Master's Degree Programs in Iridology

Iridology is an alternative form of medicine that involves studying the iris of the eye. Iridology consultants examine the iris to diagnose illness and disease. Educational programs in this field are typically not accredited, and the field itself has been subject to critique from medical professionals. Read on to learn more about the field and other areas of alternative medicine that you can study at the master's level. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Are there Accredited Programs in Iridology?

In the United States, only one accredited school offers an iridology program, which results in a certificate. There are other iridology programs available, including master's degree programs, but these programs are not accredited. Iridology practitioners are not evaluated or regulated by government boards. As a science, Iridology is unsupported by research. An article published in 2000 by the journal Archives of Ophthalmology analyzed the results of two studies used to determine whether iridology could be a valid indicator of disease. In both studies, several iridologists were given detailed photos of the irises and asked to divide them according to whether or not the person had a specific disease. In both studies, scientists determined the ability of the iridologists to consistently and accurately identify people with the disease was no greater than chance.

Degree Levels Certificate and master's degree
Degree Accreditation Developmental behavior, disability, stimulus control, child abuse, cognitive psychology
Degree Varieties Master of Acupuncture, Master of Oriental Medicine, Master of Science, Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Continuing Education Traditional classroom and distance learning degree options are available

Is Alternative Medicine Education offered by Accredited Schools?

If you would like to earn a master's degree in a different alternative medicine discipline, there are programs from accredited schools that will allow you to accomplish this. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is an accrediting body that accredits schools meeting the Commission's educational and institutional standards. The ACAOM is a 'specialized and professional' organization recognized as an accrediting body by the U.S. Department of Education ( According to ACAOM website, there are approximately 86 accredited schools offering master's degrees and master's-level education as of March 2016.

What Master's Degrees are Available?

The most common alternative medicine master's degrees from programs accredited by the ACAOM are the Master of Acupuncture (MA) and Master of Science (M.S.) in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Some schools offer a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, while some schools offer their M.S. in Oriental Medicine. There are also a few Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degrees available, in addition to an M.S. in Acupuncture, rather than the MA. One school offers their MA degree as an MA in Classical Five-Element Acupuncture. Other master's level education includes first professional certificates and diplomas that the ACAOM classifies as being at the master's level. Master's degrees are more common than these certificates and diplomas.

Hands-on experience is a part of most of these programs' curricula. This could mean completing clinical time with a faculty advisor or interning at a community acupuncture clinic or public health clinic. One school allows students to gain some hands-on experience by studying abroad in China. For schools offering separate acupuncture and Oriental medicine programs, the only difference between the two may be an herbal medicine component, which is not included in most acupuncture programs.

Can I be Certified or Licensed?

Alternative medicine certification exams are administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). There are separate exams for acupuncture and Oriental medicine, and the NCCAOM says that you must attend an ACAOM-accredited school in order to sit for either exam ( According to the NCCAOM, 43 U.S. states regulate acupuncture practice. Of those states, 98% either require or accept the NCCAOM exam to satisfy licensure requirements.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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