Doctoral Course Descriptions


AOMA’s innovative DAOM program includes three primary curriculum areas: specialty of practice in integrative medical care and management of patients with pain and associated psychosocial phenomena; inquiry; and professionalism and leadership. The didactic courses and in-residence internship 69-credit program may be completed in two years, with another 1-2 years to complete externship and research project.

The professional doctorate (DAcOM) core courses of 12 credits include SP 6011 Advanced Clinical Assessment in Integrative TCM Practice, SP 6014 Nutritional Medicine, PLD 7812 Interprofessional Leadership, and RQ0145 Practice-Based Learning and Improvement. In addition,

DAcOM learners choose 12 credits from the elective track and complete 15.5 clinical credits. The clinical specialty doctoral (DAOM) learners take all of the courses of the integrative and specialty practice, inquiry, and professionalism and leadership courses, as well as 17 credits of internship and 7 credits of externship.

The following pages contain comprehensive listings of the courses offered within the DAOM and DAcOM curricula. For each course, course number and name are listed, along with all co- and prerequisite courses. A key to the number of didactic, practical and clinical hours, and quarter credits contained within each course is listed below each course number.

Keys can be read in the following manner: didactic hours/practical hours/clinical hours/quarter credits.

Credit Hours

Each didactic quarter credit is equivalent to 12 hours of in-class instruction. Each clinical quarter credit is equivalent to 24 hours of instruction. Each DAOM clinical externship quarter credit is equivalent to 36 hours of instruction (24 hours for DAcOM).

Integrative Practice Curriculum

SP 6010  Biomedical Theories on Mechanisms of Acupuncture

24/0/0/2  Pre-req.: none

Terms Offered: Spans Summer–Fall

This is an advanced course of in-depth study into the modern perspectives and emerging research into the underlying foundations and mechanisms of acupuncture. Pain and emotional conditions are multi-faceted, as are the management of them with a wide array of tools and methods. As new research is published, concepts of meridians and qi continue to evolve from microbiology, biochemistry, and biophysics viewpoints. Anatomical and physiological principles will be discussed from both conventional biomedical and TCM models to foment integration of thought and theory. Course assignments will encourage students to develop, write, and defend their own theory while developing basic research skills. 

SP 6011  Advanced Clinical Assessment in Integrative TCM Practice

18/18/0/3  DAcOM Pre-req.: WS0292, WS0310, WS0311

Terms Offered: Spans Summer–Fall

This course builds on the master’s physical assessment and biomedical diagnostic courses by expanding on the interpretation of laboratory tests, imaging, and physical exams that can be used in an integrative TCM practice setting. Clinical indications for these exams and assessments, including risks and benefits, will be identified in the context of common disorders from an integrative medical perspective. The principles and application of laboratory tests as well as diagnostic tests and exams will be explored, including diagnostic equipment, diagnostic imaging, and functional physical assessments. Learners will review written diagnostic reports with associated patient cases, distinguish between normal and abnormal findings, and incorporate findings into their objective and subjective assessment of the patient. This course will prepare learners to effectively communicate the findings of advanced clinical and diagnostic assessments with patients as well as other licensed healthcare practitioners.

SP 6021  Advanced Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques

18/18/0/3  Pre-req.: SP6011

Terms Offered: Spans Winter–Spring

This course advances knowledge in the areas of diagnosis and treatment. Contemporary and traditional approaches to assessment related to psychosocial and physical concerns are employed. Classical and contemporary texts are used as a platform to engender relevant treatments in contemporary practice. The literature is used to develop concepts for treating psychosocial disorders and chronic/recurrent and complex conditions using manual therapeutics, medicinals, acupuncture, diet, and exercise. Special diagnostics are advanced in the areas of tongue, pulse, abdominal, and other assessments. Specialty clinics will build on techniques covered in class as well as those employed by guest lecturers.

SP 6036  Integrative Medical Practice

36/0/0/3  Co-req: SP SP6011

Terms Offered: Spans Winter–Spring

This course is designed to deepen concepts of integrative medical practice. The course focusses on the unique needs of patients and their cultural and individual beliefs regarding their condition as well as about health, illness, and treatment. Course content will include case management processes, patient-centered plans of care, recordkeeping, ethical practice, and inquiry skills in the clinical practice arena. The course will cover ethical and legal aspects of medical recordkeeping, strategies for creating economic and professional success, and the development of interprofessional and collaborative relationships. Students will generate case reports and case presentations and gain skills to establish inter-professional collaborations pertaining to integrative medical practice.

