Project Description

Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Program Overview

Program Length: Four-Years

This is a Double-Major program. Graduates will also receive Diploma in Acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches health and illness fundamentally different from modern medicine (Western medicine), it is not only documented as the oldest medicine, but it has also always been part of the primary health care system In China throughout history.

Today, in the West, many schools of alternative and complementary medicines are based on or closely related to the theory of TCM and its treatment modalities. Acupuncture is the best known TCM treatment modality in the West. Others like herbal medicine, tuina, cupping, exercise, lifestyle, etc are not as familiar to many.

Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACATCM) is a pioneer and education provider for TCM in Canada. Our Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine program is designed to prepare students to become high-quality TCM doctors that can competently help people with all TCM modalities. Graduates will be able to practice Traditional Chinese Medicine comprehensively and efficiently with a complete understanding of this ancient healing art.

This program provides an excellent grounding in the theory and application of TCM with extensive clinical experience. Besides TCM components, students will gain a thorough understanding of western biomedical sciences, research methodologies, and the skills to be a reflective and professional practitioner.

This Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine program requires full commitment and dedication from students. The program takes four years to complete for full-time students.

At ACATCM, we provide a first-class learning experience to students, and we’d love to hear from you. Book a school tour and visit us.


  • Upon completion, graduates may apply for licensing with the respected governing body.
  • Dr. of Acupuncture is a title for registered acupuncturists in Alberta.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine is not regulated in Alberta, therefore financial assistance is not available.

Build Your Future With ACATCM Education

At ACATCM, we provide a first-class learning experience to students, and proudly so. Our leadership in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine education is recognized across Canada, the US (NCCAOM) and China.

  • Unrivaled Pan-Canadian Exams Success
  • International and Industry Recognition Awards
  • Innovative Programs Designed to Enhance The Learner Experience
  • A Proud Tradition of Academic Excellence, Achievements, Positive Atmosphere, and Joy of Learning.


Program Length: Four-Years

Our award-winning Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine Curriculum is scientifically designed for sequential learning in helping students become leading practitioners in the field.

First-Year Curriculum

Fall Semester

CodeCourse Name / SubjectsHrs Per WeekNo. of WeeksTotal Hours
101Fundamental Theories of TCM51890
102Human Anatomy51890
103Human Physiology51890
T106Standard Chinese I21836
T107Clinical Observation I21836

Spring Semester

CodeCourse Name / SubjectsHrs Per WeekNo. of WeeksTotal Hours
108Diagnostics of TCM51890
111Acupuncture and Moxibustion I – Meridian Systems and Points51890
112Herbology I – Materia Medica51890
T113Standard Chinese II21836
T114Clinical Observation II21836

Second-Year Curriculum

Fall Semester

CodeCourse Name / SubjectsHrs Per WeekNo. of WeeksTotal Hours
201Tui Na51890
T202Acupuncture and Moxibustion II – Treatment Strategy51890
203Herbology II – Formulas, Prescription Combination51890
204Internal TCM I51890
T205External TCM51890
T206Standard Chinese III31854
T207Clinical Observation III31854

Spring Semester

CodeCourse Name / SubjectsHrs Per WeekNo. of WeeksTotal Hours
T208Acupuncture and Moxibustion III2.51845
209Herbology III51890
210Internal TCM II51890
T211TCM Dermatology2.51845
T212Ancient Medical Literature2.51845
T213Medicinal Dietary Therapy2.51845
T214Standard Chinese IV31854
T215Clinical Observation IV51890

Third-Year Curriculum

Fall Semester

CodeCourse Name / SubjectsHrs Per WeekNo. of WeeksTotal Hours
T301Western Medical Terminology2.51845
T302Western Medical Diagnostics718120
T303Acupuncture and Moxibustion IV51890
T304TCM Gynecology and Pediatrics51890
T305Huang Di Nei Jing2.51845
T306Jin Gui Yao Lue2.51845
T307Qi Gong and Tai Qi2.51845
T308Clinical Mgmt and Communication Skills2.51845
T309Clinical Observation51890

Spring Semester

CodeCourse Name / SubjectsHrs Per WeekNo. of WeeksTotal Hours
T310Laboratory Medicine and Medical Imaging51890
T311Acupuncture and Moxibustion V2.51845
T312TCM EENT Specialty2.51845
T313Shang Han Lun2.51845
T314Wen Bing Xue2.51845
T315Special Clinical Case Studies51890
T316First Aid and CPR2.51845
T317Integration of TCM and Western Medicine2.51845
T318Clinical Observation51890

Fourth Year Curriculum

CodeCourse Name / SubjectsHrs Per WeekNo. of WeeksTotal Hours
T401Clinical Observation336104
T402Final Practicum28361000
T403Preparation for Licensing ExaminationsOptional
  • Total program hours: 4365 hrs
  • Total clinical hours: 1500 hrs

