Admissions - Master of Science in Oriental Medicine

Master of Science in Oriental Medicine - Illinois campus

National University's Master of Science in Oriental Medicine program offers you a comprehensive classical curriculum in both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine coupled with training in how to balance an eastern medicine approach with western science.  

What is Oriental Medicine?

Oriental medicine is the oldest codified system of medicine in the world. It restores health and balance by treating illness and disease through the Five Major Branches of Oriental Medicine, which include: acupuncture; Chinese herbal medicine; oriental nutrition and dietary therapy; tuina or oriental bodywork; as well as tai chi and qi gong.

Oriental Medicine Philosophy

Oriental Medicine relies on a highly comprehensive and individualized diagnosis of a patient's Qi (or chi) energy. The weakness, excess or imbalance of Qi affects key organ systems in oriental medicine and is the underlying cause of disease and disharmony. The oriental medicine practitioner uses a broad scope of therapies to restore balance to a patient's Qi, thereby encouraging health and healing.

Aom _effectivelytreats _500w
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture and oriental medicine as
effective for over 43 conditions under the above-listed nine major health categories.
(Source: National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)

Oriental Medicine Treatments

In addition to acupuncture, tai chi, tuina (meridian bodywork therapy) and qi gong (mind, breath and physiological exercises) a practitioner of oriental medicine will employ Chinese dietary therapy as well as the full range of traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Chinese herbal medicine encompasses the prescription of single herbs, complex herbal formulas, tinctures and patent herbal medicines in pill form.

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Health Care Career

35% of the hospitals offering complementary medicine provide acupuncture as an outpatient service to their patients.

(Source: Health Forum Complementary and Alternative Medicine Survey of Hospitals)

Oriental Medicine Careers

Acupuncture and oriental medicine are being recognized as effective treatments for a variety of conditions. Oriental medicine practitioners enjoy the full range of career opportunities available to acupuncturists. Additionally, those with an MSOM degree are able to prescribe traditional herbal medicine to their patients. This broader scope of practice gives the practitioner maximum flexibility in their career options.

Pie Chart showing Careers Pursued by AOM Practioners
(Source: National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)

Program Overview

Integrative Medicine

We believe in bringing together professionals from a broad range of medical specialties for the benefit of patients and the health care industry as a whole.

Comprehensive Training in Oriental Medicine

You'll learn oriental medical diagnosis, point location and needling, treatment strategies, Chinese herbal medicine, as well as rich exposure to oriental healing arts such as tuina, tai chi, qi gong, moxibustion, cupping, and more.

Solid Foundation in Western Science

Small screenshot of videoAt National University, eastern traditional medicine meets modern western science. Our oriental medicine students not only receive a thorough curriculum in their arts, but also learn fundamental biomedical science and modern medical diagnostics including coursework in radiology, pathology, physiology, microbiology and public health. Understanding both perspectives is fundamental to whole health healing and better patient-centered care. Students become more comprehensive diagnosticians, evaluating and recommending treatments based on each individual patient's history and symptoms. You will also be prepared for the business and practical realities of your professional career through our business program.

Outstanding Facilities

Our large integrative care clinic and extensive herbal dispensary ensures outstanding clinical training. The gross anatomy laboratory allows you to learn western anatomy and eastern meridian theory through hands-on dissection of a human cadaver. You will also have access to the Learning Resource Center, one of the region's largest health science libraries on campus and modern classrooms utilizing state-of-the-art technology such as interactive video, and SMART boards.


The Master of Science Degree in Acupuncture and the Master of Science Degree in Oriental Medicine of the National University of Health Sciences are accredited under the Master's Degree standards by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), 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.

This full accreditation assures that NUHS graduates are eligible to sit for the licensing examinations conducted by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).


Consider National University for its distinct advantages and be well-prepared for the career that awaits you.