Specialty Practice Curriculum

SP 6014  Holistic Pain Management Practice

36/0/0/3  Co-req: DAOM SP6011; DAcOM HT0200, RQ0122

Terms Offered: Spans Winter-Spring

This is an advanced course of in-depth study into the principles and application of nutritional and herbal medicine as well as guided movement exercises and mindfulness for self-improvement. Learners will explore the identification and treatment of nutritional imbalances with advanced

information on functions, deficiency, repletion, and toxicity states of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This course will train clinicians to properly utilize nutritional and herbal medicine in their clinical practice. A variety of movement exercises and mindfulness activities will focus on improving patients’ lifestyle and habits while developing their self-efficacy through empowerment.

SP 6020  TCM Classics and Advanced TCM Theory

36/0/0/3  Co-req.: SP6011

Terms Offered: Spans Summer–Fall (odd years)

This advanced foundation in TCM history, theory, and classics is an in-depth exploration of acupuncture and herbal theories and  strategies, including  etiology, pathology, diagnosis, and differentiation, from classics such as the Huang Di Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classics), the Shang Han Lun (Treatise on Cold- Induced Diseases), Jin Gui Yao Lue (Golden Chamber), and Zhen Jiu Da Cheng (The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion), and other ancient classics, as well as additional advancements cultivated throughout the centuries on patient-centered models of care and associated psychosocial  phenomena.

SP 7010  Musculoskeletal Disorders

36/0/0/3  Co-req.: SP6011

Terms Offered:  Spans Winter–Spring

This course is an advanced, in-depth exploration of pain and/or disability from acute injury and trauma, as well as from chronic musculoskeletal and autoimmune disorders, along with strategies for effective treatment. In addition, the psychosocial  impact of chronic pain disorders and disabilities on patients and their  families and common coping mechanisms will be explored. The primary focus will be the treatment of injury to joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and  myofascial tissues.

SP7011  Neurologic, Dermatologic, and Sensory Disorders

36/0/0/3  Co-req.: SP6011

Terms Offered: Spans Summer–Fall (even years)

This course is an advanced, in-depth exploration of neurologic, sensory, and integumentary disorders and associated psychosocial phenomena. The primary focus will include acute injuries and chronic disorders of the integumentary, neurologic, and sensory organ systems. The course will include TCM theory as it applies   to a biomedical understanding of the central, cranial, peripheral, autonomic, and enteric nervous  systems.

SP 7012  Eco-Psychosocial

36/0/0/3  Co-req.: SP6011

Terms Offered: Spans Summer–Fall (odd years)

This course is an advanced, in-depth exploration of somatoform disorders, psychosomatic disorders, and somaticized pain that result from psychosocial disorders, along with effective treatment strategies for these disorders. Rooted in the classical Chinese foundational model, this course explores the continua  of biomedical disorders that scale between psyche and soma, internal and external, and the impact of shock on the various biological systems whether that shock is physical, psychosocial, or ecological.

SP 7017  TCM Internal Medicine

36/0/0/3  Co-req.: SP6011

Terms Offered: Spans Winter–Spring (odd years)

This course will make an advance inquiry into TCM internal medicine practice. The course will review the etiology, risk factors, pathophysiology, prevalence, clinical presentation, diagnostic evaluation and interpretation of cardio-pulmonary, vascular and lymphatic, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and urogenital disorders. The primary focus of the course will be on advanced TCM theory and approaches to the treatment and management of internal medicine conditions. While not all topics will be covered in lecture, through written assignments students can explore systems or disorders of their choice to deepen their knowledge in a specific area of study.

SP 7020  Specialty Practice Electives

12/0/0/1  Co-req.: SP6011

Terms Offered: Spans Summer-Fall (even years)

Every term a topic is offered as a 1 credit course: DAOM students must complete 3 credits.

The specialty practice elective course offers lectures and coursework covering various topics on the integrative medical specialty in pain and psychosocial phenomena associated with pain. Some topics may have two or more parts for more in-depth study across multiple terms.

Topic I: Oncologic Disorders and Palliative Care

Topic II: Psychiatric Comorbidities of Pain

Topic III: Dermatologic Disorders

Topic IV: Sports Medicine

Topic V: Applied Channel Theory for Pain Management

More topics will be added to schedules periodically.

