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TCM Practitioner

PCU College's Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner program is based on the traditional curriculum taught at Chinese TCM universities, but is condensed into a three-year program. Our unique holistic approach incorporates courses on Western medicine, as well as three supervised Clinical Placements in our on-site TCM clinic.

This program prepares students to write the British Columbia's provincial licensing examination and graduates will be eligible for membership in the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists (CTCMA) of BC.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

  • Applicants require a minimum of grade 12 education or mature student status
  • Valid CTCMA student license required (for students attending clinical placements).

Job Opportunities

  • Health Clinic
  • Healing Centre
  • Wellness Centre

PROGRAM COURSES

The program outline below is for British Columbia .

For students planning to be lincensed by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists (CTCMA) in BC, two (2) years of liberal arts and sciences (comprised of not less than 60 credits) in an accredited college or chartered/approved university acceptable to the CTCMA registration committee will be required to write the registration examinations. Please see the CTCMA website here for more information.


Quarter 1

Code Course Name Hours
  • O110 TCM Theory I

    • This course introduces the fundamental principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine including Yin-Yang theory, Five Elements Theory and an introduction to the basic life substances. Students will associate these theories with their historical backgrounds, philosophies and significance; and will use this knowledge as a foundation in all subsequent TCM courses.
  • O101 History of TCM

    • This course teaches and explains the origin and development of TCM, beginning over two thousand years ago, including the progress of medical science, and the history and development of Acupuncture and TCM in China and North America.
  • O120 TCM Theory II

    • Building on TCM Theory I, this course introduces students to the theories of Zang-Fu (TCM internal organs) and the basic life substances such as Essence, Qi, Blood and Body Fluids. This course enables students to understand how the human body works according to TCM principles. Students will be introduced to TCM etiology, pathogenesis, disease prevention and treatment principles. This course lays the fundamental knowledge of how diseases occur, how to render a treatment strategy based on TCM principles, and how to maintain wellness through TCM prevention methods.
  • W110 Anatomy

    • This course teaches the structure and arrangement of gross surface features with special attention to the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, nervous, and genitourinary systems.

Quarter 2

Code Course Name Hours
  • O130 TCM Diagnosis I

    • This course introduces the principles of Traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis. Students will learn important signs and symptoms utilized for TCM diagnosis and the importance of a holistic approach in TCM. The course will then focus on the four TCM diagnostic skills. It covers 'looking' skills, including tongue diagnosis; 'hearing' and 'smelling' skills; questioning skills for a whole range of patients. Pulse diagnosis is a key focus in this course. Students will learn about the normal pulse, as well as factors affecting pulse taking, types of pulses and their clinical significance. Other palpation skills will also be introduced.
  • A101 Meridians & Acupoints I

    • This course introduces the meridian theory and the acupuncture points. It covers the Qi flowing pattern, pathways of the main meridians and extra meridians, and acupoints on the 14 meridians. Specific therapeutic properties and special category groupings are introduced including methods of locating acupoints by proportional measurement, anatomical landmarks, and finger measurement. The ability to accurately locate acupuncture points is built up through lectures, demonstration and hands-on practice. The course includes detailed study of acupoints, including their locations, functions and indications in the Lung, Large Intestine, Stomach, and Spleen, Heart, Small Intestine, Gall Bladder, Kidney, and Pericardium meridians.
  • W120 Physiology

    • Building on the anatomical knowledge acquired in W110, students will study the functions and regulations of organ systems in this course. Specific attention will be placed on the respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. The physiology of exercise and energy metabolism will also be discussed.
  • R420 Qi Gong & Tai Ji Quan

    • This course is an introduction to the Chinese philosophical theory of Qi as expressed in the patterns of movement of Tai Chi, exercises and breathing techniques of Qi Gong. Students will learn to a full set of Tai Chi exercise as well as Qi Gong exercises for maintaining general health.
  • R400 Chinese Pin Yin

    • Students learn Chinese Pinyin (a system of Romanized spelling for transliterating Chinese), pronunciation of Chinese syllables and recognition of simple Chinese characters are included in this course. This understanding is essential when studying the names of acupoints and herbs.

