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The new dual-degree Doctor and Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine (DTCM/MTCM) program is a single four-year graduate professional degree program comprising 3435 hours and 195.5 units. Students earn the Doctorate degree, and the Master’s degree that is required to sit for State and National licensing and certification exams.
The DTCM/MTCM is a daytime program taught on a 15-week trimester basis. Part-time enrollment is available based on consideration and approval by the Academic Dean and Admissions Director.
DTCM/MTCM Educational Objectives
The educational objectives of the DTCM/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.).
- Capable of establishing and managing a private practice and working as an integral part of a professional team of healthcare providers.
Interested in Our Program?
Five Branches University Santa Cruz and San Jose have received full 7 years accreditation for both the Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine programs:
San Jose Campus
| Santa Cruz Campus
Submit Your Question or Request HERE
, or Call (831) 476-9424
; or (408) 260-0208
Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on each question for detail:
We have two campuses.The first campus is located in beautiful Santa Cruz, California about a block away from the beach looking right out onto Monterey Bay.
Five Branches University – Santa Cruz
200 7th Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
The second campus is located in San Jose right in Silicon Valley with great shopping areas and near major players in the world of technology.
Five Branches University – San Jose
1885 Lundy Ave, Suite 108
San Jose, CA 95131
Five Branches University is institutionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), which is the recognized accrediting agency for freestanding institutions and colleges of acupuncture or Oriental medicine that offer such programs.
All applicants must have fulfilled the minimum education requirements of 90 semester credits (equivalent to 135 quarter credits) of general education from a regionally accredited degree-granting college or university, with a minimum of 2.75 GPA.
General Education Requirements Semester Credits
One course in English Composition with critical thinking…………………………3
Arts and Humanities:
Two courses from different departments including Art, Music
Theatre Arts, Literature, Language, Philosophy, History, etc…………………….6
Math: One course in in College Algebra or higher…………………………..……..….3
Social and Behavioral Sciences:
One course from any of these departments: Political Science,
Economics, Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Journalism,
Women’s Studies, Mulit-Cultural Studies, etc……………………………..……………..3
For personal service please call or email our Admissions department :
San Jose – (408) 260-0208 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Cruz – (831) 476-9424 or email@example.com
Yes many of our alumni have their own practices and some work for major hospitals such as Kaiser. You can see a list of our Alumni here
DTCM/MTCM Total Program Tuition
DTCM/MTCM Program Tuition (3435 hours)
Tuition (162 academic units/2430 hours) $305 per academic unit
Tuition (33.5 clinical units/1005 hours) $610 per clinical unit
Five Branches University is an accredited institution of higher education approved to participate in federal financial aid programs. Eligibility for financial aid is determined using a federal formula as outlined by the U.S. Department of Education. For detailed instructions on how to apply for financial aid please refer to: Applying for Financial Aid
For more Financial Aid questions please refer to our Financial Aid FAQs
Prospective students may apply for any term: Fall, Spring, or Summer. To ensure space in an entering class, we strongly recommend you apply by the priority application dates listed below. If all entering class spaces have been filled, you will receive priority status for the following trimester.
Priority Application Dates
Fall Trimester: May 1st
Spring Trimester: September 1st
Summer Trimester: March 1st
Once you have made the decision to enroll in the Five Branches Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine program you are ready to begin the application process.
To be considered for admission to Five Branches University, the following items are required
1. Application for Admission
2. Recent photograph
3. Statement of Purpose
5. Application fee
6. Health Evaluation
7. Hepatitis B Vaccination Form
8. Tuberculosis Test
Supporting documents-sent separately:
1. Letter of Recommendation
2. Official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended
For more detailed information visit Applying to Five Branches
If you are an international applicant applying for an F-1 student visa through Five Branches University, you must submit the following documents along with the completed application. It is important to write your name (as it appears on your passport) on your application and all supplemental documents:
1. A photocopy of the first page of your passport
2. Transcript evaluation
3. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
4. Financial Statement
5. Health Insurance
For more information about international applicant documents click here
A campus visit is the most effective way to get an up-close and personal look at the Five Branches community. Enjoy a personal tour, a free treatment in our clinic, observe our classes and clinical training, and meet the faculty, staff and students of Five Branches. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the programs we offer, the admissions process, financial aid, scholarships, and to gain the information necessary to assist you with your decision to attend Five Branches University. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a campus visit.
For personal service please call or email our Admissions department :
San Jose – (408) 260-0208 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Cruz – (831) 476-9424 Ext 31 or email@example.com
Speaking English fluently is not a requirement, Five Branches University welcomes international applicants from all over the world. We support a bicultural and bilingual environment.
We offer our Doctor and Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine in English and Chinese, and our postgraduate Doctorate program in English and Chinese.
You do not need to know or speak fluent Chinese to study with us.
The new Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine degree program (DTCM/MTCM), is presented in English at our Santa Cruz campus, and in English and Chinese at our San Jose campus.
Taught by highly accomplished faculty in TCM education, the DTCM/MTCM curriculum isoffered 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.
Please click on each topic title for detail:
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 trimesters 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.
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.
In-depth clinical training comprises approximately one-third of the Masters/Doctoral 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.
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.