Transitional Doctorate for Master's Graduates

Transitional Doctorate for Master's Graduates

Download our Informational Brochure here
TDACM Brochure

Model Curriculum:

Term 1 Units  Hours 
Evidence-Informed Practice345
Inter-Professional Communication115
Healthcare Systems345
Preventive Medicine and Public Health230
Advanced Integrative Diagnostics345
Term 2UnitsHours
Clinical Research Design and Statistics230
Integrative Case Management345
Practice-Based Learning345
Applications of Inter-Professional Communication260
Program Total:22360

Financial aid is now available for the transitional doctoral program.

Today’s acupuncturist may need more than just great private practice skills. By bridging the gap between the master’s degree and the entry-level doctorate, the transitional doctorate strengthens the acupuncturist’s ability to be a successful part of our integrative healthcare system. Each subject is approached in a way that enriches the acupuncturist’s understanding of both biomedicine and Chinese medicine and increases their confidence as a member of the integrative, multi-disciplinary team.

From the earliest discussions of the entry-level or first professional doctorate (FPD), Pacific College stated that no master’s graduate should be left behind. Each of you deserve an opportunity to acquire the entry-level doctoral competencies and upon completion, to achieve degree parity*. And now, just like your colleagues in physical therapy, occupational therapy and other professions that have offered such pathways, that is what you can have: an earned doctorate from a regionally accredited college. Join the next phase of the profession: download our brochure HERE.

The curriculum was developed by doctoral educators, subject matter experts, and experienced distance education designers and is based on 28 entry-level doctoral competencies. Each aspect of the program has been scrutinized and approved by educators at our regional accreditor, WSCUC. The online delivery method has been developed and refined over the last six years in our undergraduate degrees and post-graduate Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM). It has been well received and embraced by students at all levels of computer literacy. 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.

Student Testimonial

The program is awesome! It was apparent from the first class meeting that the courses had been designed by professional educators – it was great! The knowledge and skills acquired were very on point and will definitely make a positive difference in the practice of the students. And most of all, thank you so much for continuing to raise the bar for our profession. I think it is of great importance that we continue to set the bar higher for ourselves—-in so doing, everyone wins! I’m proud to be associated with an institution that is forward thinking and committed to excellence.


-Anna, Transitional Doctorate Graduate

The online acupuncture degree program is typically completed in 2 to 4 semesters. Because the 28 doctoral competencies are the same for all students, candidates who enter with a master’s in Oriental Medicine or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM), while those entering with a master’s in acupuncture or the equivalent will earn the Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc).

*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 PCOM’s approval by WSCUC. Graduates of these PCOM programs will have an earned doctorate from a regionally accredited college, the gold standard in education.

Download the Information Packet and Application Here

Following application, non-PCOM graduates will start the admissions process with a comparison of their master’s curriculum to PCOM’s. All applicants will evidence the following:

Pre- and Co-Requisites

  • 90 semester units of undergraduate coursework; PCOM undergraduate massage program courses may be used.
  • Proof of experience in the form of state licensure, NCCAOM certification, or a documented acupuncture practice.

Contact a student advisor for the wide variety of ways to meet the pre- or co-rerequisites.

Student Testimonial

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 PCOM 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 I 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,

Who Can Apply?

Are alumni from all acupuncture colleges and universities eligible for the transitional DACM and DAc programs?

Yes. From the earliest discussions of the entry-level or first professional doctorate (FPD), Pacific College stated that no master’s level graduate should be left behind. All acupuncturists deserve an opportunity to bridge the gap between their master’s training and the new doctorate. Upon completion, they deserve degree parity with entry-level doctoral graduates.

Apply Here


Admissions Requirements

What is the process for admissions?

Candidates are accepted for entry to terms beginning in January, May, or September of each year. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Prospective applicants are encouraged to apply well in advance of their desired start date. In addition, a technical requirement preparatory process must be completed approximately one month before the start of the term.

To apply for admission to Pacific College an applicant should send the following to the Office of Admissions:

1. A completed Pacific College application form

2. Application fee ($100)

3. Official master’s degree transcripts

4. Proof of the 90 semester units of undergraduate coursework

Are there specific prerequisite courses?

