Chinese Herbal Medicine MSc

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UKPASS code: 022372 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time
Start: 15 September 2016
Duration: 1 year
Location: Central London
Campus: Cavendish

Important tuition fee information – please read.

Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £9,500.00
Overseas: £13,500.00

The MSc Chinese Herbal Medicine extends your acupuncture practice into the other of the major modalities of Chinese medicine. It is a theoretical and clinical professional entry-training. You will develop your diagnostic and case formulation skills and also learn the materia medica and formulae of Chinese herbal medicine. Phytochemistry and pharmacokinetics are integrated into the understanding of the energetic interactions of herbs. Extensive practice with patients will take place in our on-site teaching clinic where theory is deconstructed and applied. Working in the dispensary with raw herbs will develop your kinaesthetic skills to deepen understanding. The aim is that you learn how to modify classic formulae to create new formulae which address complex patterns of illness.

This course contextualises Chinese medicine within its historical roots, and grounds it in the legal, ethical and inter-professional framework of the UK.

Course content

"The University of Westminster MSc CHM is accredited (approved) by the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association which accredits courses on behalf of all EHTPA Professional Associations, including the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine. This enables graduates from the MSc CHM to apply for membership of the RCHM. The EHTPA system of accreditation was endorsed by, and included in, the initial Steering Group Report to Government which recommended that a statutory register for herbal medicine practitioners be established"

EHTPA logoRCHM logo





The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Core modules

Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinical Practice

In this module you will take developing responsibility for all aspects of patient care. You will be guided in the construction of individual herbal formulae, applying research to ensure each patient is effectively treated. You will develop your case history taking skills, and your understanding of the relevance of tongue and pulse diagnosis to the construction of a complex diagnosis and treatment principle relevant for herbal medicine. You will also explore the various ways that herbal medicine may be applied or dispensed, dosage levels, and cautions and the yellow card protocol. You will complete your research project within this module.

Chinese Herbal Medicine in the UK

This module will look at issues that concern the practice of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in the UK at present, to include: the legal and political context of CHM in the UK and Europe; pharmacology, pharmacognosy, toxicology, CITES, quality assurance and quality control; inter-professional working; codes of ethics and practice; and research methods and issues. There will be field trips to Bristol Herb Garden, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew and Avicenna (Centre for Chinese Medicine).

Chinese Herbs and Formulae

This is the first module of the Chinese Herbal Medicine MSc course. Building on your foundation CM skills, you will develop and refine your understanding and articulation of aetiological and pathological processes while you learn the 150 most common herbs and 50 main formulae within treatment categories, patterns and common diseases. You will be introduced to the phytochemistry, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of herbs and be introduces to dispensary preparation.

Formulae and Strategies

This module involves the exploration and innovation of formulae from the perspective of Chinese Medicine bianbing (disease categories) and explores diseases recognised in the West but not traditionally described in Chinese medicine (eg post-viral syndrome, autoimmune disease, dermatology). You will be expected to evaluate, challenge, modify and develop theory and practice and apply critical enquiry into both traditional and modern theories in the light of new research. This module includes clinical practice.

Postgraduate Research Methods

This module provides the foundation of knowledge and skills needed to undertake ethical work-based research at Masters level. The process of research and evaluation from study design through data collection and data analysis is covered. A forum is provided for critical debate, enabling you to develop critical reasoning in relation to research design.

The Classics

This module focuses on the reconceptualising of materia medica at the level assumed in formula construction. You will cover the principles of CM formulae construction from various perspectives, e.g: shang han lun and wen bing, and develop your competence, and a greater appreciation of the roles of individual herbs though critical research, in a collaborative learning environment. You will also be introduced into the clinic, where you will take increasing responsibility for the treatment of patients under supervision and work in the dispensary becoming familiar with materia medica.

Course team

  • Alan Treharne, Course leader
  • Mike Potter, Module Leader
  • Yizhen Jia, Clinical Supervisor
  • Prof Volker Scheid (Head EASTMedicine)

EASTmedicine Summer School

Associated careers

This course is designed for acupuncturists who want to extend their practice repertoire to include herbal medicine, or for Chinese herbal medicine practitioners who wish to upgrade their academic skills to Masters level. Individual modules can be taken as consuming professional development (CPD)

Professional recognition

The course is accredited (approved) by the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association. This enables graduates to apply for membership of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Length of course

One year full-time (Tue and Wed - two days per week attendance to include clinical practice. Additional attendance for external field trips throughout the two years


Central London (Cavendish)

Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.


Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Career options in your subject area

Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

You can also browse the career options available to you after you graduate on the Career Development Centre's Finding work in your subject area pages and on the Prospects website.

