BSc in Acupuncture – our next courses (weekend and weekday) start in October 2019
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."
BSc in Acupuncture course 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 course offers 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.
Fitting the acupuncture course in with your life
You can choose between studying at weekends or weekdays
Typically your study 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. A guide for home study is 2 hours of home study for each hour in class or clinic.
Attendance on our weekday course
The weekday acupuncture course is taught during the week - two half days each week during term times (25 weeks in all) plus five extra half days over the year. There is also half a day of e-learning each week that you undertake at home in your own time, and which is also counted towards your attendance. The weekday course starts in early October and finishes in June. You have a long break from classroom learning over the summer, a short break over Christmas and Easter, and a half-term break each term.
For the course starting in 2019 weekday teaching will be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with five extra mornings on Mondays spread through the year.
Classroom sessions will run from 10am to 1:30pm
Attendance on our weekend course
The weekend acupuncture course is taught at weekends – approximately every other weekend during term time (14 weekends in all). There is also e-learning that you undertake at home in your own time, and which is also counted towards your attendance. The weekend course starts in early October and finishes in June with a long break from classroom learning over the summer and a short break over Christmas and Easter.
Classroom sessions run from 10.00am - 6.00pm on Saturday and 9.30am - 5.30pm on Sunday
Courses attendance summary
|First Year||Second Year||Third Year|
|14 weekends, or weekdays over 25 weeks in term time||14 weekends, or weekdays over 25 weeks in term time||14 weekends, or weekdays over 25 weeks in term time|
|8 days in clinic
and 2 days of practitioner observation
|17 days in clinic
and 3 days of practitioner observation
|20 days in clinic|
Carole Cook - graduate
“I fitted in the BSc in Acupuncture with my part time work and bringing up a young family. I had a lot of juggling but it was manageable as long as I organised my time well. However, it was hugely rewarding, I really enjoyed the course and feel excited about my new career.”
In addition to the classroom teaching, you will gain clinical experience both in our teaching clinic here at the College and visiting other practitioners near to you.
The NCA teaching clinic is open Monday to Saturday. Clinic days are scheduled well in advance and arranged in two “blocks” with our courses administrator Linda Johnson. Ideally each block is the same day each week for a series of consecutive weeks. Student preferences are taken into account.
- Year 1 - 8 days in the NCA clinic (please note that 3 of these days are between October and January) and 2 practitioner observation days with practitioners of your choice.
- Year 2 - 17 days in the NCA clinic and 3 practitioner observation days with practitioners of your choice.
- Year 3 - 20 days in the NCA clinic.
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 course features 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 - our BSc 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 course curriculum
A series of “streams” runs through every year of the acupuncture course. 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- 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. If you are not eligible for a student loan and would like to talk to a member of staff about how to arrange your finances in order to fund the course - please get in touch with our Finance Director Daphne Smith.
Entry requirements and applying
Our BSc in acupuncture course is 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 course 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.
Preparing for study
As well as coming from a wide range of backgrounds, our students have a variety of academic qualifications and experiences. Some of you may not have studied for a while, or not have much previous academic study experience. During the first year of our BSc in Acupuncture we will help you to gain the academic skills you need to succeed on the course and there is extra help if you need it from our study support tutors. However, you can help yourself to prepare in advance for studying with us - in a variety of ways.
If your IT skills are a bit rusty, or you have not worked much with IT, we recommend you take a basic IT course such as CLAIT or ECDL. You can access these courses online or get in touch with your local Further Education College to see what they have on offer. Not only will you find enhanced IT skills useful on the course but they will stand you in good stead when you are running your own business as a fully qualified acupuncture practitioner.
Our suggested reading list has a variety of books recommended by our tutors to help you to find out more about acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. You can read these as a way of helping to decide whether studying acupuncture is right for you, or to help you to prepare for study with us. If you are excited and interested in what you read then you know you are on the right track.
Paul Davison Year 1 student
"I am from an army background and hadn’t done much academic study before, so the NCA’s advice about online courses was very helpful . I took a couple of free courses in the year before I started at the NCA including the courses. org “Learning how to learn” which helped me to recognise how I learn and put strategies into place. Now I have started I am glad that I did this and would highly recommend looking into what’s available and choosing the right preparation course(s) for you."
Introduction to academic learning
If you are returning to study after a long break or have English as a second language, you may have concerns about being ready to study at university level. There are some free online courses which you may like to study, before coming to the NCA, or within your first year here.
Taking an A level or GCSE
Taking an A or GCSE is a good way to get back into academic study and your local Further Education College will probably provide A level and GCSEs as night classes. We suggest Human Biology as a useful area of study – however any subject will get the grey matter working and get you back into study mode.
Getting hands on
Taking an introduction to bodywork course or another complementary discipline such as aromatherapy can be a great way of learning how to work with people in a healing environment.
Accreditation and Validation
Our courses are fully accredited and validated, ensuring your qualification is of the highest standard.
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.
The College has a new partnership with London South Bank University (LSBU), which validates the BSc in Acupuncture. Students starting in 2019 will receive their degree from LSBU on successful completion of their course.
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 course. 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.
Professional accreditation with the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB)
Our acupuncture course is 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.
Review by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
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.
Office for Students
We’re now registered with the Office for Students. This is the body set up by act of parliament to act as the independent regulator for all Universities and HE providers in England and Wales. We meet the Office for Students requirements for course quality, academic standards, student support, student protection and more.
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 strongly committed to research and building the evidence base for acupuncture. Research literacy is an abiding goal of our BSc in Acupuncture course, and training in critical appraisal is the cornerstone of the Research Stream that builds from year one onwards.
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.
So why is research so important to our profession?
Let’s hear what our Course Director and Research Stream Leader Lara McClure has to say.
Course Director Lara McClure
"Part of my job is to enthuse and enlighten our students about the value of being a “research literate practitioner”, although many are quite skeptical about this at the start of their training! The principle is that our graduates have the ability to understand and interpret up-to-date clinical evidence, and bring this to the treatment of their patients. Patients themselves are often aware of recent research in the age of the internet, and it’s important that practitioners are able to engage with patients and other healthcare professionals about research issues in a well-informed and confident way. Skeptical students soon realise that research is an essential part of their clinical toolkit!"
Hugh MacPherson talks to Marketing Manager Denise Magson about his acupuncture research at the University of York.
A brief history of research into acupuncture
By Hugh MacPherson, College co-founder and Professor 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, and 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).
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 (4).
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 (5), depression (6) and chronic neck pain (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 is as good as, or better than, 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.
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.
Hang out with us!
Online Presentation and Q&A Evenings
Join us online to find out more about the acupuncture course and talk to current NCA students and practicing graduates.
We are always happy to talk to you about studying acupuncture with us at the NCA!
Call Denise on
+44 (0)1904 343309
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.