Bachelor's degree

In Reading

Price on request


  • Typology

    Bachelor's degree

  • Location





Reading (Berkshire)
19 Castle Street, RG1 7SB


On request

To take into account

We have a preferred minimum age of 21, and preference will be given to mature candidates who have the necessary requirements shown below and/or appropriate alternative qualifications: * five GCSE passes at grade C or above, which should include English and mathematics and preferably biology or combined science, plus two A Level passes (excluding general studies) ...

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Course programme

Course content

This degree course is divided into six main areas called programmes, each sub-divided into levels. It brings Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) together as an integrated whole. This allows students to treat patients with a wide variety of conditions, both chronic and acute.

We put equal emphasis on gaining both practical and theoretical skills, with 50% of course hours dedicated to each of these areas. The practical aspects of the course emphasise the development of rapport-making skills in order to relate to patients, and qi development in order to enrich acupuncture practice. High levels of skill in point location, needling, pulse taking and tongue diagnosis are also emphasised.

Chinese medicine lies at the core of the College's theoretical teaching. Our conventional medical science course has also been developed especially for the College. This relates conventional medical science to acupuncture practices and the theories of Chinese medicine. Reflective practice forms the core of a practitioner's work with patients, and this is encouraged along with the acquisition of skills in researching the practice of acupuncture.

1 Chinese medicine
Students study Chinese medicine throughout the course. This includes the underlying theoretical concepts of Chinese medicine including yin/yang, the Organs, the substances, the causes of disease, the Eight Principles and the jingluo or meridian system. They also make an in-depth study of the Five Elements or Phases and develop an understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of the patients' constitutional imbalance. They develop an awareness of how the patients' qi imbalances affect all levels of body, mind and spirit.

Students also study patterns of disharmony of substances and syndromes as well as the differentiation of all the most common diseases. The treatment of children, treatment in childbirth, electro-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture are also included in this programme.

2 Conventional medical sciences
This specially-developed programme includes anatomy, physiology, pathology, clinical skills and pharmacology.

Surface anatomy is used to assist students in point location and safe needle insertion.

Physiology and pathology help students to understand the conventional medical description of a disease and how this compares to the viewpoint of Chinese medicine.

The study of clinical practice then enables them to understand the patient's disease in terms of conventional medicine and to develop an understanding and respect for the human body and its condition in health and disease. It also encourages students to develop an increasing level of confidence when dealing with patients who are also receiving conventional treatments and when communicating with conventional practitioners.

Pharmacology helps students to understand the effects of the drugs that many patients are taking. Chinese medical energetic interpretations of diseases and drug treatments are woven into the teaching of the conventional medical sciences throughout this programme of the course.

Physiology, pathology, pharmacology and clinical medicine are mainly taught using a format of study days in class followed by carefully-structured home study.

3 Point location
This programme of the course enables students to develop their palpatory skills and to understand the procedures needed in order to safely and accurately locate all acupuncture points on the body. It also enables students to locate the points respectfully and with sensitivity.

4 Professional practice
In this programme students learn to use their diagnostic and treatment skills, first by learning to diagnose patients in class, and then by diagnosing and planning treatments on people outside the classroom. This culminates in the third year when students begin treating patients in the College clinic under the close supervision of senior members of the teaching staff.

This programme of the course focuses on encouraging students to make the successful transition from being students, to being student-practitioners, finally becoming autonomous practitioners. In order to do this students must demonstrate that they understand all the practical and ethical implications of being a professional acupuncturist, and are capable of putting this knowledge into practice.

5 Skills and techniques
This programme includes the practice of both diagnostic skills and treatment techniques. Diagnostic skills include pulse taking and tongue diagnosis as well as rapport making, observing, asking, listening and palpation skills. Treatment techniques include needling, cupping, tui na (Chinese massage), applying moxibustion and various other means by which the patient's qi imbalance is corrected.

Ongoing practice of qi gong is integrated into the course (pronounced chee gung). This form of qi development practice has been used in China for thousands of years. Practising qi gong enables students to experience how their qi energy affects their acupuncture practice with patients, as well as how it can improve their own health. Qi gong is taught in two-hour sessions throughout the first and second year.

6 Research and reflective practice
This part of the course encourages students to develop a problem-solving and holistic approach to their practice. They carry out clinical observations on patients for 30 hours per year with practitioners anywhere in the UK. Students also study different research paradigms, including orthodox research and reflective practice. This culminates in the research and submission of a final-year dissertation.

During the third year clinical programme students carry out an audit of patients' responses to treatment, administered by the Oriental Medicine Research Trust. Participating in this audit helps students to develop a reflective attitude towards their practice. They are also helping establish a body of evidence that will shed light on the effectiveness of acupuncture.

