Frequently Asked Questions

What makes ICOM unique?

At ICOM we teach five element theory and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). However, ICOM is internationally renowned for its philosophical and practical application of the Stems and Branches theory. This theory allows students to go into much greater depth and breadth than that given by conventional acupuncture approaches and is unique to ICOM.


Do I have to apply through UCAS?

No, at ICOM we deal with all applications independently from UCAS. You can either download and print a copy of our application form or you can now Apply Online. Visit our Admissions page for further details on the application process.

What qualifications do I need?

Please see our Admissions page for details on Entry Requirements for our BSc Hons Acupuncture Course.

Acupuncture Course

Is it possible to do the course part-time? If so, how does this work and what is the maximum number of years allowed to complete the degree?

Yes, it is possible to study part-time during Years 1 and 2. Year 3 can only be studied full-time. For Years 1 and 2 the six modules are split over two years – i.e. Year 1A and 1B, Year 2A and 2B followed by Year 3. Part-time study therefore takes 4 or 5 years to complete depending on whether you do both Year 1 and 2 as part-time or do one of these years as full-time.

When are the College holidays and what is a normal lecture day?

Weekday Acupuncture Course (September intake): Our academic year comprises 3 terms with holiday breaks at Christmas, Spring (Easter) and a longer break over the summer. Each lecture is a day long, starting at 9.30am and finishing at 4.00pm, with breaks during the morning, afternoon and for lunch. Weekend Acupuncture Course (March intake): The weekend course runs largely on alternate weekend throughout the year. In addition there are a few weekdays, as well as a few back-to-back weekends. The schedule of weekend dates is published well in advance so students know what commitments they have for the following year. For holidays you will have some extra time off at Christmas, Easter and in the Summer. The day runs from 9.30am until 5.30pm with breaks during morning, afternoon and for lunch.

What qualification will I receive at the end of the course?

You will receive a BSc Honours degree from the University of Greenwich. You will also receive the professional licentiate, which in turn gives you eligibility for membership of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC), the professional body for trained acupuncturists in the UK. You have this eligibility because our college is fully accredited by the BAAB (British Acupuncture Accreditation Board) who work on behalf of the BAcC.

How many assessments will I have? Will I be required to sit written exams?

Assessments take place throughout the year. These comprise both summative tasks (where the marks count towards the final module assessment) and formative tasks (where the marks are not counted but the assessment is designed to help you review your performance). Assessment tasks include weekly tests, termly tests (both practical and theoretical), projects, presentations, and also final year written and/or practical examinations.

Why don’t you teach Herbal medicine?

We feel that three years, full-time study in acupuncture is required to do justice to this fascinating medicine (art). To offer training in herbal medicine alongside would mean compromising the time needed to cover every aspect of the acupuncture course fully.

Can you give me information about the thesis in the final year?

This is a dissertation, of 5,000 words, and represents the culmination of your learning throughout the course. It is essentially the opportunity for you to research an area of acupuncture that is of particular interest to you, suitable for possible publication in a relevant journal. It shows us that you are able to undertake a short study and apply the skills that you have developed through your learning journey.

Acupuncture Clinic

Do I have to find my own patients for the clinic observation or treatment experiences?

Not at all. At ICOM we have an extremely busy on-site Acupuncture Clinic with a wide range of patients and at the beginning of the academic year you will be allocated all of your clinic days. The fact that we find the patients for you means you can concentrate on studying and not on having to organise where your next patient will come from.

Will I be able to have treatment in the ICOM Acupuncture Clinic when I am a student?

Yes, treatment is free to ICOM students when treated by a final year student in their supervised / trainee clinics or with the second year practical day groups. There is also a student discount available for appointments with fully qualified BAcC registered practitioners in the Acupuncture Clinic.

Fees & Funding

What are the current yearly fees for the course?

Please see Fees section of the website for details,. For further information about payment options please tel: 01342 313106 or email info@orientalmed.ac.uk

What funding is available for the Acupuncture Course? Will I have to pay the tuition fees in advance?

The course is full time and students are eligible to apply for a student loan to help cover your fees and / or living expenses. We are one of only a limited number of fully accredited acupuncture colleges that offer full time courses and therefore eligibility for government funding loans. Please see www.direct.gov.uk/StudentFinance for details.     You may receive your loan after the academic year has begun. However, please note that we ask first year students to pay fees on time at the beginning of each year (or by installment for Year 2 and 3 students) and when the loan money is received we will reimburse you the monies paid in advance.

Why are your fees different to the standard University tuition fees?

As a Registered Charity the College is a non-profit making organisation and endeavours to keep fees as low as possible. We are a private independent college and from September 2012 our fees will be lower than standard university tuition fees. Full-time students are eligible to apply for a student loan to cover a proportion of the fees. Please contact the Student Loan Company for details on how to apply for a student loan. Also see our Funding Options page.

Can international students get any help with funding?

Our fees are the same for international students as UK students. Advice for international students: Funding and living costs – please see www.direct.gov.uk/StudentFinance for further information. Before you begin your studies here you should make sure that you have adequate funds to cover your living costs for the duration of your course.


What is the age range of your students?

The age range is from 18 to late 50s and the average age of our students is late twenties.

How many students do you have at the college and what are class sizes?

ICOM is a small and friendly college, situated in beautiful grounds. We usually have a total of around 55 to 65 students attending. Class sizes are small – they can vary between 12 to 20 students. We aim to have around 20 students in each year group as this gives students the great opportunity of receiving more individual attention.

Do you have halls of residence for the students?

At present we don’t have halls of residence and all accommodation is arranged privately either in a shared house with other students or renting a room with use of kitchen etc with local landladies. Some of our students live in Brighton in shared houses and share car travel to the college daily. Our notice board has adverts for accommodation locally and we are happy to advise if needed.

After Graduation

How will I be able to set up a practice when I graduate?

In the final year, you will be given practice/business management lectures plus career planning development help. These will help you to understand all the aspects necessary to start your own practice, including planning, marketing, finance, taxation. In addition there may be post graduate courses on business management run by our committee and also other career planning events available from the University.

Can I realistically make a living as an Acupuncturist?

Of course the answer is yes. As in any profession your commitment and effort will bring reward. You will have to allow for a period in which you build up your practice and client base, but once this is established a very good income can be made. Acupuncture is an area of healthcare that is growing well – it is used more and more each year, both within the NHS and by private patients.

Is your qualification valid in other countries?

These qualifications are recognised internationally, but each country has its own regulations regarding acupuncture. For example in some European countries acupuncturists can only practice if they are also trained medical doctors. Please check the regulations of the country where you intend to practice.

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