program?

Students who enter the program with a master’s degree in acupuncture or equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture(DAc). Students who enter with a master’s degree in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine or equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization (DAcCHM). The curriculum is the same for either student.

Are the online classes synchronous or asynchronous? In other words, are they in “real time?”

All the classes are online and synchronous. They occur in “real time” and are interactive. Students and faculty can see and hear each other. The program is 100% online and will not involve any on ground classroom instruction.

What will the schedule be like?

This program is designed to provide options for all time zones. A variety of class schedules are available every day of the week. There is also substantial work outside of class. Full-time enrollment (12 units) is nearly a full-time job (approximately 40 hours per week). However, the program may be taken on a part- time basis to fit your work schedule.

Will transfer credit be available for any of these courses?

Yes. Up to 5 units may be transferred. To be eligible, a course must be a graduate level course that achieves all the course learning objectives of the designated course. Work experience and CEU courses do not qualify for transfer credit.

Is there a capstone project or dissertation?


What is the attendance policy?

A student must attend at least 75% of the course hours. (Exception: AIPC course requires 100% attendance).

Will the lectures be made available for missed classes?

Archived lectures are typically available; however, they may not be used as a substitute for attendance.

What are my funding options?

We have several options available which include VA/GI Bill, Financial Aid, and cash payment options with flexible monthly payment plans. Students may defer current Title IV loans while in the program.

Is this program accredited by ACAHM?

Pacific College of Health and Science’s professional doctorate program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM). The accreditation status of the professional doctorate curricula applies to both the Doctor of Acupuncture and the Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization. We advertise the degree completion opportunity as the “transitional doctorate” program in order to distinguish it from the entry-level pathway. However, this professional doctorate completion track for graduates of ACAHM-accredited/pre-accredited master’s-level programs is considered by ACAHM as a component of the overall professional doctorate.

Will there be CEUs/PDA available?

While some of the transitional doctorate courses are currently approved for continuing education credit by the California Acupuncture Board and accepted as PDAs by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), Pacific College cannot make any guarantee regarding our ability to offer CEUs/PDAs for doctoral courses. To be eligible to receive continuing education credit, you must have successfully passed the course. In addition, students will only receive credit for class meetings they have attended. Missed classes will not be counted toward the total. There is a $50/per course administrative fee for students to receive CEU certification for these courses. The following courses may be eligible:
  • Health Care Systems
  • Advanced Integrative Diagnostics
  • Foundations of Evidence-Informed Practice

Federal Consumer Disclosure Information About This Program

For important information on program costs, completion and placement rates, median debt incurred, etc., please see the program disclosure document