College outcome study
Under supervision, all third year clinical students treat patients in the College student clinic. An outcome study which explored patient progress in this clinic found that 93% reported an improvement in their main complaint, with 58.7% reporting a major improvement or full recovery. No one felt worse, and only 7% experienced no change. 88% of responding patients also reported either a large or moderate improvement in their general health.
Shaw, Bidgood and Saebi (2007), 'Exploring acupuncture outcomes in a college clinic: Patient profile and evaluation of overall treatment benefit', European Journal of Oriental Medicine 5(4): 55-63

Throughout the course our students grow and develop personally. This happens in two ways: through their application of the Chinese understanding of health and disease to themselves, and through the development of their diagnostic skills, specifically, good observation, deep rapport with patients, and the understanding of and ability to respond to a multitude of different emotional patterns.

The curriculum

The topics covered within the six course programmes are listed below. Each programme is studied at three levels except point location, which is studied at two levels. More than a third of all contact hours are dedicated to clinical observations and clinical practice.

Chinese medicine level 1

  • History of Chinese medicine
  • Yin/yang
  • Five Elements
  • Colour, sound, emotion and odour
  • Functions of the Organs/Officials: Lungs, Large Intestine, Stomach, Spleen, Heart, Small Intestine, Bladder, Kidneys, Pericardium, Triple Burner, Gall Bladder and Liver
  • The Substances: Spirit, qi, jing, Blood and Body Fluids
  • Internal, external and miscellaneous causes of disease
  • Eight Principles
  • Types of points
  • Diagnosis of mind, body and spirit
  • Husband-wife imbalance
  • Aggressive energy
  • Syndromes of all yin and yang Organs
  • Combined syndromes

Chinese medicine level 2
Differentiation of common disease patterns from the viewpoint of Chinese medicine, including: lower back pain and musculo-skeletal problems, gynaecology (including premenstrual tension, dysmenhorrheoa, amenorrhoea, infertility, menorrhoea, discharges, late periods, short cycle), diarrhoea and constipation, headaches, post viral syndrome, hypertension, asthma

  • The jingluo system
  • Phlegm and Damp
  • Dietary therapy
  • The function of points of all the Organs
  • Seven Dragons
  • Entry and exit points
  • Miscellaneous points
  • Windows of the sky points

Chinese medicine level 3
Differentiation of common disease patterns from the viewpoint of Chinese medicine, including: windstroke, skin disease, epilepsy, mental diseases, atrophy syndrome

  • The treatment in childbirth
  • The treatment of children
  • The treatment of addiction
  • The eight extra channels
  • Overview of complementary therapies
  • Auricular acupuncture
  • Six stages, four levels, three jiao
  • Bereavement and care of the dying
  • Electro-acupuncture
  • Deep pathways of all channels

Conventional medical science levels 1, 2 and 3

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical medicine
  • Structural diagnosis
  • Conventional clinical skills
  • Resuscitation and basic first aid
  • Energetic interpretation of diseases and drugs
  • Warning features of disease

Point location level 1

  • Introduction to channels, points and point location
  • Location of 'command' points of all yin and yang channels
  • Location of lower sacral, ren points, back shu and du points

Point location level 2

  • Location of body points including: shoulder points, upper jiao points, middle jiao points, lower jiao points, entry and exit points, dragon points, thigh and groin points, head points, windows of the sky and neck points, face points, upper arm points, miscellaneous points
  • Review of all points

Research and reflective practice levels 1, 2 and 3

  • Introduction to reflective practice
  • Introduction to, and exploration of, different paradigms of research in Chinese medicine
  • Clinical observations
  • Clinical audit
  • Proposal for dissertation
  • Tutorials for dissertation

Professional practice levels 1 and 2

  • Patients in class
  • Taking a case history
  • Traditional diagnosis
  • Case history analysis
  • Discussion of diagnosis, treatment strategy and aetiological advice
  • Treatment reactions
  • Ethics and patient management
  • Case histories in class

Professional practice level 3

  • Treating patients under supervision in the student clinic
  • Clinical class discussions
  • Clinical observations
  • Overview of complementary therapies
  • Setting up in practice
  • Deciding who to treat
  • Keeping accounts
  • How to talk to patients
  • Bereavement and care of the dying
  • Promoting your practice
  • Supervision and continuing professional development
  • Patient management and boundaries in the treatment room

Skills and techniques levels 1, 2 and 3

  • Rapport-making skills
  • Structure of the emotions
  • Patient interaction and emotion elicitation
  • Facial characteristics of emotions and observing the face
  • Learning skills and memory aids
  • Colour, sound, emotion and odour exercises
  • Pulse diagnosis
  • Tongue diagnosis
  • Needle technique and clean needling
  • Moxibustion and the use of moxa sticks, moxa cones, moxa boxes, and moxa on a needle
  • Cupping
  • Cutaneous and bleeding needle
  • Introduction to guasha
  • Palpation and needle technique forchannel problems
  • Tui na

How course time is organised

Weekend course

Years 1 and 2 each have 42 teaching days, beginning with a six-day introduction. Thereafter teaching days are at weekends. Year 3 theory has 26 teaching days, followed by the clinical training.