A student’s entrance into the program begins with an assessment of their master’s degree curriculum in comparison to Pacific’s. Any substantial deficiencies are assigned as either prerequisites to admission or co-requisites to the program of study.
Candidates must also have 90 semester/135 quarter units of undergraduate coursework from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education or an international equivalent.

Will transfer credit be available for any of these courses?

Yes. Up to five 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. Most Pacific College master’s alumni will earn five units of transfer credit, making their program 17 units. Other students may qualify, as well.

Do official transcripts from previous acupuncture colleges need to be provided as proof of MSAc/MSTOM degree or equivalent completion and coursework?

Yes. Students will be required to furnish official transcripts for evaluation as part of the admissions decision process.

Can a student postpone their application to another term? Will the tuition remain the same for subsequent terms?

An application and application fee may be carried forward for up to two terms. After that, the student must reapply. Application fees are non-refundable. Fees and tuition are subject to change, as are prerequisites and curriculum.

Is state licensure a prerequisite to the programs?

No. But the richness of the classes is directly related to students’ professional experience so we require proof of experience in the form of state licensure, NCCAOM certification, or a documented acupuncture practice.

Apply Here


Degree Title Awarded

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

Pacific College’s WSCUC approval to offer the transitional doctorate allows those who enter the program with a master’s degree in acupuncture or equivalent to earn the Doctor of Acupuncture (DAc) and students who enter with a master’s degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine or equivalent to earn the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM). The doctoral curriculum is the same for either student.


Online and Attendance Questions

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

All the classes are online and synchronous with the exception of Application of Inter-Professional Communication, which includes an observation experience in your home town. They occur in “real time” and are interactive. Students and teachers can see and hear each other. The program is 100% online and will not involve any travel to a campus.

What does “online” mean in relation to the Application of Inter-Professional Communication course and how is it different compared to the other courses that have designated class times?

Application of Inter-Professional Communication includes 30 hours of observing a health care professional other than an acupuncturist in your home town, and online mentorship from a Pacific College faculty member.

What is the attendance policy?

A student must attend at least 75% of the course hours. Application of Inter-Professional Communication requires 100% attendance.

Will the lectures be made available for missed classes?

Archived lectures are typically available of each course. However, they may not be used as a substitute for attendance.


Program Structure

How much homework will there be for these courses?

This program was designed for the working practitioner. The program may be taken on a part-time basis--as few as one course per term. A variety of class schedules allow the busy practitioner to take the program while still working, while full-time enrollment (12 units) requires approximately 30 hours per week of class and outside work.

Is there a capstone project or dissertation?

No, although there is a culminating assignment in Practice-Based Learning that synthesizes many of the program learning objectives.

When are the classes held?

Classes may be held on any day. Schedules vary from term to term.



Is the tuition cost subject to change?

Yes. Tuition is subject to change.

When and how do I pay my tuition?

By the second week of classes, the tuition bill is accessible through student online portal. Payments can be made in the student portal or by sending a check. The San Diego Campus Information Center can assist you with the process and can also accept checks. Full payments are due by the Wednesday of the third week to avoid any late charges.

Students may pay their bills, and see schedules, attendance, and grades through the portal.

The use of credit cards to pay tuition may be subject to a small convenience charge in the future.

Is there a financing/payment plan option?

Yes. Tuition and fees may be paid by check, money order, or credit card in full or by using a monthly payment plan. The payment plan fee is $25 per term. The initial payment is due on the Wednesday of the third week of the semester, and subsequent payments are due on the 10th day of each month thereafter (or the first business day thereafter, if the 10th falls on the weekend.) There are four payment dates per term.

Is there Title IV financial aid available?

Yes. Eligible students may apply for financial aid, and a payment plan is available for students who choose not to use financial aid. Students may defer current Title IV loans while in the program.


Technology Requirements

What are the technology requirements for this program?

For the technology requirements for this program, such as computer specifications, browser features, and bandwidth needs, please see this document.



Will there be CEUs/PDA available?

The California Acupuncture Board and The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) regularly update their continuing education policies. While some of the transitional doctorate courses are currently approved for continuing education credit by the California Acupuncture Board and accepted as PDAs by NCCAOM, Pacific College cannot make any guarantee regarding our ability to offer CEUs/PDAs for doctoral courses.

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