2019 Winter Trimester

College of Chiropractic

Curriculum Overview

The Doctor of Chiropractic program consists of seven 15 week and three 17 week trimesters, typically completed in three and a half years. The earliest trimesters consist of a strong foundation of basic sciences integrated with introductory chiropractic and clinical courses. These courses lay the groundwork for further study in the clinical sciences, as well as clinical experiences. A 12-month public clinic internship and preceptorship constitute the last three trimesters. Northwestern offers three trimesters: fall, winter and summer.

Students begin learning “hands-on” chiropractic techniques beginning in their first trimester, and progress to supervised in-class adjusting in Trimester 3. Chiropractic therapies that are taught are broad-based, but stress those adjusting and manipulative procedures that have been proven most effective and which are consistent with biomechanical and physiological principles.

These adjusting skills are complemented by related therapeutics such as physiological therapeutics, nutrition counseling, exercise training, rehabilitation, and mobilization procedures. Students learn to educate patients regarding healthy living practices, encouraging a holistic view of both mental and physical well-being.

Graduates of Northwestern are prepared to practice as first-contact, primary care chiropractic physicians, able to take responsibility for the health of patients. The diagnostic acumen and therapeutic skill sets required for primary care clinicians requires a strong background in the basic sciences, as well as current and relevant studies in the clinical sciences. Critical thinking and clinical decision-making skills must be developed in order to make the most appropriate patient-centered health care decisions.

Northwestern students are trained to work in cooperation with other health care providers in interdisciplinary practices. Opportunities are also available for interns to spend time as observers in a variety of clinical settings, including local medical practices.

Course Load

The breadth, depth and rigor of courses and resulting study load in each term of the curriculum at Northwestern is similar to that in other health care professional schools. As a result, students should expect substantially heavier loads at Northwestern than at colleges where they completed their pre-chiropractic studies. Those entering or continuing students who wish to modify their course load may benefit from split-schedule registration. A student may request split-schedule information from the Office of the Registrar. Use of a split schedule of courses may add some time and expense to the completion of the academic program.

Due to the nature of the chiropractic program of study, all students are expected to maintain continuous enrollment. However, in the event that a student requires a term off due to unforeseen circumstances, they may request a leave of absence.

Course Sequence

The Doctor of Chiropractic program consists of seven 15 week and three 17 week trimesters, typically completed in three and a half years. The curriculum is designed to develop evidence informed, portal-of-entry chiropractic physicians who are prepared to practice in collaboration with other health care providers and in various practice environments.

Trimesters 1 and 2 emphasize the basic sciences, and introduce students to chiropractic principles and methods, radiology, and business foundations. Beginning in the first trimester, students will participate in clinical observations. In Trimesters 3, 4, and 5 students will complete the basic science sequence and progress into the clinical sciences, including diagnosis and care options. At the same time, students will progress through a clerkship experience in trimesters 4 through 6 in the De Rusha Clinical Education Center.

In Trimesters 7 through 10 students will participate as an intern in university clinics or a private practice affiliated with the College of Chiropractic.

Curriculum Organization

The doctor of chiropractic curriculum is comprised of 84 course offerings, organized in seven academic and clinical departments. The sequence provides a strong basic science basis upon which the chiropractic and clinical sciences are built. As clinical subjects are introduced, students make the transition to becoming doctors of chiropractic. In the classroom, laboratory and clinics, students learn to take patient health histories and conduct examinations (including clinical, orthopedic, neurologic, laboratory and imaging examinations) and interpret findings in forming clinical decisions, leading to a diagnosis. Students learn that proper diagnosis is fundamental in determining appropriate treatment and in measuring the patient’s response to chiropractic care.

Department of Basic Sciences

(15 courses, 55.75 credits)

Chair: Mary Tuchscherer, MS, PhD, DC

Courses include biochemistry, anatomy (including a focused course on the spine and pelvis), embryology, histology, immunology and microbiology, neuroscience, pathology, and physiology. These courses provide a firm foundation for the development and acquisition of clinical skills and knowledge. These sciences are essential to the development of an understanding of the complexities of the structural basis of health and disease, as well as the nature of the functioning of the human body in health and disease.

Department of Chiropractic Studies

(16 courses, 28.25 credits)

Chair: Donald Eggebrecht, BA, DC, DABCO

Courses in chiropractic principles and philosophy provide students with the history of the chiropractic profession, as well as the nature of the chiropractic health care model and its principal tenets. Chiropractic methods courses, including lectures and experiential learning, set the stage for the life- long journey to becoming a master in the art of chiropractic adjustment and manipulation. Students will take classes covering physiological therapeutics, exercise and rehabilitation, as well as three years of methods curricula.

Department of Diagnostic and Clinical Sciences

(15 courses, 42.5 credits)

Chair: Katie Burns Ryan, BS, DC

The process of arriving at a diagnosis involves cognitive, behavioral and affective skills that are acquired over a period of time and sharpened with clinical experiences. These courses are delivered over a six-trimester period and include a variety of learning experiences, such as lecture, small-group, experiential laboratories, self-directed study and online learning. The courses include Clinical Skills 1 and 2 (which prepare students to obtain a medical history and perform a physical examination), clinical pathology, and a number of specialized system-based courses which cover the diagnosis and chiropractic role in the management of a variety of health problems.

Department of Health Promotion and Associated Clinical Sciences

(11 courses, 23.45 credits)

Chair: Tolu Oyelowo, MS, DC

The health promotion and wellness course sequence is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to apply chiropractic care to special populations and includes courses covering the unique aspects of diagnosis and treatment of pregnant patients, infants and children, women, and the elderly. Courses in this department also cover the topics of public health, health promotion, and wellness, especially as these apply to the practice of chiropractic.

Department of Diagnostic Imaging

(7 courses, 15.5 credits)

Chair: Anita L. Manne, BS, DC, DACBR

The diagnostic imaging sequence provides the student with the skills and knowledge to use imaging appropriately in chiropractic practice. The role of imaging technology in diagnostic decision-making is covered in a carefully constructed sequence of courses beginning with normal radiographic anatomy and culminating with specialized courses covering all aspects of the chiropractic imaging sciences.

Department of Business and Professional Foundations

(10 courses, 12.5 credits)

Chair: Tolu Oyelowo, MS, DC

Northwestern’s business and professional foundations curriculum is one of the most extensive business curriculums in chiropractic education and spans nine trimesters. The learning opportunities in this area will allow students to develop the personal and business skills required to successfully operate a professional health care practice. The principles covered are applicable regardless of the business and professional entity or arrangement the graduate chooses.

Department of Clinical Education

(9 courses, 47 credits)

Chair: Christopher Petrie, DC, DACBR

Clinical training starts in the first trimester and continues through the entire curriculum, beginning with observation, and progressing to mentored patient contact for competent and successful chiropractic practice. Students develop their patient care skills through a variety of real-world experiences in the Northwestern Clinics of Northwestern Health Sciences University, with chiropractic doctors working in private practice settings, and in community service learning environments.

Elective Courses

There is a growing number of elective courses offered by the College of Chiropractic. Students are required to take a minimum number of electives beginning in the seventh trimester. Electives include courses in chiropractic methods, cases studies, research, diagnostic imaging, geriatrics, strategic planning, issues in social biology and others.

Course List

The required curriculum for the Doctor of Chiropractic degree is composed of a sequence of courses offered in 10 separate 15- or 17-week trimesters for a minimum total of 4,320 contact hours, exclusive of elective courses of study.