Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine Admissions

For general information on the admissions process, please refer to the Admissions section in this catalog. The information below refers only to the acupuncture and East Asian medicine programs.

It is strongly recommended that applicants receive acupuncture and/or a traditional Chinese medicine treatment prior to applying to the program. Additionally, applicants will benefit from reading about and researching the field of East Asian medicine via the mainstream press and Internet.

Prerequisites for MSAOM

Entering students must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university and must have completed the following courses or their equivalent:

Intermediate Algebra 1 course
General Chemistry (allied health-level with lab)1,2 1 course
General Biology (allied health-level with lab)2 1 course
General Psychology 1 course
General Physics 1 course
Note: All students must complete a CPR-C level course or equivalent prior to entering clinic.
1Survey-level class that covers inorganic chemistry and includes a lab component. Intended for students in allied-health majors.
2Science classes must have been taken within seven years of entering the program. If not, additional coursework may be required after the admissions committee review.

Corequisites for the MSAOM Program

OM3111, BC3135, BC3136 and BC4104 are corequisite courses to the MSA program. The MSA curriculum has been designed so students missing one or more of these may take them after matriculating at Bastyr University. Previously completed coursework from other accredited institutions may satisfy these corequisites.

Required Abilities/Skills for Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine Program Admission

A candidate for the acupuncture and East Asian medicine degree must be able to demonstrate appropriate observational and communication skills, motor function, intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social maturity. A candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

Observation: A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. These are enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.

Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients, such as CPR, application of pressure to stop bleeding and opening obstructed airways. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the sense of touch and vision.

Observation and motor skills must be in coordination with each other in order to safely practice many of the diagnostic and clinical techniques specific to East Asian medicine. A combination of observation and motor skills is required for acquiring diagnostic information from patients, as well as for the clinical portion of the training, which includes the safe insertion and manipulation of acupuncture needles, cupping, moxibustion, etc.

Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. Students whose first language is not English must satisfy the Department of Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine’s English language competency requirement as described in that General Admissions section.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, which is a critical skill for health care practitioners, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of her/his intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admissions and education processes.

Age of Course

Required chemistry and biology courses not taken within seven years of matriculation into the program are subject to review by the admissions committee. Additional coursework may be required.


Students who wish to transfer from other acupuncture and East Asian medicine programs are accepted on a space-available basis and must meet the same entrance requirements at the class level they seek to enter. Transfer credit is evaluated on an individual basis following completion of the application process. Transfer applicants must submit a $100 transfer evaluation fee.

Applicants must provide an official transcript from the college or program from which the transfer is being requested, demonstrating that they are leaving in good academic standing.

Applicants must submit syllabi for the courses they completed in their acupuncture program and should be prepared to submit additional documentation to support a thorough evaluation. If a transfer student is found to be deficient in some area(s) of study, s/he may be required to complete additional courses at Bastyr University. For more information on the transfer admission policies and procedures, contact the admissions office.