Quarter 3

Code Course Name Hours
  • O210 TCM Diagnosis II

    • In this course, students will learn about pattern identification and syndrome differentiation based on signs and symptoms collected from the diagnostic techniques learned in the previous course. Students will learn the identification of patterns according to the pathogenic factors, Eight Principles, Zang Fu Organs, Three Burners, Meridians, and the Six Stage Principles. Students will learn skills to differentiate patterns of diseases that are similar to each other by comparing syndrome characteristics.
  • A110 Meridians & Acupoints II

    • This course includes the detailed study of locating acupoints on the Bladder and Du channels, by palpating the spinal processes, as well as the acupoints on the Triple Burner, Liver and Ren channels. It also covers the pathways of the eight extra channels and extraordinary points as well. Students will be provided with a detailed understanding of the acupoints that require special precautions.
  • W130 Medical Microbiology

    • This course is designed to introduce the pathogenic microorganisms that cause disease. Methods of infection prevention such as vaccination, sterilization and disinfection will also be introduced. Bacteriology and virology are topics covered in this course.
  • W210 Biochemistry

    • This course will examine the basic principles of biochemistry. Fundamentals of organic and cellular chemistry will be presented, focusing on chemical interactions within living cells that form the foundation of all life processes. Students will become familiar with structures, functions, and properties of various molecules important in the daily mechanism of the human body. These principles are important for understanding common health problems.

Quarter 4

Code Course Name Hours
  • H101 Herbology I

    • This course, first in a series of four, introduces students to the field of Chinese herbal medicine. Topics discussed include herbal classification, processing, storage, names, tastes, properties, channel specification, actions, indications, toxicity, and contraindications. The later part of the course will focus on the detailed study of herbs indicated for dispersing, clearing heat, and purging. Raw herb recognition is included as part of the study.
  • H210 Herbology II

    • This course focuses on the herbs indicated for eliminating dampness, internal warming, regulating Qi, promoting digestion, and eliminating parasites. Single herb functions and indications will be studied in detail in this course. Raw herb recognition is included as part of the study.
  • A230 Acupuncture Therapy I

    • This is first course detailing treatment of disease using acupuncture. The course begins the detailed study of the principles of acupuncture point prescription and treatment methods. Students will analyze and differentiate pathological conditions particular to the internal organs of the body and establish a diagnosis and treatment plan. The general principles of acupuncture treatment, composition of acupoint prescriptions, and theories for combining acupoints, are introduced in this course. The course will also cover infectious diseases, such as TB and Malaria; geriatric conditions such as senile dementia; and addictions such as smoking withdrawal syndrome.
  • A210 Acupuncture Technique

    • This course covers various needling techniques including sterilization, needling methods, manipulation, reinforcing and reducing, and needle withdrawal. Needling angles and insertion depth will be studied in detail. Therapeutic methods such as moxibustion, cupping, scalp and ear acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, and magnet therapy will be included. At the end of the course, students will be competent in the skills required to apply acupuncture therapy.
  • A340 Acupuncture Tuina

    • This course introduces the Chinese method of therapeutic massage, which deals with Yin, Yang, Qi, Blood and the internal organs. This course covers the basic principles of Tuina and highlights the functions, indications and contraindications of specific manipulation techniques. Students will also learn how to create Tuina treatment plans for patients.

