About the DDS Program

The DDS program provides students with the tools, technology and rich educational experience to achieve their goals and become well-rounded dental professionals.

Advanced Technology

Advanced Simulation Clinic

Dental students learn in the 3M Foundation Dental Simulation Clinic, a facility designed to create a realistic clinic environment. It helps the students learn the eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity skills, techniques and procedures they’ll use to treat patients by practicing restorative procedures on simulated patients. Each workstation is equipped with a lifelike mannequin, complete with a head, shoulders, and realistic oral cavity—flexible jaws, lips and cheeks, and a full complement of teeth.

Our Advanced Simulation Clinic features 20 workstations, each with its own patient simulator, enhanced with virtual reality-based technology. Enhancements include motion-tracking systems linked to an infrared camera and a computer. Software includes on-screen textbooks, patient histories and radiographs for more than 100 clinical procedures of varying difficulty, and the ability to track, evaluate and record student performance in real-time.

Student Life

DDS students participate in a variety of organizations, clubs and committees that provide an introduction to professional life, help them shape the future of dentistry, and give back to the Twin Cities community. Our students are involved in organizations such as the American Student Dental Association, Hispanic Student Dental Association, Student National Dental Association, Association of American Public Health Dentistry and the MN Student Research Group.

Program Features

  • 377 clinical operatories in more than 71,000 square feet of clinic space, treating about 1,000 new patients each month
  • Clinical practice in a variety of outreach sites: underserved rural/urban, hospital, Indian Health Service, mobile dental van, and others
  • Summer research fellowships under the mentorship of world renowned research faculty
  • Team based care: dental, dental hygiene, and dental therapy students practice together to deliver comprehensive care to patients
  • Case-based learning that integrates basic, clinical, and behavioral sciences
  • Worldwide reputation for research contributions to the understanding of fluoride and decay prevention, microbiology and orofacial genetic anomalies, periodontal disease prevention, pain control, oral cancer, and effective care delivery 
  • Our students are professional leaders. First in the nation to become full members of their state professional association, our students comprise the 8th District Dental Society of the Minnesota Dental Association (MDA). They participate on association committees and its Board of Trustees, and have voting privileges at the MDA House of Delegates.
  • Student exchange programs with schools in Denmark, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands
  • Faculty that reflects a mix of tenure and tenure-track clinical specialists, along with well-respected adjunct faculty

What to expect - DDS Timeline

DDS students enjoy a challenging, integrated curriculum of basic, clinical, and behavioral sciences in a supportive environment that is rich with opportunities for professional growth and community involvement.

A first-year class is admitted each fall. Fall semester begins in mid-August and spring semester in January. Our class of incoming students is a diverse mix of Minnesotans and residents from around the United States and the world. The school’s community outreach program enables dental, dental hygiene and dental therapy students to refine clinical skills and develop a broad understanding of the health and social responsibilities they will have as dental professionals.

First Year

Coursework includes basic science courses on normal human tissues, including the molecular, cellular and organ systems. Technical dental courses, analysis of dental literature, introduction to the clinics, and ethical training applicable to the profession begin during the first year.

Second Year

Basic science courses focus on pathology. Technical dental courses culminate in treating patients. Students provide episodic patient care.

Third Year

Clinical science courses occupy much of the student's time. Correlations among basic, behavioral and clinical sciences are established in the clinical setting. Students establish their first dental practice and provide comprehensive patient care.

Fourth Year

Clinical science training is completed in the school clinics as well as at outreach sites and the transition from school to practice begins.

Curriculum includes:

Basic sciences: Gross and microscopic human anatomy, neuroanatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, human physiology, pathology, oral histology and embryology, and genetics.

Dentistry courses: Oral anatomy, operative dentistry, oral diagnosis, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery, anesthesia, periodontology, oral radiology, biomaterials, fixed and removable prosthodontics; and management and supervision of dental practice, jurisprudence, and ethics. Elective experiences are also available.

Behavioral sciences: Professional development, practice management, ethics, and dental public health.