Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine Curriculum

Didactic Training

Basic Sciences Curriculum within Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Basic science courses within acupuncture and Oriental medicine include Anatomy and Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pathology, and Pharmacology. These courses serve as a foundation for an understanding of the human body and provide students with the necessary skills and competency to pursue coursework in the MSAOM degree program. In addition, a portion of the Anatomy and Physiology course is taught in Bastyr’s cadaver anatomy lab, thus giving students the unique opportunity to study anatomy in greater depth.

The basic sciences faculty encourages and expects students to advance beyond the simple learning of scientific facts and to integrate systematically the information from basic science disciplines into a unified model of human organization and function. This educational scheme requires students to assume an active role in the learning process and encourages them to adopt this inquisitive behavior for a lifetime. Problem solving, clinical cases and examples are an integral part of the basic science curriculum. This educational process is an expression of Bastyr University’s basic philosophy of a holistic approach to human behavior, health and therapeutics. The basic sciences faculty encourages students to pursue an integrated approach to learning and understanding. Instructors are readily available to facilitate this process on an individual basis.

The department also offers General Chemistry in a summer intensive format, which is a prerequisite requirement for the MSAOM degree program.

Counseling and Health Psychology Curriculum within Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine

The counseling and health psychology curriculum trains students in understanding and effecting change in the emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions of human functioning.

Students in acupuncture and East Asian medicine MS programs are required to take the following:

  • PS5205 Patient Communications - 3 credits
  • PS6100 Motivational Interviewing - 2 credits

For additional counseling and health psychology courses available as electives to matriculated students, please see the Counseling and Health Psychology course listings in this catalog or the current quarterly schedule of classes.


The Department of Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine continually develops and adds to its special topics and elective course curriculum. These courses are included in the course description section of the catalog.

The MSAOM requires completion of 5 elective credits. For dual-degree (ND/MSAOM) students, please see the dual-degree program requirements described in the School of Naturopathic Medicine section.

Case/Herbal Studies in China

Students in good academic standing may apply for advanced studies in China. Currently, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine is the main site for Bastyr herbal clinical experiences. For more information and an application, see the AEAM China Studies link on MyBU. The clinic in China is a 4-credit experience to be applied toward MSAOM clinic requirements and/or elective credit. These credits may not be audited.

The herbal studies course primarily focuses on Chinese herbal medicine for clinical applications. By analyzing complicated clinical conditions, students get a deeper understanding of Chinese medicine herbal theory, differentiation of clinical patterns and the making of proper TCM diagnosis. This course includes discussion of various treatment approaches, including Chinese herbal formulas, herbal modifications to the main herbal formula, clear cooking instructions and dietary recommendations.

Clinical Training


The core of the program’s clinical training takes place at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the University’s teaching clinic. Bastyr Center is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary clinic providing quality training for students in all of the University’s programs. Within the acupuncture and Oriental medicine clinic, students receive clinical training in acupuncture and Chinese herbs in addition to other modalities relevant to the scope of practice in Washington state. Students also have the opportunity to train at several community medical sites that provide clinical experience in working with diverse populations.

The clinical training program begins in the first year and is comprised of three observation rotations, one preceptorship, and 16 student clinician rotations. The three observation rotations can be completed in any of the five quarters preceding clinician status. All observation hours, rotation hours and interim observation hours must be completed prior to starting as a student clinician, in spring of the second year. The preceptorship shift may be performed in either the observation or clinician phase of training. A minimum of one observation rotation must be completed in order to do a preceptorship.

Eligibility requirements for student clinician status are as follows: successfully complete all curriculum requirements up through the end of the fifth quarter and be in good academic standing; take and pass the CCAOM Clean Needle Technique exam; have a current CPR card and current TB screening; and pass the comprehensive Clinic Entry exam in the quarter preceding starting as a student clinician, usually in the fifth quarter of the program. Students in the MSAOM program program take two Chinese herbal clinical rotations and two Chinese herbal dispensary labs in the latter portion of their program. On a space-available basis, students are welcome to take additional clinic rotations for elective credit. However, elective rotations cannot be used to make up missing hours in core rotations due to prior or future absences.

For admission to clinical training at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, a student must complete and achieve competency in all required classes prior to entering clinical training. Questions about didactic prerequisites for clinical training should be addressed to the registrar’s office on campus. Students must also:

  • Complete a TB screening
  • Have received a hepatitis B vaccination or signed a waiver
  • Complete current CPR for health care provider certification
  • Complete successful passage of the clinic entry written and practical exam
  • Have certification in Clean Needle Technique
  • Submit to a national criminal background check

The criminal background check will be conducted prior to enrolling in clinical shifts. For more information, see the "Felony Conviction Disclosure and Background Checks" in the Academic Policy and Procedure Manual, in the Student Policies and Procedures section of MyBU.

External Clinic Rotations

The opportunity to be placed at one of the external clinics offered through Bastyr University is contingent on the student’s ability to provide documentation of a vaccination history. If this documentation is unavailable or out of date, students will need to update their vaccinations at either local health centers or through their personal physicians. The community clinic rotations are outstanding clinical experiences in working with underserved and special patient populations, including developing skills working with medical translators. Students who are unable to provide vaccine documentation will NOT be eligible for this rotation, and clinical training may be restricted to the Bastyr student clinic. Students are also required to submit to a national criminal background check. For more information, see Felony Conviction Disclosure and Background Checks in the Academic Policy and Procedure Manual.

AEAM External Clinical Training Sites:

  • Providence Regional Medical Center Everett – cancer treatment and pain management
  • Providence Mt. St. Vincent – geriatric and general community patients
  • Rainier Park Medical Clinic – multi-ethnic/low income patients
  • Highpoint Neighborcare Health – family health and general community patients