Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine



Masters' Program Descriptions

SIOM offers a master's degree in acupuncture (M.Ac.) and a master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine (M.Ac.O.M.). Both programs are 36 months in length with three 15 week trimesters per year. The programs are based on the philosophy that a small group of students studying with experienced faculty practitioners in the clinic and in the classroom gain an strong personal understanding of the depth and versatility of east Asian approaches to health. The educational approach at SIOM emphasizes learning a variety of approaches to the medicine with a hands-on focus that insures sufficient practical and clinical expertise for graduates to be competent and successful in their profession.

The First Year (Year 1 of the M.Ac. degree and M.Ac.O.M. degree)

The first year of instruction focuses on students gaining insight and knowledge from experienced faculty in clinic and academic instruction, and the introduction of students to the fundamentals of both classical and contemporary traditions of East Asian medicine. Students have the unique opportunity of preceptoring from the beginning of the school year with experienced SIOM clinical faculty who represent diverse backgrounds in diagnostic and treatment approaches to patient care. There is in-depth instruction in qi gong and physical palpation and assessment techniques, as well as methods of performing acupuncture and related modalities. Grounding in surface anatomy and western clinical science is also provided in order to more effectively inform the practice of bodywork and acupuncture in clinic. Students study the basics of Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese medical language throughout this year, which for the M.Ac.O.M. students will continue throughout the three year training to enable them to utilize the Chinese herbal formulations and their modifications, as well as access Chinese medical texts helpful for patient care.

The Second Year (M.Ac. and M.Ac.O.M. programs diverge)

The second year of instruction emphasizes clinical practice with acupuncture and related modalities, as well as a deepening of understanding of the biomedical perspective of diseases in order to more effectively communicate with patients and collaborate with other health care practitioners. Student interns practice in a team approach to acupuncture and bodywork care under the supervision of the key faculty who have been their mentors in the academic instruction of the different acupuncture traditions provided at SIOM. Student learning focuses on the technical aspect of techniques and clinical practice and demonstration of the basic skills for assessment, diagnosis, treatment and referral.

Students choosing the M.Ac. degree will focus on the training described above.

Those choosing the M.Ac.O.M. program will also participate in rigorous instruction in Chinese herbs, the Chinese medical classics, and Chinese medical language. They will have weekly clinical preceptorships with experienced herbalists on the SIOM faculty and assist in the herbal dispensary preparing herbal formulations and learning how to manage an herbal pharmacy.

The Third Year (M.Ac. and M.Ac.O.M. programs)

The third year in both programs engages the learner with the various clinical conditions and diseases commonly seen in contemporary clinics from both an eastern and western perspective. The clinical internships include offsite training assisting patients in community clinics, drug treatment centers, and other specialized patient populations. At this point interns largely practice "solo", being responsible for all aspects of patient care with oversight by SIOM's clinical supervisors. Students broaden their understanding of the American health care system, its history, and the legal and business necessities of practicing in the field today.

Students in the M.Ac.O.M. program do additional work in integrated clinics combining acupuncture and herbal medicine. They take courses in Chinese herbal medicine focusing on specific conditions treated with Chinese herbs and read classical and contemporary Chinese texts that assist in understanding these conditions and the use of herbal therapy.

The Fourth Year: SIOM's Doctoral Program: Your Personal Vision of Practice

The final year of the SIOM doctoral program is primarily a student-driven training to gain the additional skills students believe are important for their future careers.  The SIOM program provides the foundational education to be a physician in the first three years of the doctoral program.  The fourth year is then focused on what the students, in cooperation with SIOM advisors and faculty, develop as their individualized learning plan to further their personal vision for practice in the field.  Thus the courses this year become reflections of each student's interests and largely take on a role of facilitating the student's research and practice.

For more information, please see the school catalog.