Quarter 5

Code Course Name Hours
  • H220 Herbology III

    • This course provides a detailed study of the herbs indicated for stopping bleeding, promoting blood circulation, dissolving phlegm, tranquilizing, calming internal wind, and opening the gate. Raw herb recognition is included as part of the study
  • H230 Herbology IV

    • This course includes a detailed study of the herbs indicated for tonifying, astringing, and external usage. Raw herb recognition is included as part of the study. Students will learn how to distinguish herbs with similar appearances. Herbology I, II, III, and IV together provide a detailed survey of herbs commonly used in the TCM profession.
  • C201 Introduction to Clinical Practice

    • Students observe the operations of the TCM clinic. They will start by learning how to maintain a clear medical record for a patient, observing how senior interns or clinical supervisors conduct TCM interview, make diagnosis and determine appropriate treatment. Students will only observe the diagnosis or treatment to patients during this time.
  • C210 Clinical Observation

    • This course is the continuation of C201. Emphasis will be placed on the procedures used during a new patient visit. Students will begin practicing their communication and patient care skills in a real setting.
  • A240 Acupressure Therapy II

    • This course is a continuation of A230. In this course, students will study the treatment of common disease using acupuncture. This course will cover digestive disorders such as vomiting, hiccups, stomachache, and diarrhea; cardio-pulmonary diseases such as hypochondriac region pain, chest blockage with pain and palpitation; neurological diseases such as facial paralysis, facial pain, and windstroke; and psychiatric diseases such as insomnia, melancholia, depressive madness, epilepsy; urinary diseases such as urine retention; and reproductive disorders such as seminal emission and impotence.
  • C220 Clinical Patient Evaluation

    • Students will discuss and record patient history and vital signs, and will begin making supervised diagnoses as a group. They are also required to make a tentative diagnosis that is then verified by a clinical supervisor. Emphasis will be put on collecting relevant information by using the four TCM examination skills and on differentiating syndromes based on TCM theories.
  • O310 Introduction to TCM Classics

    • This course introduces the theories of different school of thoughts in TCM. Students will associate these theories with their historical background and philosophies. Students will be provided with basic knowledge of the Four Major TCM Classics, including Huangdi Neijing, Shanghan Lun, Jingui Yaolue and the Study on Warm Disease. The covered texts have provided a solid theoretical foundation for TCM and guided the development of TCM practice over the last two thousand years.

Quarter 6

Code Course Name Hours
  • A310 Acupuncture Therapy III

    • This is the third course in the series covering the treatment of disease using acupuncture. This course will cover gynecological disorders such as retention of placenta, prolapse of the uterus, and insufficient lactation; pediatric disorders such as acute infantile convulsion, mumps, and infantile malnutrition; dermatological disorders such as acne, acute furuncle, and scrofula; musculo-skeletal diseases such as shoulder pain, sciatica, and lower back pain; and diseases of the eyes ears, nose and throat such as optic atrophy, strabismus, color blindness, sudden deafness, sore throat, toothache.
  • A220 Clean Needling Technique & Safety Course

    • Students will learn how to maintain a clean and safe clinical practice for TCM & acupuncture. Special attention will be paid to acupoints that are close to internal organs, arteries, nerves and brain. Special emphasis will also be given on toxic herbs. Clean Needle Technique and procedures will also be covered. Students will learn how to prevent and handle possible accidents during acupuncture treatments. Students will also learn how to recognize emergency situations in clinical settings and how to provide appropriate referrals to other healthcare professionals for proper continuation care.
  • W220 Pathology

    • Pathology involves the study of the nature and mechanisms of disease. This course teaches students the basic concepts of pathology dealing with abnormal cellular changes, response, injury, acute and chronic inflammation, neoplasm and a systemic review of pathology in neurological and endocrine and other systems.
  • C310 Clinical Supervised Practice I

    • Interns will continue discuss and record patient history, but will also make supervised diagnoses, and recommend treatment plans. They will perform acupressure treatments as a group under the supervision of a clinical instructor. Emphasis will be on improving acupoint location accuracy, acupressure techniques and Tuina/Anmo manipulation skills while applying the knowledge acquired throughout the program to different disorders presented in the clinic.
  • A345 Advanced Acupressure Tuina

    • This is a continuation of A340 and focuses on methods of applying the manipulation techniques, learned in the previous course, to correct or treat clinical disorders. It focuses on the practical aspect of the Tuina skill set. Students will also practice making a correct diagnosis and creating Tuina treatment plans for patients.

