If you are an experienced, qualified practitioner and would like to become a leader in your field, then studying a Masters online with the Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA) should be your next step.

At the NCA, we offer online MScs in Advanced Oriental Medicine (Research and Practice), Advanced Complementary Medicine (Research and Practice), and Advanced Nutrition(Research and Practice).

These flexible, part-time postgraduate courses are specifically designed for busy practitioners, enabling you to develop:

  • Knowledge and understanding of your area of practice.
  • A specialty, giving you an extra dimension as a practitioner.
  • Your research skills, so you can contribute to the existing knowledge base.

As well as gaining new skills and knowledge, and expanding your thinking and awareness, our online Masters courses are also a great way to connect globally with other practitioners, often from other disciplines.

Originally from the UK, Thomas Sheehy (pictured) is a qualified yoga teacher and nutrition practitioner, now living in South Africa with his wife and daughter.  He developed an interest in nutrition after reversing his own Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms through diet, and has since gained a diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition through the College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Now studying an online MSc in Advanced Complementary Medicine with the NCA, Thomas is hoping his eventual qualification will lead to him producing research that furthers his discipline, as well as potentially opening the door to exciting, new career opportunities.

Hear more from Thomas:

How did you hear about the NCA, and its online Masters courses?

The NCA was listed on the website for the South African Association of Nutritional Therapy (since disbanded). I then made contact after being inspired by the NCA website and reading the prospectus.

What were the main reasons you decided to study an online Masters with the NCA?

I wanted to further my career opportunities with a higher level of credentials, and wasn’t interested in undertaking a BSc as I felt my knowledge and experience were already beyond this. Whilst I enjoy being self-employed, I would also like the opportunity to teach, lecture and collaborate with other organisations, and felt the MSc would help with this goal.

Also, as a British national it was important to study with a UK institution, should my family and I ever return in the future.

How much are you enjoying connecting with practitioners from other disciplines and other countries?

We were each assigned a study-partner and I have enjoyed online conversations with mine, a nutritional therapist from Bristol. Hopefully, as the course progresses, we will all connect more and the next time I’m in the UK I will certainly make contact with anybody based there and perhaps arrange to meet.

How important do you think it is to continually expand your thinking and awareness around your subject area?

I always strive to expand my thinking and ask critical questions of myself, but the feedback received for my NCA assignments has been more rigorous, which has forced me to look deeper into my experiences and beliefs, which will undoubtedly improve my practice.

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. That modern, Western science is now coming to better understand it from a physiological aspect is interesting, but not necessarily required.

In my areas of professional interest, functional bowel disorders and disordered eating, there is evidence that orthodox medicine is not always effective and that complementary practices, such as yoga, might perhaps be more appropriate interventions.

Such a situation might be a wonderful thing as it could relieve some of the financial burden and expertise placed upon orthodox medicine, i.e. the highly publicised strains on Britain’s NHS. Of course, in order for practices such as yoga to reach these wider populations, specifically within healthcare, it is important that research be undertaken to determine, as much as possible, their safety and efficacy. It’s my hope that my MSc will, in some small way, be part of this process.

How much do you believe that successfully completing your online MSc will increase your professional credibility, and open new doors for you professionally?

Very much! In recent times there’s been an explosion of different online courses in diet and nutrition, as well as yoga. Whilst some of these courses look great, others are decidedly vague and there is a risk of unqualified practitioners or ‘charlatans’ damaging the reputation of complementary healthcare. At the very least I would like my MSc to distinguish my practice from those in a similar line of work who perhaps haven’t put in the same amount of effort.

Also, as mentioned, I would like the MSc to make my CV more desirable to health organisations and learning institutes, so that I may potentially find employment within a larger organisation. Whilst I could carry on with my practice without an MSc, my focus is on the future of complementary healthcare, specifically within the UK where I would one day like to return. 

If you are a practitioner with a first degree, or equivalent, and a member of a professional body – and would like to find out more about the NCA’s online MSc courses, please contact Denise Magson on + 44 (0) 1904 343309 or visit We also run regular online presentation and Q&A sessions with Course Director Jane Nodder – book  your place via our website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *