Individuals seeking an education to prepare for careers in dentistry will find a variety of programs in universities and colleges, many in Baltimore, that allow students to complete a bachelor's degree that can prepare them for application to dental school. There is one school in the state that offers a Doctor of Dental Science degree - the University of Maryland. While all undergraduate degree programs include general education classes, programs related to dentistry often concentrate students' curriculum on science classes. Work experiences or clinical opportunities are common in such programs.
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, offers a pre-dentistry program. No specific major is suggested, but the university does note that students would benefit from laboratory-based courses in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and two semesters of physics and calculus as well. The university suggests that students build a mentoring relationship with a dental professional and volunteer in dental programs.
Loyola University Maryland
At Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, students seeking careers in dentistry are encouraged to join clubs related to dentistry as they pursue their bachelor's degree. Like other schools, Loyola notes that dental schools don't require a specific major, although they do require completion of courses in general biology, chemistry, physics and organic chemistry; an interdisciplinary major or major in biology is common. Students may be able to obtain one of the required letters of recommendation for dental school admission from the university's pre-health committee. The university notes that students should take their dental admission test in their junior year and submit a primary application through the American Association for Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS).
Rockville'sMontgomery College is a 2-year, public college which offers an Associate of Science: Life Sciences Track. A pre-dentistry student at this school can expect to complete multiple courses in biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics. Because the requirements of dental schools vary, students are encouraged to meet with an advisor to determine the appropriate mathematics and science courses in the fourth semester. For example, students can choose from a course in microbiology, general genetics or elementary calculus (or an equivalent course). While they complete the math and science-heavy curriculum, students also complete courses in physical education, behavioral and social sciences. This degree requires completion of 68 credit hours.
Notre Dame of Maryland University
Baltimore's Notre Dame of Maryland University allows aspiring dental students to complete any major that includes at least two semesters in biology, two semesters in general chemistry with lab, two semesters in organic chemistry with lab and two semesters of writing-intensive English classes. The university catalog notes that two semesters of mathematics, through calculus, 2-4 semesters in social sciences and 2-4 semesters in humanities are often required by dental schools as well. Students work with a pre-professional coordinator from the start of their studies until graduation to ensure that they meet all of the requirements. The pre-professional advisory committee helps to guide students as well.
St. Mary's College of Maryland
Like many other schools, St. Mary's College of Maryland in St. Mary's City does not have a specific curriculum designed for pre-dental students. The school does offer the Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry, which it notes is an appropriate track for aspiring dental students. Required courses include 24 credit hours in chemistry, 14 credit hours in biology and 16 credit hours in cognate courses - calculus and physics. The school requires that students complete what they call 'the St. Mary's Project.'
University of Maryland
In Baltimore, the University of Maryland Dental School (UMDS) is a 4-year, multi-purpose college committed to providing patient care, education and various services to the public. The school offers a wide variety of dental programs, including master's and bachelor's degree options in dental hygiene, a general dentistry program, an advanced education program in general dentistry and postgraduate programs in a variety of clinical specialties. The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program is a clinical program that features interactive learning, including online coursework, audio and video-based conferencing and Web-based conferencing. Students may complete clinical portions of the degree locally while earning academic credits online. There is also a non-clinical option for students who hold associate's degrees or certificates from other institutions, but who would like to complete the bachelor's degree program. Courses in this 120-credit-hour program include periodontics, radiology, health care management, microbiology and pharmacology. The university also offers a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene which allows students to complete specialization areas in subjects like education, management and public health. Students must also complete a master's thesis. While full-time students can complete the program in 24-36 months, part-time students may take up to 48 months to complete the 37 credits required for this program. Another option is the Doctor of Dental Surgery, which targets students who want to be dentists and have 90 credit hours from an accredited university. As part of the clinical training experience, students assist dentists in treating patients, using the latest research and technology. The DDS Dual Degree program - offered at both the UMDS offers DDS/M.S. or DDS/Ph.D. levels - helps dental students excel in the fields of public health and clinical research while preparing them for dental practice. A student interested in this program can choose a Master's in Public Health (DDS-MPH) or Master's in Clinical Research (DDS-MSCR). To be considered for the DDS dual degree program, applicants must be enrolled in the DDS program at the University of Maryland Dental School or Baltimore College of Dental School.
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
At the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, in Baltimore, students work with two advisors, an assigned academic advisor and a pre-professional advisor throughout their studies to ensure that they are getting all of the required classes in. In addition to courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics and English, dental schools may also require biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy and physiology and psychology. Students could benefit from a substantial amount of clinical experience, perhaps through shadowing an established dental professional. Students can join the Pre-Dental Society to learn about workshops, advising and internship opportunities among other topics. Students can choose any Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, provided they completed the minimum science and mathematics courses.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene notes that there are more than 5,000 dentists in the state and the state legislature requires that a dentist require a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM).
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Pre-Dental Courses/Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Johns Hopkins University||4-year, private-not-for-profit; Large city||Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (open major for preprofessional programs)||$48,710*|
|Loyola University Maryland||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city||Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (open major for preprofessional programs)||$45,200*|
|Montgomery College||2-year, public; Small city||Associate of Science: Life Sciences Track||$4,728 (in-district); $9,156 (in-state); $12,432 (out-of-state)*|
|Notre Dame of Maryland University||4-year, private, not-for profit; large city||Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (open major for preprofessional programs)||$33,670*|
|St. Mary's College of Maryland||4-year, public; small suburb||Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry||$13,895 (in-state); $28,745 (out-of-state)*|
|University of Maryland||4-year, public; large city||Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene, // Master of Science in Dental Hygiene, // Doctor of Dental Science||$10,143 (in-state), $32,779 (out-of-state)*|
|University of Maryland-Baltimore County||4-year, public; large suburb||Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (open major for preprofessional programs)||$11,006 (in-state), $23,770 (out-of-state)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.