Course Title: Chinese Medicine Theory 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Chinese Medicine Theory 1

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: A/Prof Zhen Zheng

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7167

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.04.048

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Chinese Medicine Theory 1 is a one-semester course that will cover the history and development of Chinese medicine and the philosophies and fundamental principles that guide its practice and achievements. The course will provide you with a solid theoretical basis and foundation for your future learning in subsequent courses across Chinese Herbal Medicine or Acupuncture programs (but particularly for diagnosis of Chinese medicine, Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, medicinal formulae, Clinical Chinese Medicine, classic literature and Chinese Medicine Research courses).

You will learn some basic pinyin, the official phonetic system for transcribing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet to enable you to understand terminology in Chinese medicine. Study topics will include: the theory of yin-yang, the theory of five elements, the theory of zang-fu organs, aetiology and pathology of Chinese medicine and principles of treatment.

This course is foundational for all other courses in the Chinese Medicine programs.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Objectives for MC024 Master Applied Science (Acupuncture) and MC138  Master Applied Science (Chinese Herbal Medicine):

  • PLO1: Apply your knowledge of Chinese Medicine principles and methods in the diagnosis and management of a range of internal medicine disorders
  • PLO6: Reflect and improve upon your professional practice and build problem solving skills and abilities through lifelong learning.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the development and achievements of specific scholars and schools of thought in Chinese Medicine and their influence on social economics, culture, science and health.
  2. Review the philosophies and fundamental theories that underpin the practice of Chinese medicine including: Yin Yang theory, Five-element theory, Zang-fu theory, theory of Qi, blood and body fluids, meridian theory, aetiology and pathogenesis.
  3. Reflect on and synthesise the physiological functions and inter-relationships of organs and other structures of the human body from the perspective of Chinese medicine; identify how these will influence a Chinese medical diagnosis; and how these are influenced by the individual’s environment
  4. Critically apply principles of aetiology and pathogenesis in the field of Chinese medicine to case studies and defend your application of particular fundamental theories
  5. Conceptually map the ways in which cultural factors impact on language study and describe issues associated with communicating Chinese medicine terminology to a Western audience.
  6. Use relevant components of the Chinese pinyin system both accurately, appropriately and with some flexibility. 

Overview of Learning Activities

Your learning activities include a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Lectures will introduce you to the origin, development, achievements and contemporary state of Chinese medicine (including acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine), as well as providing a solid theoretical basis to help you to achieve professional practice.

Tutorials are used to explore your critical and clinical thinking by examining case studies in addition to discussing various key topics. The practical sessions will integrate skills in the application of Chinese medicine theory and practice of Chinese medicine terminology. You will appraise academic literature relating to history and principles of Chinese medicine with a related written assignment task.  You are expected to practise Chinese medicine terminology by participating in role playing scenarios.

Postgraduates are expected to demonstrate advanced conceptual knowledge and application in written responses, demonstrate greater synthesis of complex ideas and draw upon a greater body of literature as specified in assessment rubrics.

Teacher Guided Hours: 39 per semester including lectures, tutorials, online activities and practical sessions

Learner Directed Hours: 81 hours per semester

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources. All material to be chosen will be digitally available to students. Lecture material will be delivered via online mediums. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. Chinese medicine library subject guides are available via 

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1:  Progressive assessments 

Weighting 15% (online discussion and reflection: 6%; online quizzes: 9% (MCQ 3%, Short answer questions and case studies 6%)

This assessment task supports CLOs  2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

Assessment Task 2:  Assignment

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

Assessment Task 3: In-class written exam  

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3, & 6

Assessment Task 4: Online summative test/exam

Weighting 30% (MCQ 12%, Short answer questions and case studies 18%)

This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6