The University of Minnesota offers a unique DDS/PhD option for qualified students. Students must be accepted to both the School of Dentistry and the Graduate School.
The Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training Program (MinnCResT) offers a limited number of fellowships to DDS/PhD students, providing full tuition plus stipend throughout the pursuit of both degrees. The stipends are provided from a training grant awarded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and are only available to U.S. citizens and resident aliens.
DDS/PhD trainees are encouraged to enroll in the PhD program in Oral Biology. To facilitate clinical obligations, the PhD program in Oral Biology provides more flexibility in scheduling milestones such as preliminary exams than found in most other graduate programs at the University of Minnesota. A cross-disciplinary academic minor is also required in fields such as molecular biology, genetics, or neuroscience.
There are two paths to the DDS/PhD at the University of Minnesota. Generally, students and faculty favor the first model:
- Before or during the first 2 years of PhD education, students can apply and enroll in the integrated DDS program. Students begin the full-time DDS program in year 5 of their training. Redundant basic science courses in the DDS curriculum are waived, allowing time for completion of the DDS degree PhD requirements such as writing and defense of the dissertation by the end of the 8th year.
- The student begins with PhD coursework and completes the preliminary exam at the end of the second year. The student applies to the DDS program in the Fall of the 2nd year and begins the DDS preclinical curriculum in year 3, exempted from basic science and other preclinical courses, and continues some graduate research training simultaneously. The DDS curriculum is completed by year 6 and the student returns to full-time PhD research, completing all requirements by the end of year 8.