*BSc (Hons) in Acupuncture and MSc in Acupuncture – our next courses start in October 2018
Five reasons to become an acupuncturist
- Know you've made a difference, with a meaningful and worthwhile career helping others
- Have the freedom to be your own boss, in a highly respected industry
- Earn a good living doing something you can be passionate about
- Never get bored at work as you constantly grow and develop as a practitioner and person
- Be part of a community pioneering the use of ancient medicine in a modern world
Five reasons to study acupuncture at the NCA
- We are one of the most well established acupuncture Colleges in the UK (30 years in 2018)
- You will learn in a friendly and supportive environment
- Our courses can be fitted around family and work commitments
- From day one you will be gaining real practitioner skills in our teaching clinic
- We are situated in the centre of the historic city of York with excellent transport links
Becoming an acupuncturist
Is it time to earn a living in a way that engages you as a whole person and is true to your own values? Our graduates will tell you that having a career as an acupuncturist is both rewarding and fulfilling. They love making a difference to peoples’ health and well-being, connecting with patients one to one, and being in control of their working lives:
- "I have already been in practice for 6 months and it’s going well – I am already seeing more patients than I anticipated."
- "For me it's all about the flexibility of being able to fit my work around my family."
- "I am having an amazing career and acupuncture has enabled me to travel the world."
- "I just love connecting with my patients – I wake up every morning excited to go to work."
- "I specialise in helping people with fertility – it is incredibly rewarding (and moving) when my couples have the babies they have longed for."
Acupuncture courses at the NCA - an overview
Acupuncture was developed in China over 2,000 years ago and is now well known worldwide as a system of medicine that involves the insertion of needles to specific points on the body. At the Northern College of Acupuncture we teach a wide-ranging approach founded on traditional Chinese acupuncture and we provide a high quality acupuncture training which is relevant in the Western world.
We are a small independent College, established in 1988. You will find here a nurturing and supportive environment and be taught by tutors who are practitioners themselves. Our students come from all over the country and from many different backgrounds, making the NCA a lively, stimulating and friendly place to study for a career in acupuncture.
Our acupuncture courses offer a complete three year acupuncture training programme and are fully accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB), and reviewed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). We are developing a new partnership with *London South Bank University (LSBU). Students who have not previously received undergraduate funding may be able to access a student loan for our three year *BSc in Acupuncture course.
Acupuncture courses that fit with your life
We know that the majority of our students have busy lives - often fitting in study with family and work commitments. To enable you to achieve this we offer two pathways of study for both our BSc and MSc in Acupuncture courses – weekday or weekend - and you can choose which suits you best.
On both pathways your week will consist of time in class at the College, time in our teaching clinic (open Monday to Saturday), e-learning at home, and home study. Our guide for home study is two hours of home study for each hour in class or clinic.
Courses attendance summary
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4 (MSc only)|
|Weekend course: 14 weekends
Weekday course: two half days each week over 25 weeks in term time, with 6 additional half days
|Weekend course: 14 weekends
Weekday course: two half days each week over 25 weeks in term time, with 5 additional half days
|Weekend course: 14 weekends
Weekday course: two half days each week over 25 weeks in term time, with 6 additional half days
|MSc dissertation - mostly home study with support of your supervisor(s).|
|8 days in our teaching clinic
and 2 days of practitioner observation in your locality
|17 days in our teaching clinic
and 3 days of practitioner observation in your locality
|20 days in our teaching clinic|
|MSc students also have six 2 hour tutorials - some in class and some online||MSc students also have six 2 hour tutorials - some in class and some online||MSc students also have six 2 hour tutorials - some in class and some online|
To see exactly when you will be studying take a look at our course dates below:
How we teach and assess you
Here at the NCA we are passionate about teaching acupuncture and we constantly develop what, and how, we teach you to enable you to become a confident acupuncturist. To help you to fit in studying acupuncture with your life, and give you the high quality training that you expect from a prestigious College, our acupuncture courses feature the following teaching methods:
- ✓ Interactive classroom learning here at our College building in the heart of historic York
- ✓ E-learning – at home on your computer/device
- ✓ Clinical practice days seeing real patients in our teaching clinic based at the College
- ✓ Practitioner observation days
- ✓ Home study
- ✓ Assessments and exams that help develop you as practitioner
Combining these dynamic components we give you a total practitioner training and all the tools you need to go into practice as a fully qualified acupuncturist, and you attain a University degree - BSc in Acupuncture or MSc in Acupuncture.