Combining Eastern and Western Medicine

Small image of video playerAt National University, oriental medicine is reinforced with science and anatomy. Our unique curriculum allows students a one-of-a-kind experience in anatomy with full dissection of a human cadaver. The anatomy curriculum encourages the study of the relationship between acupuncture points and the human anatomy. In addition to hands-on dissection, NUHS offers The Anatomage Table, today's most technologically advanced digital visualization system for anatomy education.

Apprentice with Expert Faculty

Faculty at National University are international leaders in their field, committed to training students in the treatment methods and philosophies of traditional oriental medicine. That's why our program incorporates apprentice-style learning so that you can learn via direct transmission of knowledge and skills from our faculty masters. In addition, all full-time faculty in the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program hold PhDs with strong research backgrounds.

Intensive Clinical Training

Students in the Oriental Medicine program at National University will receive early clinical exposure with experienced clinicians. The large clinic setting affords students the opportunity to work within a diverse clinic setting and have access to a large herbal dispensary. Prior to graduation, students will also have the opportunity to take advantage of unique internship opportunities such as in the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic or John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.  

Collaborative Learning Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to treat patients collaboratively within an integrative clinic, working with DC and ND interns. The institutional focus at National University is on collaborative learning and encourages students to become colleagues rather than competitors.

Geographic Location

National University is conveniently located 15 miles from the city of Chicago and its diverse neighborhoods, including the bustling Chinatown area with its rich tradition of herbal medicine shops and practitioners. 

The Chicagoland area is also home to one of the largest health care communities in the country with over 120 hospitals and hundreds of area clinics.

Our Curriculum

The 167.5-credit hour program provides comprehensive training in the Five Branches of oriental medicine. The program covers the history, theory and philosophy of oriental medicine as well as rigorous training in diagnosis and treatment planning. Students will also graduate with a solid foundation in the basic sciences of western medicine, having developed skills necessary for integrative and collaborative practice in health care settings of their choosing. 

Full Immersion in Traditional Arts

You'll study the full range of traditional diagnostic techniques such as tongue and pulse analysis. You'll learn point location and correct needle techniques under seasoned practitioners. You'll go deeply into the philosophical basis of the medicine so that you can fully understand the causes of imbalance in your patients and how to treat them.

Grounding in Western Health Sciences

We integrate western medical science into our curriculum so that you can better meet your patients' needs. You will also be better prepared to co-manage cases with DCs, MDs, NDs and DOs, and take advantage of new career opportunities in integrative medical venues.

Intensive Clinical Learning

Clinical learning happens very early in the program with clinic observation beginning in the second trimester. This apprenticeship style of learning allows for ample opportunity to apply your clinical skills as you progress through the curriculum.

Herbal Dispensary

You'll work in our fully stocked Chinese herbal medicine dispensary learning herb identification, and to both prescribe and compound herbal formulas for patients.

Photo of herbal dispensary at NUHS

Distinctive Curriculum

View trimester-by-trimester courses, course descriptions, and the course schedule. Learn more »


Each student in our Master of Science in Oriental Medicine degree program serves a full year clinical internship. In addition to learning clinical applications of oriental medicine and proper documentation procedures, you will learn important personal and business skills you'll need to help build your own practice.

Your clinical experience can be completed at our on-campus Whole Health Center in Lombard, IL or at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

Other Program Opportunities

Dual Degrees

Students who earn their MSOM degree at National University have the option to earn a second degree (DC or ND) through dual enrollment. Course scheduling for a dual degree is made simpler because the MSOM and MSAc programs are offered in the evening and the DC and ND coursework is taught during the day. There is also similarity in some of the coursework across the programs allowing for a reduction in the total number of hours required to complete their second degree. Students are not eligible to begin dual enrollment until the third trimester of their initial or primary program of study.

Post Graduate Programs

After graduation, students may pursue a number of post-professional programs such as our masters and residency programs. Of course, there are also a wide variety of continuing education classes offered which allow graduates to maintain their professional licensure.