DC Curriculum and Milestones

Student intern learning chiropractic looking at patients leg


The UWS catalog houses the curriculum, course descriptions, curriculum sequence and other helpful information about the program. View the current catalog.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of success in the doctor of chiropractic program, the student will be able to:

  1. Perform appropriate patient assessments and formulate a diagnosis/es.
  2. Execute and update appropriate case management plans.
  3. Promote health, wellness, safety and disease prevention including public health issues relevant to patients.
  4. Communicate effectively and appropriately in patient care and professional interactions including producing, updating and protecting accurate patient records and relevant documentation.
  5. Demonstrate ethical conduct and knowledge of the legal responsibilities of a health care provider and clinical practice owner or employee.
  6. Critically access, appraise, and apply scientific literature and other health information resources to provide effective patient care.
  7. Deliver safe, appropriate and effective treatments including spinal manipulation.
  8. Communicate and collaborate with other health care professionals regarding patient care.
  9. Integrate knowledge of basic and clinical science.


Students are encouraged to check the library catalog for electronic versions of required and recommended textbooks before purchasing. The library carries a few copies of required and recommended textbooks in print and has been able to obtain electronic versions of many textbooks for all programs at UWS, saving students hundreds of dollars per term. To purchase books, please visit the UWS campus store. The DC program requires specific professional resources in addition to course textbooks. These are included on the textbook list, with additional information about where to purchase them if not available through the UWS campus store. Find the DC textbook list here.

Chiropractic Program Milestones

Year 1-2 Quarters 1-5

Basic Sciences: Foundational material that prepares students for licensing exams
Chiropractic Sciences: Technique/Foundational manipulation courses
Clinical Sciences: Diagnostic imaging courses/Associated sciences/Evidence informed practice courses

Highlights of Year 1

  • Q1 students will experience clinical immersion opportunities through the clinical methods courses.
  • Q1 students take a diversity, equity and inclusion course focusing on cultural competency and cultural humility.
  • During Q5, students are eligible to apply for BS in human biology degree and/or a concurrent program such as MS sports medicine or MS in human nutrition and functional medicine.
  • During Q 1-5 students have the opportunity to receive free tutoring and academic coaching, attend open lab sessions to practice adjusting skills under faculty guidance and participate in clubs related to various specializations.
  • Clinic observation opportunities – Observations in the Connected Whole Health clinic are first included as a program requirement in Q5. Subsequent clinic observations are also required in Q7 as a prelude to beginning the clinical internship experience in Q8.

Year 2 Quarters 5-8

Clinical practice focus – diagnosis/management/patient interaction

Q 5-8 focuses on integrating Basic Science, Chiropractic Science and Clinical Science knowledge into clinical practice.

Highlights of Year 2

  • Interns begin providing care to patients in the Connected Whole Health clinic under the supervision and guidance of their attending physician. As a prelude to being assigned responsibility for their first patient, each Q8 intern must successfully complete the clinic entrance exam (CEA). The CEA provides opportunity for Q8 interns to demonstrate their proficiency in a variety of clinical skills including taking a history and physical exam, delivering a report of findings, obtaining informed consent, delivering adjustments and utilizing physical therapy modalities.
  • Courses dive deeper into spinal and extremity manipulation, taping and splinting, bone pathology, treatment of special populations, clinically applied evidence and business topics.
  • Students are first eligible to sit for the optional NBCE physiotherapy exam following successful completion of the two DC program courses in physical therapy occurring in Q7 and Q8.

Year 3 Quarters 9-12

Clinical practice focus – diagnosis/management/patient interaction

Q9-12 focuses on specialized clinical training for specific populations, business preparation and advanced diagnosis and assessment skills.

Highlights of Year 3

  • In Year 3 (Q9-12), students treat the general public in the clinic under a supervisory clinician with clinic hours increasing each term from 10 hours in Q9 to 25 hours in Q10+Q11 to 27 hours per week in Q12. As interns demonstrate clinical competencies, they may become eligible for clinical offsite rotations through local Community Based Internships, Veteran’s Administration health care facilities and other affiliated local clinical care sites. Students have opportunities to give back to the community through community outreach events to underserved populations.
  • Q12 Interns who have demonstrated attainment of all required clinical competencies may be eligible to participate in a preceptorship beginning in Q12. Preceptorships may be located in the Portland area, in the state of Oregon or another state or U.S. territory, in Canada, or in limited cases, other international locations.

Licensing Exam Information

UWS student exams

  • In addition to student assessment conducted in educational courses and during the clinical internship experience, students in the DC program must successfully complete the standardized clinical skills assessment (CSA) which evaluates students’ attainment of clinical competencies. The CSA is administered at the end of Q9 and modeled after NBCE Part IV. The comprehensive written and practical examination draws from all Q1-Q9 coursework. Students perform a series of specified procedures including history, examination and simulated treatment on a trained standardized patient.

Exams required for licensure in the U.S.

  • First eligibility to sit for NBCE Part I occurs in correlation with completing Q5.
  • First eligibility to sit for NBCE Part II occurs in correlation with completing Q9.
  • First eligibility to sit for NBCE Part III occurs in correlation with completing Q9. Also requires successful completion of NBCE Part I.
  • First eligibility to sit for NBCE Part IV occurs in correlation with completing Q10 and requires successful completion of NBCE Part I.

Learn more about the NBCE exams.

Exams required for licensure in Canada

  • During Q10-12, students seeking licensure in Canada are eligible to take the CCEB Exams. Component A may be taken following completion of Q9, Component B following completion of Q10 and Component C following completion of Q11.

Exams required for licensure in Oregon

  • Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners (OBCE) exam – must pass to be eligible for licensure in Oregon. First eligibility to sit for the OBCE exam occurs in correlation with completion of Q10 for those students who have completed the minor surgery lecture and lab courses. Also requires successful completion of NBCE Parts I, II, III, IV and the PT exam.

Note: licensure in Oregon requires successful completion of CSC 8178 Minor Surgery/Proctology Lab elective in addition to the core program coursework.

Of note
– Each state and Canadian province has its own licensure board which regulates chiropractic practice in the respective jurisdiction. It is the responsibility of each student or graduate to be informed about the licensure requirements pertinent to the jurisdiction in which they intend to practice.

The most comprehensive jurisdictional information pertaining to chiropractic licensure in the U.S. is maintained by the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) and in Canada by the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA)