Pre-Dental

About the Profession

Dentists diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of the teeth and mouth. They perform surgical procedures such as implants, tissue grafts, and extractions, and can improve a patient’s appearance by using a variety of cosmetic dental procedures. Dentists educate patients on how to better care for their teeth and prevent oral disease. Some dentists also teach dental students and dental hygienists or perform research directed to improving oral health and developing new treatment methods.

Studies in dentistry take four years to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) with additional years for a residency to specialize. There are 66 schools of dental medicine in the US and they belong to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). Most use the centralized American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS).  Information about dental admissions for all US and Canadian schools can be found in the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools.   There are five dental schools now in New York State: SUNY at Buffalo and Stony Brook are public; NYU, Columbia and Touro are private. Please visit the American Dental Education Association (ADEA)  for more information.

Your Record

From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete dossier with which to apply to these professional schools.  Dental Schools:  To apply usually requires five achievements:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree in any major.
  • Achieve excellent grades; most recently admitted students had overall and science average GPAs in the 3.4+ range.
  • Earn a good score on the DAT (Dental Admissions Test). Averages for recently accepted applicants were in the 19-20 range.
  • Obtain a University Prehealth Committee Evaluation Letter.
  • Involve yourself in sincere, sustained dental related volunteer work.  Research is a plus.

UB Special Admission Programs

There are two special admission programs to the UB School of Dental Medicine: Early Assurance and the Combined BS/DDS Degree Program. Please see additional information regarding applying to the BS/DDS Program here.

Early Assurance

Other options for admission to UB’s School of Dental Medicine include the Early Assurance Program  to which students apply at the end of sophomore year.

BS/DDS Application Process

Please refer to our Combined Degree Program (PDF) for additional information.  More links pertaining to this program are under the Department of Biological Sciences webpage  and under the UB School of Dental Medicine webpage.

Course Requirements

Start planning as a freshman to meet the following course requirements: a minimum of one year each of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, all with a year of lab; one year of English; and one year of Math recommended. Several require biochemistry and/or microbiology. Below are the UB courses we recommended to meet these requirements:

Chemistry (Required and on DAT) CHE 101-102 or 105-106 or 107-108 10 credits
Organic Chemistry (Required and on DAT) CHE 201-202 or 251-252 10 credits
Biology (Required and on DAT) BIO 200-201 9 credits
Physics (Required) PHY 101-102 w/labs 151-152, or
PHY 107-108 or 117-118 w/lab 158*
10 credits
English (Required) Communication Literacy 1 and 2 or ENG 101-201
(If any waived take 3 or 6 credits of writing intensive, literature-based courses – check with prehealth advisor if unsure)
6 credits
Biochemistry (Highly Recommended – some schools require and on DAT) BCH 403 or BIO 205 with optional lab of BIO 215 3-5 credits
Mathematics (Highly Recommended – some schools require) MTH 121-122 or 141-142 8 credits
Human Physiology (Highly Recommended and on DAT) PGY 300 or PGY 451-452 4-6 credits
Statistics (Highly Recommended and on DAT) STA119 or PSY207 4 credits

*Consult with a prehealth advisor regarding additional lab requirements if taking a Physics sequence which includes only one lab.

**DAT Changes for 2015: The DAT now has additional content pertaining to statistics in the Quantitative Reasoning Section.

ONLINE PREREQUISITE COURSES, INCLUDING ENGLISH, ARE STRONGLY DISCOURAGED AS MANY PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS WILL NOT ACCEPT THEM.

Some Dental schools may have additional courses required or recommended. Review the Admission Requirements of US and Canadian Dental Schools in the Preprofessional Health Advisor’s Office, the Undergraduate Library, or purchase your own copy from the ADEA. 

All required courses must be taken for a grade. Each school has its own policy about AP credit. Usually, AP credit in these areas should be followed with additional upper level work in the discipline including labs. AP credit in math is the only subject in which more advanced work is not necessarily required.

Additional Courses

To further strengthen your application, here are some additional UB courses you could take:

ANA 113 – Human Anatomy BIO 367 – Developmental Biology
APY 345/346 – Comparative Primate Anatomy BCH 403 – Principles of Biochemistry
APY 448 – Human Genetics/Legal and Ethical Issues MIC 401 – Fundamentals of Microbiology
BIO 203 – General Physiology PHI 237 (formerly 337) – Social and Ethical Values in Medicine
BIO 205/215 – Fundamentals of Biological Chemistry PGY 300 – Human Physiology
BIO 319 – Genetics PGY 451-452 – Human Physiology