The Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MTCM) program is a four-year graduate professional degree program comprising 3208 hours in length and a total of 170.5 units. The program, taught on a semester basis, is presented in English at our Santa Cruz campus, and in English, Chinese and Korean at our San Jose campus. The English and Chinese Master’s are available in a daytime program while the Korean Master’s program is offered in the evening and on Saturdays. You can obtain a Master’s degree in four years or enroll in classes during the summer term to accelerate the program and finish your degree early. Enrollment on a part-time basis is available based on consideration and approval by the Academic Dean and Admissions Director.
Taught by highly accomplished faculty in TCM education, the curriculum is offered through eight academic and clinical departments, providing comprehensive instruction and practical clinical experience in the “five branches” of traditional Chinese medicine (Acupuncture, Herbology, Tuina Massage, Energetics and Chinese Dietary Medicine). The program emphasizes extensive clinical training, integrative Western medicine, and the latest TCM research.
The TCM Theory curriculum provides you with a thorough knowledge of the language and theories of TCM’s unique, yet universal, approach to understanding health and the treatment of disease. Drawing from both classical and modern texts, the curriculum creates a solid framework for the application of clinical methods, including acupuncture and herbology.
The TCM Acupuncture curriculum is divided into didactic and lab sections, emphasizing both the theoretical and practical aspects of acupuncture. TCM Acupuncture courses provide you with a thorough knowledge of traditional and modern meridian theory, including point location, functions, indications and treatment planning. The curriculum includes comprehensive training in moxibustion, cupping, Guasha, and electrical stimulation. Clinical labs concentrate on accuracy, needling methods, technique and precautions.
Chinese herbology is the world’s most sophisticated medical herbal system. The TCM Herbology curriculum includes extensive training in the identification, categorization and clinical use of the traditional Chinese herbal pharmacopoeia. Six semesters of in-depth herbology study provide you with a solid working knowledge of more than 500 individual herbs and more than 350 classical and modern formulas. Advanced courses instruct you how to modify and enhance classical formulas in response to specific variants in a patient’s diagnosed condition. All herb courses are taught using the Pinyin names of herbs.
TCM Clinical Medicine
The courses in TCM Theory, Acupuncture and Herbology teach you the basic principles of Chinese medicine pattern differentiation and treatment, including the study of common functions and indications of herbs, formulas and acupuncture points. However, this knowledge alone is not enough to fully diagnose and treat disease. The TCM Clinical Medicine curriculum expands on this knowledge, providing you with advanced skills in diagnosing and treating disease in the specialized fields of TCM internal medicine, external medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, traumatology, and orthopedics. Training includes detailed instruction of herbal and acupuncture treatment plans for both common and complex diseases. These courses lay the foundation for your clinical practice.
Modern practitioners of TCM must have a fundamental understanding of Western medicine to effectively communicate with medical doctors and other healthcare professionals. Western Medicine studies are an integral part of the curriculum providing knowledge of Western diagnosis and pharmaceuticals, necessary to make appropriate referrals, and to provide the best care possible for your patients. Introduced to the basic methods of Western diagnosis, you will learn the fundamental vocabulary used in diagnostic analysis and the clinical methods used in Western medical approaches to disease. With this knowledge, you can become an active part of today’s dynamic healthcare network.
Our Western medicine department is enhanced by our educational and clinical relationship with Stanford University and the doctoral residency program we have with Stanford and O’Connor hospital. These professional relationships not only benefit you as a student but also contribute to a better understanding and acceptance of TCM in the West.
TCM Clinical Training
In-depth clinical training comprises approximately one-third of the Master’s curriculum, preparing you to practice the theoretical knowledge you gained in the classroom. Throughout the program, starting in your first semester, you will observe a faculty-practitioner diagnosing and treating patients. In your last year, you will diagnose and treat patients with acupuncture, Chinese herbs and other methods of the five branches, under the direct supervision of a faculty member. The Five Branches medical centers in Santa Cruz and San Jose assist over 160 patients a day, allowing you to work with highly skilled faculty in a busy clinical environment and to gain hands-on experience with patients. By the end of clinical training, you will have performed at least 350 patient treatments, a basic requirement for graduation.
Complementary studies enrich and round out your professional TCM training. The Complementary Studies curriculum includes Energetics courses, introducing you to the ancient Chinese practices of Qigong and Taijiquan, and Career Development courses to prepare you to practice TCM professionally, ethically, and successfully.
Review and Assessment
At the end of each semester you will have the opportunity to review the materials you have learned and to receive assessment of your progress. This evaluation assists you in developing good study and test-taking skills, ensuring full comprehension of courses, and the ability to pass the national certification and the California licensing exams.
As an MTCM student, you can receive specialty certifications in Sports Medicine, Medical Qigong, Five Element Acupuncture, and Tuina Massage to enhance and distinguish your TCM practice.
Up to 25% of your clinical training hours may be completed through an externship. The diverse externships we offer allow you to become exposed to different patient populations, treat a wide variety of conditions, and explore new fields of specialization. Multiple off-campus externships are offered by TCM practitioners in private practice throughout the Bay area, and are also available in a community clinic setting- treating senior citizens, veterans of war, mental health patients, and those struggling with substance abuse. You may also choose to study abroad to experience the authentic practice of TCM integrated with modern Western medicine. Our relationship with five universities in China, Korea and Taiwan provide you with the opportunity to learn TCM from highly knowledgeable doctors and clinical experts, to receive training in a hospital setting, and to explore the beauty and diversity of Asia.
MTCM Educational Objectives
The educational objectives of the MTCM program provide guidelines for the development of the curriculum, assessment of the program’s quality and success, and the measurement of the achievements of our graduates. Upon completion of the program our graduates will be:
- Highly skilled TCM clinical practitioners who assist in the prevention and treatment of disease and effectively diagnose, prescribe and provide medical treatment within the parameters of Traditional Chinese Medicine and integrative medicine.
- Primary healthcare providers with thorough knowledge and skills of the “five branches” of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture, Herbology, Tuina Massage, Energetics, Chinese Dietary Medicine) and the integrative components of Western medicine.
- Competent in the assessment of patients and qualified to recognize medical conditions which require referrals of patients to other healthcare providers.
- Qualified healthcare providers who understands the importance of adhering to universal and professional medical ethics, and the social responsibilities of providing primary healthcare to the public.
- Capable of achieving high-passing scores on the national board certification and the California Acupuncture state licensing exams required to become a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.).
- Successful in establishing and managing a private practice or working as an integral part of a professional team of healthcare providers.