Quarter 7

Code Course Name Hours
  • W320 Western Medical Diagnosis

    • Students will examine the methods of physical diagnosis in western medicine. Emphasis is placed on history taking, and physical examination based on the system approach. Students will develop their skills in diagnostic procedures and functional tests of various body systems that can be used hand in hand with TCM diagnostic skills. This course will also cover differential diagnosis of common and critical symptoms and signs.
  • A320 Acupuncture Case Studies I

    • Students will have an opportunity to discuss cases and also review difficult, interesting, and unusual cases in acupuncture. Emphasis will be on improving proficiency in creating acupuncture prescriptions.
  • W215 Pharmacology

    • This course provides basic knowledge of Western medical drugs. Students will study the mechanisms of action, absorption, excretion and toxicity of specific drugs. It is a comprehensive study of therapeutic approaches and drugs used in the treatment of diseases in western medicine.
  • C310 Clinical Supervised Practice II

    • Interns will continue discuss and record patient history, but will also make supervised diagnoses, and recommend treatment plans. They will perform acupressure treatments as a group under the supervision of a clinical instructor. Emphasis will be on improving acupoint location accuracy, acupressure techniques and Tuina/Anmo manipulation skills while applying the knowledge acquired throughout the program to different disorders presented in the clinic.
  • P440 TCM Orthopedics & Traumatology

    • SThis course will study the TCM principles and treatment methods in conditions related to the structure of the human body and related traumatic injury. It will also cover physical examination procedures, different diagnoses and treatment protocols. It also covers the special physical examination of the vertebrae, hip joints and lower extremities.

Quarter 8

Code Course Name Hours
  • A335 Advanced Acupuncture Studies

    • In this course, students will study advanced techniques in acupuncture. This course includes ancient and modern specialized acupuncture and moxibustion techniques developed by famous acupuncture doctors. Lessons will include topics such as Ziwu Liuzhu acupuncture therapy, the Eight Methods of the Mystic Turtle, and acupuncture of the hand, foot, wrist, ankle, ear, and nose.
  • A350 Acupoint Locations

    • This course covers 14 main meridians with 3-4 major acupoints. It provides details on how to identify body surface landmarks and introduces techniques used to measure and accurately locate acupoints on a live model.
  • O410 Patient Counseling & Communication Skills

    • Students will explore methods to enable caring interaction and effective communication with their patients. During this course, students will be introduced to the difference between therapeutic dialogue and everyday communication, the significance of nonverbal communication, and how to maintain an empathetic yet objective approach when communicating with patients. The patient and healthcare professional relationship will be examined.
  • A330 Acupuncture Case Studies II

    • Students will continue to study interesting and difficult cases in acupuncture. Emphasis will be on improving students' capability to prescribe acupuncture treatments, both proficiently and independently, for a wide variety of conditions in a full spectrum of patients.
  • C310 Clinical Supervised Practice III

    • Interns will continue discuss and record patient history, but will also make supervised diagnoses, and recommend treatment plans. They will perform acupressure treatments as a group under the supervision of a clinical instructor. Emphasis will be on improving acupoint location accuracy, acupressure techniques and Tuina/Anmo manipulation skills while applying the knowledge acquired throughout the program to different disorders presented in the clinic.

