Your questions about OCOM may be more common than you think. However, if you can't find answers to your particular questions below, don't hesitate to contact our Admissions team at 503-253-3443 x175.

Curriculum | Student Life | Graduate Success | Prerequisites | Application Process | Enrollment Options | Transfers | Veterans | International Students


What degree programs are offered at your school?
OCOM offers two degree programs in acupuncture and Chinese medicine: a master’s degree (MAcOM) and a doctoral degree (DAOM). 

Can I take a class but not be enrolled as a master’s or doctoral student?
At this time, we do not have this opportunity available. If an individual would like to take OCOM’s courses, we encourage you to continue this path and enroll as a full-time student.

Do you offer certificates in massage, herbs, or nutrition?
Students who complete OCOM’s program are eligible to receive several certifications. The community health externship and coursework meet the requirements for a National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) certification. Students who complete all the required and elective coursework for qigong are eligible to pursue a certification to teach a qigong form. Completing the required coursework in either bodywork form — tuina or shiatsu — provides you with the opportunity to sit for state and national massage board exams. Licensure in bodywork is a great way to build your practice. OCOM is actively exploring and developing certificate opportunities for the future.

Is Chinese language required in the curriculum?
We do not require that you have fluency in Chinese as all courses at OCOM are taught in English. On occasion, OCOM will offer non-credit Chinese language courses to students, faculty, staff, and community.

Are any of OCOM’s classes chemistry or biology based?
As biology is the science of life or living matter in all its forms and phenomena, especially with reference to origin, growth, reproduction, structure, and behavior, naturally much of our coursework is based in biological theory. While chemistry concepts are not heavily focused upon in the master’s program, a foundational understanding of chemistry is required and especially useful when working with herbal combinations and formulas.

What anatomy/physiology book are you using?
Currently, there is no “required” textbook for the Anatomy and Physiology class. However, it is recommended to work from the text: Memmler’s Structure and Function of the Human Body, 11th edition.

Does OCOM offer study abroad in China as part of the program? If so, what does that look like?
The Clinical Study in China trip is a wonderful opportunity to work alongside Chinese doctors and see the medicine practiced in its cultural setting. The trip occurs at the end of the program just prior to receiving your master’s degree. Students will participate in graduation ceremonies, but then embark on the five-week journey to China with Nanjing as home base. OCOM has had a long-standing relationship with the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NUCM) as some of our faculty were once students there and/or taught classes there. Students will participate in 20 days of clinic and earn 6.25 credits, as well as an immersion experience at an Bozhou herb farm. Students who travel to China on this trip will see the experience looked upon highly by their patients. Financial aid can be used for this community health externship, if done at the end of the program. Graduates who elect to wait to go to China after becoming licensed can do so in any year as a two-week continuing education experience.

Do many of your faculty come from China?
Many of our core clinical and full-time faculty have done their training in China and relocated to the United States. This includes our Chairs of Acupuncture, Qi Cultivation and Bodywork as well as the Chair of Chinese Medicine.

How long is the doctoral program?
OCOM’s doctoral program is a part-time, two-year program presented in modules. Students complete 20 modules over the 24-month period. The Doctoral degree (DAOM) is an advanced degree, offering intensive research and clinical education opportunities, usually within specific areas of specialization, such as women’s health and aging adults. If these are areas of interest to you, you may be motivated to complete our doctoral program, though it is not required to progress past a master’s degree to gain licensure to practice Chinese medicine. OCOM offers the opportunity to complete the master’s and doctoral degrees in succession. The DAOM clinical doctorate is the highest form of education available in Chinese medicine in the United States. OCOM was the first school in the United States to develop a doctoral degree, which was first launched in 2003.

Does OCOM have an entry level doctorate degree?
OCOM is in the process of applying to ACAOM for approval to offer an entry-level professional doctorate degree in fall 2019. Learn more about the difference between a DACM and DAOM in this FAQ.


How do I set up a time to visit the school?
The best way to learn about what OCOM offers is through a personal visit! We also encourage you to join us for one of our frequent Admissions Seminars. You will interact with some of our faculty, administrators and current students while learning about our curriculum and admissions processes, and you’ll take a tour of our beautiful LEED certified facility. Contact the Office of Admissions to arrange your class visit.

Is it possible to sit-in on a class?
Yes. We can arrange for you to sit in one of our first-year lecture classes. Please contact us so we can help you arrange your class visit.

