Doctor of Acupuncture


Credits Per Trimester
11 trimesters
Trimester of Entry
Fall, Spring

COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE: This program is enrolling for the Spring 2022 trimester. MUIH is planning for this program to be delivered in its standard format for students entering the program in the Spring 2022 trimester. The program will be delivered primarily on campus with some online courses; students will be required to come to campus for their in-person classes. MUIH’s Health and Safety Plan describes the University’s protocols for ensuring safety on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccination for the COVID-19 virus is not required to enter or use MUIH’s facilities.

The Doctor of Acupuncture program is designed to educate and develop graduates to meet the growing need and opportunities for well-trained Chinese medical practitioners to serve in numerous types of integrative medicine settings across the country. It builds on the outcomes and competencies of the Master of Acupuncture toward achieving full clinical competency, with the addition of 28 doctoral-specific competencies in the domains of research literacy, advanced diagnostic studies, systems-based medicine, and professional development, along with an enhanced clinical training. The program prepares graduates to work in a multitude of clinical environments, including integrative healthcare settings alongside practitioners in allopathic and other complementary health fields. As a graduate of this program, you will be recognized as a doctor, both professionally and publicly, and will be prepared to work as a vital part of multidisciplinary healthcare team.

Your journey starts here. Programs now enrolling for Spring 2022.

Apply Now


The Doctor of Acupuncture program is designed for individuals who wish to become an acupuncturist, apply research literacy to an evidence-based approach, and work in conventional medical and healthcare settings as well as private practice.

Alumni of MUIH’s Master’s level acupuncture program who are interested in a doctoral program in acupuncture (with or without a Chinese herbal medicine specialization) should visit the acupuncture doctoral completion webpage.

Program Description

MUIH’s Master’s & Doctoral Programs in Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

MUIH offers four master’s and doctoral programs in acupuncture and herbal medicine: Master of Acupuncture , Master of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization, Doctor of Acupuncture , and Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization. All four programs prepare students to achieve full clinical competency in acupuncture and to become highly skilled, integrative acupuncturists. Each program has unique characteristics that prepare students for different career tracks and aspirations.

All of MUIH’s master’s and doctoral programs in acupuncture and herbal medicine blend acupuncture approaches from two healing traditions, Constitutional Five Element Acupuncture (CFEA) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with contemporary science as the basis for treating the whole person. The programs provide a comprehensive understanding of the classical and theoretical foundations of the field of acupuncture and introduce students to biomedicine from an integrative and holistic perspective. They emphasize self-cultivation and healership through a curriculum that is rigorous, transformative, and relationship centered. By drawing upon ancient wisdom and the gifts of nature students will learn to choose their words and actions intentionally in order to be a healing presence that supports their patients. These programs develop highly skillful and compassionate practitioners who offer acupuncture as a catalyst for healing and wellness, as well as for increased self-awareness and personal transformation. Additionally, the programs provide a solid foundation in career development, practice management, and the business skills necessary to build a practice or enter the workforce and participate in today’s growing healthcare field.

All four programs share these highlights:

  • A rigorous clinical experience beginning as early as the second trimester.
  • The only accredited graduate program to offer the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) training and related clinical experience as part of the curriculum.
  • The opportunity to work with a wide variety of clinical supervisors with different theoretical perspectives and practice styles.
  • Exposure to different clinical approaches such as: Chinese and Western nutrition therapy, qi gong, cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, scalp acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, and tuina.
  • The opportunity to see patients from diverse backgrounds and in community outreach settings.
  • The opportunity to engage in specialty courses in the treatment of certain health conditions and populations, including pain management and women’s health.
  • Flexible, full-time formats: two days each week, with some online courses, and occasional intensives and self-scheduled electives offered outside of the two-day schedule.
  • A cohort learning format that provides mentorship and flexibility for students to learn in small groups and in one-on-one settings during clinical rotation.

Doctor of Acupuncture Program

The Doctor of Acupuncture program has the following specific characteristics, in addition to the above highlights shared by all programs:

  • A curriculum consisting of 150.25 credits that can be completed in four years (13 consecutive trimesters).
  • Foundational clinical acupuncture experience consisting of 30 observations, 125 primary treatments, 125 secondary treatment, and 23 community health initiative treatments.
  • Advanced clinical acupuncture experience consisting of 120 hours of evidence informed treatment, integrative clinic, or integrative case discussions.
  • The opportunity to experience integrative practices in at least one of several possible conventional healthcare settings.
  • The opportunity to enhance and deepen one’s practice by sharpening diagnostic skills and additional specialization to confidently treat specific populations.

