About the College

Northern College of Acupuncture located in Micklegate York

Welcome to the Northern College of Acupuncture!

The College was founded in 1988 by Hugh MacPherson and Nicholas Haines, when we offered our first acupuncture course. We added courses in Chinese herbal medicine in 1994, Nutritional Therapy in 2008  and our online only courses - MSc in Advanced Oriental Medicine (research and practice) and MSc in Advanced Complementary Medicine (research and practice) in 2014. The College became a registered charity in 2000 and we see our educational work as being both challenging and inspiring. The challenge comes from learning new ways of seeing and understanding. The inspiration comes from the insights, knowledge and skills that come with fresh perspectives.

We have a strong track record of developing and running courses leading to both professional and academic qualifications, and we have always been pioneers in the field. We were the first teaching institution of any kind in the UK to offer a University degree in acupuncture (our MSc in Acupuncture with the University of Wales, in 1995), the first to offer a postgraduate degree in Chinese herbal medicine (MSc in Chinese Herbal Medicine with the University of Wales, in 2004), and the first to achieve professional accreditation for our acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and nutritional therapy courses (in 1996, 2003 and 2010 respectively).

2014 saw the introduction of our online-only courses for practitioners:  our MSc in Advanced Oriental Medicine (Research and Practice) and MSc in Advanced Complementary Medicine (Research and Practice). These online courses are specifically designed to give practitioners a flexible structure to develop their knowledge and understanding of their area of practice, and also to acquire further practitioner skills, develop a speciality, develop research skills and contribute to the existing knowledge base through research. They are accessed by practitioners in acupuncture, oriental medicine and complementary medicine, from all over the world.

Over the years, the College has come to be recognised nationally for its work in the field of  acupuncture, Chinese medicine and nutritional therapy. We recruit up to 40 students every year to our acupuncture courses and up to 25 students every year to our nutritional therapy course. Our acupuncture and nutritional therapy students are drawn from a wide geographical area, mostly from between the north Midlands and the south of Scotland. Our Chinese herbal medicine courses are open to qualified acupuncturists only and have intakes of up to 12, with students drawn from an even wider geographical area including the EU.  Our online only MSc courses are attracting students from all over the world. 

We are in partnership with Middlesex University who validate all our courses and we have undergone “Review for Specific Course Designation” by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and received our final report. The QAA is the independent body which quality assures all UK Universities. Our acupuncture courses are accredited by the British Acupuncture Board (BAAB) and our nutritional therapy course is accredited by the Nutritional Therapy Education Committee (NTEC).

The day-to-day running of the College is overseen by our Principal, Richard Blackwell, backed up by members of the management team and all the staff. The College is governed by a Board of Trustees, a voluntary group of people from a variety of backgrounds and expertise who provide knowledge and experience to help steer the College, including our founders Hugh MacPherson and Nick Haines.

All of our educational programmes are designed to meet high standards of excellence and quality. They have a focus not just on acquiring knowledge and understanding, and learning techniques of practice, but also on the development of the practitioner. Our aim is to help our students to become balanced and well-rounded practitioners as well as educating them to a high academic level. At the NCA we recognise that professional practice has the complexity and diversity of a rich tapestry. Our programmes follow a structured approach to theory and practice but at the same time we are eclectic in our approaches to diagnosis and treatment and our tutors are all practitioners with wide ranging backgrounds in their own training. This enables our students to construct a wide-ranging personal repertoire from which they can draw creatively and flexibly to best meet their patients’ or clients’ needs.

These days, all of our courses have some element of e-learning, and our online MSc programmes are taught fully online. Our robust online teaching platform “e-learn with nca” delivers high quality and interactive e-learning material to our students in the UK and abroad.

Acupuncture, Chinese herbal  medicine and nutritional therapy are fields of knowledge where theory and practice remain closely linked. We therefore put considerable emphasis on the importance of clinical experience and early exposure to clinical practice is a key feature of our “in College” taught courses. We have a thriving and well respected teaching clinic and dispensary at the College, which is open every week of the year and serves our local communities offering acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional therapy. This provides a great clinical learning environment for our students at the heart of the College.

The College has a strong focus on promoting research activity. As well as our MSc programmes in 1990, we also established our research wing the Foundation for Research into Traditional Chinese Medicine (FRTCM), having foreseen the need to carry out robust research into the value of these therapies. The Foundation was originally established as a separate charity and later incorporated into the College (in 2011).

We also run a wide range of continuous professional development (CPD) options for practitioners. These include open seminars, summer schools, practitioner supervision groups, and research training. Other provision, such as our courses in Tai Chi, are open to all.

The College continues to grow and develop. We are proud of our staff, students and alumni and we are looking forward to celebrating our 30 years anniversary in 2018.