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First Professional Doctorate (DACM)

ACTCM is proud to be the first institution in the United States to offer a first professional doctorate degree approved by a national accreditor (ACAOM) and a regional accreditor (WSCUC). The Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) is designed for individuals who wish to enter the acupuncture and Chinese medical field at the doctoral level and do not have prior training in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

In order to ensure that DACM graduates will be eligible to practice throughout the country, including states that do not yet recognize the first professional doctoral degree, students will receive an articulated degree. This means that they will be conferred both the DACM and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) degree concurrently at graduation after completing the degree requirements for the DACM. 

ACTCM graduates who have completed a first professional masters degree at ACTCM at CIIS (Master of science in traditional Chinese medicine, MSTCM) and wish to enroll in a program leading to a first professional doctorate can apply for the Transitional DACM degree (tDACM).

Financial aid is available for the DACM degree and it is offered through the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) with whom ACTCM merged in July, 2015. For acupuncturists who wish to pursue a post-graduate degree to advance their studies at the doctoral level, please visit our DAOM program. If you have more questions please see FAQ below or email admissions@actcm.edu or call 415-282-7600 x214.

Program at a Glance

  • Degree Title: Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM)
  • Degree Focus: A first professional doctorate that incorporates the Master's curriculum with advanced training in research literacy and integrative, patient-centered care.
  • Length of programs: 4 years Units: 192 units for DACM program (compared to 176 units for Master's program)
  • Format: Weekdays and evenings (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

Additional Focus for DACM

The DACM includes didactic and clinical work in the areas of integrative and systems-based medicine, advanced study in areas such as TCM orthopedics, auricular acupuncture and traditional Chinese medical oncology. The successful graduate will be able to access and critically review research literature in light of clinical practice. Additional curriculum and training will focus on:

  • Integrated Medicine is woven throughout the program, training professionals to meet the needs of patient-centered care in multi-modality providing institutions. DACM graduates will be empowered to collaborate with other healthcare providers in an integrative setting.
  • Systems-Based Medicine provides an extra focus on culturally sensitive and collaborative care.
  • Research Literacy helps develop DACM graduates as life-long learners and provides them with skills in critical evaluation of scholarly literature.
  • Evidence-Informed Practice integrates clinical findings, patient preferences, research and clinical experience into the process of health care delivery.

How is DACM Different From Other Degrees?

DACM is different from the current master's degree.

  1. Integrated medicine is woven throughout the program, training professionals to meet the needs of patient centered care in multi-modality providing institutions. Information on systems-based medicine, providing culturally sensitive care and collaborative care are important additions to the curriculum.
  2. Information literacy and skills in critical evaluation of scholarly literature are part of a program to develop DACM graduates as life-long learners.
  3. The DACM program includes work in the areas of evidence-based medicine and evidence informed practice.
  4. The DACM program includes enhanced practice management skill sets.
  5. The ACAOM DACM standards include the following.
  6. A total of 54 professional competencies at the core master's level;
  7. A total of 28 professional competencies at the advanced doctoral level.
  8. The DACM standard meets the requirements of the California Acupuncture Board, qualifying successful candidates for the California acupuncture licensing exam.

DACM is different from the DAOM program.

  1. The DACM is a first professional doctorate program intended to be a first professional degree allowing the graduate to sit for the NCCAOM and CAB exams. The DACM includes basic curriculum and is intended for the appropriately qualified candidate with no prior training in acupuncture and/or Chinese medicine.
  2. The ACTCM Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) is a post-masters clinical doctoral program that focuses on the clinical specializations in TCM Pain Management and TCM Gynecology. The DAOM program is intended for those candidates who already have a master's degree in Oriental medicine or licensed practitioners with at least 10 years of experience.

The California Institute of Integral Studies is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges - Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501 (510-748-9001). The Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (MSTCM) and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) programs of ACTCM at CIIS are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55347 (952-212-2434), which is the recognized accrediting agency for programs preparing acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners. The DACM program has been approved through ACAOM Substantive Change and is eligible for accreditation by ACAOM and CIIS is currently in the process of seeking ACAOM candidacy/accreditation for the program. However, CIIS can provide no assurance that candidacy or accreditation will be granted by ACAOM.

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Life at ACTCM

The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine has 200 students and a small, intimate campus. Students enjoy a low faculty to student ratio, small classes, and close connections with each other and alumni.

ACTCM's campus is located in two sites on San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood. Potrero Hill is close to downtown and a picturesque part of the city that is easy to commute to. San Francisco is a dynamic city that is a cultural, culinary, and financial center with a diverse population. Students enjoy great concerts, nightlife, beaches, nearby forests, and great weather!

The city's diversity is also reflected in the populations of patients at our clinics, giving students a broad clinical experience. Our onsite teaching clinic is open to the public. Student practitioners partner with faculty advisers and receive hands-on experience.

Many of our students tell us that they feel very at home at ACTCM, and our alumni often have bonds with each other that last long past graduation.

If you would like to visit us to see if ACTCM is right for you, please call our admissions department at 415-401-0464.

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