Prospective dentists will seek to apply to dental schools to earn either the DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degrees. Some students with interests in specific types of dental practice might consider earning a dual degree. This can be a real benefit, as students will complete both degrees in less time than pursuing them consecutively.
Dual Dental Degree Programs
Here, you can learn more about three popular dual degree programs that can be pursued by those enrolled in DDS or DMD programs and some less common programs, as well.
DDS or DMD/MPH
One avenue for those seeking a dual degree program with their dental training would be to also earn an MPH (Master of Public Health). This dual degree program is relevant to students who wish to engage in dental public health or assume administrative dental positions. Students typically must complete all core courses in both schools as well as a public health internship. Courses may include biostatistics and oral community health. Graduates of this dual degree program are often qualified to seek residency positions in a public health dentistry role.
DDS or DMD/MBA
Another dual degree option is pursuing a DDS/MBA (Master of Business Administration) program. This training will be important for those who wish to fully understand the business component of dental practice, such as those who wish to run an independent practice, administer a corporate dental office, or develop or sell dental devices. This program requires about four to five years of study to complete, and the core courses of each discipline will be required.
DDS or DMD/PhD
A highly competitive dual degree program is the DDS/PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). This type of program is designed for those who wish to conduct scientific research or enter academia in the dental field, and it requires approximately seven to eight years of study. Students must complete core dental coursework as well as PhD courses and the completion and defense of a dissertation. Clinical dentistry rotations often continue throughout the bulk of the program. Some courses might include biostatistics and oral microbiology. Funding may be available for DDS/PhD programs.
Other Dual Degree Programs
Less common dual degree programs exist for those with highly specific interests. Students might consider earning a DDS/MA in Science and Dental Education if they wish to become dental educators; a DDS/MS in Gerontology if they wish to work with an aging population, or a DDS/MBE (Master of Bioethics) for those who wish to closely examine the ethical and policy implications of dental science. Other options are available throughout the country.
Students usually must earn admission to each graduate program separately. Students typically first apply to the DDS or DMD program. Applications to dental school are made through the American Dental Education Association's application service. Candidates should expect to provide DAT test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Interviews may be requested after the initial materials are reviewed. Requirements for application to the dual degree will vary depending on the second degree sought; however, the usual standardized test scores are sometimes waived for dual degree students entering from the dental school. Recommendations or endorsement from the dental school may be required.
Future dentists who wish to engage in specific areas of practice might earn a dual degree in a range of disciplines. Admission requirements will vary by program.