M.S.Ac. Degree Program
28 month, 2,370 hour, 126.5 credit, Master of Science Degree in Acupuncture (M.S.Ac.)
The Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine (CSTCM) proudly announces the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s (ACAOM) approval for CSTCM to add a new Master of Science in Acupuncture (M.S.Ac.) Program, which started in January 2011. This program is in addition to our current Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (M.S.TCM).
The addition of the M.S.Ac. 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 M.S.Ac. 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 M.S.Ac. 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 M.S.Ac. Program focuses on acupuncture and related modalities, tuina, Western and TCM nutrition, and clinical training.
The addition of the M.S.Ac. 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 M.S.Ac. and M.S.TCM Programs at any time with appropriate prerequisites and a program transfer fee. Students completing the M.S.Ac. Program can return at any time and complete the Chinese herbal medicine coursework and clinics needed for the M.S.TCM 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 M.S.Ac. Program also offers specialized courses in assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal problems, tuina, and an introductory course in Chinese herbal medicine. The M.S.Ac. Program does not meet criteria for licensure in states requiring Chinese herbal medicine education (Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Texas, Vermont).
The 2,370 hour, 28 month accelerated, M.S.Ac. degree program is approved by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) 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.
Year 1 – Trimester 1, 2, 3
In the first year of the program, students are introduced to the basic fundamental theories and concepts of TCM. TCM concepts of energy, health, and the etiology of disease process are discussed in depth. In the four Acu Meridian & Point Theory and Practicum classes in the first year, students are introduced to different traditions of Oriental medicine, learn about the channels and collaterals, what each acupoint is used for, its classification, its Chinese name and translation, and how to locate the acupoint. In trimester 3, students begin attending a clinical diagnosis forum to see how everything they are learning is actually applied.
On the practical side in trimester 2-3, students begin learning and practicing essential clinical skills, tui na (TCM physiotherapy) develop palpation and manual treatment skills, which complements the training in acupuncture, moxibustion, and related modalities such as auricular and scalp acupuncture, micro-system acupuncture, cupping, plum blossom, bleeding, gua sha, etc.
Practical training in exercise/breathing therapy like qi gong or tai ji begin this year in order to help cultivate student’s qi. Clinical Observation also begins this year, starting the student’s clinical education. Through observation of private practitioners, and in the student clinic, students develop insight into clinical practice.
On the Western medical side of their first year education, students learn Western Medical Terminology, Introduction to Biology and Chemistry, Western Medicine Anatomy & Physiology, and Surface Anatomy.
Year 2 – Trimester 4, 5, 6
In the second year, students will use their basic theory knowledge to understand the disease process from a TCM perspective. They also learn ways to treat the underlying disease process and promote health. They continue participating in clinical diagnosis forum in trimester 4, 5, and 6 to see how everything they are learning is applied.
Opportunities for ongoing training in qi gong and tai ji are available throughout the entire program. The tui na and acumoxa techniques are further developed and practiced in preparatory internship courses. In trimester 5, students begin their supervised clinical practice by treating patients in student clinic, taking responsibility for all aspects of their patient’s care. Students also learn clean needle technique, OSHA and HIPAA regulations, and Clinical Ethics. CPR / Basic First Aid teaches essential skills that enable clinicians to respond appropriately to emergency situations which may arise in clinical and everyday situations
Students are familiarized with Chinese herbal medicine in the Topical Application of Chinese Herbal Medicine course. The class presents an overview of the study of Chinese herbal medicine, with a focus on the safety precautions an Acupuncturist should observe in practice. Students are introduced to Chinese topical prepared medicines that would be appropriate for their patients.
On the Western medicine side, students study Microbiology of Infectious Diseases, Survey of Medicine, Biochemistry, Clinical Ethics, Basic Psychology / Counseling & Communication Skills, Western Medical Physical Exam and Diagnosis, Western Medical Pathology, and Western Medical Pharmacology / Pharmacognosy. This additional work in the Western biomedical approach will enhance students’ ability to integrate Eastern and Western medicine.
Year 3 – Trimester 7
In the third year, students continue and conclude their supervised clinical practice. They also assume a greater responsibility for their patient’s total care.
On the Western medicine side, in the third year of their education are classes including Western Medical Referral, and Western Nutrition. This final work in the Western biomedical approach will enhance students’ ability to integrate Eastern and Western medicine.
Western Nutrition covers the biochemical processes of nutrition and metabolism, dietary intake, nutritional imbalances, vitamins and minerals, and detoxification programs.
Students will take a course in Clinical Business Management where they will create a business plan, website and advertising strategies, and prepares students to set up a successful Oriental medical private practice.
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 from an experienced practitioner in a clinical setting.
Students finally take a course in exam preparation. This guides them in studying for our Final Proficiency Exam and helps those who have not yet taken the NCCAOM Acupuncture exam. This course concludes the program of study and allows the award of the Masters of Science in Acupuncture (M.S.Ac.) title.
These written proficiency exams are used as an evaluation of the student’s progress, our program, and their understanding of TCM. They are designed to give students a good idea of the type of exam and questions they might find within the NCCAOM exams. These exams encourage students to carefully review all previous coursework.
Written proficiency exams are administered at the end of each year of the program in Trimesters 3, 6, & 9 (M.S.TCM) or in Trimesters 3 and 7 (M.S.Ac.). Students must pass each section to proceed to the next stage of the program. In the final trimester students must pass each section in order to graduate.
A clinical oral and practical exam are given near the end of trimester 4. This exam is designed as an evaluation for both the student and the school and tests the students on clinical skills accomplished up to this point. The objective of this exam is to encourage students to review their clinical skills they have studied and practiced up to this point, and satisfy the school’s obligation to know that the student is prepared to go to the clinic. This exam must be passed in order to continue into clinic.
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 MSAC
Total 2,370 hours / 126.5 credits