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Schools and Colleges with Pre-Dental Programs: How to Choose

Jan 02, 2019

Pre-dental programs are not typically offered as majors or degrees unto themselves, but rather as pre-professional programs or advising tracks taken alongside a separate major. These programs usually are monitored by school counselors and are designed to help students meet necessary prerequisites for entrance into a U.S. dental school.

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Aspiring dental students can prepare for dental school by participating in a pre-dental program offered by a 4-year college or university.

Schools with Pre-Dentistry Programs

At these schools, undergraduate students can prepare for dental school:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (In-state, 2015-2016)*
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $48,436
Clemson University Clemson, SC 4-year, Public Bachelor's $14,272
Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Bachelor's/D.D.S $46,230
University of California-San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor $11,220
University of Dayton Dayton, OH 4-year, Private Bachelor's $39,090
University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's $13,664
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,367
University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,197

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for a school with a pre-dental program:

  • Chose a school that has the required courses that will be accepted by dental schools, which generally include biology, chemistry and physics.
  • Find out if schools have a fast-track option, offering accelerated curriculum leading to a dental degree in two or three years instead of four.
  • Look for schools with related extracurricular opportunities such as internships and student groups.

Combination Pre-Dental and Dental Programs

These programs are available at some colleges and universities that offer Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) programs at the graduate level. Students can earn both their bachelor's degree and D.D.S. in as little as five years. These programs are academically rigorous and typically include undergraduate courses in the sciences.

Pre-Dental Preparation Programs

These programs are designed to be completed alongside separate bachelor's degree programs. Students may have opportunities to get involved in a pre-dental club, gain dental healthcare experience and practice interviewing for dental school admissions. Coursework prepares students for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and covers the same science areas as for the combination programs.

By completing bachelor's-level prerequisite coursework and engaging in dentistry-related activities outside of school, aspiring dentists can prepare for dental school.

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