Quarter 9

Code Course Name Hours
  • A360 Acupuncture Summary I

    • This course summarizes previous topics studied during the program, emphasizing acupuncture treatment utilizing the diagnostic and TCM foundation skills learned. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to analyze and differentiate between syndromes, establish a diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, and compose an acupoint prescription. This course will improve acupuncture treatment.
  • A370 Acupuncture Summary II

    • This course summarizes various needling techniques. An emphasis is made on safety procedures, acupoint location, needling angles, insertion depth, needling method, and manipulation techniques. This course will improve point location and clinical skills.
  • R410 Shi Lao - Chinese Medicated Diet

    • Great ancient Chinese physicians understood the profound influence of diet on a person's well being. During this course students will examine a large number of common agricultural food products according to their TCM categorizations and the roles they play in health. As with medical herbs, food is classified by its nature, property, taste, indication and contraindication allowing it to be applied to the treatment of disease and the maintenance of health. PR: H230
  • C310 Clinical Supervised Practice IV

    • Interns will continue discuss and record patient history, but will also make supervised diagnoses, and recommend treatment plans. They will perform acupressure treatments as a group under the supervision of a clinical instructor. Emphasis will be on improving acupoint location accuracy, acupressure techniques and Tuina/Anmo manipulation skills while applying the knowledge acquired throughout the program to different disorders presented in the clinic.
  • O450 Practice Management & Ethics

    • This course is a practical guide to business planning, advertising, insurance billing and business ethics. Medical legal issues will be studied with a view towards legal responsibilities and obligations to patients and other health care providers. This course introduces the students to patient record-keeping, informed consent, confidentiality and privacy issues, standards of practice, and code of ethics as health care professionals.
  • O401 Symptom Differentiation

    • This course covers the most common symptoms encountered during TCM practice. It introduces the thinking pattern of how to recognize a group of similar symptoms and identify their differences. After completing this course, students will able to make a correct TCM diagnosis with the knowledge that they have been taught.

Quarter 10

Code Course Name Hours
  • H240 Herbal Formula I

    • Building upon the knowledge of individual herbs, this course begins the in-depth study of herb combination and common formulas used in treating disease. This course covers techniques used for combining herbs, principles of herbal treatment, types of formulations, methods of decoction preparation, and the basic composition of herbal formulas. General principles for modifying formulas are also included. Students then begin their study of classic and famous formulas for relieving superficial syndromes, purging, and harmonizing.
  • H310 Herbal Formula II

    • This course is a continuation of H240. Students continue to study classic and famous herbal formulas. The formulas studied in this course are indicated for clearing heat, warming the interior, and tonifying.
  • H320 Herbal Formula III

    • This course is a continuation of H310. Students continue to study classic and famous herbal formulas. The formulas studied in this course are indicated for tranquilizing, astringing, regulating qi, and regulating blood.
  • H330 Herbal Formula IV

    • This course is a continuation of H320. Students continue to study classic and famous herbal formulas. The formulas studied in this course are indicated for expelling wind, moistening dryness, eliminating phlegm, improving digestion, expelling parasites, and healing abscess. Herbal Formula I, II, III, and IV together provide a detailed survey of herbal formulas commonly used in the TCM profession.
  • C410 Clinical Proximal Supervised Practice I

    • Interns will begin to evaluate and treat patients under proximal supervision of the clinic supervisor. Interns will be trained to independently manage a complete patient visit. Interns are required to consult with a clinical supervisor when faced with a difficult case. Emphasis will continue to be on prescribing herbal medicine with high proficiency and independence.

Quarter 11

Code Course Name Hours
  • P301 TCM Internal Medicine I

    • This is the first in a series of advanced courses focusing on the etiology, pathology, differentiation and treatment of individual internal disorders. Treatment approaches will be focused on selecting Chinese herbal formulas and modifications according to clinical manifestations as well as determining acupuncture point prescriptions and proper techniques. Diseases covered include common cold, cough, lung abscess, wheezing and asthma, watery phlegm and sputum, spontaneous sweating, night sweating, bleeding diseases, palpitation, chest Bi syndrome, and insomnia.
  • P310 TCM Internal Medicine II

    • In this course, students will continue to study the etiology, pathology, differentiation, and treatment of individual internal disorders. Diseases studied will include reversal patterns, Qi stagnation disorders, mania, epilepsy, stomachache, dysphagia, occlusion syndrome, vomiting, hiccups, belching, diarrhea, and dysentery.
  • P320 TCM Internal Medicine III

