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Acupuncture, BSc (International College of Oriental Medicine) Undergraduate prospectus

  • High quality of teaching across the programme
  • Busy onsite Acupuncture Clinic and wide range of practice experience
  • Friendly and supportive staff, with a lot of individual attention and care, and small classes.



Practised in the East for thousands of years, acupuncture is one of the oldest systems of medicine. It looks at patients as whole individuals – acupuncturists use a wide range of diagnostic techniques and consider all signs and symptoms as related to each other. Very fine needles are inserted at specific acupuncture points on the patient's body in order to restore balance and health. Today, it is used to treat a wide range of chronic and acute conditions and its use is recognised by the NHS and the World Health Organisation. Successful completion of the programme leads to eligibility to apply for professional registration. Most of our graduates are self-employed and work in a variety of settings, such as multi-disciplinary clinics, privately from home, or in GP surgeries.

Acupuncture is both an art and a science. This programme will appeal to you if you are interested in the health professions, natural medicines or in oriental philosophies and practices. The programme is delivered at the specialist International College of Oriental Medicine (ICOM) in West Sussex, the longest established accredited acupuncture college in the UK.

Our acupuncture programme aims to provide you with a thorough and rewarding training in the theory, diagnosis and practice of traditional Chinese acupuncture so as to develop into a caring, perceptive and effective acupuncture practitioner. The delivery of our education and training meets high standards of excellence - our college is renowned for producing graduates who play important roles in enhancing the profession.

Degree structure

You will receive comprehensive training in the principles of Chinese medicine and philosophy alongside Western medicine and research and practical clinical skills. Theoretical and practical courses are carefully integrated to prepare you for treating your own patients in our own busy on-site student clinic from Year 2 onwards. You will learn a variety of acupuncture approaches so that you have a broad portfolio of skills to draw upon. These include Five Elements, Traditional Chinese Medicine and classical stems and branches acupuncture.

During the three years the focus shifts from building the foundations of your knowledge and skills (Year 1), further developing and applying these (Year 2) and integrating and refining your clinic treatments with patients (Year 3).  Over the three years you will receive all of the clinical skills necessary in order to become a well-rounded, competent, enquiring, informed, compassionate and reflective acupuncturist.

It is not necessary to be a health professional in order to study on this programme; many people come as mature students with a wealth of life experience. We do the rest.

Clinical experience

Right from the beginning you will be observing senior acupuncturist practitioners as they treat patients.  You will build up 90 hours of observations over the three years.

You will be treating patients during Year 2 and Year 3 in our student acupuncture clinic at the college; you will be supervised, supported and guided very closely such that by the end of the programme you will be treating patients on a one-to-one basis with supervision to hand.

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Fees and finance

As an independent institution, ICOM sets its own fees, which start at £6,750 in Year 1. Students who are eligible may apply for student loan funding. Please go to for more information.


The aims of the programme are:

  • To educate and inspire professional acupuncturists, who will practice with a clear working understanding of Chinese philosophy, as well as the theory and practice of Chinese medicine
  • To provide you with the necessary skills to practice acupuncture safely and completely on graduation.

What you'll study

Entry requirements

Applicants under the age of 21 

104 UCAS points from A-levels, including one biological science, or a BTEC/EDExcel National Diploma or equivalent.

You will also need five GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and mathematics.

Applicants over the age of 21

We also welcome mature candidates who may not meet these traditional academic requirements but who have equivalent work or life experience.

ICOM is flexible in its consideration of entry qualifications, and potential applicants should contact them for further information, particularly if their qualifications are non-standard.

We like to meet all our candidates and will interview all applicants who meet our initial assessment procedures.

Contact the college

For further details and to apply, contact the International College of Oriental Medicine:

Extra information


We realise that students learn in different ways and that similarly assessments need to reflect that variety.  Our assessments include:

  • Practical skills tests
  • Written examinations
  • Written coursework (projects, reports)
  • Class quizzes and tests
  • Oral presentations
  • Clinic exams
  • Case studies
  • Portfolio presentations.

Professional recognition

Graduates are eligible to apply for registration with the British Acupuncture Council. The course is fully accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board.


On graduation, you will become a professional acupuncture practitioner. Varied work options are available. The majority of practising acupuncturists are self-employed. Many work out of other practices, for example in GP Practices, or in complementary health centres, alongside osteopaths, chiropractors or physiotherapists.

The college is small and friendly and everybody knows everyone well. With class sizes of up to 24 per cohort, students receive a lot of personal attention and support. The campus is a large building dating back in parts to the 17th century and situated in peaceful gardens.

Fees and finance

Your time at university should be enjoyable and rewarding, and it is important that it is not spoilt by unnecessary financial worries. We recommend that you spend time planning your finances, both before coming to university and while you are here. We can offer advice on living costs and budgeting, as well as on awards, allowances and loans.

Find out more about our fees and the support available to you at our:

Come and get a feel for what learning and life is like with us.

Next Open Day

Open Day dates

Apply now and begin your journey.

How to apply

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