Department of Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine


East Asian medicine has ancient roots that are deeply tied to Chinese philosophy and culture, and which are an essential part of the present study of acupuncture. Chinese medicine is a coherent and independent system of thought and practice that has been developed over two thousand years. Grounded in ancient texts, Traditional Chinese Medicine has experienced a continuous process of critical thinking and development due to extensive refinement through clinical observation. The resultant perception of health and illness, the methods of diagnosis, therapeutics and techniques differ greatly from those of biomedicine. However, patient outcomes are often nothing less than remarkable.
Fortified with rigorous didactic and clinical training, our students graduate as highly qualified practitioners. They are trained in safe and effective care of patients and skilled in both traditional Chinese medicine modalities and Western health care disciplines. Bastyr’s community of students, faculty and staff will nurture your passion for East Asian medicine and challenge you to think beyond the borders of your own discipline.


The mission of the acupuncture and East Asian medicine department is to prepare excellent practitioners. This is accomplished through rigorous training in traditional Chinese medicine, with an emphasis on collaborating with other health care disciplines. The program is committed to producing graduates who are respected among their health care peers, dedicated to service in their community and prepared for lifelong learning in the field.

Expected Learning Outcomes

The Department of Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine trains graduates to be the following:

  1. Safe and effective in the care of patients by demonstrating in-depth ability in the following areas:
    1. Knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic strategies and their application to individual cases
    2. Skill in the traditional methods of assessing patients, including observation, interviewing and palpation
    3. Competence in selecting the appropriate treatment modalities and plans for a patient, utilizing acupuncture, tui na, Chinese herbs (relevant to the MSAOM), and lifestyle counseling, Chinese dietary therapy and exercise
    4. Skill in the application of acupuncture techniques in an appropriate and safe fashion for each patient
  2. Able to integrate Eastern and Western paradigms of medicine for the purposes of informing the practice of traditional Chinese medicine, communicating with other health care professionals and patients, and making appropriate medical referrals when necessary
  3. Professional in their approach to setting up and maintaining a private practice, collaborating with other health care professionals, working in an integrated health care setting, and providing leadership within the acupuncture and East Asian medicine field
  4. Capable of accessing research and critically assessing its value, as well as being able to evaluate articles and other published material in the field in order to inform practice, continue lifelong education and advance the profession
  5. Able to provide health promotion and disease prevention measures based on traditional Chinese medicine theory (such as tai chi, qigong and Chinese dietary therapy) to support the well-being of others and themselves
  6. Qualified to pass national and state acupuncture and/or herbal exams

Recognition and Licensure of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The Master of Science in Acupuncture (MSA) and the Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MSAOM) degree programs at Bastyr University are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), 8941 Aztec Dr., Eden Prairie, MN 55347, (952) 212-2434. Bastyr University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, (425) 558-4224, and thus, all degree offerings are accredited and eligible for Title IV funds.

The Master of Science programs are approved by the Washington State Department of Health. Graduates of Bastyr University’s MSA and MSAOM programs are eligible to apply for licensure in acupuncture in Washington state, as well as in most other states offering similar licensure. Applications for licensing in Washington can be obtained by contacting the Washington State Department of Health, Professional Licensing - East Asian Medicine Practitioner, P.O. Box 1099, Olympia, WA 98507-1099, (360) 236-4700. Applications for licensing in California can be obtained by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs, Acupuncture Board, 1747 N. Market Blvd, Suite 180, Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 515-5200.

Currently, acupuncture is recognized in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The actual requirements for licensure can vary from state to state, with the majority of states requiring the successful completion of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) exam. If a student is interested in licensure in a state other than Washington or California, it is imperative for the student to know the licensing requirements of that particular state in order to ensure that there are no outstanding academic requirements at the time of graduation. 

Applicants must also satisfy all licensing requirements for the state or province in which they wish to practice. Students are responsible for contacting the department of health or other governing state agency for information regarding requirements for the state in which they are seeking licensure.