As part of your learning you will also undertake a wide variety of assessments which allow you to show your individual strengths. Some assessments are "formative", meaning that they are designed to help you to gauge your progress through the course but they do not count towards your degree. Other assessments are "summative", meaning that they do count towards your degree. Each assessment is relevant to you as a future practitioner. There are also case-based examinations in each of the three teaching years.
Acupuncture courses curriculum
A series of “streams” runs through every year of the acupuncture courses. The streams are integrated into the various modules so that you encounter the subject matter woven together into a greater whole, which is how you will experience it in clinic. Each year the streams build on what you have already learnt. In the first year you will establish the strong foundations and knowledge that you need for the rest of your training and beyond. As you continue throughout the years you will add layers of detail and diversity to build a broad repertoire of skills and knowledge, so that by the end of the third year you are ready to go into practice with confidence, ability and enthusiasm.
Your study in the streams is taught and assessed at an appropriate academic level for the year of study – so for BSc students, year 1 is taught at level 4, year 2 at level 5 and year 3 at level 6.
How we support you (throughout your training and beyond)
We all know that life is unpredictable and there may be times when you will need some extra support to help you to continue your studies. At the NCA we are all committed to ensuring your success in training to become an acupuncturist and our high level of student support is a special feature of the College.
Ways in which we support you to succeed during your training
- ✓ We are small and friendly and we will know you as an individual
- ✓ You have specific learning/pastoral support sessions that are appropriate to your needs
- ✓ We have learning support tutors who are trained to help you returning to study
- ✓ We have an open door policy so you can come and talk to any member of staff
- ✓ We have a confidential counselling service
- ✓ We have access to assessments for dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties
Fees, funding and student loans
How to fund your acupuncture training will be of primary importance to you. On this page we give you all the information you need about funding and student loans and also your options if you are not eligible for a student loan. We also give you information about other costs such as books, transport and accommodation if you are staying over.
Reduced time and fess if you are a healthcare practitioner
If you are a healthcare practitioner with a degree in your field, you may be eligible for reduced fees and attendance.
Talk to us
Funding the course is one of the main considerations for our students. We would encourage you to talk to us if you have any questions or concerns. Call our Marketing Manager Denise on +44 (0)1904 343309 or our Registrar Alison on +44 (0)1904 343300 or send us an e-mail enquiry.
Entry requirements and applying
Our acupuncture courses are accessible for all and students come to study with us from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, ethnicity and ability. You can apply to us with a variety of qualifications, and the majority of our students are mature people applying to us with life and work experience. You may already have a degree and/or practitioner qualification in another field. We also welcome further education leavers studying acupuncture as a first career. If you have started your studies at another College or University but not completed – or would like to transfer- you are welcome to apply to complete your training with us.
We welcome applicants from the EU/EAA but are unable to accept non EU/EAA students due to visa restrictions.
How to apply
You will apply directly to the College via our online application system. If your application is successful you will be invited for an interview here at the College. We encourage all our acupuncture courses applicants to have visited the College prior to application by attending one of our introductory events, an informal visit or have attended one of our online presentation and Q&A events in order to be well informed of the course and what is involved.
Entry requirements for our BSc (Hons) in Acupuncture
Applicants can apply on the basis of qualifications or work/life experience. If you are applying straight from school or college you will need to have attained 260 A Level tariff points.
Entry requirements for our MSc in Acupuncture
Applicants should have either an undergraduate degree, an equivalent professional qualification, or relevant work experience equivalent to degree-level learning.
Accreditation and Validation and Quality Assurance
Our courses are fully accredited and validated, ensuring your entry to the profession once you have qualified.
Professional Membership with the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC)
Once you have qualified you will be eligible to apply for membership of the British Acupuncture Council (MBAcC) and your patients can be assured that you are fully qualified to treat them. The BAcC is recognised by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, which is accountable to parliament. This means that the public can be further assured that the BAcC meets high standards in governance, standard-setting, education and training, management, complaints and information. The BAcC provides its members with support at both a national and local level and many of our students join as student members at the start of their courses. We would encourage you to find out more about the British Acupuncture Council and how they can help you as a student, and support you when you become a practitioner.
Our acupuncture courses are fully accredited by the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB). This is the accreditation body for the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) which is the most widely recognised professional body for acupuncture.
The Northern College of Acupuncture has undergone a Higher Education Review by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and has received its final report. We submitted an annual return to the QAA in December 2016 that demonstrates that we are continuing to maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of student learning opportunities and information about learning opportunities.
