Dentistry - Preliminary Information

Undergraduate Coursework ~ Standardized Tests ~ Recommended Extracurriculars

Undergraduate Coursework

Academic Preparation
The majority of dental students possess a bachelor’s degree before they enter dental school. Some have graduate degrees. Some dental schools will admit a few students through early admissions programs with two to three years of undergraduate preparation. The average age of an first year dental student is 24. Traditionally, dental schools have selected candidates for admission who possessed:

  • Two semesters (three quarters) of biology with lab
  • Two semesters (three quarters) of general chemistry with lab
  • Two semesters (three quarters) of organic chemistry with lab
  • Two semesters (three quarters) of physics with lab

Some dental schools require additional courses such as English composition and additional upper-level biology courses such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and/or biochemistry.

American Dental Association has a list of Dental Programs with links to each program website. You are encouraged to research each program’s requirements to be sure you have taken the pre-requisite coursework required. http://www.ada.org/267.aspx


Click Dental School Requirements to see a more specific list of requirements for each school.
Schedule a meeting with Susie Fang to plan out when, and in what order, you will take your classes.

Standardized Tests

All US Dental Schools require the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The DAT is a standardized examination designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. Concepts from Introductory Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry are tested. For more information regarding the DAT: http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test/

Gaining Experience

Having relevant dental experience is strongly recommended when applying to dental school. Additionally, volunteer work of all types is encouraged. Visit the Volunteer page for ideas and lists of opportunities.