Subject Details

This course provides the students with an understanding of the rich and fascinating fundamental theories of TCM, including the history of TCM, the theory of Yin-Yang, the theory of Five Elements, the theory of Qi, blood and body fluids, the theory of Zang-Fu organs, and the theory of meridians and collaterals. TCM etiology and pathogenesis, diagnostic techniques (four examinations), preventive measures, and principles of treatments will also be introduced to the students.
This course presents an in-depth study of normal structures of the human body. At the beginning it includes a general introduction to the human body, in which organization of the body, anatomical terms, basic histology, integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, circulatory system, and medical imaging will be briefly discussed. Following the introduction, regional anatomy is taught. Topics include upper limbs, lower limbs, head and neck, back, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and perineum.
This course presents an in-depth study of normal functions of the human body. At the beginning the central concept of human physiology – homeostasis will be introduced in detail, followed by a full discussion of cellular physiology, neurophysiology, cardiovascular physiology, renal physiology, hematology and immunology, respiratory physiology, gastrointestinal physiology, endocrine physiology, and reproductive physiology.
The basic portion of this course is the same as that offered in the acupuncture diploma program. It will be taught with the emphasis on the basic concepts of biomolecules, including major organic compounds in the body like proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, etc.; basic enzymology that deals with general enzyme kinetics and regulations; basic metabolic pathways related to important body functions; and basic molecular biology covering genome organization, DNA, RNA and protein synthesis and processing as well as mutations. The advanced part of this course is a project in which students are required to prepare a flow chart showing all the biochemical pathways with enzymes and indicating particular metabolic diseases with enzyme deficiencies.
The basic portion of this course is the same as that offered in acupuncture diploma program. Students will be instructed on the topics of the principles of public health microbiology, which basically examines general concepts of microorganisms, microbial metabolism, control of microbial growth, microbial genetics, characteristics of different classes of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and other parasites. This course will also discuss the principles of diseases and epidemiology, mechanisms of pathogenicity and common microbial diseases. The advanced part of this course is a project in which students are required to write a paper discussing medically important microorganisms and diseases related to acupuncture and TCM practices.
This is Chinese Language Level I.
TCM student starts clinical observation during the first semester of year one.
Students will be instructed on the two main topics: diagnostic techniques or four examinations (inspection, auscultation/olfaction, interrogation, and palpation), which includes unique tongue and pulse diagnosis, and differentiation of syndromes according to the fundamental theories of TCM. Comprehensive applications of diagnostic methods as well as diagnosis of commonly seen clinical symptoms will be discussed. Students will also be involved in actual case studies.
The basic portion of this course is the same as that offered in acupuncture diploma program. It will be focused on the pathologic basis of diseases in Western medicine in comparison with TCM etiology and pathogenesis. Topics include general pathology, cardiovascular and hematologic pathology, respiratory pathology, head and neck pathology, digestive pathology, urogenital and breast pathology, endocrine pathology, dermatologic pathology, musculo-skeletal pathology, and neurologic and eye pathology. The advanced part of this course is a project in which students are required to write a scientific paper covering at least 10 most commonly encountered diseases that may be treated by acupuncture and/or other TCM therapies in terms of their etiology, pathogenesis, pathoanatomy and pathophysiology.
The basic portion of this course is the same as that offered in acupuncture diploma program. It will introduce to the students the basic concepts of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of modern drugs in comparison with TCM herbal materials. It also discusses drugs affecting the autonomic nervous system, drugs affecting the central nervous system, drugs affecting the cardiovascular system, drugs affecting other organ systems, chemotherapeutic drugs, and anti-inflammatory drugs and autacoids. The advanced part of this course is a project in which students are required to prepare a scientific table illustrating 100 most commonly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs in terms of their names (chemical and trade), categories, modes of action, therapeutic effects, adverse effects, drug interactions, etc.
This Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion courses focuses on the meridian systems and acupuncture points. Students will learn 12 regular meridians, 8 extraordinary meridians, 15 collaterals, and other meridian and collateral pathways. The anatomical locations and needling methods of about 400 regular and standardized extra acupuncture points will also be studied.
Herbal medicine is a major part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It represents one of the most powerful forms of medicine used in the world today. Chinese herbology is the most organized, experienced, consistent and accessible treatment and prevention system available. This course presents a comprehensive study of over 300 herbs from the Chinese Materia Medica, including their names, classification, nature, taste, properties, entering meridian, indication, usage, safe and maximum dosage, precautions, contraindications, combinations and preparation. A general overview and detailed analysis of the qualities, entering channels and functional aspects of each herb will be introduced.
Standard Chinese II.
Clinical Observation II
Chinese Tui Na is known as Chinese medical therapeutic massage and acupressure. Japanese Shiatsu and American Reflexology are also a part of Chinese Tui Na. Chinese Tui Na is a very special massage method used to treat soft tissue dysfunctions and bone structures. It is a specialty department in TCM hospitals in China . In this course, students will explore all the theories, concepts, techniques and indications of Chinese medical therapeutic massage. Students will also study the treatments of the most commonly seen clinical situations.
This course will focus on the acupuncture treatment strategies, including general principles of acupuncture treatment, selection and combination of acupuncture points, and acupuncture and moxibustion techniques. About 100 commonly seen clinical situations, including internal, external, gynecologic, pediatric, and miscellaneous diseases, will also be discussed.
This course is a systematic study of the most commonly used herbal formulas and their modifications, focusing on analyzing what each herb does and the role it plays in the formula. Chinese herbal prescriptions are the art of therapeutic strategy and balance. The herbs within the prescription have to be balanced and well defined. In this course, students will learn how to choose the correct herbs and medical formulas from thousands of Chinese herbs and formulas available and modify a formula and organize a prescription to fit the patient’s condition and individual needs.
Internal Medicine represents the biggest department of TCM hospitals in China . This course includes symptomatic analysis for metabolism disorders, neurology, nephrology, psychiatry, hematology, immunology, infectious diseases, rheumatology, pulmonary medicine, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, oncology and parasitology.
This course will introduce the students to basic TCM surgery, orthopedics and traumatology, including their general characteristics and commonly seen diseases in each of these categories. TCM dermatology and EENT specialty will be individually offered in the following semesters.
Standard Chinese III.
Clinical Observation III.
