Dental Schools in MA with Degree Program Descriptions

Jul 30, 2019

Essential Information

Aspiring dentists in Massachusetts will find a few dental schools that grant related bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees as well as advanced certificates. Students of these programs can choose areas of specialization such as endodontics or periodontology. In addition to lectures, laboratory sessions, and clinical experiences, dental school students will be required to complete thesis requirements or other special projects.

The American Dental Association only accredits three dental schools in Massachusetts: Boston University, Harvard University, and Tufts University. The programs offered at these three Massachusetts universities are described below.

Boston University

BU's Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine in Boston is a relatively new school. It began as a department in the medical school in 1953, and then quickly formed its own school in 1996. Then it expanded to offer a full range of programs at both doctoral and postdoctoral levels.

The 4-year Doctor of Dental Medicine is for students who want to become dentists. The curriculum starts out with microbiology, genetics and dental anatomy. Oral biology and operative dentistry are the second year focus, while much of the third year is spent on comprehensive patient care. Students in their fourth year rotate through hospital and clinical settings to gain experience with oral diagnoses and emergency dental care. BU's combined baccalaureate and DMD program allow students to achieve both a bachelor's degree and DMD in seven years.

Students may also choose to pursue a Doctor of Science in Dentistry degree (DScD) in Dental Public Health after a 3-year program. The course schedule includes learning about biostatistics and public health policies. Students also learn about finance and the health care system. A dissertation is expected. There are also Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) available in Operative Dentistry and General Dentistry.

Harvard University

Harvard in Cambridge was the first U.S. university to have a dental school. The programs at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, which was established in 1867, offer dental students a chance to study alongside medical students.

The Advanced Graduate Education (AGE) program offers dental students a Master of Medical Sciences, Doctor of Medical Sciences or certificates in specific disciplines. The programs are heavily research-based. Both a project and a thesis are required.

Students pursuing a career in dentistry begin their first two years of the 4-year Doctor of Dental Medicine program paired with medical students while studying preclinical sciences. In the third year, studies focus on all facets of the dental field. Finally, the last year provides an opportunity for students to put their learning into practice with real patients at local hospitals and health centers.

Tufts University

While the main campus of Tufts University is in Medford, The School of Dental Medicine is in downtown Boston and is affiliated with several area hospitals. The school was founded in 1868. It offers a Doctor of Dental Medicine program with a variety of different specialties, as well as advanced and graduate education.

The DMD program requires 4 years of study, which combines lectures with laboratory and clinical experiences. The final year is comprised of clinical rotations in areas such as emergency, pediatric dentistry, and periodontology. Students are also required to complete a competency examination. DMD students may choose a discipline, including endodontics, periodontology, orthodontics, and pediatric dentistry.

Career Requirements

Dentists must be licensed in the state in which they intend to practice, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prior to seeking licensure, they must have graduated from an accredited dental school. Acceptance to dental school depends on a passing grade on the Dental Acceptance Test (DAT).

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Dental Degree Programs Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*
Boston University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)
BA or BS to DMD
Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study
Harvard University 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Master of Medical Sciences
Doctor of Medical Sciences
Doctor of Dental Medicine
Tufts University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Doctor of Dental Medicine $52,192

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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