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  The History of Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

  When Singapore was a British colony, local Chinese was treated by TCM practitioners immigrated from China. After the British colonial government promulgated and implemented immigration restrictions, the number of TCM practitioners from China gradually decreased, and the number of TCM practitioners in Singapore and Malaysia gradually aged. The pioneers of the Singapore Chinese Physicians’ Association (SCPA) were aware of the crisis due to the lack of successors in the trade. Chung Hwa Free Clinic was an ideal place to cultivate TCM talents. In that era, charlatans were rampant, they took advantage of the people's trust in TCM to swindle and deceive for their own ill-gotten gains. In order to impart TCM knowledge systematically to nurture a new generation of TCM physicians in Singapore and Malaysia, the SCPA began to organize and run a TCM College. Its objectives were to achieve systematically and openly teach TCM, cultivate TCM talents, and to undertake the task of training TCM successors in Singapore and Malaysia. In 1953, the SCPA founded the "Chinese Medicine College" which was registered with the Ministry of Education. By way of enrollment and entrance examinations, and successfully admitted a first batch of about 30 students.

   The teaching policy of "Chinese Medicine College" was "Chinese medicine as the mainstay, Western medicine as a complement", and the school motto was "Vigilant, Brave, Upright and Diligence". At that time, a four-year part-time study system was adopted, and the study focused on theory and clinical practice. Textbook textbooks were written by the lecturers themselves, and it was not until 1962 that they were partially switched to the textbooks used in TCM Colleges in China. In 1976, in order to develop TCM education in Singapore, the school was renamed "Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine" (SCTCM), and in 1978 it moved into the well-equipped and tranquil Chung Hua Medical Institution Building in Toa Payoh. Since 1983, the TCM course changed to a five-year part-time study system, and students' admission qualifications were stringent. Those who were interested in learning TCM must have attained a high school certificate in government unified examinations. The fifth year of the course is to improve the theory knowledge and clinical techniques of the trainees.

   In 1994, in the report on "Traditional Chinese Medicine" by the Committee on Traditional Chinese Medicine of the Ministry of Health of Singapore proposed to upgrade the TCM training course to a three-year full-time or six-year part-time course. In response to this recommendation, SCTCM upgraded the academic system from a five-year part-time system to a six-year part-time study system in 1996.

   As time progressed, the requirements and expectations for TCM academic level and TCM treatment raised. Singapore's TCM profession also had also developed from general practice to specialization. Therefore, the school's policy also developed in line, towards a finer specialization. SCTCM and Chung Hwa Medical Institution cooperated with each other to set up groups of specialty treatment, and regularly invited professors from famous Chinese medicine universities in China to advise on clinical techniques and teaching, in order to further improve the academic level of the SCTCM.

   In order to realize the registration of acupuncturists and TCM practitioners established by the government, SCTCM was commissioned by the Ministry of Health to undertake acupuncture and TCM refresher courses in 2001, so that practitioners who need to take the unified examination can prepare and pave the way to become registered Acupuncturists and TCM Physicians.

   In 2006, in order to further enhance the training level of TCM, the TCM Management Committee requested that the TCM professional diploma be upgraded to the undergraduate level. In this regard, the College has established an Advanced Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine (formerly a Bachelor of Chinese Medicine Course) and the academic system has been changed to a five-year full-time and seven-year part-time study system. After completing the prescribed TCM subjects, having passed the theory and clinical examinations, including a satisfactory review by the "Performance and Conduct Assessment Committee", students can then graduate and receive a Diploma. With the Diploma, they can apply for the Singapore TCM Registration Examination organized by the TCM Practitioners’ Board, and those who pass the examinations will become registered TCM Practitioners, eligible to practice TCM treatment in Singapore.

  In 2000, SCTCM added an Extracurricular Training Department (renamed the Centre for Continuing Education in 2001). The Centre for Continuing Education has set up an English teaching team and hired English speakers to conduct bilingual TCM courses and lectures, so that the English-speaking public can also have the opportunity to learn about TCM. In order to promote the development of TCM in Singapore, it has established good relations with TCM colleges in Southeast Asia and in China, and has jointly launched undergraduate and postgraduate courses with China TCM colleges, including Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degree courses in TCM jointly organized with Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, and Master and Doctoral courses jointly organized with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. At present, the courses offered by SCTCM are: Advanced Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bachelor/Master/Doctoral degree courses in TCM jointly organized with Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, and Master/Doctoral courses jointly organized with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Graduate Diploma in Acupuncture (for registered western medical doctors and dentists in Singapore), Diploma in Chinese Medicine Health Management Practitioner, Diploma in Chinese Medicated Food Dietician, Diploma in Healthcare Tuina, Diploma in TCM Elderly Healthcare Therapist, Diploma in TCM Paediatric Healthcare Therapist, Certificate in TCM Assistant, Certificate in Basic Theory of TCM and continuing education in TCM courses.

  Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine has an illustrious history of 69 years since its inception, cultivating 4725 TCM talents for Singapore. SCTCM has a complete system of higher education for TCM, not only it is recognized by the Ministry of Health, CPE statutory 4-year registration (fourth consecutive 4-year) and EDUTRUST certification (third consecutive 4-year), but it has also obtained ISO 9001 international certification. Graduating physicians have inherited the excellent tradition of SCPA, to volunteer as TCM physicians to provide high-quality TCM health care services for patients of all ethnic groups in Singapore, this has won good reputation both locally and internationally. SCTCM has become the oldest and most well-established TCM professional training institution in Southeast Asia, SCTCM will continue to promote the development of TCM in Singapore and to further contribute to the health improvement of the general public.




Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
CPE Reg. No.:201201406K
Registration Validity Period: 04-03-2023 to 03-03-2027

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Cert No.:EDU-2-2055
Validity Period:
23-05-2022 to 22-05-2026
ADD: 640 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh Singapore 319522
TEL: +65-6250 3088 FAX: +65-6356 9901
Last modified on 13-May-2024