The Master of Science in Acupuncture degree program is three years in length (36 months) and is scheduled on a semester basis. The curriculum of this major consists of seven distinct areas:
1. Acupuncture Practice and Techniques
The nine acupuncture courses introduce students to the theoretical and practical information of acupuncture therapy. The student becomes proficient in the clinical applications of acupuncture, moxabustion, cupping, electrical stimulation, and bleeding techniques. The student learns to identify acupuncture points by anatomical location, palpation, and proportional measurement. The classification, function and indications for each acupuncture point are discussed and demonstrated. In addition to the twelve bilateral channels, two midline vessels and six other extra meridians, forbidden and contraindication of points are discussed. In addition, extra points, auricular points and other categories of acupuncture points are demonstrated and treatment techniques based upon these meridians and points are discussed and practiced.
2. Asian Medicine Theory and Diagnosis
The 12 Asian medicine theory and diagnosis courses are designed to provide the student with an understanding of the scope, philosophy, theory and conceptual framework of Asian medicine and how acupuncture specifically affects the body within theAsian medicine treatment paradigms. Emphasis is given to TCM diagnoses and effective treatment strategies.
3. Western Biomedicine
The 13 western biomedical courses are designed to train the student fully about western medical terms, history taking, physical exam and diagnostic skills. The student learns how to make the appropriate referral and consultation, as well as the clinical relevance of laboratory and diagnostic tests and procedures.
4. Herbal Medicine Survey
The four courses in herbal medicine and dietetics give the student a basic introduction to western and Chinese botanical medicine and TCM treatment philosophies relevant to herbal medicine and clinical diet therapies. Training in botanical medicine is limited in the Acupuncture Institute to three survey courses: Botanical Medicine, Patent Remedies and Introduction to Chinese Herbal Remedies. Information is provided on indications, contraindications and drug-herb interactions. In addition, the two courses in dietetics and nutrition help the student understand the role of nutrition in patients’ health. (Note that the course in western nutrition is listed under Western Biomedicine: ANT 521 Nutrition.)
5. Movement and Respiration Studies
The six movement and respiration courses are designed to enhance the student’s personal and energetic development. Students are exposed to a wide variety of Oriental movement practices that can be used to maintain their own and their patients’ health care needs. In addition, two courses in soft tissue treatment techniques are offered.
6. Counseling, communications and practice management
The two specific courses in this area enhance the students’ clinical skills, both in terms of addressing patients’ psychological health and in the area of best business practices. In addition, the two second year seminars, cross referenced in the “Oriental Theory, Diagnosis and Application” (ATD) section help students learn the fundamental skills needed for private practice including the ethical and legal considerations in health care and special considerations for practice within integrated care settings.
7. Clinical Services
The five clinical services courses are designed to allow the student to develop clinical, interpersonal communication and decision-making skills. In addition, students learn professional conduct, efficiency and confidence in dealing with patients on a regular basis. From inception through the end of clinical training, the student has the opportunity to observe and work with advanced TCM practitioners as well as other health care professionals. This allows the student to understand how and when to make appropriate referrals. Clinical internships are available in the UBAI on-campus clinic as well as in community and hospital outreach clinical sites. By the end of clinical training, each student will have seen a minimum of 380 patients visits and will have completed 830 hours of clinical training.
The acupuncture curriculum consists of an intensive 36-month (six semesters, 2,648 hours) program of lecture and clinical courses. Practitioners learn the fundamental energetic principles, physiologic concepts, theoretical foundations, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Treatment modalities include acupuncture, manual therapy (Tui Na), diet counseling, nutrition, and exercise and breathing therapy (Tai Qi Juan and Qi Gong). The clinical sciences incorporate Western anatomy, physiology and pathology and Western diagnostic interpretation. The combination of Eastern and Western philosophy and sciences is essential when working in conjunction with other health care providers.
During the first year of study, the practitioner gains philosophical background and biomedical knowledge that serves as preparation for clinical experience. The second year deepens the practitioner’s knowledge of Eastern and Western diagnostic skills and therapeutic modalities. During the third year, the curriculum is centered on hands-on learning in the student clinic where practitioners gain the clinical skills and experience necessary for state and national certification exams as well as entrance into private practice. Western biomedical classes are held during the day while classes devoted to Oriental medicine are held on selected evenings during the week and one weekend a month.
The newly renovated Health Sciences Center provides a state-of-the-art environment where interns of acupuncture are able to perform their clinical rounds. These interns work independently and collaboratively with chiropractic and naturopathic interns, sharing training and treatment strategies that are advantageous in developing an integrated treatment model.
The University of Bridgeport’s Magnus Wahlstrom Library supports student and faculty research in acupuncture and herbal medicine. The library houses more than 220,000 books and 50,700 bound periodical volumes and subscribes to approximately 440 continuations (i.e. book series). Alternative and Western medical database searching is available on computer terminals. The terminals access MANTIS, IBIS, Index to Chiropractic Literature, Alt-Health Watch, the Internet, LEXIS-NEXIS and MEDLINE (PubMed). One terminal accesses eighteen medical CD-ROMs. Books and journals are in the library’s Online Public Access Catalog. The library also provides a free interlibrary loan service for all students and faculty members. Resident halls are networked for individual computer hookups.
Class size for incoming full-time classes will be limited to a maximum of 35 students.