Westminster Polyclinic

Pearl, one of our oldest patients (92 years young)
She had her first acupuncture treatment over 50 years ago. She has been having treatment in our Westminster Polyclinic since it opened.

"As far as I am concerned acupuncture is the top treatment”.
"When I come in to the clinic I may not be feeling very well, and finding it hard to walk, but when I leave I feel on top of the world and I bounce out!"

Westminster has an extremely busy student clinic, where students carry out clinical work right from their first year of study. The clinic sees a variety of patients, including NHS and social services referrals. Students are closely supervised, but are expected to work to a high standard in the clinic. Students also work in an external NHS clinic in London. For more information visit:

Staying Relevant

Steve on part-time mode (graduate 2012, first class honours)

"Over the years I have seen the course leaders continually finding ways of improving and making the course more relevant and instructive."

The Library

The students say: "The library facilities are fantastic – bright, modern and with a huge range of books. There are a large number of computers and study spaces and there are also study rooms that can be booked so you can do group work and group study sessions." 

"The library staff are really helpful, either finding information or showing you how to search and research." 

EASTmedicine Summer School

Our EASTmedicine summer school, every year, offers two weeks of research-based and clinically oriented seminars and practical workshops by leading academics and experienced clinicians in the field of Chinese and East Asian medicines. (below is the link to this year’s summer school event). Professor Volker Scheid gained a Wellcome Trust grant that aims to analyse the history of East Asian medicines throughout the last millenium by understanding the different modes of knowing and styles of practice that informed them. This project is aimed at creating a framework for researching East Asian medicines from a transnational perspective. For more information visit:

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.


After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

What some of our recent graduates say about the course

Connie Duxbury

Connie Duxbury, MSc Chinese Herbal Medicine graduate
"I loved studying CHM at the University of Westminster. The breadth of the subjects studied was inspiring: it gave me not only a solid base in herbal medicine itself, but also a broader understanding of the history of Chinese medicine and an appreciation of where the profession is today. Each lecturer brought with them a slightly different perspective and way of working with herbs, which brought to life the richness of the herbal tradition. The university library is well-stocked with books and journals. I had decided to study the course full-time, and this carried a significant workload - however I felt well-supported with the assignments and it meant that I was in the clinic from day 1, seeing the medicine in action straight away, which I loved!  I felt ready to practice straight after graduating, and set up a herbal dispensary in my clinic as soon as was possible."

Simon Becker, MSc Chinese Herbal Medicine graduate
"My primary aim for enrolling into the MSc programme at the University of Westminster was Master-level training. Having completed the course, I am highly satisfied with the education and training I received. On the academic side, the program's focus on research method, critical thinking and academic writing ensures Master-level academic training. For me, this academic training is extremely helpful for my work as a writer and teacher of Chinese medicine. Besides the academic training, the program also heavily focuses on developing clinical practice skills. Practicing in the UoW Polyclinic under the guidance of advanced practitioners and dispensing herbs in the clinic's own crude herb pharmacy promote a reflective clinical approach which helps to advance even experienced practitioner's skills in the practice of Chinese herbal medicine. Overall, the MSc-program at the University of Westminster has made me a more critical and better practitioner with a much clearer understanding of research. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student."

Alex Jacobs, MSc Chinese Herbal Medicine graduate
"I was initially attracted to enrol on the MSc in Chinese Herbal Medicine at the University of Westminster from the weight the course seem to place on gaining clinical practice. A significant percentage of contact hours were seeing patients in the student clinic. I was pleased to find that the clinic was well run and had a steady supply of patients. We were also lucky to be the first year that got access to the new raw herb dispensary, an invaluable experience in learning herbal medicine. On the academic side, I was impressed by the level of tuition, particularly being given a thorough introduction to the Shang Han Lun and the Warm Disease school. Additionally, we had modules dedicated to enhancing our academic reasoning and writing ability. The teaching staff for this were specialists from other disciplines within the university which not only made me feel more connected to the wider academic community but also provided a level of expertise which we may not else have received. Overall, I feel I have received an excellent foundation from which to proceed as a fledgling Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioner."

Olive Ruddy, MSc Chinese Herbal Medicine graduate (in reference to the course hours)
"I know that I need to put a fair bit of effort to achieve my goals. Looking back at my diary I averaged 2.5 days a week guided independent study (on top of my attendance at Westminster). From January that increased to three or four days nearer deadlines. My advice would be to allow at least 10 hours a week for each days attendance."

Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

16 November 2016Postgraduate Information EveningHarrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent Street
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Science and Technology

Our active research and postgraduate programmes also ensure that undergraduate students are in close contact with the cutting edge of applied scientific knowledge.

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