Doctoral Program Goals and Expected Competencies
Graduates of AAAOM’s doctoral program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine will be well-prepared to meet the challenges and expectations of practicing traditional Chinese medicine in the 21st Century. The capabilities of our graduates are assured as they master the following educational objectives of the program.
Doctoral candidates will:
- Exhibit in-depth understanding of health conditions within their selected field of study from the perspective of both traditional Chinese medicine and modern Western medicine.
- Demonstrate advanced skill levels in the assessment and diagnosis of health conditions in their selected field of study from a TCM perspective.
- Demonstrate advanced clinical practice skills in the areas of diagnosis, needling, and herbal prescriptions.
- Demonstrate the ability to effectively utilize both classical and contemporary Chinese medical techniques in their practice.
- Demonstrate effective management of their on-site clinical practice, including the ability to collaborate effectively with their adviser and other practitioners.
- Demonstrate mastery of clinical research techniques through successful completion of a “capstone” research project in their chosen Chinese medicine specialty.
To complete the academic part of the program, doctoral candidates attend a long-weekend (Friday through Monday) instruction module every four weeks for 30 hours of instruction. Academic courses and face-to-face time with advisors are scheduled during these 4-day attendance periods. Clinical practicum hours are scheduled individually. The required 650 hours of clinical training/practicum are completed either on-campus at AAAOM, or off-campus at clinic locations affiliated with and designated by AAAOM.
In the best tradition of Chinese culture, AAAOM’s doctoral program is constructed according to the principles of Confucian architecture: there is a main axis of study consisting of five specialty areas; and two parallel supporting branches of study: classical Chinese texts and modern scientific applications. The nucleus of AAAOM’s doctorate degree program is its focus on five specific areas of TCM medicine: TCM neurology; TCM gynecology; TCM orthopedics; TCM oncology; and TCM psychiatry. In each of the specialty areas the focus is on integrative practice and effective clinical application of the material. Candidates study classical and modern Chinese medicine texts pertaining to each specialty, as well as the most relevant research-based information available from modern TCM and Western sources. Courses in each area are taught by instructors who are trained specialists in that field.
The total doctoral program curriculum of 1260 hours (62 credits) is composed of 600 hours of classroom instruction, including a capstone research project, and 660 hours of clinical practice. Academic instruction is presented on-campus, in a monthly four-day attendance period, with clinical practicum hours scheduled on an individual basis. Candidates organize their clinical practicum and determine a topic for their capstone research project in relation to the specialty area they have chosen to focus on, and present an oral defense of their capstone report prior to graduation. The program is designed to be completed in two years.
AAAOM has assembled a world-class team of leading professors and scholars to teach the classes in our DAOM program, including both our permanent faculty members and visiting faculty. AAAOM’s permanent faculty is made up of Chinese-trained Ph.D.s with a strongly-diversified background and many years of clinical experience. Visiting faculty members are carefully selected for their areas of expertise and ability to contribute to the overall quality of the program. After teaching a weekend course on-campus, visiting faculty members follow up individually with doctoral candidates’ projects.