Weekday course

The new weekday course begins with a three-day session. Thereafter, in years 1 and 2 attendance at College will be on weekdays organised as consecutive two-day sessions divided into three terms. Year 3 theory will take place two days a week over three months, followed by attendance one day a week for the clinical training.

Teaching days during the clinical training in year 3

For both the weekday and weekend course the second part of the third year is made up of a nine-month clinical programme. This programme begins with a six-day introduction and thereafter attendance is one day a week for nine months. This enables the regular treatment of patients to be carried out under supervision. The student clinic will take place either at weekends or on weekdays according to whether you are studying on a weekday or weekend course.

After six months of clinical practice, if a student has been successful in all their theoretical and practical assessments, they are eligible to become a pre-qualifying student and are awarded Permission to Practice which covers their final three months in the student clinic. During this period they can treat patients outside the College, whilst still having their treatments carefully monitored by the teaching staff.

Study time the course requires

The amount of study time needed outside class depends upon many factors. We teach effective ways of learning to make your study time as productive as possible. As a general guide a student will need to study for between 15 and 20 hours a week, possibly more at certain times during the course.


Assessment has two important functions. The first is for us to determine how students are progressing and, where improvement is desirable, to help in friendly, constructive ways. The second is for students to know clearly what is expected of them and therefore direct their own efforts efficiently.

We give students clear goals. Feedback is provided continually throughout the course in various ways. There is also feedback on and assessment of practical skills to do with diagnosis, sensitivity to patients, and treatment skills. An assessment record is retained and is available to the student. We have a complaints procedure and an academic appeals procedure, both described in the Student Handbook.

Entry qualifications

Candidates must satisfy the general admissions requirements of Kingston University and the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine. We have a preferred minimum age of 21, and preference will be given to mature candidates who have the necessary requirements shown below and/or appropriate alternative qualifications:

  • five GCSE passes at grade C or above, which should include English and mathematics and preferably biology or combined science, plus two A Level passes (excluding general studies)
  • or an appropriate BTEC National Diploma including merit and distinction passes or Advanced GNVQ at Level 3
  • or two passes in Scottish Highers at grade C or above
  • or six passes at higher level in the Irish Learning Certificate at grade C or above.

Overseas students are considered on an individual basis, usually where they have completed a university degree or validated access course in the UK or overseas. If you are offered a place on this course and English is not your first language, and your secondary education has not been undertaken in English, we will ask to see an IELTS level 6 certificate before you start the course, and an IELTS level 7 certificate during the third year, before you start the clinical programme.

Mature students without the above qualifications are encouraged to apply and will be considered on the basis of their work and life experience.

Some applicants may have previous conventional medical sciences training and wish to apply for exemption from parts of the anatomy, physiology or pathology training. Details of our criteria and application procedure are available on request.

Financial assistance

Our Acupuncture BSc (Hons) courses now has full time status. This means that some students will be eligible for student loans from the student loans company.

You may be eligible for a discretionary local authority grant. Apply to the education department of your local council. Applying early can help.

It may be possible to find a local or national charitable trust willing to help finance your studies. Local trusts may be run independently, or by your council. Try your local library or the internet as a starting point.

Alternatively, the government offers Career Development Loans (CDL), deferred repayment bank loans to help you pay for vocational studies. These are available through a partnership arrangement between the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and three high street banks - Barclays, The Co-operative and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Additional information

Support: Our Acupuncture BSc (Hons) courses now has full time status. This means that some students will be eligible for student loans from the student loans company. You may be eligible for a discretionary local authority grant. Apply to the education department of your local council. Applying early can help. ...
Payment options: As a guide, for May 2009 the fees are £5,000* for the 1st year and the same for the 2nd year, and the 3rd year fees are charged on a pro rata basis according to teaching hours. There are 3 different methods for payment; 1) a single payment in full (discount of £120) 2) half payment and the balance by two post-dated cheques 3) half payment plus a bank standing order for ten consecutive monthly payments. If you are offered a place you should secure it immediately by sending your non-refundable deposit as places are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. This deposit is deductible from the


Price on request