This course will introduce to the students the two modern acupuncture techniques – ear and scalp acupuncture. Basic auricular structures, original and standardized ear and scalp acupuncture points, as well as their indications and needling methods will be discussed. Practical sessions and certain diseases that are commonly treated with ear and scalp acupuncture therapies will also be presented.
Approximately 120 commonly used Chinese patent formulas available in North America will be introduced. Many of the prescriptions have been used for hundreds of years and have proven themselves safe and efficient.
This course is the continuation of the course #204. More diseases will be discussed, including symptomatic analysis for metabolism disorders, neurology, nephrology, psychiatry, hematology, immunology, infectious diseases, rheumatology, pulmonary medicine, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, oncology and parasitology.
This course offers an in-depth study of the diagnostic techniques, syndrome differentiations, and acupuncture and herbal treatments for dermatological diseases, with an emphasis on Chinese herbal medicine. About 40 commonly seen dermatological diseases will be studied.
This course presents students with materials concerning different doctrines of TCM in the ancient times. The emphasis of the course is placed on the foundational views and essences about TCM clinical treatments from various TCM schools, which developed over different dynasties under different climates and environmental and social circumstances.
This course introduces to the students Chinese nutrition and diet therapy, which includes the foods and herbs that serve as foods and have therapeutic effects in the prevention and treatment of disease, maintaining or improving health, and prolonging life.
Standard Chinese IV.
Clinical Observation IV.
This course helps the students to better understand the course #T302, improving communication skills with western medical doctors and other health care professions and helping students to write a formal medical report. In this course, students will learn the basic terminology used to describe symptoms, signs, syndromes and diseases.
This is an intermediate-level Western medical diagnostic science course, in which topics include general principles of history taking, general principles of physical examination, and detailed information on the procedures of medical investigation in a systematic way, covering the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, genitourinary system, hematological system, rheumatological system, endocrine system, nervous system, psychiatric history and mental state examination, and dermatological system. Some hands-on practices in history taking and physical examinations will also be included in the course.
In this course, the students will study 80 commonly encountered clinical cases, in which patients’ main complaints and detailed medical histories (including tongue and pulse conditions) are provided. Students are responsible for analyzing the information, making appropriate diagnoses, and determining the treatment principles and point selections, while the instructor summarizes all the cases.
This course has two parts in which TCM gynecology will cover female reproductive anatomy and physiology, etiology and pathogenesis of women’s diseases, principles of diagnostics and therapeutics, preventive measures and health care, and common gynecologic diseases; while TCM pediatrics will cover children’s growth and development, physiologic, pathologic, etiologic characteristics, principles of diagnostics and therapeutics, preventive measures and health care, and common pediatric diseases.
This course presents to students the earliest well-established TCM works the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic, which the foundational theories of TCM and acupuncture were derived from. The two parts of this book “Plain Questions” (Su Wen) and “The Miraculous Pivot” (Lingshu) will both be introduced. Selected chapters of these two books will be discussed to assist students in understanding TCM theories and its essence on a deeper level.
This course introduces to the students the second TCM Classic written during the Han Dynasty. It is one of the four original classical TCM canons and highlights the treatment of internal and miscellaneous diseases. The formulas from this book are considered classic formulas and many of them have remained in use in current clinical practice.
Qi Gong and Tai Qi.
In this course, students will learn the basic skills to communicate with patients effectively, including verbal and body language. It will also cover manners to communicate with other health care practitioners and through administrative documents, such as formal medical reports and medical legal letters. Basic counselling skills for chronic or terminally ill patients and patients with metal or emotional disorders will be briefly discussed.
Clinical Observation V
This course will present to the students the basic concepts and applications of modern medical laboratory and imaging sciences. Topics that will be covered include general principles of laboratory medicine, electrolytes, blood chemistry, haematology, urinalysis, imaging modalities, chest imaging, musculoskeletal imaging, gastrointestinal imaging, genitourinary imaging, neuroradiology, nuclear medicine and interventional radiology.
In this course, students will learn the modern standardized clean needle techniques (CNT) developed in North America , since it is one of the requirements for the registration as an acupuncturist and TCM practitioner. Course contents include brief review of medical and public health microbiology, theories and concepts of CNT, guidelines and recommendations for standard acupuncture practice, and demonstration and training of practical applications of CNT.
This course offers an in-depth study of the diagnostic procedures, syndrome differentiations, and TCM (especially herbal) treatments for various eye, ear, nose and throat (EENT) diseases.
This course introduces students to the Treatise on Febrile Diseases caused by Exogenous Pathogenic Cold written by Zhang Zhongjing during the Han Dynasty. This book is one of the four original classical TCM canons, and it is the very first book to highlight differentiation of syndromes. The formulas from this book are considered classic formulas and many of them still remain in use in current clinical practice.
This course introduces students to the one last original classical TCM canon, which mainly focuses on epidemic febrile diseases. It includes a number of ancient, foundational formulas, which also still remain in use in current clinical practice.
This course involves independent pursuit of an activity related to TCM training. Some special topics on the integration of advanced medical science and clinical information with alternative, preventative and Chinese medicine will be discussed. Topics may also include the area of modern immunology and Chinese preventative health aspects, physical and psychological aspects of the aging process and the prevention and treatment of aging problems. The topics and cases will be selected by the students or faculty and will be in areas that offer the biggest challenge to the medical profession and health care professionals such as AIDS, cancer, parasite infections, diabetes and stroke.
This course covers cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid with specific attention to special clinical situations.
This course discusses how to integrate traditional Chinese medicine and conventional medicine. The student will also learn how to prepare a research program, complete their research and prepare a finished thesis. Each student will choose their own research topic and present their thesis before the faculty and other students.
Clinical Observation VI
Clinical Observation VII
This is the final supervised clinical practice of the program. It will include the full-time practice of TCM at the college clinic and approved clinics in the province of Alberta . The student’s ability to treat patients is evaluated on a regular basis by their supervisors. From time to time, students may make their own decisions on the treatment methods, but must obtain the supervisor’s approval. An intern must have completed the full 700 hours and get a satisfactory evaluation from their supervisors in order to graduate and be issued a diploma.
This optional course will introduce to the students the most current information on the provincial acupuncture registration examinations, while at the same time preparing the students for the examinations by our exam prep experts.
  • Total program hours: 4365
  • Total clinical hours: 1396

Tuition and Fees

Program Length: Four-Years

Students ClassificationTuition
Full-time Students$4,900.00 per semester
Full-time Students$9,800.00 per academic year
Part-time students$14.00 / credited hour
Non-classified Students60% of full tuition

Registration Fee

A $100.00 non-refundable application fee is due when submitting the application form.

Tuition Deposit

A $400.00 tuition deposit is due within 14 days after receiving the notification of acceptance.

Textbooks and Supplies

The cost for course materials, textbooks and supplies range from $10 – $250 per course. A full-time student may expect to pay $900 – $1500 in textbooks and optional materials per academic year.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available Acupuncture Diploma students through the Federal and Provincial Student Loan programs. Students wishing to obtain financial aid may discuss their student loan status with our administration office.

How to Apply

Application guidelines and procedures are listed under our Admissions Section. International students should also check here.

Got questions? Contact Us

At ACATCM, we are always accessible


I have had the luck and privilege to come across great teachers and faculty. The one thing that stands out is how much the school cares about you. You are not a number but a name. I can still email or ask my teachers for help and they are happy to respond. I am glad I found this school and would recommend it to anyone. Learning TCM at ACATCM was life changing for me.
I highly recommend ACATCM to anybody. The teachers taught in a way that is very relatable to real life practice. They encourage out of the box thinking and pushed us to succeed. Their passion for TCM is inspiring and I remember leaving class feeling so excited to begin practising. I feel a great sense of comradery with the teachers and alumni as we all share in the same purpose of helping others with TCM.
As a Massage Therapist, I wanted to go to the next level in my ability to treat and heal patients. TCM not only allows me to do this, it opens so many more doors. The learning of TCM has taught me to strive for balance and harmony.