General Course Requirements
Each year, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) publishes the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools, which details admissions requirements, data and contact information for every accredited dental school in the US and Canada. Purchasing this guide includes a one-year subscription to the companion online Dental School Explorer. It is important to use these guides along with the schools' websites for the most up-to-date information. Access to the ADEA Dental Explorer alone may be obtained at no extra cost to members of the UGA Pre-Dental Society. Information on how to join the Pre-Dental Society may be found here.
Although requirements do vary from program to program, dental schools generally require the following courses:
- One year of inorganic/general chemistry with lab (CHEM 1211/L and 1212/L)
- One year of organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 2211/L and 2212/L)
- One year of biology with lab (BIOL 1107/L and 1108/L)
- One year of physics with lab (PHYS 1111/L and 1112/L or PHYS 1211/L and 1212/L) (Not on the DAT)
- One year of English (ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1102)
DISCLAIMER: This is not a definitive list of the classes you will need for every school. Always
check with the individual schools to see their specific requirements. (Please note:
currently two-thirds of the U.S. dental schools require biochemistry). Most schools
strongly recommend additional hours in upper division biological sciences. It is important
to realize that schools may alter their requirements from cycle to cycle. Please be
mindful of the requirements of the schools you are interested in applying to. Double-check
the school's admission webpage. You can also reach out to each school's admissions
counselors for answers to specific questions not addressed on their webpage.
Additionally, some schools require courses in biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, calculus, statistics, psychology, English, and the humanities. (Please note: currently two-thirds of U.S. dental schools require biochemistry). Most schools strongly recommend additional hours in upper division biological sciences. It is important to realize that schools may alter their requirements from cycle to cycle. Please be mindful of the requirements of the schools you are interested in applying to. Double-check the school's admission webpage. You can also reach out to each school's admissions counselors for answers to specific questions not addressed on their webpage.
Which GPAs does the AADSAS calculate?
ADEA AADSAS uses the information which you have entered in the coursework section of your application to calculate several tables of GPAs for each applicant. A thorough discussion of ADEA AADSAS GPA calculations may be found here. For a list of courses that are considered under the BCP (biology, chemistry, and physics) and science GPAs, please refer to the AADSAS course list.
AP Credit & Substitutions
Most schools have policies regarding advanced placement (AP) credit. Some schools restrict the use of such credit in fulfillment of pre-requisite requirements. In these cases, schools will often allow you to take additional upper-level courses in the science areas where AP credit was received. The policies for each dental school and their admission requirements, generally, can be found in the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools. Please review the websites of your target dental schools for the most up-to-date and complete information.
The Numbers Matter and so do Grade Trends
If you wish to enter a dental program you need to have a strong science and overall GPA. Admissions committees also look for trends on your transcript—so all is not lost if you stumble your first semester or two, as long as you show substantial improvement each subsequent year. However, they will also notice negative trends such as consistently withdrawing from or performing poorly in hard sciences or completing them away from your home institution. While an instance or two is not a deal-breaker, a pattern of behavior will be. You must demonstrate the ability to handle difficult scientific content.
Should I major in Biology?
Although a life-science major such as Biology may offer the most practical route to completing the requirements for admission into dental school, you are not limited to only the life science majors. It is more important that you choose a major that best fits your interests. As long as you show proficiency in the sciences (via pre-requisites and the DAT) and a general pattern of challenging yourself, your major is largely unimportant to admission committees.