Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine

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The Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SITCM) has been producing industry-ready practitioners in Traditional Chinese Medicine in Australia since 1984.
The Institute was established to promote the growth and development of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) within our community and the health profession by providing accredited courses of the highest standards.

Bachelor of TCM Course Overview

The Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (BTCM) is a four-year undergraduate degree in the discipline of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The course provides students with a comprehensive foundation in the theory and practice of traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese herbal dispensing, biomedical sciences, and the role of a professional Chinese medicine practitioner in the Australian healthcare system.

The broad educational base of the degree, strong clinical practice focus and the development of analytical skills offered within it will equip graduates to be life-long learners and will encourage them to develop a wider professional role in healthcare.

This course is approved by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) in all three divisions of registration: Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Chinese Herbal Dispensing.

Graduate Outcomes

The course has been aligned to the characteristics of learning outcomes at Australian Qualification Framework Level 7 and to the professional capabilities of Chinese medicine accreditation standards. Accordingly, at the conclusion of the Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the theories and principles of Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and Chinese herbal dispensing.
  2. Critically review and analyse, consolidate, and synthesise relevant Chinese Medicine knowledge, ethics, and professional standards.
  3. Apply and adapt knowledge and skills appropriate to the delivery of Chinese medicine.
  4. Exercise critical thinking and informed judgment in identifying health problems, planning, and applying appropriate Chinese medicine treatments.
  5. Utilise appropriate and effective communication skills when engaging with clients, and other healthcare professionals.
  6. Demonstrate capacity for continuing professional development as a Chinese Medicine practitioner.

Course Duration and Delivery

The duration of BTCM is 4 years full-time. Students may choose to complete the course on a part-time basis for a maximum duration of 10 years (part-time study is not available to international students). Part-time students should consult with the Registrar.

The coursework component is undertaken at the Institute’s campus located in Sydney’s CBD; students also undertake a total of 900 hours of extensive supervised clinical practice training at the Institute’s teaching clinic and at approved external clinics of registered practitioners of TCM and non-TCM professions. Students will receive approximately equal clinical training in acupuncture and in Chinese herbal medicine/dispensing.

Course Overview

The BTCM consists of six subject areas that are described below:

THEORETICAL PARADIGMS

The BTCM provides students with education in the theoretical paradigms of traditional Chinese medicine including its terminology, history, theoretical orientation, principles and diagnosis. These studies will provide a firm understanding of the theory of Chinese medicine as well as develop practical skills in collecting and interpreting information in a clinical setting.

ACUPUNCTURE AND CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE

Students will study the full range of modalities of Chinese medicine which provide an understanding of the theoretical aspects specific to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine/dispensing, as well as practical training in
the application of these therapeutic methods. Students will study classical Chinese medicine literature to provide an understanding and appreciation of the sources of many of the concepts and therapeutic approaches used in contemporary Chinese medicine.

BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES

Students will study basic and biomedical sciences such as anatomy, biochemistry, Histology, physiology, Pathophysiology, microbiology, pathology, Clinical Diagnosis, and pharmacology in western medicine. These studies aim to provide an understanding and appreciation of the theoretical background of modern biomedicine in order to establish common ground for communication with the established healthcare system in

Australia, to enable practitioners to interpret the biomedical viewpoint, and to encourage the application of scientific knowledge in clinical practice.

CLINICAL STUDIES

Clinical Chinese medicine studies will provide a foundation in TCM internal medicine, TCM traumatology, TCM gynaecology, TCM paediatrics and dermatology. This will provide students with theoretical and practical skills in the diagnosis, differentiation and clinical management of a wide range of health disorders using acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine.

CLINICAL TRAINING

Students will undertake Clinical Training throughout the course which includes clinical observation, clinical practicum and internship. These studies aim to provide practical training in the application of the theories of Chinese medicine and biomedicine, in the management of a wide range of health disorders using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, as well as in the operation of a Chinese medicine clinic or dispensary.

PROFESSIONAL AND PRACTICE ISSUES

In an integrated manner and throughout the duration of the course, students will study professional and practice issues that include ethics, counselling and communication, the legislative framework and legal responsibilities, practice management, small business management, first aid, and research methods. This will assist students in a range of areas needed for the effective operation of an independent practice in Chinese medicine and in their ongoing professional development undertakings. This aspect of the course is integrated systematically throughout the teaching and learning process to assist in the development of appropriate interpersonal, communication and management skills to enable graduates to operate a successful private practice.

