DTCM / MTCM / MAc Programs

Student Handbook

The academic policies of Five Branches University are detailed in the student handbook which is given to students during registration. To assist new students, the handbook describes student services, administrative policies, and guidelines such as grading, attendance, examinations, and leave of absence. The student handbook is edited regularly to reflect updated policies.

Maximum Program Time Frame and Part Time/Full Time Studies

The Doctor and Master of Traditional Chin ese Medicine (DTCM/MTCM), and the Master ofAcupuncture (MAc) degrees are full-time programs requiring a considerable commitment of time and energy. We recommend that students regard their studies at Five Branches as their primary objective throughout their matriculation at the University. The average curriculum load for timely completion (4 years) of the DTCM/MTCM program is 18 to 22 units per term. Five Branches University policies for the DTCM program stipulate that full-time enrollment is a minimum of 18 program units and part-time enrollment is a minimum of 6 units. Students who need to enroll in the program part-time have up to six years to complete the DTCM program and five years to complete the MAc program.

Academic and Clinic Class Size

To optimize learning, academic classes average 24 students. Classes that have insufficient enrollment (less than 10 students) may be postponed to the following semester. Clinical Theater classes range from 10 to 18 students, and Clinical Rounds, Clinical Internship Rounds, Clinical Paired Internship, and Clinical Internship classes are limited to four to eight students per section.


If circumstances occur that cause absences of up to 18% for academic courses, or up to 12% for clinic courses, the student is responsible to meet with the instructor to assess their academic standing in the course. Frequent tardiness and/or continued absences that interfere with a student’s academic progress will be brought to the attention of the Student Progress Review Committee. Please note that instructors may have their own attendance policies that are stricter than the University policy.

Leave of Absence

The purpose of a Leave of Absence (LOA) is to provide students with the opportunity to leave the college for an extended period of time without withdrawing or affecting their SAP calculations. A student in good standing who has successfully completed at least one (1) term may apply for a LOA not to exceed 180 calendar days. The student must complete a Leave of Absence form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office for approval. The effective date for the LOA must be at the beginning of the term the student is requesting the leave and comply with appropriate requirements. All loans and other sources of funding for the term of an approved LOA will be returned to the appropriate parties. If a student was scheduled to be on Academic Probation for the term the LOA is effective, the conditions of the Academic Probation will be effective the term the student returns from the LOA. If a student does not return from an approved LOA, the grace period for applicable federal loans will begin with the last date of attendance the student was enrolled in the program for at least a part-time study status. Students, who do not return from a LOA to resume courses on or before the approved return date, will be automatically withdrawn from the program. Excluding the time taken for leave, students must complete the program within the maximum program time-frame. International Students must speak with the International Student Designated School Officer if they wish to go on leave.

Withdrawal from the Program

Withdrawal from the program requires the submission of a Withdrawal form and an exit interview with the Admissions Director. If you have received Financial Aid, you will be required to complete an exit interview with the Financial Aid Director. Following withdrawal from the program, if you wish to reapply you are required to complete a new application for admission. Upon readmission, after an absence of one year or more, you will be required to complete the program of study that is in place in the term in which you return. All re-admission is subject to approval.

Grading Policy

Five Branches University uses a letter grading system (A, B, C, F) for all academic courses and grades of credit/no credit (CR/NC) for all clinic courses. Each course syllabus describes the course’s grading procedure. To remain in good academic standing, students are required to take the DTCM/MTCM program in sequential order and maintain a minimum term and cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or higher.

Cumulative Review & Competency Exams

The program offers a series of review classes to prepare students for the annual cumulative exams which are required for all students to continue their studies in good standing. Besides measuring progress, these examinations are designed to prepare students for the California state licensing and national certification exams. Students entering clinical internships are required to pass clinic competency exams.

Review Process

Review of a student’s academic progress is performed each term, including the review of all final course and clinic grades, evaluations by the faculty, and attendance rosters. Any student who does not meet the established criteria for normal academic progress and professionalism will be referred to the Student Progress Review Committee.