What is the average age and background of your students?
OCOM’s average student age is 31, often ranging from 22 to 72. The ratio of female to male students is typically 4:1. Our students come from diverse educational, professional, and geographic backgrounds.

Do you have on-campus housing options?
OCOM is a stand-alone commuter campus located in the heart of Portland’s Old Town Chinatown district, a half block away from the Willamette River waterfront. Local housing options are typically within walking/biking distance and are also served by the city’s bus and light rail lines. For more information about housing options:

College Housing Northwest -
Craigslist -
TriMet -

Does your school offer Financial Aid? Scholarships?
OCOM students may be eligible to apply for the Unsubsidized Stafford and Federal Direct Loan Program. Students must fill out a FAFSA ( Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA, you should also visit OCOM’s Scholarships webpage and sign up for scholarship alerts. Other national financial aid databases to explore:

The SmartStudent™ Guide to Financial Aid -
Guide to online graduate programs -
Scholarships for first-year graduate students -

What are the class schedules like during the week? Do students that have jobs thrive well with the program?
Class offerings are predominantly Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. While no exact statistics are kept on how many students work while in the program, we know that there are a number of students who do work, on and off campus. The consistent feedback we get from students is that working about 10-15 hours a week allows them to remain successful in the full-time program. But at the end of the day, know yourself and your capabilities. If you plan to work, our best advice is to find a flexible, part-time position that allows you to work evenings and/or on weekends.


What are OCOM’s national board exam passing rates?
Our graduates maintain a consistent 90 percent average pass rate on NCCAOM exams. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is “the only national organization that validates entry-level competency in the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) through professional certification” Learn more about how OCOM graduates are thriving.

Is there job placement after I graduate?
Our Professional Development Center (PDC) empowers students, graduates, and faculty members to find and integrate the resources needed to grow and maintain successful acupuncture and Chinese medicine careers.

Download information on "Graduate Success" rates of OCOM alumni. 


I have more than 1,000 hours of documented education in various massage therapy disciplines. Will these credits apply to the biology, chemistry and psychology prerequisites?
The prior education you received in massage therapy will prove as valuable preparation for the master’s degree program. A massage therapy background has proven to be a valuable foundation for Chinese medicine study and provides an opportunity to offer in-depth therapy for their existing patient base. You may receive transfer credit for some of the coursework you completed in massage therapy; however, it cannot take the place of our science prerequisites of general human biology, chemistry and psychology. The exception to this, of course, is completion of general human biology, chemistry and psychology courses within your massage program (which must be accredited for consideration).

What are your application and admission requirements for the master’s degree?
All candidates to the master’s degree program must meet the following application and admission requirements:

  • Must possess a minimum credit count of 135 quarter or 90 semester credits, at the 100 level or above, attained at an accredited college or university (equivalent to three years transferable to a baccalaureate degree).
  • Prerequisite courses: One general human biology, one general physics, one general chemistry, and one introductory psychology — with a “C” grade or above for each.
    One recent photograph (head shot);
  • Two personal essays;
  • Two references — one professional and one academic — from individuals who can comment on your ability to succeed in the master’s program and your potential as a health care provider;
  • Official transcripts from each post-secondary school or college previously attended (whether or not a degree was attained);
  • A non-refundable application fee of $75

The Admissions Committee will review applications only when all of the above materials have been received. An in-person, on-campus interview will be scheduled for qualified applicants (exceptions to this interview may be considered in extenuating circumstances). Admission decisions are confirmed within seven business days of the admission interview. Once accepted into the program, the student will be required to make a tuition deposit of $250 to secure a place in the entering class. This deposit is requested within seven business days of acceptance ($50 of this deposit is nonrefundable).

What if my prerequisites were taken more than 10 years ago?
OCOM will accept all prerequisites taken at any time so long as they satisfy credit, grade, and institution accreditation requirements.

Do you accept credits from a community college?
Credits from a community college will absolutely be accepted, as long as the college is accredited. If you are unsure of accreditation, contact OCOM's Admissions team.

Is there a GPA requirement?
We expect students to have shown exceptional academic promise. It is required that all applicants provide official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions. The three required prerequisite courses — general biology, general chemistry, and introduction to psychology — must have earned a “C” grade or above.

Do you accept credits from a massage school?
Most massage schools are not accredited as a degree-seeking program through the Department of Education so, generally, the answer is no. Accreditation through the field of massage is different. If a massage school is accredited through the Department of Education as part of a degree seeking program, the answer is yes, we will accept credits from that school. Contact the Office of Admissions if you have questions about a massage school you attended.


