Programme Specification Title of Course: bsc (Honours) in Acupuncture Date Specification Produced: March 2013 Date Specification Last Revised: April 2016

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Programme Specification

Title of Course: BSc (Honours) in Acupuncture

Date Specification Produced: March 2013

Date Specification Last Revised: April 2016

This Programme Specification is designed for prospective students, current students, academic staff and potential employers. It provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the intended learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the teaching, learning and assessment methods, learning outcomes and content of each module can be found in Student Handbooks and Module Descriptors.



BSc (Honours) Acupuncture

Awarding Institution:

Kingston University

Teaching Institution:

College of Integrated Chinese Medicine


College of Integrated Chinese Medicine, Reading

Programme Accredited by:

British Acupuncture Accreditation Board


  1. Programme Introduction

Acupuncture is a multidisciplinary practice, requiring technical expertise in Chinese medicine and its relationship with conventional medicine, human anatomy and pathophysiology, and a comprehensive appreciation of the ethical and empathetic treatment of clients. The majority of acupuncturists work in independent practice, requiring business planning and management skills.

The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine provides a vibrant academic and practice community in which students study in both classroom and clinic in close contact with highly experienced teacher-clinicians and peers. Cross-level student interaction and peer observation provide an engaging learning environment and associated opportunities for skills development.

This programme has a strong reputation for academic excellence, intellectual rigour, balance and high standards of professional practice and expertise. It is designed to ensure that students gain a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the ancient and modern theories of Chinese Medicine and the practice of Acupuncture, providing extensive opportunities to develop practical expertise, and to equip graduates with the professional and business skills and confidence to set up in independent practice as professional acupuncturists. Graduates are also eligible to become members of the British Acupuncture Council. Furthermore, graduates will also have attained the key and transferable skills such as communication, independence, time and task management, qualitative and quantitative research skills, and ICT literacy that are essential for graduates to pursue their careers or post-graduate studies.

Teaching is conducted in small groups by expert and enthusiastic staff, providing an interactive, supportive and informal environment in which to learn. Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, investigative work and the use of online and dvd resources.
The College is housed in two attractive Grade II listed buildings in central Reading with its own dedicated Teaching clinic, well-equipped classrooms with multimedia facilities, a library and IT centre, and student refreshment and common rooms.
The programme is designed to link the academic knowledge bases with the practical applications of Chinese Medicine, particularly in relation to diagnostic and treatment methods. It is the only programme in the U.K. where the two main strands of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Five Element and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are integrated in theory and practice and studied to undergraduate level.

Six themes are identified as integrative vertical pathways through the programme. These are Chinese Medicine, Research and Reflective Practice, Conventional Medical Sciences Point Location, Professional Practice and Skills and Techniques. These six themes are divided into integrated modules.

The programme is planned to allow students to gain the essential underpinning core theories of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture from Level 4 by providing a curriculum that introduces the fundamental foundations in Chinese medical and practice principles. This prepares students for increased breadth and depth of study and practice at Level 5 and to then further develop this knowledge and understanding into applied areas in directly and indirectly supervised clinical practice with patients at Level 6.
Students are also kept aware of the latest developments in Acupuncture, including research, and teaching is supported by seminars on research developments. In the final year, students will conduct an original piece of independent research in a topic of their choice related to Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture. All modules are core modules.
It is anticipated that students will be attracted to the course from a variety of backgrounds and with a diversity of relevant experience. Some students will hold degrees or professional qualifications in a variety of fields including the biomedical sciences, but also in other sciences, the arts and languages. For many it provides an opportunity for a rewarding and successful second career.

The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine was established in 1992 and currently has the largest number of students studying acupuncture in the U.K. The current Licentiate Course in Acupuncture taught by the College, and accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB), was first validated as a BSc (Hons) Acupuncture by Kingston University in 2003, which was renewed in 2008. In 2009 it was re-accredited for the maximum period of six years by the BAAB.

  1. Aims of the Programme

The main aims of the BSc (Honours) Acupuncture are to:

  • Enable students to achieve the learning outcomes required to fulfil the professional knowledge, activities and attributes of an acupuncturist as outlined in the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) Standards of Education and Training for Acupuncture (2011) and provide the honours degree level education necessary to obtain a BSc Honours Degree in Acupuncture together with the acquisition of graduate skills.