Student Progress Review Committee

The Student Progress Review Committee (SPRC) reviews academic progress of students to ensure their success in the program. Students who need assistance to maintain good academic standing are required to meet with the SPRC to devise a plan to improve their academic performance. Students may ask the SPRC for help in finding tutors and/or other resources to assist with successful completion of the program.

The SPRC is responsible for ensuring a fair and impartial disciplinary process for students who breach standards of professionalism. Most cases are resolved in ways that serve to foster the ethical development and personal integrity of students, and to provide a safe and comfortable campus environment.

Standards of Professionalism

The Standards of Professionalism policies are intended to protect the rights of all students, faculty, staff and patients at Five Branches University while on campus and at all sponsored events. Five Branches University may impose discipline for violation of these standards of professionalism including, but not limited to dishonesty, disrespect, disrupting a professional atmosphere, substance abuse, and sexual harassment. For detailed information about the Standards of Professionalism policies refer to the Student Handbook.

Academic Warning and Probation

Students unable to maintain good academic or professional standing are placed on academic warning or probation. Students will be notified by letter of the reasons that led to this action and an explanation of the corresponding satisfactory academic progress requirements for the ensuing term. Student enrollment is subject to review until the student returns to good academic or professional standing. For detailed information regarding the Academic Warning and Probation policy refer to the Student Handbook.

Academic Dismissal

Academic dismissal is termination of enrollment at the University for the inability to meet academic or professional standards. Failure to comply with the requirements set forth by the Student Progress Review Committee for remediation of a probationary status will result in academic dismissal. Students may appeal this action through the Academic Appeal process outlined in detail in the Student Handbook.

Academic Appeal

The Student Progress Review Committee (SPRC) is responsible for reviewing and approving appeals. Appeals must be submitted to the SPRC in writing, describing any extenuating or mitigating circumstances that prevented compliance with Five Branches University policies. An appeal must explain what has changed in the student’s situation, and the precise steps the student will take or is taking to regain good academic standing. For detailed information regarding the Academic Appeal process refer to the Student Handbook.

Grievance Procedure

Students who have complaints concerning administrative or academic policy may submit the grievance in writing to the Student Progress Review Committee (SPRC). The SPRC will review the complaint and gather all relevant information prior to making a decision. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the decision of the SPRC, she/he may submit a written appeal with all relevant documentation to the academic dean and the president. Following this, the matter may be given to the board of directors for final review.

If the complainant has made full recourse of the University’s grievance procedure, and believes the University did not address their complaint, the student may contact the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine located at 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55347; phone (952) 212-2434; website – www.acaom.org. For detailed information regarding the Grievance Procedure refer to the Student Handbook.

Student Records

In compliance with the Family Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), student academic records are maintained by the Office of the Registrar. A student record contains all documents relating to a student’s activities at Five Branches including, but not limited to: admissions, grade reports and transcripts, registration, tuition payments, correspondence, and health documents.

The University does not release school records or any other information about a student to any third party without the consent of the student, except as allowed by law. Students may view an unofficial copy of their transcript and/or request an official copy through the University’s student web portal. The University permanently maintains records of academic progress.

Transferability of Credits and Credentials Earned at Five Branches University

The transferability of credits you earn at Five Branches University is at the complete discretion of an institution to which you may seek to transfer. Acceptance of the degree(s) you earn at Five Branches University is also at the complete discretion of the institution to which you may seek to transfer. If the degree(s) that you earn at this institution are not accepted at the institution to which you seek to transfer, you may be required to repeat some or all of your coursework at that institution. For this reason, you should make certain that your attendance at this institution will meet your educational goals. This may include contacting an institution to which you may seek to transfer after attending Five Branches University to determine if your degree(s) will transfer.

Non-discrimination Policy

Five Branches University is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, in the administration of admission, educational policies or employment. The University abides by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against any “qualified individual with a disability.”

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