Below are some of the most commonly asked questions by our students. If you are unable to find an answer to your question, please feel free to contact our admission office at 415-401-0464.

What distinguishes the DAOM from the first professional doctorate or master’s degree in TCM?

The DAOM program is a clinical-based professional program. The DAOM differs from the Master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine in many ways. The DAOM offers:
• Specializations in TCM Gynecology and/or TCM Pain Management;
• Increased interaction and collaboration with Western medicine practitioners;
• Greater depth and breadth in TCM skills and knowledge;
• Greater focus on critical-thinking skills with emphasis on diagnosis, analysis, problem solving and decision-making;
• Case-based, problem-based and evidence-based learning
• Integrating research and research findings into one health care decision-making processes; and
• Collaboration with one's peers in the clinical setting

What are the Accreditation and Degree Authorizations of the DAOM program?

As a college at CIIS, ACTCM is an institution accredited by WASC. The ACTCM programs is also accredited by ACAOM.

The DAOM degree program at ACTCM at CIIS is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is the federally recognized accrediting agency for the approval of programs preparing acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners. The program is also approved by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).

How long is the program?

Program Length: 1,225 hours / 7 semesters
Credits: 42.75
Didactic Hours: 563
Clinical Hours: 662
Specialties: TCM Gynecology & TCM Pain Management
Language of Instruction: All classes are taught in English
Schedule: Modular-based. Once a month for 4 days, Friday through Monday.
Financial Aid: Federal financial aid available to DAOM Students
Location: San Francisco, CA with externship opportunities nationwide and in China.

What are the specialties of the program? Can I do dual specialties?

ACTCM at CIIS offers two specialties: TCM Gynecology and TCM Pain Management. Students may opt for dual specialties without paying extra tuition in the program.

What language is the program taught in? Do I need to know Chinese?

The DAOM program is taught entirely in English. Should a faculty member speak Chinese, a translator will be provided.

I work and have other commitments. What is the DAOM schedule like?

The doctoral program is designed for working practitioners. It is modular-based and meets once a month for 4 days from Friday through Monday.

Can I do DAOM program part-time?

No. The program is designed to accommodate practitioners who will complete the degree while maintaining their practice.

When is the application deadline?

The DAOM program will continue with 2 enrollments annually: Summer and Fall (May and September). All admissions processes will follow CIIS policies. Applications will be completed through the CIIS portal starting January 11, 2016.

What are the requirements for admission to the DAOM program?

1. Graduation from a candidate or accredited program in Oriental Medicine, or the foreign equivalent*.
2. Applicants who do not have a master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine or the foreign equivalent will be given consideration for admittance if they have a minimum of ten (10) years documented experience plus formal college training in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Such applicants must provide ACTCM with official transcripts. In addition, such applicants may need to take challenge examinations in areas identified by the Admissions Committee.
3. Are in good standing at the last educational institution attended.
4. English competency as demonstrated by passing of the TOEFL with a minimum score of 550 for International students.

*Approval status of each institution of the foreign equivalent will be determined by the Admissions Committee.

Do I need to have a certain amount of clinical experience before applying for the DAOM program?

No. Students are not required to have a certain number of years of clinical experience before applying the program. This clinically-based, advanced professional program is open to individuals with a master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from a candidate or accredited program, or its equivalent.

Will the NCCAOM diplomate in acupuncture (not in Chinese Herbology) be sufficient enough to apply?

This clinically-based, advanced professional program is open to individuals with a master's degree in Oriental Medicine or licensed practitioners with at least 10 years of experience. If you have a MAc (training in ‘only' acupuncture), you must demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have had sufficient herbal education to meet the DAOM admission standards. A placement exam in Chinese Herbology will be required for those with a MAc degree.

How much Chinese herbal education do I need in order to apply for the DAOM program?

The Master's degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine provides sufficient Chinese herbal education for entry into the Doctoral program. If you graduated from a master's degree in Acupuncture program and have no formal education in Chinese herbology, you will need to provide documentation of Chinese herbal studies to the Admissions Committee for further evaluation your eligibility.

Are international students eligible to apply? What kinds of papers/documents do I need to provide?