Inquiry Curriculum

INQ 5011  Paradigms of Inquiry

24/0/0/2  Prereq.: none

Terms Offered: Spans Summer–Fall, Winter–Spring

This course is used to explore paradigms of inquiry such that   the learner is informed of the assumptions underlying his or her focus. Emphasis is placed on scientific writing, critical evaluation, citation of the literature, as well as the development of a hypothesis and research-specific aims. Learners choose a faculty advisor as they develop the line of inquiry for their research project, and gain approval of the literature review section and research abstract of their proposal.

Paradigm or worldview describes an approach to defining reality that has become commonplace since Kuhn published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962. Learners will explore the paradigms that affect their worldview and how it affects their choice of inquiry. It includes an awareness of the researcher's assumptions and beliefs embedded within the researcher's socioeconomic background, which affects the study's design and reporting. Significant paradigms that frame research are explored, including positivism, post-positivism, critical theory, and constructivism. It empowers the learner to describe and situate their work knowingly. In this course, learners choose their research question, faculty advisor, create an approved literature review, and begin the research abstract for their proposal.

INQ 5013  Methods of Inquiry and Research Design

24/0/0/2  Prereq.: INQ5011

Terms Offered: Winter

Learners build on the previous course to complete the methods section of their research project  proposal. Data management and collection instruments are designed in the context of the developing research proposal. The research proposal is completed in this course and then submitted for approval by the Scientific Review Committee and the IRB. The research proposal is achieved in this course and then submitted for approval by the Scientific Review Committee and the IRB. Towards this goal, all instruments and documentation are created and approved by faculty, including informed consent. Final approval of the research advisor and committee members must be documented and submitted to the program director for approval in this class

INQ 5012   Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment

24/0/0/2  Prereq.: INQ5013

Terms Offered: Spring

This course focuses on the theory and essential statistical methods pertinent to quantitative and qualitative research design. Each learner will utilize the appropriate statistical methods for the research question. This class will be used to develop and implement the data analysis plan of the methods section of the proposal, using the appropriate quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. The research proposal is completed in this course and then submitted for approval by the Scientific Review Committee and the IRB. 

This course is focused on the selection of the method/s to be used for the research project. There is an emphasis on the choice of the best method for the research question. Learners will refine the literature view for the address of the chosen research method. Learners focused on qualitative methods projects will develop necessary skills for conducting interviews, coding, and presentation methods. Learners on the quantitative track will identify the appropriate statistical methods for their research question. Those doing mixed methods will do both. The work product for this course is the methods section of the research proposal. Thus, learners will develop the proposal's methods section's data analysis plan, using the appropriate quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods.

Recommended: Labs for those on quantitative track as well as for those on the quantitative track

INQ 8080   Research Project

48/0/0/4  Prereq.: INQ5011, INQ5013, INQ5012, faculty approval

Terms Offered: Spans Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring

After completing the inquiry curriculum and obtaining approval of the research project by the Scientific Review Committee and IRB, learners conduct the research project, working alone or in teams, and overseen by assigned faculty research advisors. Completed research projects must be submitted to the Doctoral Study Committee for acceptance, with the research presented and written up for submission to a peer- reviewed publication. After approval of the Scientific Review Committee and IRB's research project, learners conduct the research project, working alone or in teams, and overseen by assigned faculty research advisors. Professional editing of the final research project is required before advisor review and approval. The completed research project is then submitted to the Doctoral Study Committee for acceptance, with the research presented and written up for submission to a peer-reviewed publication.

Leadership & Teaching Curriculum

PLD 7812  Interprofessional Leadership


Terms Offered: Spans Summer–Fall

The purpose of the course is to provide students with basic concepts and theories of inter-professional leadership in integrative health and medicine (IHM) and opportunities for skill-building in leadership and problem solving. A mix of didactic and experiential methods will encourage exploration of inter-professional leadership styles and roles for the TCM-trained leader in integrative health care. The course also focuses on developing professional communication, presentation, and writing skills, and the initiation of the learner’s portfolio project.

PLD 6810  Teaching and Learning

24/0/0/2  Prereq.: none

Terms Offered: Spans Summer–Fall (even years)

The purpose of this course is to provide the knowledge, skills, and abilities pertinent to teaching and knowledge transmission. This course focuses on teaching in the health professions and includes curriculum design, development of instructional objectives, teaching methods, and assessment techniques. Additional skills include active learner-based teaching methods, presentation skills, supervising and teaching in clinical settings, educational technology, and patient education.

