Five Branches University


Points of Excellence

For over 30 years, Five Branches University, Graduate School of Traditional Chinese Medicine has set the standards for excellence in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) education and healthcare.

Respected University

Recognized as one of the nation’s top TCM schools, Five Branches University provides the highest level of professional education and healthcare in Traditional Chinese Medicine and integrative medicine in the U.S. and internationally.

Two California Campuses

You can choose from our two beautiful campuses in Santa Cruz and San Jose, California or attend classes at both to enjoy breathtaking coastal views or unique cultural city experiences. Both campuses offer plenty of sunshine and a diverse and progressive environment in which to live.

Health Centers

The Five Branches University Health Centers located in Santa Cruz and San Jose, California provide the best of TCM healthcare. Treating over 160 patients each day, our health centers are the ideal place for students to gain experience in a clinical environment and for TCM clinicians and doctors to provide exceptional healthcare to their patients. Our staff includes specialists in neurology, internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, oncology, dermatology, immune-deficiency, ophthalmology, pain management, gastroenterology, and cardiology.

Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate Programs

Our nationally accredited Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MTCM) and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) programs provide a strong foundation in TCM diagnosis, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, the latest TCM research, extensive clinical training, and a comprehensive integrative medicine education. Our Asian Massage and Bodywork certification program offers students the opportunity to receive both California and national massage certification.

Experienced Faculty and Clinical Experts

Learn from the most highly accomplished faculty in TCM education. Many of our doctors and teachers have decades of experience teaching and practicing TCM in renowned hospitals and medical schools in China and the U.S.

Integrative Medicine at its Best

Throughout the MTCM program, you will learn the ancient and profound principles of TCM diagnosis and treatment, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, along with the best of Western medicine. As a DAOM student, you will strengthen your TCM knowledge and skills by learning advanced levels of traditional Chinese and Western medicine diagnosis, medical specializations, cross-referrals and the effective practice of inter-disciplinary medicine.

Extensive Herbology Training

Five Branches University is respected among TCM colleges for its outstanding herbology department. Among our instructors is Dr. Jeffrey Pang, the descendant of a famous Chinese herbalist. Our herb pharmacy contains more than 400 raw herbs, cataloged and stored in traditional wooden drawers, and over 350 patent formulas.

Specialty Certificate Options

As an MTCM student, you can receive specialty certification in Sports Medicine, Medical Qigong, Five Element and Tuina Massage to enhance and distinguish your TCM practice. The DAOM program offers advanced training by leading TCM specialists, medical doctors and educators to provide practitioners with the knowledge and skills to further specialize in their TCM practice in Women’s Health, Neuromuscular Medicine, and family medicine.

Study in China, Taiwan, and Korea

Our Study Abroad program is one of the best ways to experience the authentic practice of TCM integrated with modern Western medicine. Travel to Asia to learn TCM from highly knowledgeable doctors and teachers and to receive extensive clinical training in a hospital setting, including earning a Ph.D. at our sister schools in Hangzhou, Tianjin, and Shenyang, China.

Continuing Education

Our commitment to excellence in education continues beyond graduation with our continuing education programs. Bringing expert teachers and lecturers together, we offer a wide variety of high-quality courses in advanced Traditional Chinese Medicine and provide certification in Asian Massage and Bodywork and Medical Qigong.

Financial Aid Programs

Five Branches University is an accredited institution of higher education approved to participate in federal financial aid programs for the MTCM, MAc, and DAOM programs. Our financial aid programs can assist you in meeting the financial costs of your education, including both tuition and living expenses.

Career Opportunities

Our professional partnerships with Stanford University, the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Kaiser-Permanente, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, and Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine offer you outstanding educational and career opportunities around the world. Careers in the field of TCM are growing and include: establishing a private practice, joining a group practice, working in an integrative medical center, and job opportunities in education, publishing, or research. Whatever your career of choice, our career development department will guide and support you in pursuing your optimal career path, providing you with the business knowledge, skills and level of confidence required to become a successful Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.

Graduate Success

Our MTCM graduates consistently achieve the highest passing scores on both the California acupuncture licensing exam and the national certification exams. Upon graduation, you will be qualified to enroll in our Doctorate and Ph.D. program, to apply for a top-paying position at a medical institution or to establish a successful TCM practice anywhere in the world. Five Branches has turned out extraordinarily accomplished alumni who are leaders in every facet of TCM: practitioners, teachers, authors, international lecturers, consultants, and researchers. Access to these alumni offers you excellent networking opportunities for professional advancement. We hope you will join us at Five Branches University for a truly distinctive educational experience and to discover the rewarding career path of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The Five Branches

Five Branches University derives its name from the five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine which maintain and restore an individual’s harmony with nature: Acupuncture, Herbology, Tuina Massage, Energetics, and Chinese Dietary Medicine. Acupuncture uses very fine needles to regulate Qi (Yang) and Blood (Yin), produced by the internal organs, which flow in the regular channels and extra meridians that course throughout the body. According to TCM theory, all human physical disorders or diseases are related to the dysfunction of Qi and Blood. By inserting acupuncture needles incorrect points, we tonify Qi and Blood deficiencies or invigorate their stagnation, resulting in improved mental and physical health. Herbology is the preparation and use of plants and minerals as a prescription medicine. Chinese herbology is found in many forms, including powder, pills, teas, and creams. These herbs treat disorders and diseases through internal or external absorption. Since Chinese herbs have different tastes, properties, natures, and functions, and because they enter various channels, the herbs affect the flow of Qi and Blood, as well as the body’s balance of Yin and Yang. Tuina Massage Tuina Massage refers to the use of traditional Chinese massage to treat injuries of tendons and muscles, and organ disorders. Tuina applies pressure on the points, as well as applying specific movements along the meridians, to regulate and harmonize the flow of Qi and Blood. Energetics are exercises that heal through rhythmic breathing and body movements. Energetics includes internal healing arts, such as the Five-Animal Exercise developed by Hua Tuo, meditation, Medical Qigong and various styles of Taijiquan, an internal martial art practiced worldwide. Chinese Dietary Medicine Chinese Dietary Medicine is a highly effective method of self-treatment handed down in China over thousands of years. Like all agricultural societies, China understands the vital connection between food and health. Thus, TCM doctors prescribe energetically balanced diets to treat disharmonies in the Qi, Blood, and organ functions, using the energetic profile of foods. At Five Branches, we believe TCM education provides a profound view of the human relationship to nature—a philosophical view at the heart of all great human civilizations. We wish to perpetuate this inherent TCM wisdom.


Five Branches University, a Graduate School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is dedicated to educating students to become exceptional practitioners, educators, and researchers.

Our Purpose

Five Branches University is dedicated to:

  • Provide the highest level of professional education in Traditional Chinese Medicine and integrative medicine in the U.S. and internationally.
  • Develop highly-skilled TCM clinical practitioners, educators, and researchers.
  • Advance the practice of TCM as an independent medical modality through clinical practice, education, and research.
  • Encourage professional collaboration among TCM practitioners, faculty, patients, and other healthcare providers to transform the worldview of healthcare; to recognize TCM as a significant component of world medicine.
  • Support an international and diverse cultural community by offering our programs in three languages and by providing students the opportunity to study abroad.
  • Foster a professional environment for faculty, staff and students which promotes academic excellence as well as personal growth and development.
  • Provide exceptional TCM and integrative medicine patient care to the community through the Five Branches University health centers.
  • Educate the general public about the significant benefits of TCM healthcare through continuing education programs and community lectures.

Vision and Values

Over the next 20 years, Five Branches University will evolve into an international university, teaching high-level TCM education in English, Chinese, and Korean and offering TCM healthcare in an integrative medicine environment throughout the U.S. and worldwide. TCM philosophy views medicine as a compassionate response to human suffering. We will embrace this philosophy by encouraging supportive and humanistic academic and healthcare environments. Our faculty members will be chosen based not only on academic excellence but also the passion they emanate while teaching and mentoring students. Our students will be chosen for academic competence as well as their compassion and commitment to serve others. Four trends will influence our vision over the next 20 years: An increasing number of patients will continue to seek highly qualified TCM practitioners as primary healthcare providers. TCM schools will continue to improve their programs to provide highly skilled TCM clinical practitioners to meet this growing demand. TCM universities in China and medical experts in the U.S. will continue to collaborate and share their expertise in TCM and Western medicine, a vital component for the advanced development of TCM doctoral programs and research. Scientists, researchers, and medical institutions will continue to research the depth and efficacy of TCM, resulting in greater acceptance of Chinese medicine among medical professionals and medical schools. A greater demand for integrated healthcare will evolve as healthcare professionals join together to address the population’s full health needs by educating one another about their work and collaborating to provide effective treatment, prevent disease and promote optimal well-being for patients.


Santa Cruz

200 7th Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Santa Cruz, California, USA

San Jose

1885 Lundy Ave., Suite 108

95131 San Jose, California, USA

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