Yes, international students are eligible to apply. International Students must have graduated from an approved program of acupuncture and Oriental medicine or have a minimum of 10 years documented experience. International students are also required to submit these additional documents:
1) Proof of English competency, met by TOEFL score of at least 550
2) Certification of finances from a financial institution
3) Proof of health insurance applicable in the US
4) Proof of acupuncture license

Are the DAOM modules open to practitioners who are not enrolled in the DAOM program?

No, in order to maintain the continuity of the DAOM program and the DAOM cohort, as well as ensure the credibility of the program and meet higher education standards, the clinical doctoral program modules are not open as CEU's for outside practitioners.

Do DAOM students receive CEU credits by attending classes in the DAOM program?

Yes, our DAOM students do receive CEU credits for many of the modules as the DAOM is a post-graduate degree.

What are the details of the Clinical Training portion of the program?

The DAOM clinical training includes four components: observation, clinic theater, specialty clinics, and a culminating clinical experience.

  • Observation: The clinical component of the program begins in the first quarter and includes observation at an approved off-campus site. Students will observe with a Western health care provider and/or TCM practitioner. Students are responsible for setting up their own observation sites. For students needing assistance with this process, the college will provide a letter of introduction for you to present to your observation mentor. These observation sites must be approved by the Dean of DAOM program before the observation experience commences. The TCM practitioners are required to have over 20 years of experience; the Western providers may be MD's, DC's, ND's, DO's, etc. with at least 10 years of experience.
  • Clinic Theater: Most of the didactic classes include the clinical component of Clinic Theater. This strategy provides the opportunity for students to gain theoretical knowledge as well as see its application with patients. The Clinic Theater includes a TCM practitioner who interviews, diagnoses and treats the patient with the entire class observing and, at times, participating. Some Clinic Theaters may include a Western health care practitioner who interviews and diagnoses the patient in collaboration with the TCM practitioner. All Clinic Theaters provide substantial time for questions and dialogue with the faculty member(s).
  • Specialty Clinics: The Specialty Clinics (TCM Gynecology and TCM Pain Management Clinics) are designed to help students use the information from the didactic courses and apply them in the clinic. The Specialty Clinics take place either at the ACTCM Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic or at an assigned off-site clinic or hospital.
  • Culminating Clinical Experience: The DAOM program concludes with a 210-hour culminating clinical experience that may be completed in China or the United States.

Do I need to have California license in order to do the clinical training in California?

No, you do not need to have California acupuncture license for the clinical training portion of the DAOM program.

What is a “capstone” project?

Students begin initial work on their capstone projects in their first year of study and continue throughout the program. The capstone projects are scholarly endeavors and need to demonstrate critical thinking and a synthesis of the skills and knowledge learned during the DAOM program. Students may complete their Capstone Project in one of three areas: a research proposal, clinical case studies, or a translation. Each DAOM student will be assigned a mentor for their independent capstone project classes.

Is there a study abroad component to the DAOM program?

ACTCM at CIIS offers DAOM students the opportunity to participate in study abroad externships, including a two to six externship at five-week internship at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University (ZCMU) in Hangzhou, China. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a minimum of two weeks of externship and all six weeks, if possible. ACTCM covers the tuition costs at ZCMU. Students are responsible for airfare and living costs. DAOM students may also fulfill their externship hours in the United States, however ACTCM must approve each clinical setting. Please discuss the details of your proposed externship study with the DAOM Staff.

How much is the tuition for the DAOM program?

For the most up-to-date tuition and fees, please visit our Tuition page. Please note that there will be a 5% increase in tuition yearly (subject for the Board approval).

Is financial aid available for DAOM students?

DAOM students are eligible to receive funds under the Federal Direct Loan program. Please contact ACTCM's Financial Aid Office for more information.

Can I defer my current financial aid/loans while I attend the DAOM program?

Yes, student loans can be deferred while enrolled in the ACTCM doctoral program. Please contact CIIS' Financial Aid Office for more information.

What makes ACTCM at CIIS’s DAOM program unique?