DAcOM-Specific Coursework and Elective Tracks

In addition to the three specific courses from the integrative and specialty courses (SP6011, SP6014, and PLD7812), DAcOM learners will take the RQ0145 DAcOM Portfolio and Practice-Based Learning and Improvement course (3 credits), and chose an elective track to complete at least 12  credits.

RQ0145  Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

36/0/0/3  Prereq.: PT0440

This requirement provides a platform for students to develop a self- analysis of practice to identify professional strengths and weaknesses, and develop a program of life-long learning to remediate weaknesses and further develop strengths. Working individually or on teams, students will run a need analysis and create a quality improvement project (QIP). Upon institutional acceptance, students will implement their QIP and report on its outcomes. The three credits are spread out one credit at a time over three terms.

DAcOM Elective Tracks

There are three elective tracks to choose from: specialty track, research track, or concentration with honors track.

Specialty Elective Track

In the specialty track, students may select courses from the clinical specialty DAOM curriculum that they wish to take and that are   not already included in the DAcOM curriculum. Courses include  a variety of topics within the specialty of integrative medicine (PLD and SP courses). Scholarly products from the courses become portfolio items.

Research Elective Track

Students who choose the research elective track will take the three inquiry courses from the clinical specialty DAOM curriculum and design their research project. Once accepted by the Scientific Review Committee and Institutional Review Board (if required), the research is conducted and overseen by a faculty advisor. A final scholarly paper written for submission to a peer-reviewed publication and accepted by faculty is the final product for the DAcOM portfolio.

Concentration with Honors Track

In the concentration track, students develop a self-study curriculum in an area not currently available at AOMA, including learning objectives, methods, and means of final assessment. After faculty approval of the plan, the student may proceed. A formal presentation and a manuscript written for submission to a peer-reviewed publication will be required and included in the final portfolio.

Doctoral Advanced Clinic Practice

In the DAcOM, a student may elect to complete the clinic credits in any combination of internship and externship experiences. Internship is defined as clinical work under the direct supervision of AOMA’s faculty and clinic credits are computed with 24 clock hours being equivalent to 1 quarter credit. Externship is clinical work under the supervision of a licensed healthcare provider who is not AOMA faculty. Students may combine internship and externship as their own learning needs dictate. In the DAOM, 17 credits of internship are earned during the residency weeks, with an additional 7 credits of externship earned in the interim periods between the residency weeks. For the DAOM, externship requires 36 hours per credit.

Doctoral internship hours are provided a number of ways with DAOM and DAcOM learners working together. Some of these experiences include doctoral-level clinic theater with practitioners from the AOMA faculty as well as from different fields within the community; medical home model within AOMA’s student clinics, which hone skills of collaboration and consultation for improved patient care; and specialty clinics that bring in experts from various fields, sharing different methods, approaches, and styles to enrich each student’s own practice. As AOMA continues to develop collaborative relationships within the Austin area, advanced rotations will be added, and may require that the learner is licensed in Texas to practice acupuncture. DAcOM students who have earned their MAcOM degree and work full-time at AOMA may earn up to one-third of their internship hours as clinical teaching assistants. During the interim period between residency weeks, doctoral students may earn clinical hours through other offerings in Austin as they become available.

SPI 8010  Doctoral Internship

0/0/408/17  DAOM Co-req.: SP6031

                   DAcOM Co-req.: MAcOM 2nd  practical  exam  or  completed  master’s  degree

This course consists of 17 credit hours (408 clock hours) of on-site practice at AOMA clinics and with collaborative partnerships. The course  focuses  on  the  practical  application  of  advanced  clinical skills to the problems and needs of patients experiencing pain and associated psychosocial disorders. It further develops knowledge  and skills in relation to collaboration, consultation, and scholarly inquiry to support expertise in pain and psychosocial care. Clinical practice begins in the second week of residence in the doctoral program and continues throughout the course of study to provide direct, immediate application of theory and techniques.

SPE 8030  Doctoral Externship

0/0/252/7  DAOM Prereq.: SP6036

                 DAcOM Prereq.: AT0221 or SP6036

Students will identify their preferred externship sites and present their externship plan for approval. The plan must include a variety of locations, practitioners, and medical modalities in direct connection to the specialty that provides depth and breadth of exposure, as well as collaboration within the community where the student currently practices. Practitioners who provide the learning experience for the candidates must be at a doctoral level or have a terminal degree within their field. Sites may include, but are not limited to, pain management clinics, community clinics, private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, assisted living or nursing homes, and cancer hospitals. (Externship is optional for DAcOM students.)