Course Overview

Acupuncture training at ICOM has much to offer prospective students. The College covers Classical acupuncture theory in great depth and has become renowned for its exploration of the theory of Stems and Branches. This offers a unique way of understanding the cycles of energetic change through time and their possible effect on the individual. 


Full Time: 3 years
Part Time: 4 or 5 years


Full Time: mostly 2 days a week, occasionally 3 days.
Part Time: 1 to 2 days a week

A large proportion of lectures are online with some attendance at the college required for practical sessions.


Term 1: 10 Oct – 16 Dec 2022
Half term: 24–28 October

Term 2: 3 Jan – 31 Mar 2023
Half term:
13–17 February 

Term 3: 17 April – 6 July 2023
Half term: 29 May
– 2 June

Teaching material and methods, for both practical and theoretical sessions, are continuously reviewed and enhanced, in order to maximise the whole student experience. As acupuncture students advance through the course, the balance shifts toward more practical clinical work and less theory. 

We are now delivering a significant proportion of our lectures online, with lectures in person at the college for practical sessions. This enables students to reduce their travelling time, especially for those who live some distance away. Tutorials for our extensive online learning platform are provided.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have extensive safety measures in place at the college to protect students and staff.

Aims and Objectives

At ICOM our aim is to inspire lifelong learners. We strive to:

  • provide the space and support for students to become the best practitioners they can possibly be. 
  • cultivate in our students integrity, humility and dedication. 
  • keep our class sizes small to ensure that we can support individual student needs.
  • provide a thorough and rewarding training in the theory, diagnosis and practice of traditional Chinese acupuncture to develop caring, perceptive and effective acupuncture practitioners. 
  • provide students with the necessary skills to practise acupuncture safely and competently upon graduation. This includes skills in patient assessment and diagnosis, as well as accurate and informed use of acupuncture techniques, moxa and cupping.
  • ensure students are given a sound understanding of Western anatomy, physiology and differential diagnosis/pathology.
  • develop reflective practitioners who are able to identify personal and professional goals for continuing professional development and lifelong learning. 
  • develop in our students a keen awareness of ‘red flag’ symptoms and limits to their competence.
  • prepare students to join the wider profession, which includes membership of the British Acupuncture Council along with practice development and management.
Online Learning

ICOM has adopted the “flipped classroom” model for teaching, which allows for a great deal of additional flexibility for students juggling their studies with work and/or parenthood.

In the flipped classroom, the traditional method of teaching is reversed and materials which would previously have been delivered in the classroom during lectures are now distributed in the form of podcasts, lecture notes and journal articles and absorbed by students prior to the lecture. Activities which would once have been carried out as homework, now take place in the lecture and the student’s understanding of the subject is further deepened during these sessions through group activities and problem solving.

Because the learning has already taken place when students join the lecture, there is now far more space and time during the class for a more learner-centred approach. The teacher is better able to fill gaps in the students’ knowledge and clarify elements of the previously absorbed materials.

What’s more, students may digest the class materials prior to the lecture at a time when it is convenient to them. They are also free to revisit it afterwards as part of their revision.

  • Each student is continually assessed by regular tests and projects throughout the year. Group tutorials and one-to-one discussions allow students’ progress to be discussed and any difficulties clarified. A range of support mechanisms are available to students to help them progress, including personal tutoring and a buddy/mentor system. 
  • Examinations are taken at the end of each semester or academic year and a pass in each module must be obtained before being able to progress. Students must achieve a minimum attendance in every module in order to be able to sit the end of year examinations.
  • The minimum attendance required for course Lectures is 80%.
  • The minimum attendance required for Clinic Modules is 100% of the clinic hours as relevant for your year.
  • During the final year, students complete a dissertation. This dissertation is an exciting opportunity for you to explore in depth a subject of your choice related to acupuncture.
  • The Subject Examination Board determines the outcome of all results at the end of the academic period
Professional Associations

BAABIn September 1997, in its 25th Anniversary Year, the College achieved national professional recognition in the form of full accreditation of its Acupuncture course by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB).  The BAAB was established to accredit responsible Acupuncture colleges and set and monitor standards for the profession. The process of maintaining accreditation status is continuous and ensures quality in both education and acupuncture.
Graduates of the International College of Oriental Medicine are eligible to apply for registration with the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and attain professional recognition amongst its membership.

The letters placed after the name of such a member are: MBAcC.


The British Acupuncture Council is engaged in work to represent and regulate the high standards of the profession.



Practising outside the UK

Please note that our qualification is UK based. If you wish to practise acupuncture outside the UK, please check the requirements of the professional bodies of the countries in which you would like to practise. Different countries have different requirements for practising acupuncture.

Number of Students per Year
  • A maximum of 18 students are accepted each year. This ensures that each student receives as much individual help as he or she needs, particularly in the practical classes, which are normally divided into groups of 3 or 4. 
  • Chinese medicine, as the curriculum illustrates, is a complex and complete system involving concepts that differ from the Western medical approach. A full understanding of this underlying theory is a prerequisite to the proper and effective practice of this discipline. At ICOM we want to ensure that our graduates are the best acupuncture practitioners they can possibly be. This means not just equipping you with the knowledge, understanding and skills of the academic and practical nature of acupuncture. It also means that we want to help you, as a person and practitioner, to develop and learn continuously and effectively. 

You can choose to study our Acupuncture course full time (3 years) or part time (4-5 years). The 3rd year is only offered on a full time basis because we believe that it is crucial for your professional development to integrate all aspects of Acupuncture practice. The tables below show how the different modules are divided across full and part time programmes.

part time Acupuncture study programme