Graduates will be expected to demonstrate humane and ethical behaviour in their professional life as well as respect for diversity within the wider Australian community. Graduates will be aware of the need for ongoing professional development and possess critical literature appraisal kills to enable them to undertake ongoing post-graduate education.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the course will generally enter private practice as primary practitioners and will possess knowledge and understanding of a range of modalities of Chinese medicine including acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

The Institute expects that some graduates will become TCM practitioners either self-employed in private practice or as a member of a team in a clinic that offers a range of therapies, some may undertake Chinese medicine research, become involved in education, product development, management and sales roles in pharmaceutical and herbal companies, provide healthcare advice and consultancy online, and some may practice in hospitals, community health centres, and other healthcare agencies.

As primary healthcare practitioners, graduates will be competent in the practice of Chinese medicine and conversant with the legal responsibilities, ethics, and standards of Australian health professions generally. Graduates will be familiar with the Australian healthcare system in order to make appropriate referrals and to use that system in the interests of their patients.

Credit for Previous Study

Applicants who have completed post-secondary studies may request consideration for advanced standing towards the BTCM. Applications for credit should include full documentation of previous studies, including unit descriptions. Granting advanced standing for previous study ensures that students commence study at a level that appropriately recognises their prior learning experiences, and are not required to repeat equivalent learning successfully undertaken in another context. For more information and an application form for advanced standing please contact the Institute.

Bachelor of TCM Entry Requirements

To be considered for admission, applicants must provide evidence that they meet the requirements of at least one of the following three categories:

1. Completion of Secondary Studies

  • Successful completion of the NSW HSC and attainment of the required ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) of 70; or
  • Successful completion of an equivalent secondary qualification either interstate or overseas and attainment of the required entrance standard.

The NSW Department of Education and Communities should be contacted to determine the equivalency of overseas secondary qualifications before lodging an application.

2. Completion of Australian Post-Secondary Studies

  • Successful completion of accredited vocational (Certificate IV level and above) and higher education studies under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); or
  • Satisfactory completion of an accredited Tertiary Preparation Program or a Foundation Studies Program offered by an Australian university that would enable students to gain entry to an Australian university.

3. Alternative Admission

Applicants who do not meet the above requirements may gain entry to a course by addressing one of the following criteria:

  • Successful completion of at least one unit at Higher Education level in Australia;
  • Successful completion of recognised overseas post-secondary (vocational or tertiary) studies;
  • Full-time paid employment experience of two years or more;
  • Submitting an application for credit that meets the requirements of the Credit for Prior Learning (Advanced Standing) Policy and Procedure; or
  • Successful completion of a Special Tertiary Admissions Test administered by the Universities Admissions Centre.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

All applicants need to demonstrate English language proficiency by providing evidence of ONE of the following four situations:

1. English is your primary language:

Applicants whose primary language is English, and whose primary and secondary education was all taught and assessed in English in one of the following countries:

  • Australia;
  • Canada;
  • New Zealand;
  • Republic of Ireland;
  • South Africa;
  • United Kingdom; or
  • United States of America.

2. Successful completion of one of the following qualifications taught in English:

  • Year 12 secondary schooling;
  • A minimum of one full year of tertiary studies;
  • An accredited Tertiary Preparation Program or a Foundation Studies Program (minimum period of study of 1 school year);
  • An Australian qualification recognised as at least AQF Certificate IV;
  • A minimum of one year of full-time study at AQF Associate Diploma or Diploma level; or
  • Certificate IV in English for Academic Purposes (EAP).

3. Successful completion of the following English language tests within the last two years:

English Language TestsMinimum Requirement
IELTS Academic6.5 overall (min. 6.0 in each subtest)
TOEFL Paper-Based Test
(PBT)
575 overall (min. 4.5 in TWE)
TOEFL Internet-Based Test (iBT)90 overall (min. 21 in writing)
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic58 overall (min. 59 in all communicative skills)
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)176 overall
Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)176 overall
Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) Multiple Choice155 in the verbal (critical) reasoning component

Applicants who wish to register as a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner at the completion of their BTCM course must meet the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Registration Standard: English Language Skills. These standards differ from the standards required for admission to SITCM.

4. Successful completion of one of the following other qualifications:

QualificationMinimum Requirement
International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)Grade 4 in one of the following English courses:
• English B at higher level
• English A: language and literature at standard or higher level
• English A: literature at standard or higher level
United Kingdom GCE A LevelsC grade in at least one Humanities subject at AS or A2 level
Singapore-Cambridge GCE A LevelsC grade in at least one Humanities subject at H1 or H2 level
Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)C pass in 920 Literature in English
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)Level 4 in English Language or Literature in English