DAcCHM Degree Program

DAcCHM Degree Program


The Professional Doctorate (PD) program is an additional Accelerated* Trimester of 330 clock hours and 17 credit hours above/in addition to the MAcCHM degrees.

Picture of a patient laying on an examination table with acupuncture needles inserted in their earlobe.
Learn more about our MAcCHM Degree Program

Students can choose a track that commits to the Doctors Program only (DAc or DAcCHM) or they can select the dual degree track by simultaneously enrolling in the MAc and DAc or MAcCHM and DAcCHM..

Graduates of ACAHM accredited Master degree programs in Acupuncture with CHM (MAcCHM  equivalents) can apply to the DAcCHM program. The 17 credits for the PD can be completed in one 15 week trimester as an Accelerated* program or in 2 Trimesters as a combination of Full-time and / or Part time programs.

The combined MAcCHM-DAcCHM degree program can be completed in a minimum completion time of 40 months.

Curriculum Overview

(requires the equivalent of the nine trimesters of the MAcCHM degree plus the addition of the 10th trimester for a DAcCHM )

YEAR 1 – TRIMESTER 1, 2, 3

TCM Studies: In the first year of the program, students learn TCM’s fundamental theories, including TCM concepts of energy, health, and disease etiology. The four courses in Acu Meridian and Point Theory with Practicum teach students various Chinese Medicine acupuncture traditions. Students learn the Channels and Collaterals, Acupoint classifications, locations, uses, and the Chinese Acupoint names and English translations for the acupoint names.

In trimester 3, students begin attending clinical diagnosis forums to observe the practical application of Chinese Medicine.

On the practical side in trimester 2-3, students begin learning and practicing essential clinical skills. The first step is learning Tui-na to develop palpation skills, then using Tui-na to treat acupoints and channels, and using Tui-na for manual therapy for common conditions. The Tui-na training lays the foundations for students to begin learning the traditional acupuncture and moxibustion methods and techniques in the Acumoxa courses. Students also learn auricular acupuncture, scalp acupuncture, micro-system acupuncture, cupping, plum blossom, bleeding, gua sha, and related Acumoxa modalities.

Practical training in Qigong and Taiji exercise/breathing therapy begins this year to cultivate the student’s qi. Clinical observation requirements also begin this year, starting the student’s clinical education. By observing private practitioners and observing practitioners in the student clinic, students develop insight into clinical practice.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Studies: Students begin studying Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) with Chinese Herbal Medicine 1 & 2. The class begins with the essential CHM history and texts and goes on to study the Chinese Materia Medica. In these courses, students will study individual Chinese herbs and CHM theory.

Bioscience course work:  Bioscience studies in the first year includes Medical Terminology, Anatomy & Physiology, Surface Anatomy, Introduction to Biology, and Introduction to Chemistry.

YEAR 2 – TRIMESTER 4, 5, 6

TCM Studies: In the second year, students will use their TCM theory knowledge to deepen their understanding of the disease process from a TCM perspective. They learn how to formulate Chinese Medicine treatment principles and treatment plans and use Acumoxa methods to treat the underlying disease process and promote health. They continue participating in clinical diagnosis forum in trimester 4, 5, and 6. Through the clinic forum experience, students gain additional diagnostic and differentiation of disease experience. They also observe licensed practitioners discuss and deliver Chinese Medicine treatments. The Tui-na and Acumoxa techniques are further developed and practiced in preparatory internship courses. Opportunities for ongoing training in Qigong and Taiji are available throughout the entire program.

As an essential part of a successful TCM practice, students learn in-depth Acumoxa treatments for a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions in the Acupuncture Assessment & Treatment of Musculoskeletal Disorders courses.

In trimester 5, students begin their supervised clinical practice by treating patients in the student clinic, taking responsibility for all aspects of their patient’s care. Students also learn CNT (clean needle technique), OSHA and HIPAA regulations, and Clinical Ethics. Before entering the clinical internships, all students must complete the Red Cross Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED course. This prerequisite course teaches essential emergency response skills for clinical and everyday emergencies. Completing this Red Cross course is required for students to enter internships at CSTCM.

CHM Studies: Students conclude studying individual Chinese herbs by completing the final individual herbs course.  The students now start to use their knowledge of individual herbs by learning how the individual herbs are combined to make Chinese herbal formulas and patent medicines. Students study CHM formulas and strategies to prepare for CHM Internal Medicine studies and learn the Topical Application of Chinese Herbal Medicine and CHM Preparation Methods.

Bioscience-Biomedicine Studies: Bioscience and western medical courses include Biochemistry, Microbiology of Infectious Diseases, Survey of Medicine, Biomedical (Western) Physical Exam and Diagnosis, Biomedical (Western) Pathology, and  Biomedical (Western) Pharmacology / Pharmacognosy. Students also learn Basic Psychology, Counseling & Communication Skills, and Clinical Ethics. This additional work in the Western biomedical approach will enhance students’ ability to integrate Eastern and Western medicine.

YEAR 3 – TRIMESTER 7, 8, 9

TCM and CHM Studies: Students continue their supervised clinical practice in the third year and further their herbal medicine studies with TCM Internal Medicine and TCM Gynecology (Chinese herbal) Clinic. They also assume greater responsibility for their patient’s total care. In trimester 7 and 8, students begin to make their transition from student to beginning practitioner. In the 7th trimester, students take the Advanced Acupuncture Treatment of Disease course and learn advanced acumoxa diagnoses, differentiations, prescriptions, and treatments for a wide variety of diseases commonly encountered in professional practice.

