FAQs – Acupuncture


The City College of Acupuncture course is structured to run over three years. Each year has 60 days of classroom tuition. These days roughly coincide with school terms, so you will get breaks at the traditional times such as Christmas, Easter and the Summer. Our office will be able to give you an accurate timetable of our dates.

The City College Acupuncture course is delivered in a blended way that integrates interactive teaching and practical hands-on experience with the use of modern technology. With a high proportion of clinical experience right from day one you will quickly become immersed in the philosophy behind Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Practical subjects such as acupuncture are best taught in an interactive way in small groups.

Our course is structured in such a way that you are introduced to practical skills such as needling, cupping and gua sha within a few weeks of starting the course. The second year contains a considerable amount of time given over to practical skills so that you will be confident when faced with your first real patients in the final year.

As a course subject to accreditation by the BAAB we are committed to providing you with 400 hours of clinical experience. You will spend a minimum of 200 of those hours taking personal responsibility for real patients in our multi-bed clinic. You will be supervised taking cases, forming a diagnosis and treating with acupuncture. As you grow in confidence, you will be given increasing autonomy in your actions until you able to work as a stand-alone professional acupuncturist.

The City College of Acupuncture course is unique in the UK as it operates a multi-bed clinic, which is a quick and efficient way of treating more than one person at a time, resulting in increased turnover. The business element of our course will prepare you to work privately or in the NHS and to establish your own multi-bed practice if you so wish.

We run a comprehensive Acupuncture course and offer excellent value for money when compared to other courses.
For an up-to-date schedule of the costs visit our “Fees” page.

As a private college we are able to keep a close eye on our overheads!

Our entry requirements are:
• Appropriate life experience or 240 points at ‘A’ level
• No previous practitioner experience or science qualifications are required

Many people studying acupuncture are doing so as a career change and may not have previous academic qualifications. This need not be as a barrier to becoming a successful practitioner! Our in-depth interview techniques will be able to establish if you are suitable to enrol on our course.

We are not interested in taking you on as a student if we do not think you have the ability to succeed. Our aim is to graduate confident, accomplished practitioners.

At interview we will be looking for your commitment to the subject, your ability to study in Higher Education (which may or may not include previous professional qualifications), your life experiences and how you have built upon them, and your ability with people.

If you are a qualified healthcare professional in a related field such as an osteopath, physiotherapist or a conventional medicine practitioner you may be able to be exempted from certain units. Speak to our Director of Studies to find out more.

We teach the style most widely practiced in the world, commonly referred to as Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. Some colleges teach a specific style based solely on the Wu xing or Five Elements/ Phases. As the Wu xing is just one of many systems within Oriental medicine used to describe and understand how Qi moves in nature and the human body, mind and spirit we consider it too narrow to focus on at an earlier stage. We will teach you all of the major ways of treating using TCM so that you will be able to treat a broad range of conditions.

If you decide that you would like to specialize in one of them at a later date, you will be well-placed to do so as there area great number of post-graduate courses available.
specialize in one of them at a later date, you will be well-placed to do so as there are a great number of post-graduate courses available.

‘Medical acupuncture’ – essentially using the traditional acupuncture points but throwing away the concepts of Chinese medicine – is a way of treating used by Western trained doctors and therapists, often referred to as ‘dry needling’.

Although we teach Traditional Chinese acupuncture, you will still be encouraged to engage with modern research into acupuncture and you will be taught how to treat ‘trigger points’ in the way that modern physiotherapists do.

We teach Chinese Medicine using what is called a ‘spiral curriculum’. This means that concepts and skills are initially introduced in a basic way and then returned to time after time to enable you to build up an understanding of complex issues. If you don’t immediately grasp something the first time around you will have ample repeated opportunities to review the material and ask questions until the most complex concepts become easy to grasp.

Our curriculum is delivered in a blended manner that incorporates theoretical and practical sessions with course notes and educational technologies such as CD ROMS, the college Sharepoint system and websites. It includes formal lectures, practical demonstrations, practical sessions in small groups, formative assessments, and group tutorials. We have three computer rooms with a vast array of terminals meaning we are able to offer a large amount of our teaching material electronically which you are even able to access remotely from home.

