The Doctoral Program

Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM)

Clinically focused program leading to a clinical doctorate degree. Graduates are naturally positioned as leaders in the AOM field.


The Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program is a clinically focused postgraduate degree program leading to a clinical doctorate degree. Graduates are naturally positioned as leaders in the AOM field, whether as specialized practitioners skilled in the treatment of chronic and complex conditions, clinical researchers, or teachers of future generations of practitioners.

Our doctoral studies program is designed for practitioners to complete the degree while maintaining their practice — advancing their knowledge and skills in the clinical domain, as well as in biomedicine, research literacy and teaching skills. Doctoral students cultivate habits of lifelong learning and scholarship, and self-directed inquiry is strongly and continuously emphasized.

Specialization in women’s health and aging adults, increased interaction with Western biomedical practitioners, a strong emphasis on clinical judgment skills, and the use of research findings to inform clinical decision making are key areas that distinguish the doctoral degree program from OCOM’s master’s program.

 Program Competencies

OCOM has defined five general competencies to be mastered over the course of the DAOM program. The details and emphases within each of these competencies may vary by course, specialty discipline, and stage of professional development. Mastery is determined through a variety of assessment methods.

Graduates of the DAOM program will be able to:

  • Integrate advanced Chinese medical and Western biomedical concepts and clinical skills, and apply this integrated perspective to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and long-term management of a range of complex, chronic conditions;
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of advanced concepts in clinical biomedicine, and communicate these concepts clearly and effectively when collaborating on patient care with other health care providers;
  • Effectively apply clinical specialization skills and knowledge to the domain of patient care;
  • Identify, analyze and critically evaluate AOM-relevant research information from a wide range of sources, and apply that information appropriately in clinical settings;
  • Demonstrate the potential to make significant scholarly contributions to the profession.


The program is designed around a series of 20 intensive teaching modules, which take place every 4-5 weeks, over a period of approximately 24 months. Each teaching module is four days, occurring over weekends (Friday through Monday)*. Every module includes both didactic (classroom) content and clinical work, which includes supervised treatment of patients in the doctoral clinic. Between modules, students complete homework and independent study assignments, regular reading assignments, work on clinical case studies, preparing responses to case-based problems, reviewing literature and creating case reports as well as maintaining regular online communication with classmates and faculty.
*Three modules in the first year are five days in length.

The doctoral program is 1,221 hours in length (48.6 credits), including 551 didactic hours and 670 clinical hours.

 Curriculum/Clinical Education

The DAOM program curriculum includes two specializations – Women’s Health and Aging Adults. Women’s Health covers gynecology and internal medicine conditions common in women. Aging Adults covers specific geriatric topics as well as internal medicine conditions that are common in the aging adult. Students will cover one year on each specialization in the program.

At each module, there are lectures in AOM and biomedicine, as well as clinical courses including a clinic theater with patients, discussions of cases from students’ practices, and student presentations on topics of their choosing. At selected modules, lectures in research, the classics, teaching skills and assessment skills are given. A full-day supervised clinic internship also takes place each module.

Students will also complete written case reports for patients treated in their private practice, as well as a project to support the integration of their practice with the larger health care community. Three 60-hour Clinical Selectives — most commonly externships, but also including choices of special clinical studies, supervision skills development or writing skills development — are completed. Finally, all students will complete a Capstone Research Project on a clinically relevant topic.

Refer to OCOM's academic catalog for a detailed look at the DAOM curriculum, academic policies, and module topics:

Academic Catalog | Academic Calendar


The doctoral curriculum includes a research course, and a Research Grand Rounds seminar series featuring nationally known complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) researchers who discuss state-of-the art studies and discoveries relevant to Chinese medicine. Students in the clinical doctorate program are required to complete a capstone project, either a completed research study, a research study proposal, or a scholarly paper.

Learn more about the OCOM Research Department.
Learn more about the DAOM Faculty.