Your questions about OCOM may be more common than you think. However, if you can't find answers to your particular questions below, contact your Admissions team at 503-253-3443 x176.
What degree programs are offered at your school?
OCOM offers the following degrees*:
- Dual degree Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine/Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM/MACM);
- Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (MACM);
- Master of Acupuncture (MAc);
- A terminal Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM);
- *Degree completion track for Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM completion);
How do the programs differ and how long will it take to complete them?
Each program has specific timelines. The DACM and MACM are both 48-month, full-time programs. The MAc is a two-year-and-10-month, full-time program. Depending upon a student’s needs and applicable transfer credit, a revised academic plan may be arranged in collaboration with the academic dean to revise the time needed to complete their program.
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.
The DACM is the entry-level doctorate degree program. Students have two enrollment options: new student enrollment in the DACM/MACM or DACM Completion track after completing their master’s program. Please see the DACM Completion FAQ for more information.
How is the new DACM/MACM different and what are the changes?
The dual degree DACM/MACM is set upon the solid foundation of our current master's program with additional concentration in integrative health and collaborative care (in both didactic and clinical hours). It is will be a year-round program, four quarters per year – Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. The most significant changes to our current program are in qi cultivation and bodywork. The new program will require three quarters of each: qi cultivation and bodywork. There will be the option for continuing education in the form of electives. This change has made way for the mandatory coursework in the dual degree. There will be additional changes and updates as well to the curriculum, which are currently underway.
If I am completing my Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) now, how can I obtain the DACM degree?
OCOM students currently enrolled in our program will have the opportunity to apply for and enroll in the DACM degree completion program. OCOM graduates and master's-level students from other Chinese medicine schools may also have the opportunity to apply for the DACM completion. The DACM degree completion track will be a one-year program in a modular format.
What are the overall benefits of the MAc program?
The MAc is a stand-alone program offering a foundational degree that offers the full scope of Chinese medicine practice without the Chinese herbal medicine studies. You can complete this program in less than three years and for less overall tuition. It is a wonderful complementary degree for people who are already in the medical profession with an advanced degree (e.g. MD, DC, DO, ND and PT).
Can I complete the MAc program, begin working in Oregon, then do an herbal certificate to complete the full MACM program? Would I then get an additional degree?
It would be possible to enroll and complete the MAc program first. OCOM hopes to offer certificate programs in the future, but no immediate plans are in place.
Is it possible to enroll part-time for either the MAc or the dual degree program?
There are no part-time entry options to our programs as they are all full-time entry. Current student program plans may be modified on a case-by-case basis, by working with the academic deans.
I'm only interested in the MACM program. Can I enroll in just this program and then decide later to do the DACM or DAOM?
You may enroll in the MACM as a stand-alone program. After completion of this program, graduates then have the option to apply for the DACM Completion program or the DAOM terminal degree.
If I initially enroll in the MACM program and decide that I would like to add the entry-level doctorate degree (DACM) program, what do I need to do?
Students may request a change in their enrollment and program status. It will be important to note the specific timelines after initial enrollment, administrative processes, student fees, and changes to programmatic tuition associated with any program changes and change in program status.
Can I take a class without being enrolled as an OCOM 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 and elective 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?
Fluency in Chinese is not required; all courses at OCOM are taught in English. Occasionally, OCOM offers 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, 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 is scheduled at the end of the program just prior to receiving your master’s degree. Students 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 a Bozhou herb farm. Students who travel to China on this trip will see the experience looked upon highly by their patients. Students will need to seek information about available financial aid resources 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 trained in China and relocated to the United States. This includes our Chair of Acupuncture, Qi Cultivation and Bodywork, and the Chair of Chinese Medicine.
Is the MAc program nationally accredited?
Yes, this program is accredited. Note: The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) granted initial accreditation to OCOM's Master of Acupuncture (MAc) degree program, effective June 19, 2018. Accreditation status and notes may be viewed at: http://acaom.org/directorymenu/directory. ACAOM is 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; www.acaom.org
What is the benefit of enrolling in a program (DACM/MACM or DACM completion) that is not yet nationally accredited?
Enrollment in the DACM/MACM will be in a "nested" program which intertwines both coursework that is already recognized as accredited and course work which is in process towards self study and accreditation. Students will be enrolled in both programs and in EXACTLY the same classes for most of their coursework. Students will be conferred BOTH degrees upon graduation — we are allowed by our state authorizing agency to award the DACM degree even while it is not yet accredited. Given the timelines, we anticipate we will have completed an accreditation site visit and mandatory self study (within 2-3 years) to obtain accredited status before you could actually complete both programs (in four years). If you're wanting to pursue an MACM-only path to graduation, that can be done after initial dual enrollment in consultation with the program deans on the basis of specific criteria. That could include but not be limited to, the need for a change in enrollment status due to academic, personal, financial, or other needs. Learn more about the DACM completion track.
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 Discover OCOM admissions seminars. You will interact with 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:
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 (https://fafsa.ed.gov). Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA, you should also visit OCOM’s online Scholarships page, where opportunities are posted as they become available. Other national financial aid databases to explore:
The SmartStudent™ Guide to Financial Aid - http://www.finaid.org
Guide to online graduate programs - http://www.gograd.org/financial-aid/scholarships
Scholarships for first-year graduate students - http://www.fastweb.com/directory/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 career benefits will the MAc program offer?
You will have the full scope of Chinese medicine education with the exception of the herbal medicine studies. You can potentially obtain your licensure for practice sooner than if you enrolled and graduated from the four-year program. Advanced Standing students who already possess a professional medical license, may add acupuncture to their existing practice.
What are OCOM’s national board exam passing rates?
Our graduates maintain a consistent pass rate on NCCAOM exams well above the national average. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is “the only national organization that validates entry-level competency in the practice of acupuncture and Chinese medicine through professional certification.” Learn more about how OCOM graduates are thriving.
Is there job placement after I graduate?
Our online 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.
What are your application and admission requirements for the MAc and DACM/MACM degrees?
Candidates to the DACM/MACM, MACM, or MAc degree programs 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 that 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 have more than 1,000 hours of documented education in various massage therapy disciplines. Will these credits apply to the biology, chemistry, physics, 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, physics and psychology. The exception to this, of course, is completion of general human biology, chemistry, physics and psychology courses within your massage program (which must be accredited for consideration).
I don’t see 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.
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 to send 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 quarter start date (typically in early September).
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 our program formats.
Transfer Credits and Evaluations
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 Fall quarter. 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 repeats each quarter the student is enrolled.
For more information on VA benefits, visit the Veterans Affairs 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 our programs. 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 www.wes.org
- 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 www.ets.org/toefl
— International English Language Testing System (IELTS) result of Band Score of 6 (Competent User). Visit www.ielts.org
- 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 $59,888 for the first year of the MAc program, $59,824 for the first year of the MACM four-year program, and $61,758 for the DACM four-year degree program. Each year, the international student needs to show proof of funds for the continuing year before the beginning of each new school year.
- 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 www.ice.gov/sevis
How long will it take to receive my I-20?
Once admitted, OCOM’s 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 reside 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: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/study-exchange/student.html
Regulations for students and schools: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/schools/reg#2141
Links to SEVIS fact sheets: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/factsheets
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.