Students planning to enter dental school can begin their predental studies at any time during their undergraduate education. For specific admissions information, click on a topic below:
High School Credentials
High school credentials are not examined as part of the admission evaluation, but students anticipating dental careers should take a sound academic program in high school to prepare properly for the predental and dental programs. Coursework should include mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, foreign languages, English, and social studies.
Undergraduate Academic Credit Requirements
A minimum of 87 semester credits or 130 quarter credits of courses from an officially accredited U.S. or Canadian college or university is required. A maximum of 64 semester credits from community or junior colleges will be applied to the 87 semester credits. (One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.) While acceptance is based primarily on performance quality, applicants are encouraged to have a broad liberal education.
Undergraduate Coursework Diversity
To help achieve the goals of a liberal education, the School of Dentistry prefers that all students distribute some part of their predental college coursework in areas of study other than those related to the biological and physical sciences. Predental students are urged to plan their coursework to satisfy the University's liberal education requirements. Note: University liberal education requirements are not required for a D.D.S. but are recommended.
- English-8 semester credits. Two composition courses are preferred; or one composition course, and one additional course in either literature, humanities, or public speaking that is writing intensive.
- General Biology or Zoology-8 semester credits. General zoology alone is acceptable, but not preferred.
- Physics-8 semester credits. Complete basic course series required.
- General Principles of Chemistry-8 semester credits. Complete basic course series required.
- Organic Chemistry-8 semester credits. Course content must include study of both the aliphatic and aromatic series. One-semester courses generally do not have sufficient credits or depth to be acceptable.
- Biochemistry-3 semester credits. The appropriate course will have the organic chemistry sequence as a prerequisite. Lab is not required.
- Mathematics-A minimum of 3 semester credits of college algebra or a higher level course. Some examples include precalculus, calculus, or statistics.
- Applied Human Psychology-3 semester credits in: general human psychology, child and adolescent human psychology, or business psychology.
All prerequisite courses need to be completed with a C or above by the spring semester for enrollment the following fall. Science coursework must include both lecture and lab instruction, and may be considered outdated if taken more than five years before the time of application.
Recommended Elective Courses
- Elective courses should be selected to achieve as broad and liberal an education as possible. However, competitive students will take some combination of the following courses: art, cell biology, histology, human anatomy, microbiology, and physiology.
- These electives are especially important for persons who have completed only the minimum credits required (87 semester/130 quarter) to enter dental school. Additional electives can be chosen from among the following subjects: accounting, analytical chemistry, anthropology, business (practical courses), classics, comparative anatomy, economics, etymology, genetics, history, humanities, immunology, higher mathematics, logic, microscopic anatomy, political science, sociology, and a foreign language.
Satisfactory/No Credit, Incompletes and Withdrawal Grades
Only under unusual circumstances will credits graded on a satisfactory/no credit evaluation system be accepted for required courses. Applicants may submit a maximum of the following percentage of "S" credits in elective courses: 10 percent of the minimum total credits for 3-year students, and 15 percent of the minimum total credits for 4-year students. Incomplete grades are looked upon with disfavor by the Admissions Committee. Any incomplete and withdrawal grades must be explained in the application.
Additional Pre-application Recommendations
Individuals considering dental careers are expected to gain information about dentistry through discussions with professionals in the field and through observation of, or participation in patient care and lab procedures in dental offices, dental labs, and dental school clinics and labs. Other expected orientations to dentistry include experiences involving fine manual dexterity, knowledge of health fields, and direct personal services to people on a one-to-one basis.
Required Entrance Tests
All applicants are required to take the DAT prepared by the American Dental Association. The DAT is given in a computerized format throughout the year. Applicants must submit an official DAT score report by December 1 of the year prior to matriculation. DAT scores are valid for three years.
Although the test generally measures aptitude rather than special knowledge, some specific questions are asked in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry; thus, a review of these subjects before taking the test is strongly recommended. Applicants are also encouraged to study test preparation materials available through sources such as Kaplan or Top Score.
The School of Dentistry requires all applicants, who are not native speakers of English to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. Required minimum scores are as follows:
The TOEFL must have been administered within 2 years before the date of application to the School of Dentistry. To register for the TOEFL, contact the agency that handles TOEFL registration in your country or write to the Education Testing Service (Box 899, Princeton, NJ 08540 USA).
Competitive candidates for admission will be invited to visit the School of Dentistry to tour our state-of-the-art facilities, connect with dental school faculty, admissions personnel, and students, and for a formal interview.
Required Job Shadowing
A minimum of 50 hours of shadowing in general dentistry must be completed by spring semester for enrollment the following fall. Shadowing more than one dentist and gaining exposure to different practice settings is highly recommended. Completing additional shadowing hours beyond the minimum 50 hour requirement is encouraged.