General Admission Requirements Dental schools consider many factors when deciding which applicants to accept into their programs. Utilizing “whole” application review, admissions committees assess biographical and academic information provided by the applicant and by the undergraduate and graduate schools the applicant attended. These committees generally also assess the applicant’s results from the Dental Admission Test (DAT), grade point average (GPA), additional information provided in the application, letters of evaluation, and interviews.

Most schools require a minimum of two years (60 semester hours) of undergraduate education (also called “predental education”). However, some dental schools accept students who have three or four years of predental education, and most dental schools give preference in the admissions process to individuals who will have earned a bachelor’s degree prior to the start of dental school. Of all U.S. students entering dental schools, more than 90% have completed four or more years of college, less than 1% have just the minimum two-year requirement, and about 8% have graduate training. Individuals pursuing dental careers should take certain science courses. However, you do not have to be a science major to gain admission to a dental school and successfully complete the program, most dental students are science majors as undergraduates, but many major in fields not related to science.

More than 19,000 students participated in D.M.D. and D.D.S. programs in the United States in 2007-08; of those, 4,770 were enrolled as first-year students. The average grade point average for accepted stuents to the US dental schools is around a 3.4 with ranges of 3.1 to 3.7 depending on the prgram.

General criteria used in making admissions decisions include: 

  • Overall grade point average 
  • Biology-chemistry-physics courses completed and grades earned 
  • Total credit hours earned prior to enrollment in dental school (preference given to individuals with Bachelor's degrees or more) 
  • Quality of academic preparation, e.g., degree of difficulty of curses, course load. 
  • Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores

Schools also look at a candidate's personal qualities, which can be reflected in the application and through letters of recommendation. For example, they may consider: 

  • Awards, honors, scholarships 
  • Extracurricular, volunteer, community service, leadership experiences 
  • Work experience Research experience 
  • Evidence of overcoming hardships, commitment to education, perseverance 
  • Knowledge of the profession of dentistry, including job experience or job shadowing

Prerequisite Requirements: Prerequisite admission requirements vary from school to school. please refer to ADEA: Official Guide to Dental Schools available for viewing at the HPAO resources library or the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) website: , for the specific requirements of the individual schools. Listed below are the prerequisite admission requirements for most U.S. Dental schools. This is NOT a comprehensive list of prerequisite for all dentistry programs. Students maintain responsibilities for verifying course selection with individual dental programs.

Suggested Required courses for Dental School

  • One Year of General Biology with Lab
  • One Year of General Chemistry with Lab
  • One Year of Organic Chemistry with Lab
  • One Year of Physics with Lab
  • One or more courses in Biochemistry
  • One Year of English (Comp. and Lit.)

Recommended (required at some schools):

  • One year of Math (Calculus)
  • One or more courses in Psychology
  • One course in Statistics

Suggested GCC courses:

BIOL 101 and 102
CHEM 101 and 102
CHEM 105 and 106
PHYS 105 and 106 or PHYS 101, 102, 103
ENGL 101, 102 or 104

Recommended Courses:

MATH 103, 104
MATH 136

USC Doctor of Dental Surgery

Other courses for consideration include: anatomy, histology, physiology, microbiology, social sciences. communications, business, technical writing, fine arts, drafting, sculpting, engineering, speech, and foreign language. Refer to the ADEA: Official Guide to Dental Schools for specific course recommendations for the individual dental schools.


Last updated: 12/8/2011 11:16:15 AM