American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Mission Statement

The mission of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to improve the quality of health care by providing graduate education and patient care, enabling people to integrate traditional Chinese medicine into their lives. ACTCM serves an international community of students, patients, health care professionals and the public.

The school is dedicated to continuously improving standards of professionalism in practice and excellence in traditional Chinese medical education, and is proud to take a leadership role in defining and advancing the use of traditional Chinese medicine in American health care.


The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine is a private independent graduate school founded in 1980 as a non-profit benefit corporation. In November 1987, the College acquired its present campus at 455 Arkansas Street in the Potrero District of San Francisco, providing the college community with modern educational facilities.

ACTCM was granted candidate status by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in November 1990. It was accredited by the commission the following year, and was reaccredited in 1996 and 2001.

Programs Offered

Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Year 1

During the first 4 quarters, students learn about the main theories of TCM including 5-element theory and the yin yang relationship, the properties and medicinal uses of Chinese Herbs, the various meridians and acupuncture points of the body, elementary Mandarin and medical Chinese, acupuncture techniques, and TCM diagnosis. Students also begin observing patient/practitioner interactions and learning about the fundamentals of patient intake, clean needle techniques, diagnosis, treatment principles, and herbal prescriptions.

Year 2

Students continue to advance through the program while refining During the second year, studies include Chinese herbal formulas, classical and advanced acupuncture techniques and theory, TCM pathology and Western internal medicine. Students continue to improve their skills on the interpretation and diagnosis of various diseases and learn the correct processes for effective treatment.

Second year Interns have more autonomy as they perform pulse and tongue diagnosis, develop their own diagnosis and treatment strategies, recommend and prescribe various herbs and herbal formulas, insert and remove acupuncture needles, and apply moxibustion, cupping and Tui Na/Shiatsu massage techniques.

Year 3

Students focus on the clinical experience and additional specialized courses in TCM and Western medicine. Courses in Western Medicine allow student practitioners to enhance their skills as a primary care provider, recognize the need for referrals, and establish effective communication between eastern and western trained practitioners.

Third year Interns work alongside another student to increase their confidence and competence diagnosing and implementing various treatment strategies for patients. After one quarter, student practitioners see patients individually as a Clinic Intern under the supervision of a Licensed Acupuncturist. Students may complete their clinical rotations at any of the college's Community Acupuncture Project (CAP) sites, allowing for the treatment of diverse populations and conditions.

Year 4

Students spend their last quarter working primarily as a Clinic Intern and refining their skills, preparing for the graduation and state board exams, and learning the skills needed to establish and run a successful practice. Students also have the option of studying in China at the Zhejiang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The Clinical Doctoral Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is an advanced training program for graduates with a Masters degree in Chinese and Oriental Medicine. The Doctoral program is a two year long modular-based program in which students attend classes for one 4-day weekend module per month. Doctoral students in the program will have the opportunity focus on integrative medicine, deepen their TCM knowledge and skills, and to specialize in one of two areas: pain management or women's health. The program culminates with a 252-hour clinical experience that students can complete in an intensive in China or the United States.

Certificates in Tui Na & Shiatsu Massage

ACTCM's massage programs are designed for students desiring a career in the field of body therapy, for current health practitioners who want to offer additional modalities to their patients, and for students enrolled in ACTCM's master's program.

One benefit of ACTCM's massage programs is its close relationship to the college's Chinese medicine program. Massage students have the satisfaction of attending a training program that utilizes the expertise of an accredited Chinese medical degree program. Massage students who choose to transition into the master's degree program are able to transfer virtually all of their coursework towards the master's degree.

ACTCM's Basic and Advanced Tui Na and Shiatsu Massage Certificate programs span 6-12 months in length and allow students to complete their training either separately from or concurrently with the master's degree program. This flexibility allows students to obtain a massage license and begin a massage therapy practice while pursuing their master's degree. Both programs lead to national certification eligibility.

Contact Information

For more information on the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, contact:

American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
455 Arkansas Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Tel: (415) 282-7600
Fax: (415) 282-0856
Web site:

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