  • Provide the students with opportunities to gain the comprehensive knowledge and skills to equip them for a potential career in the practice of acupuncture.

  • Promote and enhance the students’ competence and commitment in applying integrated clinical skills to the science and artistry of the practice of acupuncture.

  • Develop students’ abilities in independent study, research, critical thinking and reflective practice, promoting an ethos of life-long learning and continuing professional development.

  • Facilitate personal and professional development including the transferable, communications and interpersonal skills necessary for autonomous and independent practice.

  1. Intended Learning Outcomes

The programme learning outcomes comply with the educational outcomes detailed in the BAcC Standards of Education and Training for Acupuncture 2011 (SETA) required to meet the entry standards necessary for professional membership of the BAcC. They provide opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Programme Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding
On completion of the course students will have knowledge and understanding of:

Intellectual skills – able to:
On completion of the course students will be able to:

Subject Practical skills
On completion of the course students will be able to:


  • Underlying philosophy and practice of Chinese Medicine incorporating the integration of Yin/Yang and Five Element Theory.


  • Demonstrate and apply the skills necessary for academic enquiry, study and scholarship.


  • Undertake skilled, competent and safe acupuncture practice, provide and sustain high standards of acupuncture care which meets the physical and psycho- emotional needs of the patient.


  • Conventional anatomical, physiological, pathological and biomedical principles related to human health and disease.


  • Critically analyse and evaluate relevant literature and research to inform the practice of acupuncture.


  • Offer sensitive, effective and ethical interaction and communication with patients, colleagues and other healthcare professionals.


  • Theoretical, ethical and cultural basis of scientific research, clinical audit and evaluation of professional practice.



  • Diagnose and treat, in terms of Chinese medical patterns of disharmony and the Five Element constitutional imbalance, utilising the four diagnostic methods of seeing, hearing, asking and feeling, together with appropriate palpatory skills.


  • Ethical and legal issues and responsibilities relating to the practice of acupuncture and the safety of the public.


  • Utilise complex problem-solving skills in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.


  • Provide relevant and appropriate advice to patients on aspects of treatment

to enable informed choices to be made.


  • Act confidently in autonomous and independent practice, recognising the limits to competence and initiate referral to other health-care practitioners where appropriate.


  • Reflect upon clinical practice and utilise professional support or supervisory processes and participate in continuing professional development.


  • Develop skills in clinical audit and research to set, measure and compare standards and modes of practice.


  • Develop skills in marketing, business and practice building.

Key Skills

Self-Awareness Skills

Communication Skills

Interpersonal Skills


  • Take responsibility for own learning and plan for and record own personal development


  • Express ideas clearly and unambiguously in writing and the spoken word (including CV writing)


  • Work effectively with others in a group or team


  • Recognise own academic strengths and weaknesses, reflect on performance and progress and respond to feedback


  • Present, challenge and defend ideas effectively


  • Discuss and debate with others to reach agreement


  • Organise self effectively, agreeing and setting realistic targets, accessing support where appropriate and managing time to achieve targets


  • Communicate relevant information with accuracy, using form, structure and style to suit purpose


  • Give, accept and respond to constructive feedback


  • Work effectively without supervision in unfamiliar contexts

Creativity and problem solving

Research and information literacy skills



  • Apply scientific and other knowledge to analyse and evaluate information and data, and to find solutions to problems


  • Search for and select relevant sources of information


  • Collect data from primary and secondary sources and use appropriate methods to manipulate and analyse this data


  • Work with complex ideas and justify judgements made through effective use of evidence


  • Critically evaluate information and use it appropriately


  • Present and record data in appropriate formats


  • Accurately cite and reference information sources


  • Interpret and evaluate data to inform and justify arguments



  • Be aware of issues of selection, accuracy and uncertainty in the collection and analysis of data

Management and leadership skills


  • Determine the scope of a task (or project).


