Supervision and university affiliation

Even if you are part of a group or network (see above) you  may still feel the need for more dedicated  support or access to particular expertise. It may be possible (though unlikely) to get supervision by private arrangement but generally you would need to be affiliated to a university or other relevant institution.

For most practitioners the only feasible route to sustained supervision is to enrol for a postgraduate degree, which can be expensive as well as time-consuming. Many of the acupuncturists taking Masters degrees have self-funded, and this is true also for some PhD’s, though a few grants are available. Most universities will be happy to take you on for postgraduate study if you meet their entry criteria and pay the fees; however, some have more of a focus and track record in acupuncture/CAM research:

This is not a comprehensive list and many more have hosted at least one postgraduate acupuncture student at some point in the last 20 years.

Of the independent UK acupuncture teaching institutions only the Northern College of Acupuncture currently has a postgraduate acupuncture degree course.

The Research Council for Complementary Medicine mapped all UK CAM PhDs a few years ago, with their locations and research subjects: www.rccm.org.uk/map/node. You may find more details of acupuncture research at universities by looking on their individual websites.

The supervision needs of acupuncture practitioner-researchers are mainly for research expertise rather than for acupuncture expertise, so it may be more useful to team up with a knowledgeable researcher that you feel you can get on well with, whether or not their university has a CAM interest. If your interest is in making a career in research then the best step may be to do a generic health sciences research Masters degree in a well-regarded department. This would be a good springboard towards getting a funded doctoral studentship (e.g. http://www.phc.ox.ac.uk/study/dphil-and-msc-by-research/studentships)

The BAcC stipulate that applicants for their research funding must have university affiliation. However, it is still possible to do worthwhile practice-based research on your own, without external funding or supervision. If being an acupuncture practitioner is your main passion then small-scale projects focused on areas of interest in the clinic can be pursued without getting into bed with a university.