School of Traditional World Medicines

Administrators of Traditional World Medicines

Hazel A. Philp, ND, MS, LAc, Dean

Angie Jordan, Program Supervisor

Lisa Petersburg, Administrative Assistant III


In spring of 2013, the Bastyr University Board of Trustees approved changing the name of the School of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine to the School of Traditional World Medicines. The change was prompted by both recognition of the many traditional and indigenous approaches to health and well-being that have existed for centuries, as well as the development of a master’s degree program in ayurvedic sciences. Bastyr University is charting a path toward expanding education in other international healing sciences that have been fulfilling humankind’s medical and wellness needs for millennia. As different world medicines gain popularity in America, the University is uniquely positioned to teach a variety of respected, time-honored healing traditions. In keeping with Bastyr’s mission to transform the well-being of the human community, the school will help expand existing awareness of how wellness is achieved and maintained while preparing its students to deliver truly comprehensive health care.

Note: Bastyr University is not currently taking applications for the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) program, which is being revised according to the new program requirements set by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Master’s Program Mission Statement

The mission of the acupuncture and Oriental medicine program at Bastyr University 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 Oriental Medicine’s master’s program 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. Knowledgeable of traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic strategies and their application to individual cases
    2. Skilled in the traditional methods of assessing patients, including interviewing, palpation and observation
    3. Competent in selecting the appropriate treatment modalities and plans for a patient utilizing acupuncture, tui na, Chinese herbs (relevant to the MSAOM) and lifestyle counseling
    4. Skilled 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 Oriental medicine field
  4. Capable of accessing research information and critically assessing the value of published clinical research in the field
  5. Able to provide health promotion and disease prevention measures based on traditional Chinese medicine theory (such as tai chi, qigong and therapeutic nutrition) to support the well-being of their patients 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 for 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 - Acupuncture, P.O. Box 47868, Olympia, WA 98504-7868, (360) 236-4700. Applications for licensing in California can be obtained by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs, Acupuncture Board, 444 N. Third St., Suite 260, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 445-3021.

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.

Acupuncture and Oriental 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 Oriental 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 Oriental medicine via the mainstream press and Internet.

Required Abilities/Skills for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program Admission

A candidate for the acupuncture and Oriental 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 Oriental 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 Oriental 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.