I can’t find an application on your website. How do I get it?
The application is not openly accessible. It is important that we first get to know a bit about you — your background and your passion for an integrative approach to medicine, and for us to identify you as a great candidate to pursue your degree at OCOM. We are pleased to speak with you via a phone appointment and/or Skype call so we may answer any and all questions you have before we provide link to your online application. Contact us!

What are the application deadlines?
The Early Application deadline is January 31. Applicants who complete their application by January 31 receive a waiver of the application fee. The Regular Application deadline is April 30. The application fee applies to all applications submitted after the Early Application deadline.

What are the advantages to applying early?
Often, scholarships have early deadlines. Qualified applicants with completed applications have the opportunity to receive their admission decision before January 31. Also, early applicants have the opportunity to participate in new student activities planned by the Office of Admissions.

Do you accept transfer credits?
Yes, we do accept transfer credits from other accredited Chinese medicine schools. The Assistant Dean of Master’s Studies completes a formal evaluation after receiving official transcripts and a $150 evaluation fee. For more information about the process, direct your question to the Admissions team at

OCOM also transfers individual classes that do not have to be from another Chinese medicine school. These classes are separate from your biology, chemistry and psychology prerequisite classes and do not require an evaluation fee. Such requests are made by incoming students as they register for classes in the summer. An example would be Anatomy and Physiology. Contact the Admissions team for more information on transfer credits

Do my letters of recommendation need to be mailed directly to OCOM (sealed/signed envelope?) or submitted in another format?
Within the application for admission we’ve included an evaluation form developed to assess how an applicant rates in several areas we value for success in our program. The individuals who the candidate selects to provide feedback to OCOM will complete this evaluation in lieu of actually authoring a letter of recommendation. The applicant must simply know their endorser’s email address in order to send off the evaluation form within the application. If an applicant already possesses typed or handwritten letters of recommendation, these can be presented to OCOM as an additional item for the application. These letters need not arrive in sealed envelopes like transcripts, but if they’re in a sealed envelope, it’s best to leave them as such. Additional questions about recommendations can be further explored with your Admissions Counselor.

Do you offer a flexible start for your programs?
Currently, OCOM only enrolls students for a fall (September) start date.

How are transcripts submitted?
Applicants can furnish official college transcripts to OCOM by USPS mail or by certified PDF (digital/electronic) through a national service offered to accredited colleges. If a transcript is in the possession of an applicant, it can still be presented to OCOM as an official transcript as long as it’s in the original sealed envelope from the college or university.

How long will it take to receive an admission decision?
After reviewing the application materials, the Admissions Committee will schedule each qualified applicant for a required on-campus interview. Admission decisions are confirmed within seven business days of the admission interview. Note: exceptions to on-campus interviews may be considered in extenuating circumstances.

Can I pay my deposit of $250 to hold my spot online?
Upon acceptance into the program, the student will be required to make a tuition deposit of $250 to secure a place in the entering class. This deposit is requested within seven business days of acceptance ($50 of this deposit is nonrefundable). Upon registration for Fall classes, the $250 deposit will be applied to your first-quarter tuition.


Do you have a track for already practicing practitioners (e.g. licensed health care providers such as NP, MD or PT)?
Yes! You may qualify for Advanced Standing status if you have advanced training, such as an NP or DC. Advanced Standing equates to an approximate 15 percent reduction in course load and programmatic tuition cost.

I need to work while going to school. Do you offer a part-time program?
At this time, OCOM does not offer a part-time option. Learn more about the master's program format.


Are there certain times of the year when you accept transfer students? Who should I contact to learn more about the transfer evaluation process?
Most often, transfer students will enter in the fall. The transfer evaluation sometimes dictates a mid-year entry (but this is rare). Contact the Director of Admissions at 503-253-3443 x171 about any transfer related questions. 
What is the cost to have transcripts evaluated? How long does it take?
The transfer evaluation process fee is $150. After receiving all required documentation, the process is completed in two weeks, on average. 
What documents are needed for a transfer evaluation and who completes it?
OCOM’s Assistant Dean of Master’s Studies will require the following documents to complete the evaluation:
  • Official transcripts of all colleges from which you are seeking transfer credit
  • Course descriptions for all courses for which you are seeking transfer credit
  • At the discretion of the evaluator, syllabi from specific courses for which you are seeking transfer credit
  • Proof of payment of $150 evaluation fee provided by OCOM’s Business Office
  • California Acupuncture Board (CAB) Transfer Credit Notification form (if you are transferring courses from a non-approved California school and requesting 100% transfer credits for approved courses).


