Dentistry is a rewarding healthcare career with competitive salary and a sustainable work-life balance. Dental graduates can choose from private practice, working within a health maintenance organization, hospital emergency rooms, conducting advanced laboratory research, teaching future dentists or even traveling the world with international health and relief organizations.

Dentistry schools do not require a specific academic major for admission and students may complete the prerequisite courses as part of an undergraduate program that includes any major of their choosing. Dental schools are looking for well-educated and well-rounded individuals and although many don’t require a bachelor’s degree, to be competitive, students should plan to complete an undergraduate degree.

Application for admission to a dentistry school is normally made during the senior year of college. To be eligible for admission, students must complete a series of specific prerequisite courses as part of their undergraduate program. While prerequisite requirements vary in detail, all emphasize course work in the natural sciences. All prerequisite courses need to be completed with a C or above by the spring semester for enrollment the following fall.

The prerequisite courses that are generally required for admission to dentistry school include:

Prerequisite Courses

Area Requirement Semester Credits SCU Courses
Biology General Biology or Zoology with lab 8 BIOL 1710 and BIOL 1720
Chemistry General (inorganic) Chemistry with lab 8 CHEM 1110 and CHEM 1120
Chemistry Organic Chemistry with lab 8 CHEM 2010 and CHEM 2020
Physics General Physics 8 PHYS 1080 and PHYS 1090, or PHYS 1110 and PHYS 1120
English English Composition (1 semester can be literature) 8
Mathematics College Algebra or above 3-4 MATH 1090 or MATH 1130 or STAT 1090

Additional Courses often Required

Area Requirement Semester Credits SCU Courses
Chemistry/Biology Biochemistry (The appropriate course will have the organic chemistry sequence as a prerequisite. Lab is not always required) 3-4 CHEM 4400
Biology Microbiology 3-4 BIOL 2200 or BIOL 3210
Mathematics Statistics and/or Calculus 3-4 MATH 1130 or STAT 1090
Psychology 3-4 PSYC 1001
Sociology 3-4 SOCI 1000

Typical Recommended Courses

Area Requirement Semester Credits SCU Courses
Art Three-Dimensional Design 3-4 ART 1010
Communication Studies Speech / Public Speaking 3-4 COMM 1030
Biology Human Anatomy or Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy 4 BIOL 2610 and BIOL 2620, or BIOL 3120
Biology Genetics 4 BIOL 3444
Biology Human Physiology / Comparative Physiology 4 BIOL 2610 and BIOL 2620, or BIOL 3140
Biology Histology 4 BIOL 3250
Biology Cell Biology 4 BIOL 3224
Biology Developmental Biology (Embryology) 4
Biology Immunology 4 BIOL 4220
Biology Molecular Biology 4

Dental Admissions Test

The dental admissions test, often taken in the summer between junior and senior year, includes a survey of natural sciences, perceptual ability test, reading comprehension test, and quantitative reasoning test. Completion of at least one year of college-level courses in biology and general and organic chemistry is recommended before taking the DAT. To prepare for the perceptual ability portion of the test, we recommend that students take a course in 3-Dimensional Design (e.g., ART 1010 Three-Dimensional Design) and possibly a course in computer-aided design (CAD).