  • Identify resources needed to undertake the task (or project) and to schedule and manage the resources


  • Monitor and review resources and time to enable effective completion of a task or project


  • Work collaboratively with others to enable all to effectively contribute to the task or project

Teaching/learning methods and strategies

The range of learning and teaching strategies includes

  • Formal lectures

  • Practical classes

  • Demonstrations

  • Tutorials

  • Role play

  • Patient in class

  • Group work exercises

  • Presentations

  • Case Studies

  • Clinical teaching in the practice setting

  • Guided study and distance learning

  • Observation and reflection

Assessment strategies

The assessment strategies employed in the field include the following:

  • Written examinations/tests

  • Practical skills examinations/tests

  • Online exercises/tests

  • Reflective essays

  • Case analysis

  • Oral presentations

    • Reflective journals

    • Observation reports

    • Logs

    • Clinical assessments

    • Research project

  1. Entry Requirements

Candidates must satisfy the general admissions requirements of Kingston University and the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in the following ways:

Prospective students will be interviewed to assess their suitability for a career in acupuncture. Candidates must have the necessary requirements below and/or acceptable alternative qualifications of comparable standards. Two years’ experience of working with the general public in an appropriate context is preferred.

  • Five grade 'C' GCSE passes or better, which should include English and Mathematics and preferably Biology or Combined Science

  • Two 'A' Level passes or two 6-unit awards at a minimum of 80 points each at A-level

  • An appropriate BTEC National Diploma including merit and distinction passes or Advanced GNVQ at Level 3; or a minimum of 80 points at AVCE Double Award; or 2 passes at 'C' in Scottish Highers; or 6 passes at 'C' grade or above at higher level in Irish Learning Certificate

  • General Studies will not normally be accepted as a qualifying subject

  • Mature and overseas students considered on an individual basis usually with a degree from a British or overseas university or validated access course

  • Other APEL credit accumulation

  • All applicants will be expected to conform to the BAcC Fitness to Practise requirements

  • Declaration of disclosure of any criminal convictions including spent and outstanding

  • Full disclosure of previous educational and professional experience

Entry is based on two cohorts of students per year, with a maximum of 38 students per intake.

A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required for those for whom English is not their first language, with no single element score of less than 6 (or equivalent).

  1. Programme Structure

This programme is offered in full-time mode, and leads to the award of BSc (Honours) in Acupuncture. Entry is normally at level 4 with A-level or equivalent qualifications (See section D). Transfer from a similar programme is possible at level 5 with passes in comparable level 4 modules – but is at the discretion of the course team. Intake is normally in April and September.

E1. Professional and Statutory Regulatory Bodies

British Acupuncture Accreditation Board; British Acupuncture Council

E2. Work-based learning, including sandwich programmes

Although there is no opportunity for formal work placements, students arrange observation sessions at a range of external acupuncture clinics, as well as some observation sessions in the College Teaching clinic. Students are required to spend 30 hours per year engaged in such observation. There is summative assessment associated with these clinical observation sessions which allows students to reflect upon their experience of observing acupuncture practised in a range of settings and using a variety of treatment styles and to draw implications for their own future practice.

E3. Outline Programme Structure
The duration of the field is three years and attendance is full-time.

The course is made up of modules which are vertically linked as six themes (known as programmes) running throughout the course, providing a balance of propositional and practical knowledge with theorising practice and practical skills.

Each level is made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points. Typically a student must complete 120 credits at each level. All students will be provided with the University regulations. Full details of each module will be provided in module descriptors and the student module guides.

Level 4 of the programme is designed to provide students with grounding in the key concepts of Chinese Medicine theory which are considered essential to underpin Level 5 and 6 of the course. The anatomy taught in the first half of the year is essential for the development of point location and needling skills during the rest of the year and at Levels 5 and 6. Physiology and Pathology is introduced in the second half of the year. Grounding in the principles of reflective practice supports early and later stages of professional practice.

At Level 5 students build on their Level 4 knowledge with four key modules developing their knowledge and understanding of Chinese Medicine and its relationship with conventional medical sciences, practitioner skills in professional practice and practical skills of point location, needling and adjunctive techniques. Research and reflective practice skills are further developed through clinical observations, audit design, and reflection on patient encounters.
At Level 6 students start with 3 pre-clinical months, further developing the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills required for treating patients. The remainder of Level 6 is a sustained period of clinical practice under direct supervision followed by a final period of 3 months of practising under indirect supervision which incorporates an increasing level of practice independence for the student to assist their transition to professional practice.

Level 4 (all core)

Compulsory modules

Module code





Written exam

% practical exam



Teaching Block

Chinese Medicine 1








Introduction to Professional Practice








Points and Anatomy








Acupuncture Skills and Techniques








Progression to level 5 requires completion of the core modules

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