In TCM Internal Medicine, students systematically learn the CHM methodology that bases Chinese herbal treatment on the differentiation of syndromes/patterns for many symptoms and diseases. Students also have a course in the Clinical Application of Chinese Herbal Medicine. During trimester 8, students begin two trimesters of TCM Internal Medicine clinical internship and study TCM nutrition. Students have their final observation class in trimester 9. At this point, they have a solid foundation in clinical theory and practice and benefit from observing and getting more advanced questions answered by an experienced practitioner in a clinical setting. Students also have the opportunity to assist student clinic supervisors.

Bioscience-Biomedical Studies: Students take Western Physical Exam & Diagnosis, Western Pharmacology/ Pharmacognosy, and Western Medical Referral. Western Nutrition covers the biochemical processes of nutrition and metabolism, dietary intake, nutritional imbalances, vitamins and minerals, and detoxification programs. This additional work in the Western biomedical approach will enhance students’ ability to integrate Eastern and Western medicine.

Clinical Business Management: Students will learn principles involved in creating a business plan, a website, and exploring various advertising strategies in this course. The course teaches students to understand and implement business, marketing, and professional plans to support success in either a solo professional practice or a group practice.

In this trimester, students take a course in exam preparation that guides them in studying for our Final Proficiency Exam and the NCCAOM board exams. This course concludes the program of study. Students who enrolled in dual degrees complete this trimester will receive the Master of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine specialization (MAcCHM) degree.


The DAcCHM program encompasses all of the course work required in the nine trimesters of the MAcCHM program and adds 330 hours of professional doctorate training. The 180 hours of didactic course work encompasses Advanced Internal Medicine Treatment of Disease, Advanced Integrative Biomedical and TCM Diagnosis, Integrative Collaborative Medicine, Research Literacy and Evidence-Informed Practice, and Professional Development courses.

The 150 hours of Integrative Acupuncture and Internal Medicine Clinics provide an advanced focus on treating complex cases while collaborating with various TCM and allied health professionals. Together students and supervisors will discuss TCM and other health systems’ diagnostic and treatment ideas. Following the discussion, students will create and deliver TCM treatments to the patient under their supervised care. Collaborating supervisors will represent clinical approaches from the various health professions, such as biomedicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and physical therapists.

The courses prepare interns for specialized clinical practice by working with one Chinese Medicine supervisor and one integrative medicine supervisor. Together the supervisors will guide the student interns in comprehensive Chinese Medicine treatments that complement integrative medicine diagnostic and treatment plans. These clinical experiences will allow interns the opportunity to interact and practice alongside professionals from multiple medical disciplines. Students gain insight into other approaches to diagnosis and treatment. Clinic supervisors will guide the student’s clinical decision-making process regarding indications, contraindications, indications for referral, and benefits of integrative medicine treatments. The students’ clinical goal will be to develop the best Chinese medicine treatments for TCM and or integrative settings.

The DAcCHM graduate will be uniquely trained and prepared to enter into Chinese Medicine practice with TCM knowledge and skills applicable to working in an integrative medical setting. The DAcCHM can be completed in one accelerated trimester (17 credit hours) as an ongoing continuum directly from the MAc program. Alternatively, it can be completed in 2 trimesters. Students who completed the MAcCHM can also elect to take a trimester or two off and then return to the DAcCHM for completion. (Please note that the MAcCHM DAcCHM dual degree program must be completed within 9.33 YEARS, (112 months). Graduates from other ACAHM accredited Master’s degree programs in acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine specialization are welcome to discuss admissions to the CSTCM DAcCHM program with CSTCM admissions advisors.

Cumulative Exams


These written proficiency exams evaluate the student’s progress, our program, and their understanding of TCM. The exams give students a good idea of the type of exam and questions they might find within the NCCAOM exams. These exams encourage students to review all previous coursework carefully.

Written proficiency exams are administered at the end of each year of the program in Trimesters 3, 6, & 9 for the MAcCHM students or Trimesters 3 and 7 for the MAc students. Students must pass each section to proceed to the next stage of the program. In the final MAc or MAcCHM trimester, students must pass each section in order to graduate.


Students take a clinical oral and practical exam near the end of trimester 4. The exam serves as an evaluation for both the student and the school. It tests the students on clinical skills accomplished up to this point. This exam’s objective is to encourage students to review the clinical skills they have studied and practiced up to this point and satisfy the school’s obligation to know that they are prepared to go into the clinic. Passing this exam is required in order to continue into the clinic.

Any of the CSTCM programs can be taken at an accelerated pace, as in the following curriculum examples. Full-time and half-time study is also available and can be tailored to each student’s individual needs. It is very challenging for a student to finish the program in this minimum time. Curriculum development is an on-going process at CSTCM. We continuously search for better ways to present challenging material. The overall program is subject to minor changes from time to time.

Program Category Totals

  • Biosciences 540 hours / 36 credits
  • TCM Theory & Technique 990 hours / 58.5 credits
  • Miscellaneous 135 hours / 9 credits
  • Observation 150 hours / 5 credits
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine 570 hours / 38 credits
  • Clinics:
    • Acupuncture 645 hours / 21.5 credits
    • Chinese Herbal 330 hours / 11 credits

Total 3,045 hours / 163 credits

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