All of our staff have taught acupuncture for many years. You can read their individual biographies by clicking here.

Our Lecturers are also successful practitioners, engaged in the practice of acupuncture on a day-to-day basis. Coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, they deliver the course with an eclectic teaching style that integrates a firm understanding of contemporary scientific research with the wisdom of the classics.

Some English university courses have drastically cut the amount of contact hours to save on costs. Each year of the City College Acupuncture course consists of approximately 60 full days of classroom tuition.

You will be expected to attend at least 80% of your normal lectures, with a full 100% of your 400 clinical hours being required. Studying with us will be a big commitment, but it will be worth it!

If you are a foreign student you will need to speak to us as the regulations about attendance are slightly different. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) are particularly strict about compliance to their terms and conditions.

As this is a degree-level course you will be expected to do a considerable amount of home study. This could consist of reading, memorizing facts, writing essays, practising your anatomy or point location with friends, or even reflecting on your experiences.

Each lesson will have tutor-directed home study to go with it, but there will also be time for you to just ‘follow your nose’ and complete additional study that interests you.

Modules typically have two assessments which are structured in the manner most relevant to the material being taught.

Subjects such as Anatomical and Energetic Structures (AES) will teach you all you need to know about anatomy, point location (how you find acupuncture points on the body), and how the individual acupoints can be used. As these are a mixture of practical and theoretical skills, they are assessed with both practical and written exams.

The Personal and Practitioner Development (PPD) modules are by definition about development, and are assessed with workbooks and reflective essays that you complete at your own pace across the three years of the course.

When you study Chinese Medicine Practice (CMP) you will be learning how to diagnose using different methods, so some CMP assessments are traditional written exams, whilst others might utilise video technology or be assessed by portfolios complied throughout your training.

The City College Acupuncture course is structured in such a way that different assessments become due in at different times, enabling you to schedule and pace your work and avoiding too many end of term exams.

If you fail an assignment or exam then you are allowed to resubmit or resit the assessment. If you fail a second time then you will be required to repeat the entire module you have failed at your own expense. This may or may not affect the speed of your progress through the course.

You will not need to learn Chinese to study with us although you will be introduced to certain Chinese words and phrases. This will enable you to engage with the cultural significance behind some of the terms frequently use in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

In some countries like America, acupuncture and herbs are taught side-by-side. In the UK it is traditional to study acupuncture first before moving on to herbs.

Acupuncture treatments are safe and self-regulating – it is very hard to hurt someone by treating them using acupuncture! Herbal medicine is a much more advanced subject. It is possible to make someone worse not better by giving them an inappropriate formula.

Yes, as long as you are being treated by a properly trained practitioner who has completed a thorough training in acupuncture and appropriate Western medical sciences. This is what we offer at The City College of Acupuncture!

No. Acupuncture needles are so fine that the prick of the needle as it goes through the skin is barely felt. As the needle begins to affect the Qi (energy) of the body an unusual sensation may be felt – like a slight numbness or a tingling sensation.

The shortest length of a professional BAAB approved acupuncture course in the UK is currently 3 years.

There are no longer any grants for studying in the UK.

We are registered as a Learning Provider in the Professional Career Development Loan programme (PCDL Registration Number: 21461), which means that you have the option of applying for a Career Development Loan (PCDL). These loans generally have a lower interest rate, and the main benefit is that the government pays the interest for you while you are training, and repayments only commence once your studies have been completed.

Please direct any questions about finance to the office staff who will be able to explain the fee structure to you.

Yes. You will be assigned a personal tutor who you can contact if there are any personal issues complicating your life that may be interfering with your studies. Your personal tutor is concerned with your overall path through the course and will be able to offer one-to-one advice with any problems you are experiencing. Your contact with your personal tutor can be kept confidential unless you give us permission to act on your behalf to help your situation.

You will also receive academic tutorials for each module you study where you will be able to clarify and deepen your understanding of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Our teachers are all very approachable and will be happy to go the extra mile to make sure that you don’t fall behind in your studies.

As we keep our classes at a small size we will be able to keep an eye on you at all times!

Unfortunately the college does not have any halls of residence and is unable to offer you assistance in finding somewhere to live during your time with us.