I’m a veteran. Who at OCOM can I contact to talk about using veteran’s benefits to help finance my education?
Our Registrar is the contact person for veterans who have current benefits. Students eligible for Veterans Administration (VA) benefits will provide their Certificate of Eligibility form, which details their entitlement for benefits. The Registrar will then input the VA information into the government’s online VA ONCE system for verifying enrollment information.

Students with VA Vocational Rehabilitation benefits will provide the Registrar with the appropriate caseworker information and paperwork. The Registrar will submit spreadsheets and invoices (signed and dated by the student; including tuition, fees, books and supplies) to the caseworker for payment. This process occurs each quarter the student is enrolled.

For more information on VA benefits, visit their website.


Do you accept international students to your programs?
OCOM is approved by the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization to grant admission to full-time students. Students who are not educated in the United States must meet the same admissions requirements as U.S.-educated applicants and are encouraged to apply to our programs.

What are the application and admissions requirements?
OCOM welcomes international students to apply for admission to the Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) program. In addition to all the standard application information and documentation, international students must also meet and submit additional documentation requirements.

  • Official copies of all academic transcripts from secondary schools. International institutions’ transcripts must be submitted with the appropriate translation and equivalency analysis from a recognized agency such as World Education Services. Visit
  • English language competency is required of all students seeking admission to the program. This may be satisfied by:
    — Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet based test (iBT), scoring 61 or above, achieving a minimum speaking exam score of 26 and a minimum listening exam score of 22. Visit
    — International English Language Testing System (IELTS) result of Band Score of 6 (Competent User). Visit
  • Show sufficient financial resources to fund educational and living expenses with the following documentation:
    — Certificate of Finance
    — Official bank verification of funds (English translation) with Current Exchange rate
  • Minimum of $55,000 for the first year of the three-year program, or $38,000 for the first year of the four-year program. Each year, an international student needs to show proof of funds for the continuing year before the beginning of each new school year. After the first year of the four-year program, the minimum amount of funds needed changes to $51,000. This amount increases due to summer enrollment.
  • Additional $20,000 per year for each dependent (spouse, child)
  • Copy of passport (Front and back with signature of bearer) for all non-U.S. citizens
  • Copy of photo page of passport showing picture image, correct spelling of legal name and date of birth
  • Copy of visa for all non-U.S. citizens
    You may obtain more information about the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Visit

Download the Application Checklist for International Students

How long will it take to receive my I-20?
Once admitted, OCOM’s Office of the Registrar (our designated school official, or DSO) will work with you and ensure all documentation requirements are met. The DSO will then issue the I-20, sending it directly to your mailing address by international post. The student visa cannot be issued more than 120 days prior to the start date of the program (which is entered on the I-20 document).

Do you offer financial aid or scholarships?
International students are not eligible for U.S. Federal or state-funded aid programs. You may be eligible, however, to apply for private loans so long as the co-signer is a U.S. citizen.

I have a spouse and a child that I will be bringing into the U.S. with me. What do I need to do to get them visas?
SEVIS Policy: When you are accepted by the U.S. school you plan to attend, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. The U.S. school will provide you with a Form I-20 to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview. If your spouse and/or children intend to resi de with you in the United States while you study, they must obtain individual Form I-20s, but they do not pay the SEVIS fee. Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 fee.

Fee information:
Regulations for students and schools:
Links to SEVIS fact sheets:

I have a partner that will be living with me while I attend OCOM. Can my partner be issued an F-2 dependent visa?
Only legal dependents (e.g. spouse or child) may be issued an F-2 visa.

As an international student, am I allowed to work while going to your school?
OCOM only offers on-campus federal work-study positions available to students. International students are not eligible for such federal funding.

If you are seeking off-campus employment, there are specific rules and procedures for the F-1 visa that must be followed. Students must make an appointment with OCOM’s designated school official (DSO) to determine whether you are eligible for employment. In general, an international student must show adequate financing to cover all expenses — tuition, fees, books, supplies, and living expenses — before the F-1 is issued.

For additional information about OCOM and our master's and doctoral programs, contact the Admissions team or call directly: 503-253-3443 x175.