To prepare for dental school, students can earn a bachelor's degree while taking specific pre-dentistry coursework, or they can enroll in an accelerated bachelor's/Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program. Therefore, there a wide range of undergraduate educational options for undergraduates who aspire to become dentists.
10 Schools with Pre-Dentistry Programs
These schools offer bachelor's degree programs with pre-dental advising or combined bachelor's/doctoral programs:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Pacific Union College||Angwin, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$29,064|
|University of St. Thomas||Saint Paul, MN||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$38,105|
|University of Maryland||College Park, MD||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$9,996 in-state, $31,144 out-of-state|
|University of North Dakota||Grand Forks, ND||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$7,965 in-state, $18,899 out-of-state|
|University of the Pacific||Stockton, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Combined Bachelor's/Doctoral||$42,934 (undergraduate)|
|Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$11,850 in-state, $23,670 out-of-state|
|Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$48,710|
|Marquette University||Milwaukee, WI||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$37,170|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond, VA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$12,772 in-state, $31,464 out-of-state|
|Portland State University||Portland, OR||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$8,034 in-state, $24,009 out-of-state|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Consider the following when looking for pre-dentistry schools:
- Students who are interested in pursuing their pre-dentistry and dental school educations as quickly as possible should search for schools that offer accelerated education options, such as 5-year or 6-year programs, which combine undergraduate studies with three years of professional dental training.
- Students who want a more heavily supervised pre-dentistry experience should research individual programs for the amount of specific requirements within the program, such as meetings with advisers.
- If students are interested in pursuing a combination pre-dentistry and dentistry program, but want to ensure they earn a bachelor's in an unrelated area of study, a 6-year program is a good option.
Combination Pre-Dentistry and Dentistry Programs
These programs, offered through schools offering graduate dental programs, allow students to spend their first few years of undergraduate study preparing for dental school. Students with exceptional high school GPAs, in combination with ACT and SAT scores, may be able to move into graduate studies in as few as two years, but would not obtain a bachelor's degree.
Pre-Dentistry Preparation Programs
Pre-dentistry programs not offered in combination with graduate studies are not undergraduate majors that result in specific bachelor's degrees, but are instead offered alongside separate bachelor's degrees. Students work with advisers in order to prepare for dental school admission by taking the Dental Admission Test (DAT) maintaining a high GPA and taking prerequisite courses specific to most dental schools.
Even though it is not usually possible to pursue an undergraduate major in pre-dentistry, aspiring dentists are advised to take specific courses while earning a bachelor's degree, and there are also dual degree bachelor's/doctoral options that lead directly into dental school.