Click here to view an expanded description of the program highlights, learning outcomes, and curriculum of the Doctor of Acupuncture program, and how it differs from the Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization, Master of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization, and Master of Acupuncture degrees.


Admission Requirements

Trimester of Entry: Fall, Spring
Application Deadlines: Application deadline by Trimester
General Requirements:
Program Specific Requirements: Prerequisite Coursework: Students must have completed prerequisite courses in chemistry, biology, and psychology; lab courses in these subjects are not required. Students may fulfill this prerequisite coursework through any of the following means:

  • These courses may have been completed at the undergraduate or graduate level as part of a degree program or as individual courses taken at an accredited college or university.
  • Completion of the following low-cost, non-lab courses offered by StraighterLine: Introduction to Biology, General Chemistry I, Introduction to Psychology
  • Completion of the following low-cost, non-lab courses offered by Sophia: Human Biology, Introduction to Psychology
  • Attainment of a minimum score of 50 on each of the relevant CLEP exams offered by the College Board: BiologyChemistryIntroductory Psychology.

Complete Essay Questions in application:

  • How does the program relate to your future personal and professional goals?
  • Share an example of how you typically respond to learning new ways of thinking, being and doing and to being coached in those experiences.
  • How do you expect being in this program will shift your priorities and affect your schedule outside of class?

Additional English language proficiency requirements apply for international students.


For a full description of the curriculum including the required and elective course work, visit the Academic Catalog.

Students progress through three levels of training, each with a specific focus that guides program goals and objectives. The trimesters flow and build from one to the next, and the coursework is sequenced to provide a rich and transformative educational experience. The program is designed to be completed in three years and eight months across 11 trimesters.

The program consists of a total 150.25 credits, distributed as:

  • Level 1 courses – 28.5 cr
  • Level 2 courses – 41 cr
  • Level 3 courses – 49.75 cr
  • Bioscience Elective courses – 3 cr
  • Flex Core courses – 6 cr
  • Doctoral courses – 22 cr

LEVEL I – The Tao: Health in Wholeness

Level I begins with an intensive course on healership that introduces students to the art, practice, and science of being a healing presence. Students are introduced to MUIH’s foundational philosophical principles, living within the rhythms of nature, living with mindfulness, and the skillful and purposeful use of language as tools for being a powerful healing presence and catalyst for change. This intensive is followed by coursework designed to open up the power of observation and sensory awareness. Other topics in Level I include:

  • The foundational laws and theories that underpin the field of acupuncture and herbal medicine
  • Diagnostic skills development
  • Rapport-building skills development
  • Surface anatomy and point location
  • History of acupuncture and an introduction to the classical texts
  • Ethics
  • Orientation to information literacy
  • Philosophy, practice, and therapeutic application of qi through the study of classical self-cultivation practices (such as Tai Ji, Qi Gong, and Daoist meditation)

LEVEL II – Ying/Yang: Health in Balance

Level II coursework delves deeper into the topics introduced in Level I, focusing on theory, diagnosis, treatment planning, and skills development. Students continue to observe clinical practice throughout Level II and begin supervised clinical work. Each student trains at the on-campus faculty-supervised clinic and at the off-campus Community Clinic Sites. Near the end of this level, each student will take the Level II Comprehensive Exam. Upon passing the exam, the student may begin the expanded clinical portion of the program.

LEVEL III – Qi: Health in Movement

Level III begins with a three-day off-campus retreat, which serves as a bridge between the academic work of Levels I and II, and the clinical experience of Level III. During the retreat, students reflect on their clinical transition and build community with peers who will practice with them in the faculty-supervised clinic. Over the course of Level III, each student generates a minimum of 10 patients, and completes, under supervision, a minimum of 295 treatments. A portion of the completed treatments will take place in integrative healthcare settings that may be located off-campus. The Chinese herbs clinic consists of 210 hours, including direct diagnostic calibration treatment planning, and extensive practical dispensary training. Each student also performs at least 180 treatments on patients at Community Clinic Sites (begun in Level II). In addition to the increased clinical focus, Level III coursework focuses more deeply on advanced topics in theory, diagnosis, treatment planning, and skills development. During the final stages of clinic work, each student must pass an oral exam with a panel of senior faculty that demonstrates the student’s embodied knowledge and skills in the realm of Chinese medicine. In addition, students must complete evidence-informed case reports, and a more extensive case study, on their own patients. Students may graduate upon completion of all coursework, clinical, and other academic requirements.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the program will be able to:

  • Apply a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the classical and theoretical foundations of the field of acupuncture.
  • Apply an understanding of biomedicine from an integrative and holistic perspective.
  • Develop a healing presence and healing connection between the patient and practitioner.
  • Articulate an understanding of the origin of symptoms and the direction and progression of conditions.
  • Develop and provide individualized acupuncture treatment plans that address overall health and wellness and bring about effective relief for physical pain conditions, chronic illness, particular physical, mental, and emotional conditions, and spiritual issues in their patients.
  • Translate western medical conditions into Chinese medicine diagnosis and treatment.
  • Participate in a fully holistic system of diagnosis and treatment, addressing all levels of being.
  • Apply business and practice management skills to ensure success as they enter the workforce.
  • Apply an understanding of various modalities and specialties and how to collaborate with those practitioners.
  • Use evidence-informed practices with patients.
  • Confidently interview and speak with other healthcare providers about acupuncture and herbal medicine.
  • Participate and inform innovation occurring in acupuncture practice.

Program Format & Schedule

Program Format

This program is offered in the on-campus formats. Click here to view MUIH’s definition of online, hybrid, and on-campus course and program formats.

The Doctor of Acupuncture is delivered primarily on campus with some online courses.

For additional details visit the Academic Catalog.

Program Schedule

For trimester start and end dates, see the Academic Calendar.


For programs that begin in the fall, class times are generally 8:45 a.m.–5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. For programs that begin in the spring, class times are generally 8:45 a.m.–5 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. Upper-level, doctoral-only courses occurring in trimester 8 and later are primarily weekend-based when on campus or offered online.

Students entering the program in the Fall 2020 Trimester should also plan to attend the APP612 intensive experience on September 2-4, 9:30 am to 5:30pm on each day, regardless of the course format; online/remote classes will be conducted live and in real time on the same day and time that they would have met on-campus. Students entering the program in the Spring 2021 Trimester will also have a three day APP612 intensive, dates to be determined.

There are occasional scheduling exceptions for intensives, electives, non-credit requirements, and other special courses as described below. Students must plan ahead to clear work schedules and commitments to be available to attend all courses as required.


The program begins with a three-day intensive and has a few weekend intensives throughout the 13 trimesters. Most weekend intensives are 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


Elective course offerings are typically bioscience (ISCI) courses held Mondays 6–9 p.m., Wednesdays 9 a.m.–12 p.m., and weekends (generally two weekends consisting of Friday evening and all-day Saturday and Sunday), with some online availability. Offerings vary by trimester.

Tuition & Fees

Fall 2021 Intake
Course Code Cost per Credit # of Credits Tuition Cost*
AOM $615 142.25 $87,483.75
Flex Core $615 5 $3,075
Electives $615 3 $1,845
Total Program Cost 150.25 $92,403.75

*Prices subject to change. Tuition costs are for illustrative purposes only.


Average Credits per Trimester Typical Completion Time
13 12 Trimesters

Additional Fees

Fees Cost
Application Fee $50
Non-Refundable Tuition Deposit $150
University Fee (per trimester) $275
All students, including students taking a voluntary break in enrollment. Click here to learn more about the fee.
Late Registration Fee
After registration deadline and before start of the schedule adjustment period for current students$150/course
During the schedule adjustment period for current and new students who have confirmed before the late confirmed student registration period begins
Cooking Lab Fee $30/course
NUTR 681 – 689; On Campus Courses Only
Cooking Kit Fee $205
M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health students (1st trimester) and other students taking cooking labs (NUTR 681 – 689)
Herb Kit Fee  Students enrolled in the following herbal medicine courses:
HRB 605 $160
HRB 614 $160
HRB 620b $160
HRB 622 $145
HRB 635a $125
HRB 635b $200
HRB 636a $125
HRB 642 $220
HRB 705 $180
HRB 715 $100
Due to international customs requirements, we do not ship herb kits outside of the United States
Credit Card Adjustment Fee 2.75% of amount paid by credit card
Graduation Fee $75

Licensure, Certification, & Credentialing

Laws & Licensure

Completion of the Doctor of Acupuncture program does not automatically qualify graduates to begin practicing independently. Each state, including Maryland, has specific licensure or registration procedures that must be met. Governmental laws, regulations, legal opinions, and requirements differ from country to country and state to state. MUIH cannot provide assurance that completion of the program will qualify a graduate to be registered or accepted under a state law other than Maryland. However, the University’s Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization program is designed to provide basic, solid competence in traditional acupuncture. There may be a waiting period between the completion of the program and the legal recognition allowing the graduate to begin practice. Until a graduate receives official notification of legal recognition to begin practice, she or he may continue to practice only under faculty supervision. Students who wish to continue to practice in Maryland after graduating, but prior to being licensed, must enroll in MUIH’s Trainee Program. Most states require successful completion of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine exam. For more information, refer to

