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Our History

  • Why Five Branches?

Five Branches was founded in 1984, with the explicit intention to bring the highest-quality, authentic Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) instruction to the Western world.  We carefully selected distinguished faculty members who were trained in China and invited them to share their profound knowledge of Chinese medicine with our students. The history of Five Branches began when several of these extraordinary yet humble TCM practitioners accepted our invitation.

In the past 36 years, we have evolved from a small Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) college into a world-class TCM University. Our students, faculty, staff and alumni, those who have collectively shaped our history, have contributed greatly to the University’s mission. Here are a few of the milestones we have celebrated along the way.

Five Branches University Timeline

Our First Ten Years – 1984 through 1993

  • Five Branches is approved as a degree-granting school by the California Council of Education. We enroll our first class of 18 students.
  • The first graduating classes achieve a 100% passing rate on the licensing exams.
  • We build a modern seven-room clinic at our Santa Cruz campus.
  • Five Branches is respected among TCM colleges for its outstanding herbology department. Among our instructors is Dr. Jeffrey Pang, the descendant of a renowned Chinese herbalist family. 
  • The Study Abroad program is established. Five Branches students take their first trip to China.

A Time of Expansion – 1994 through 2003

  • Five Branches is one of the first TCM colleges to receive national accreditation.
  • We expand our classrooms, library and clinic, adding 18 treatment rooms.
  • The Sports Medicine Program, and the Externship Program are established.
  • We are the first nationally accredited acupuncture school in the U.S to pioneer a comprehensive Medical Qigong Program.

An International Community – 2004 through 2013

  • Five Branches opens the San Jose campus, initially offering the Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MTCM) program in English, and later expanding to include the Chinese MTCM program.
  • The Postgraduate Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) program is established at the San Jose campus offering advanced TCM training in English and Chinese. We welcome international lecturers from around the world to share their expertise with our students.
  • Five Branches co-hosts the first International Conference on Integrated Medicine with Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in China. Together, we develop a joint Doctoral/Ph.D. program.

A Growing TCM University – 2014 through 2021

  • Five Branches University celebrates its 30-year anniversary.
  • The Stroke and Rehabilitation Center is inaugurated.
  • Five Branches co-hosts the 10th World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies conference in Santa Clara, California with 800 participants from around the world.
  • The Study Abroad program expands to include travel to Taiwan and Vietnam.
  • The University is accredited for distance education and is the first TCM school to launch a fully-online, asynchronous Doctoral Bridge Completion Program.