    • In this course, students will continue to study the etiology, pathology, differentiation, and treatment of individual internal disorders. Diseases studied will include abdominal pain, constipation, hypochondriac pain, jaundice, abdominal mass, drum-like distension, headache, dizziness and vertigo, stroke, convulsive disease, and edema.
  • P401 TCM Internal Medicine IV

    • In this course, students will continue to study the etiology, pathology, differentiation, and treatment of individual internal disorders. Diseases studied will include stranguria, difficult urination, urinary retention, lower back pain, diabetes-like condition, Bi syndrome, atrophy syndrome, fever caused by internal exhaustion, and deficient fatigue. TCM Internal Medicine I, II, III, and IV will cover all internal disorders commonly seen in the TCM profession.
  • C410 Clinical Proximal Supervised Practice II

    • Interns will begin to evaluate and treat patients under proximal supervision of the clinic supervisor. Interns will be trained to independently manage a complete patient visit. Interns are required to consult with a clinical supervisor when faced with a difficult case. Emphasis will continue to be on prescribing herbal medicine with high proficiency and independence.
  • P450 TCM Dermatology and External Diseases

    • This course covers both skin & external diseases. It focuses on the analysis and differentiation of pathological conditions involving the skin, including urticaria, erysipelas, boils, skin abscesses, furuncles and carbuncles. Treatment approaches discussed during this course will focus on selecting Chinese herbal formulas and modifications according to clinical manifestations.

Quarter 12

Code Course Name Hours
  • H410 Herbal Case Studies I

    • In this course, students discuss a wide variety of cases presented in clinical practice and examine treatments for complicated cases using herbal formula. Focus will be on selecting suitable formulas and analyzing the rationale for using each herbal prescription presented. Formula modification, dosage, method of administration, and duration of treatment will also be discussed. This course will help to improve students' confidence and proficiency in prescribing herbal medicine in their clinical practice.
  • H420 Herbal Case Studies II

    • This course builds on the knowledge from H410. In this course, students will focus on selecting formulas and presenting rationale for prescribing herbal treatment for a wide variety of conditions in a full spectrum of patients. Emphasis will be placed increasing the students’ capability to decide upon prescriptions independently and proficiently.
  • P430 TCM Pediatrics

    • This course focuses on the analysis and differentiation of pathological conditions that commonly affect infants and children. This course also studies the prevention and treatment of childhood disease. Treatment  approaches discussed during this course will focus on selecting appropriate Chinese herbal formulas.
  • P410 TCM Gynecology & Obstetrics

    • During this course, students will analyze and differentiate pathological conditions that are specific to women. Diagnosis and treatment approaches are covered. Treatment approaches will focus on selecting Chinese herbal formulas and modifications according to clinical manifestations as well as  determining acupuncture point selections and proper needling technique. The pathological conditions studied will be related to the menstrual cycle,  pregnancy, and the female reproductive system.
  • O301 TCM Regulations & Safety

    • This course will cover the governance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in British Colombia and Canada. It is our goal that you understand the roles of the governing bodies and the professional expectations for the field of TCM to maintain a high standard of clinical practice. In part, TCM is regulated by three broad measures: the Health Professions Act, the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists Regulation and the CTCMA Bylaws (For British Colombia). We will spend some time to review these laws and practice guidelines in order to understand our professional responsibilities in greater detail. The subject material for this program will include but is not limited to: legal and professional definitions, scope of TCM practice, ethics, practice standards, professional patient relationships, how to prepare a plan of care, cultural competence, case management, legal and professional responsibilities, maintaining patient records, making patient referrals, and management of clinical incidents of both physical and emotional natures.
  • C410 Clinical Proximal Supervised Practice III

    • Interns will begin to evaluate and treat patients under proximal supervision of the clinic supervisor. Interns will be trained to independently manage a complete patient visit. Interns are required to consult with a clinical supervisor when faced with a difficult case. Emphasis will continue to be on prescribing herbal medicine with high proficiency and independence.