MAc Degree Program

MAc Degree Program

28 month, 2,370 hour, 126.5 credit, Master of Acupuncture (MAc)

Picture of a demonstration of cupping technique.
Ask about our accredited and respected MAc Degree Program

The MAc Program is in response to the changing private practice and clinical practice environments for graduates of OM colleges in the U.S. It is becoming more evident that there is a need for lower-cost education and health care in the U.S., especially for acupuncture education and services. In addition, many OM college graduates are going into community acupuncture clinics, integrative medical settings, practicing in foreign countries and many other alternative clinical settings where only basic acupuncture medical resources are needed. In many of these clinical settings, Chinese herbal medicine is not or cannot be used for various reasons.

The MAc Program also shortens the length of time for students’ education to 28 months, reducing the amount of financial aid debt, allowing graduates to begin private practice without the expense of setting up a Chinese herbal pharmacy, get NCCAOM certified in acupuncture and state licensed, and begin earning an income. The MAc Program is designed to address many of these factors and serve a growing need for acupuncture services focusing on TCM physical assessment and therapy, incorporating a basic knowledge of biomedical clinical sciences. The MAc Program focuses on acupuncture and related modalities, tuina, Western and TCM nutrition, and clinical training.

The addition of the MAc Program is consistent with CSTCM’s mission of “being one of the leaders in high-quality TCM education by presenting both traditional and modern styles with an emphasis on clinical ability.”

Students are able to transfer between the MAc and MAcCHM Programs at any time with appropriate prerequisites and a program transfer fee. Students completing the MAc Program can return at any time and complete the Chinese herbal medicine coursework and clinics needed for the MAcCHM degree. Both programs are available on a part-time basis in a supportive environment focusing on body, mind, and spirit. Students in both programs will be together in most bioscience, theory, and acupuncture courses. The MAc Program also offers specialized courses in assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal problems, tuina, and an introductory course in Chinese herbal medicine. The MAc Program does not meet criteria for licensure in states requiring Chinese herbal medicine education (Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Texas. For more information about licensure requirements please contact the school’s Registrar Office.).

The 2,370 hour, 28 month accelerated, MAc degree program is approved by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM) and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE). CSTCM is certified by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the Title IV Student Aid Programs.

Curriculum Overview

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.

Bioscience Studies: Bioscience course work 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.

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.

In the 6th trimester, students take the Advanced Acupuncture Treatment of Disease course. Students learn advanced acumoxa diagnoses, differentiations, prescriptions, and treatments for a wide variety of diseases commonly encountered in professional practice.

MAc students learn the basics of Chinese herbal medicine in the Topical Application of Chinese Herbal Medicine course. The class presents a primer on Chinese herbal medicine’s external use, focusing on the safety precautions an Acupuncturist should observe in practice. Students learn to use Chinese topical prepared medicines frequently used in acupuncture clinics.

Opportunities for ongoing training in Qigong and Taiji are available throughout the entire program.

Bioscience – Biomedical 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 Clinical Ethics and Basic Psychology, Counseling & Communication Skills. This additional work in the Western biomedical approach will enhance students’ ability to integrate Eastern and Western medicine.


TCM Studies: In the third year, students continue and conclude their supervised clinical practice. Students apply the advanced acupuncture treatment of disease methods in the clinic and expand their clinical experience. Students have their final observation class in trimester 7. 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 the advanced clinical observation course. They also assume greater responsibility for their patient’s total care.

Bioscience-Biomedical Studies: In the third year, students complete the Western Medical Referral and Western Nutrition courses. Western Nutrition covers the biochemical processes of nutrition and metabolism, dietary intake, nutritional imbalances, vitamins and minerals, and detoxification programs. This final work in the Western biosciences and biomedical approach further develops students’ ability to integrate Eastern and Western medicine.

Students will learn principles involved in creating a business plan, a website, and exploring various advertising strategies in the Clinical Business Management 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 the final trimester, students take a course in exam preparation that guides them in studying for our Final Proficiency Exam and the NCCAOM Acupuncture exam. This course concludes the program of study. Students who complete the program will receive the Master of Acupuncture (MAc) degree.

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 510 hours / 34 credits
  • TCM Theory & Technique 1020 hours / 60 credits
  • Miscellaneous 90 hours / 6 credits
  • Observation 150 hours / 5 credits
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine 45 hours / 3 credits
  • Clinics: Acupuncture 555 hours / 18.5 credits
  • Standard Schedule MAc

Total 2,370 hours / 126.5 credits

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