Master’s and Doctoral Degrees

MSTCM and DACM

At the Forefront of Holistic Care

ACTCM provides two paths for people who wish to enter the acupuncture and Chinese medicine field with no prior training.

Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM)

The Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) is a comprehensive graduate program designed to lead students to the level of knowledge and clinical proficiency necessary to become a successful independent health-care provider—whether as an individual practitioner or as part of an integrative medicine team. The MSTCM program emphasizes hands-on clinical training with theoretical study, creating a strong foundation for a career as an acupuncturist. 

First Professional Doctorate: Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM)

The Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) builds upon our MSTCM curriculum with an additional focus on integrative and collaborative health care, research literacy, and evidence-informed practices. At a time when acupuncture is an increasingly valued treatment in mainstream care for patient wellness, it is important for acupuncturists to be equipped with the knowledge, communication, and research skills to effectively work with Western medical doctors, physical therapists, and other health-care professionals

At a Glance

  • 4 years (both MSTCM and DACM)
  • 176 units (MSTCM) or 192 units (DACM)
  • Classes held in-person weekdays
  • Students can choose to study full-time, part-time or accelerated
  • Federal financial aid available

Next cohort start date: August 26, 2021. Applications are now being accepted.

For questions about the admissions process or the programs, please do not hesitate to get in touch: actcmadmissions@ciis.edu

Entry Requirements

To enter our graduate programs, you must have completed the following requirements before applying: 

  • A minimum of 90 semester units, or 135 quarter units, from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education or a foreign equivalent. Credits must be at the college level and be applicable toward a degree program such as an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. 
  • A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. However, a GPA below 3.0 does not automatically disqualify an applicant, and ACTCM will consider prospective students whose GPA is between 2.0 and 3.0. These individuals are required to submit a GPA Statement and are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions to discuss their options. 
  • English language competency is required of all students seeking admission to the program. More on language competency requirement here.

MSTCM/DACM General Science Requirement

The College offers all of the required general science courses on campus, and students may take them either through ACTCM or at another approved college or university. To be transferable to ACTCM, a general science course taken at another institution must be passed with a grade of C or better, and its content must be equivalent to the content of the same science course offered by ACTCM. Students admitted to the MSTCM or DACM program are required to complete the general science courses listed below no later than one semester prior to taking the 1st Level Comprehensive Exams. 

General Science Courses (15  semester credits)
• Human Anatomy  – 4 semester credits
• Human Physiology – 3 semester credits
• General Psychology – 2 semester credits
• General Physics – 2 semester credits
• General Chemistry – 2 semester credits
• General Biology – 2 semester credits

Application Materials Needed 

  • A completed ACTCM Application 
  • Form Application fee ($65) 
  • Official electronic or official sealed hardcopy transcripts from all institutions attended 
  • Two Letters of Recommendation 
  • A current resume 
  • A Statement of Purpose essay 
  • GPA Statement (for those with a GPA under 3.0)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition and School Fees

View Tuition and Fees for 2020–2021

Financial Aid

ACTCM believes that the cost of a high-quality education should not be a deterrent to prospective students. In recognition of the concern students and families have with finding adequate resources to meet these costs, our financial aid program is designed to make ACTCM affordable to those students we admit. Approximately 80 percent of our students receive some form of aid from federal, state, and institutional sources.

Check for Financial Aid Eligibility

CIIS Financial Aid Office 

Hours: 9am–5pm, Monday through Friday

California Institute of Integral Studies 
1453 Mission Street, 4th Floor 
San Francisco, CA 94103 

finaid@ciis.edu 
Phone: (415) 575-6122 
Fax: (415) 575-1268

Curriculum: MSTCM & DACM

Acupuncture Degree: Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Learn the fundamentals of meridians, TCM internal medicine and diagnosis, physical therapy (qi gong), massage (tui na/shiatsu), gua sha, cupping, moxibustion.

Acupuncture degree program students in practice.

Acupuncture Therapeutics

Become skilled in needling techniques and point prescriptions in our Chinese medicine and acupuncture degree programs.

Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, acupuncture school

Herbal Medicine

Study Chinese herbal medicine and formulations.

Acupuncture Degree: Acupuncture School Students

Biomedicine

Understand the foundation of biomedicine care and practices.

DACM Additional Coursework

INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE

is woven throughout the program, training professionals to meet the needs of patient-centered care in institutions providing multiple healing modalities.

SYSTEMS-BASED MEDICINE

instills in students a commitment to care that is culturally sensitive and collaborative.

RESEARCH LITERACY

helps develop DACM graduates as lifelong learners, teaching them skills to critically evaluate scholarly literature.

EVIDENCE-INFORMED PRACTICE

integrates clinical findings, patient preferences, research, and clinical experience into the process of health-care delivery.

Clinical Options That Open Doors

Events

Read more about ACTCM'S Top Rated Acupuncture Degree Programs

FAQs

The Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) is a first professional doctoral degree in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM). Graduates of the program will be qualified to take the national certification and California acupuncture licensing exams, just as graduates of the master’s program. DACM students will graduate at the doctoral level with enhanced training and skills over the current masters level training.

ACTCM’s DACM was the first FPD program approved by ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) in November 2014. The program was also approved by WASC with the completion of the ACTCM merger with California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) on July 1, 2015. The ACTCM at CIIS Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) program was granted initial accreditation by ACAOM in November 2018, effective through February 2025. Accreditation status and notes may be viewed here.

California Institute of Integral Studies is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Students admitted to the DACM program are eligible for federal grant and loan programs through our WSCUC accreditation.

The DACM degree will differ from the MSTCM degree in the number of hours of class and clinical work necessary to complete the degree, as well as differences in the curriculum. The DACM degree is a first professional degree at the doctoral level; the curriculum expands upon that of the MSTCM degree.

No. The MSTCM degree and the DACM degree will provide two different paths for pursuing a first professional degree and licensure as an acupuncturist.

No. The license to practice acupuncture is the same for graduates of both the MSTCM and DACM programs.

Transferring students are required by ACAOM to complete at least two years as a matriculated student in first professional doctoral degree program. For questions about transferring into the acupuncture degree program (DACM), please contact the Admissions office (actcmadmissions@ciis.edu).

If you are a current student in a master’s degree program in Chinese medicine and have completed nearly 50% or more of your master’s program, you should complete your master’s program. You can then enroll in ACTCM’s postgraduate doctoral completion program (the DACMCP). If you have completed less than two years of training in your master’s program, then transferring into the DACM program may be an option for you. Please contact the Admissions office for details (actcmadmissions@ciis.edu).

The Accreditation Standard for the First Professional Doctorate in Acupuncture and/or Oriental Medicine from ACAOM states: “The FPD program must ensure that transfer (or ‘advanced standing’) students take at least two academic years in residence before receiving the FPD degree.” This means that if you have less than two years remaining in your first professional degree program and transfer into the first professional doctorate, you may be required to repeat curriculum that you had previously covered in your master’s program.

In order to ensure that DACM graduates will be eligible to practice in California and  many places throughout the country, including some states that do not yet recognize the first professional doctoral degree, students will receive an articulated degree. This means that they will be conferred both the DACM and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) degree concurrently at graduation after completing the degree requirements for the DACM program. Please see the State Licensure Requirement Disclosure page for more information on practicing outside of California with a degree form ACTCM.

No. For students in the DACM program, these two degrees, DACM and MSTCM, are conferred only when all requirements for both degrees are completed. Should you decide to work toward a MSTCM degree only, you will need to transfer to the MSTCM program.

Join us at an upcoming Info Session or Open House, or ask us! Email ACTCMadmissions@ciis.edu or request information through this website.

California Institute of Integral Studies is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501 (510-748-9001). The Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) programs of ACTCM at CIIS are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55347 (952-212-2434), which is the recognized accrediting agency for programs preparing acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners. The ACTCM at CIIS Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) program was granted initial accreditation by ACAOM in November 2018, effective through February 2025. Accreditation status and notes may be viewed here.

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