Given the population of Shanghai and the number of foreigners here, there are surprisingly few options for English-speakers (or any non-Chinese speakers) to study Traditional Chinese Medicine here.  There are, to be exact, 2: Expat Learning Center and Shanghai University of TCM.

Expat Learning Center: Besides TCM, the ELC offers a variety of classes for expats, usually meeting once per week for 2 months.  Courses start in the spring and fall.  I took the TCM class here, and that’s how I met Dr. Zhang.  The school is near Zhaojiabang Road subway station (Line 7 & 9).

  • Advantages: Twice per year. Part-time allowing for work or study on the side. Minimum numbers always met so classes guaranteed. Easy program and therefore accessible to newbies.
  • Disadvantages: Classes only offered in English.  No degree or certificate.  Not very comprehensive. Few hours (~30 total)

If your teachers is Dr. Zhang, the book you use is Fundamental Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine 中医基础理论, which is optional and available for purchase.  And tell her I said Hi!

Study TCM at SH Univ

Shanghai University of TCM: SHTCM offers both degree (undergraduate and post-graduate) and non-degree programs. All the degree courses are only offered in Chinese; an undergraduate degree is 5 years.  The English programs are taught in the satellite campus near Shanghai Stadium stop on Line 4 or Dong’an Road (Line 7).

  • Advantages: Certificates given in formal Chinese style. 3-month course can certify you to take the licensing exam in most countries. Intense courses offered for both newbies and experienced health workers. Multiple languages available (if >5 people per class)–see their website.  Different components of TCM taught. Some courses are full-time and some are part-time.
  • Disadvantages: Expensive. Programs are only offered once/year or not at all if minimum # of students isn’t met. Burden is on you to find students and push them to open a course.

I wish there were more and better options for studying TCM in Shanghai.  As it is, I’m moving to Hangzhou to continue my studies of TCM, having already taken both the ELC’s TCM class (Spring 2010) and SHUTCM’s tuina class (Dec. 2010).

Other universities around China offer programs for studying TCM in English: Hangzhou for individuals, Chengdu for groups, and Qingdao, Guangzhou, Beijing, and maybe 1-2 others for Chinese-speakers who want a full degree in TCM.  Maybe I’m missing some; if so, tell me in the comments and I’ll try to do a longer post on studying TCM elsewhere in China.

If you have experience with any TCM courses in Shanghai, please tell me about it in the comments.