London South Bank University - a new partnership for the NCA from 2018
The College is developing a new partnership with London South Bank University with the intention of the University validating our degree programmes for intakes from September 2018. Validation will mean that students receive their degree from London South Bank University on successful completion of their course.
What makes us different from a University
We are an independent College with a special atmosphere and ethos, dedicated entirely to acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and nutrition. We give you a lot of support and nurture your development towards becoming an acupuncturist. An important part of this is that you will join a dedicated and committed group of students, who give one another mutual support and encouragement. We are smaller than a University department and you will find that we quickly get to know you as an individual.
Acupuncture and the growing evidence base
It is vital for the continuing development and credibility of our profession that we can answer our critics with scientific proof of the effectiveness of acupuncture and each year this evidence is growing.
Acupuncture research at the NCA
Here at the NCA we are committed to research and building the evidence base for acupuncture. Our MSc in Acupuncture was the first, and still is the only, acupuncture course in the country to offer an MSc option from scratch. Our graduates make a substantial contribution to research within the profession and some have gone on to undertake PhDs.
Our research wing the Foundation for Research into Traditional Chinese Medicine (FRTCM) was set up in 1990 to further the cause of research into acupuncture. We have collaborated on research projects such as a major back pain research study and regularly carry out in-house research projects in our teaching clinics. Funds from the FRTCM are available to assist students in getting their research into publication.
We are now running two new online-only MSc courses for acupuncturists and complementary therapists all over the world aimed at developing skills in research and practice.
A brief history of research into acupuncture
By Hugh MacPherson, College co-founder and Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York.
“Early research into acupuncture explored physiological correlates, identifying that acupuncture has a profound effect on endorphins and neurotransmitters. The impact of acupuncture in modulating the effect of pain has been explored in many neuroimaging studies. As an example, researchers based at the University of York under my leadership, explored the effect of acupuncture on brain waves using neuroimaging techniques (1).
What has been important for us researchers is to know whether acupuncture is clinically effective for the many chronic conditions that are prevalent in primary care, especially conditions for which patients are seeking non-pharmacological alternatives. These problematic conditions include chronic musculoskeletal pain, headache and migraine, osteoarthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and depression.
As an example of research that involved acupuncturists at the Northern College of Acupuncture, the York Acupuncture for Back Pain Study was a randomised controlled trial that showed acupuncture reduces low back pain over the longer term (2), a benefit that is also cost-effective (3). This research was central to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)’s decision to recommend a course of 10 weekly sessions of acupuncture for persistent low back pain (4).
One of the questions posed by scientists is to ask whether or not acupuncture is simply a placebo, albeit a powerful one. This question has been answered definitively by a systematic review of high quality clinical trials of acupuncture for chronic pain, namely musculoskeletal pain in the low back and neck, headache and migraine, and osteoarthritis. Researchers found statistically significant differences between acupuncture and sham acupuncture, showing that acupuncture is unequivocally more effective than a placebo, as well as more effective than standard conventional medical care (5).
Beyond chronic pain, recent evidence from trials conducted by us at the Department of Health Sciences, University of York, has shown that acupuncture is statistically significantly better than usual care for irritable bowel syndrome (6) and depression (7). And finally, in a ground-breaking network meta-analysis, a research team at the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York found that acupuncture out-performs most other physical therapies for osteoarthritis of the knee (8). The combined effect of these research studies has created a critical mass of evidence that will feed into policy and practice over the years to come.”
22 frequently asked questions about our acupuncture courses
We would like to give you a really good overview of what it is like to study acupuncture with us here at the Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA). So we have put together a series of 22 “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) asked by people considering a career as a fully qualified acupuncture practitioner.
We hope that this information will give you a good overview of our acupuncture degree courses.
*subject to validation
Find out more
These lively and informative full day events really are the best way to find out whether studying acupuncture at the NCA is right for you.
Saturday 21st April 2018
Hang out with us!
Online Presentation and Q&A Evenings
Join us online to find out more about the acupuncture courses and talk to current NCA students and practicing graduates.
Wednesday 25th April 2018
We are always happy to talk to you about studying acupuncture with us at the NCA!
Call Denise on
+44 (0)1904 343309
or Alison on
+44 (0) 1904 343300
On October 29th, at the National Centre for Early Music, the Northern College of Acupuncture held its twenty-fifth graduation ceremony!
Acupuncture graduate Hannah Reade talks about her journey from studying acupuncture to becoming an acupuncturist.
Acupuncture graduate Annabel Tindale talks about how she began her career as an acupuncturist after studying acupuncture with us at the NCA.