Maryland Acupuncture Licenses

Graduates wishing to practice in Maryland may be licensed by applying to the Maryland Board of Acupuncture. MUIH is approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission to award a Doctor of Acupuncture Medicine degree, and the program conforms to Maryland laws and regulations regarding the practice of acupuncture. For requirements for licensure in Maryland, contact: Maryland Board of Acupuncture, 4201 Patterson Avenue, Room 311 Baltimore, MD 21215; phone 410-764-4766 or 800-530-2481; or online at

Requirements of Other States

For eligibility to apply for licensure, other states may stipulate additional requirements, such as completion of a course in Chinese herbs or clinical hours beyond what is required by MUIH. Individuals who wish to practice in a state other than Maryland are advised to check the licensing requirements of that state by contacting the medical or acupuncture regulating agency in each state.

Additional Information

Additional information regarding licensure is available in the State Licensure Determination document on MUIH’s Student Consumer Information webpage and in the Academic Catalog.

Program Accreditation & Approvals 

Maryland Higher Education Commission

MUIH is approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission to award a Doctor of Acupuncture degree, and the program conforms to Maryland laws and regulations regarding the practice of acupuncture.

Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is the recognized accrediting agency for programs preparing acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners. ACAOM is located at 8941 Aztec Drive, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347; phone (952) 212-2434; fax (952) 657-7068;

The Doctor of Acupuncture and Doctor of Acupuncture with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization programs of Maryland University of Integrative Health are not accredited or pre-accredited (candidacy) by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). Graduates of these programs are not considered to have graduated from an ACAOM accredited or candidate program and may not rely on ACAOM accreditation or candidacy for professional licensure or other purposes.

These doctoral programs are eligible for ACAOM accreditation, and MUIH is currently in the process of seeking ACAOM pre-accreditation/accreditation for the program. However, MUIH can provide no assurance that pre-accreditation or accreditation will be granted by ACAOM.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of MUIH’s acupuncture and herbal medicine programs are employed in a variety of settings including private practice; integrative group practices; health care systems; hospitals; wellness centers; pain management centers; addiction treatment centers; behavioral and mental health centers; fertility centers; veterans and military organizations and agencies; state and local health departments; and colleges and universities. Many graduates chose to have a portfolio career in which they have multiple positions and employers within one or more profession, rather than one full-time job. A portfolio career provides such individuals with variety in their work life and the opportunity to develop a wide and varied professional network.

The career outlook for acupuncture and herbal medicine (AHM) practitioners is strong, and national statistics indicate that individuals pursuing such careers successfully earn income and either establish a solo practice or are hired into a number of different healthcare settings. The AHM career track has been categorized as a “BrightOutlook” occupation by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), indicating that this occupation is predicted to experience rapid growth during the years 2018-2028. BLS predicts a much faster than average (11%) employment growth for AHM practitioners during this time period. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) reports that approximately 72% of acupuncture and herbal medicine practitioners are actively working in clinical practice with a majority of those practitioners reporting a solo practice being their primary practice setting. NCCAOM also reports that there has been a significant increase in employment in hospital and integrative care settings; the percentage of acupuncturists employed or contracted in these settings grew from 6% in 2008 to 10% in 2015. NCCAOM job analysis statistics indicate that 36% of AHM practitioners reported a total gross income (before taxes) of $40,000-$100,000 with 11% reporting gross incomes of $100,000 and above; the BLS reports the median average salary for AHM practitioners in 2017 was $73,830.

View more about career opportunities.

Upcoming Webinars

Take a look at what our Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine programs offer and how MUIH is the choice for you!

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Program Administration

Sharon Jennings-Rojas, D.O.M; M.Ac.; L.Ac.; RT (NADA)
Department Chair

Janet Padgett, M.Ac., Ph.D.
Director, Acupuncture Programs

Kerri Westhauser, M.Ac., D.A.O.M
Director, Chinese Herb Programs

Janice Campbell, D.O.M., L.Ac., A.D.S.
Director, Clinical Education

Jennifer Schwing, M.A.
Department Manager

Chelsey Barrett, M.S., CHES
Student Support Specialist & Academic Advisor

An MUIH education is not just for living, but for life.