While there are many things that make our program successful, here's a list of our favorites:

  1. Quality: ACTCM's high admissions standards, challenging curriculum and clinical program reflect the quality of education we provide. These attributes consistently make our college one of the most well-respected in the country.
  2. Experience: Founded in 1980, ACTCM is one of the oldest TCM colleges in the country. It was the first in the nation to be approved to offer the Master's of Science degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is one of the few approved to offer the Doctorate degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
  3. Prestige: ACTCM has been honored for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and voted "Best of the Bay" by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. The college has also been honored for its role in animal conservation and partnerships with the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) and the Save the Tiger Fund.
  4. Leadership: Our college is active on local, state, national and international levels, working to ensure continued professional development in the field while modeling leadership qualities for our students and graduates.
  5. Faculty: Our faculty has been carefully selected for their in-depth clinical experience and knowledge of TCM, as well as for their ability to transfer this information and skill to students. Our faculty consists of both Western- and Chinese-trained practitioners who have experience working in integrative medicine and the understanding necessary for dealing with the health problems of today's modern society.
  6. Specialization: Specialize in two of today's most in-demand areas: TCM Pain Management and TCM Gynecology.
  7. Flexible Scheduling: Attending classes in a monthly, modular-based format allows practitioners to maintain their private practice.
  8. Collaboration & Integration: Students have the opportunity to work in collaboration with Western medicine practitioners, public health clinics and integrated medicine clinics.
  9. Research: Students analyze current research, participate in clinical research design and apply their findings in the health care decision-making processes.
  10. Study Abroad: Students may participate in an optional 2-6 week internship at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University (ZCMU) in Hangzhou, China.
  11. Diverse Clinical Training: Courses include clinical experience, Clinical Theater and case-based learning, with emphasis on chronic, complex conditions.
  12. Location: ACTCM is located in San Francisco, CA - one of the most beautiful, progressive and culturally diverse cities in the world.

What is the student body like?

The DAOM student body consists of practitioners from diverse backgrounds. Some practitioners are fairly recent graduates, while others come in with over 20 years experience. Students range in age from late 20's to late 50's, and come to our program from various states throughout the U.S. This mix offers an excellent environment to learn from ones peers as well as from the faculty.

Who are the faculty in the DAOM program?

Faculty is essential to the quality of one's education. Our doctoral faculty consists of seasoned practitioners, academics and scholars trained in China and the United States and offers students a wide variety of talents and areas of expertise. Several of our faculty members participate in collaborative clinics, research projects and private practices. In addition, many work in hospitals, community public health clinics and hospital outpatient affiliate clinics. To see a list of our current DAOM faculty, please visit our Faculty page.

What is the ACTCM at CIIS campus like?

ACTCM at CIIS is fortunate to be located in the Potrero Hill district, a residential neighborhood in the heart of San Francisco. With breathtaking views of both the city skyline and the Bay Bridge from its 300-foot high hill, the area attracts an interesting mix of professionals, students and artists. The neighborhood offers restaurants and cafés, health food stores and a variety of shops-all within a block or two of our campus. Potrero Hill's central location provides easy access to places of interest such as Chinatown, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, the Berkeley Botanical Gardens and the new Pacific Rim Center.

Our 20,000 square foot campus consists of two attractive and spacious buildings located just blocks from each other. In order to support the learning process, both facilities are equipped with computers with high-speed internet and Medline access, televisions, DVD players, LCD projectors, audio & video recorders, Xerox machines, printers and campus-wide wireless internet. Our campus also includes student lounges, classrooms, administrative areas, the Shuji Goto Library/Learning Resource Center, student kitchen and lounges, outdoor patios, a Chinese herbal garden and an active Community Clinic that provides more than 21,000 patient treatments each year.

I’m from out of town. What’s San Francisco like?

There are few cities as inviting and livable as San Francisco. With a population of about 800,000, San Francisco is one of America's most culturally dynamic cities. From the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown and Union Square to the Transamerica Building and Nob Hill's vintage cable cars, the city is one of the world's most recognizable places.

San Francisco combines natural beauty, cultural diversity, leisure and recreational offerings and an ideal climate. San Francisco also boasts the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, providing ACTCM at CIIS students with a degree of access to traditional Chinese medical practitioners, herbal pharmacies and Chinese culture not found elsewhere in the United States.

Do you offer any assistance to DAOM students coming in from out of town?

Yes. We are able to assist out-of-town students with finding temporary housing, as well as information on transportation, entertainment, restaurants, and more. Just contact our Admissions Office, and we'd be happy to help you.

Who do I contact for more information about the DAOM program?

If you have questions, please contact the Admissions Office at (415) 282-7600 x214.

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