ACAOM releases Comprehensive Standards and Criteria for master’s level and PD programs

Revised standards were adopted April 23, 2018

The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (“ACAOM” or “Commission”) has the authority to establish and promulgate criteria and rubrics for the evaluation and accreditation of acupuncture and Oriental medicine institutions and programs. These take the form of accreditation standards and criteria, as well as various policies and procedures. ACAOM uses these standards as assessment measures to help ensure that institutions/programs pursuing and maintaining ACAOM accreditation meet acceptable levels of quality.

As required by the U.S. Department of Education, ACAOM maintains a systematic program of review that demonstrates that its standards are adequate to evaluate the quality of the education or training provided by the institutions and programs it accredits and relevant to the educational or training needs of students.


In 2013, the Commission adopted accreditation standards for professional doctorate (PD) programs which were formatted in a different fashion than standards for the master’s-level and postgraduate doctoral (DAOM) programs. The Commission convened a task force of content matter experts in 2015 to perform a comprehensive revision of the master’s-level accreditation standards utilizing relevant components of the PD standards as an initial draft. In 2016, the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (“CCAOM”) was involved in the review and afforded a meaningful opportunity to provide input. Throughout 2017, the Commission considered input received and further revised the standards. Given the close relationship between the master’s-level standards and the PD standards, the Commission united the two sets of standards into one document.

As ACAOM accredits and pre-accredits programs, as well as freestanding institutions, the Comprehensive Standards and Criteria describe institutional components and programmatic components for each criterion, as applicable. Some programmatic components apply to all programs (master’s-level and PD), others solely to master’s-level programs, and others solely to professional doctorate programs.

The postgraduate doctorate [DAOM] was not included in this revision process and is not currently addressed in this set of standards and criteria.


As a component of the revision process required by the U.S. Department of Education, ACAOM provided notice to all of the agency’s relevant constituencies, and other parties who have made their interest known to the agency, of the changes the agency proposed to make; gave the constituencies and other interested parties a 45-day opportunity to comment on the proposed changes; and took into account any comments on the proposed changes submitted timely by the relevant constituencies and by other interested parties.

To facilitate future modification of individual criteria and revision tracking, the Commission has adopted a new format for the accreditation standards. The Commission, after considering written comments, adopted the revised accreditation standards with modifications on 23 April 2018.


The Comprehensive Standards and Criteria for master’s level and professional doctorate [PD] programs may be accessed from the ACAOM website under Resources, or directly via the following URL:

The standards and criteria for postgraduate doctoral programs [DAOM] may be accessed directly via the following URL: