Postdoctoral Programs

ADVANCED DENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN PERIODONTOLOGY

The primary objective of the Advanced Dental Education (ADE) Programs in Periodontology is to produce a clinically proficient, scientifically oriented, analytical, thoughtful, versatile, compassionate, and ethical periodontist. It is anticipated that a graduate will be capable of discovering and disseminating knowledge resulting in the improvement in the quality of life for our citizens, especially those with periodontal diseases.

THE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

The CODA accredited program is a three-year program and will result in a certificate in Periodontology. This comprehensive program is designed to provide an individualized educational experience that will be a base to propel motivated graduates to leadership positions as clinicians or academicians. All of our ADE programs in periodontics are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and satisfy the educational requirements of the American Board of Periodontology.

Obtaining mastery level knowledge of the diverse disciplines involved in providing care for patients with periodontal diseases requires an intensive three-year course of study by capable motivated students. Great emphasis is placed on training specialist periodontists, but there is equal attention to the mastery of the basic sciences, applied to periodontology.

The development of expertise in patient care requires extensive experience in clinics, rotations, conferences, seminars, and courses which are more fully discussed in the detailed description that follows. The responsibilities of scheduling seminars, conferences, hospital cases and guest speakers are usually assigned to second and third-year students by the Program Director.

THE MASTER’S (M.S.) PROGRAM

The student may choose to combine the certificate program with a Master’s in Science Program. This program combines didactic courses, intensive clinical activities, performance of original research and the defense of a thesis resulting from this research. The original research may be in the field of clinical periodontics, including implantology, or basic science related to periodontics. Upon successful completion of all portions of this ADE program the student earns a certificate of specialization in periodontics and a Master's degree in Clinical Dentistry. However, neither the certificate nor the degree is awarded until the completion of the entire program. In addition to the three-year Master's program in Periodontics, a three-year certificate option is also available. The certificate program is similar to the Master's program but does not require the completion of a thesis.

The student should declare if he/she is going to complete a master’s degree during the first year. If so, students must obtain admission to the UAB Graduate School and begin fulfilling requirements that will culminate in an acceptable research thesis and an M.S. degree. Admission of students to the Graduate School will be recommended by the Department of Periodontics, but each student must meet the admission standards and fulfill all requirements of the Graduate School. Details concerning the Graduate School are published in its Bulletin which is available at time of enrollment. In general, a student must complete a minimum of 30 graduate hours of course work in specified areas with an average grade of B in all courses and produce and defend the aforementioned thesis.

View the complete prospectus.

STUDENT SELECTION

A limited number of students, usually four, are annually admitted to this program. Selection for the program is based on scholarship (particularly at the professional school level), graduation from an accredited school of dentistry, National Board examination, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, motivation, aptitude, character, experience, a sincere desire to participate in the program, and indications of ability to work in harmony with others in the program. The prescribed application form and supporting documents must be on file before consideration can be given to an applicant. Interviews are usually advantageous and can assist both the applicant and faculty in determining if mutual needs and expectations are likely to be met. Applicants who are strong candidates may be invited for personal interviews prior to final selection. Individuals accepted for advanced education programs at the University of Alabama, School of Dentistry who are eligible to obtain Alabama dental licensure are strongly encouraged to do so. Once accepted in the program, students generally can be appointed at the affiliated VA hospital and receive a stipend from the VA (for details see the section on financial support).

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

The Department of Periodontology accepts applications from international students. International applicants are encouraged to have advanced training beyond dental school to be considered as a competitive applicant. It is a general expectation of our School that international students will return to their country in an educational or public health capacity and preference will be given to such international applicants. Foreign applicants must provide a validated translation of their educational qualifications and document their abilities in the English language by presentation of an acceptable score on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination. International applicants must be able to provide affidavits of ability to support themselves financially.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Limited financial support may be available. All financial support is contingent on annual appropriations from the school, state, and federal sources and, therefore, may vary in availability and amounts. Research stipends may be available contingent on financial resources.

In the fully operational certificate/degree program, residents who have a US dental license are anticipated to equally share available funded VA positions. Currently, the VA stipend support for each resident is approximately $8,000.00. The availability of VA stipends depends on governmental budgeting and clinical productivity by residents.

Students may be eligible for various loans. These might include the Student Loan Fund of the American Academy of Periodontology, American Fund of Dental Education, Minority Student Loan, and loans under the Higher Education Act Loan Program. The application and arrangement of student loans will be the responsibility of the student.

International students can be considered only if they are able to provide affidavits of ability to support themselves financially.

EXPENSES

Expenses are considerable and the ADE programs require concentrated full-time effort on the part of students. Thus, each applicant is urged to seriously and carefully consider his or her family and other responsibilities, resources, motivation for time-consuming studies, and the financial obligations inherent in a 3-year program.

Currently, there is approximately $10,000.00 in tuition/fees per academic year. Tuition and other expenses of the Graduate School are listed in the Graduate School Bulletin and are in addition to the School of Dentistry tuition/fees. There will be Graduate School special fees as applicable. It is anticipated that fees and tuition will increase each year.

Each student must obtain and maintain acceptable health hospitalization insurance as well as professional liability insurance. Participation in the Student Health Service Program or the formal certification of equivalent coverage is required. Hospitalization insurance at varying cost may be obtained through the University and, if eligible, through the Veterans Administration Hospital. Professional liability insurance is required and offered at reasonable cost through the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Malpractice Liability Trust Fund. As a condition of enrollment, students must present certification of vaccination for or immunity to Hepatitis B.

Periodontal instruments and other supplies will be a major expense. The students will use the periodontal instruments and equipment from the department. An instrument fee is assessed every year of training. Currently the instrument fee is $1074 per year.

Each student is required to have a laptop computer for access to our clinic software. The cost for these will vary and should be obtained after specifications are received before arrival to the program.

Books and supplies are required. Clinical cases must be fully documented, including photographs. Photographic equipment likely will cost $2000 or more and should be obtained after specifications are received before arrival to the program.

Other expenses associated with special courses or conferences should be expected. Each student must annually take a national In-Service Examination at a current cost of $110. Students are required to be certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and must pay for these courses.

Students are encouraged to join appropriate professional organizations and student membership in the American Academy of Periodontology is required. These fees vary yearly.

SCHEDULES AND DATES

Students generally must be present before 8 a.m. and remain until after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday of each week. However, academic and clinical duties may require the presence of students on week-ends and at times that do not fall within the hours listed above. Students should reserve ample time in the evenings and on week-ends for study, reading, documentation of patient care, and attendance at the library.

Students in the advanced education program will have vacation at set times within the program. It is usually one week for fall break, two weeks in December for the holidays, one week for spring break, one week at the beginning of the academic year and one week at the end of the academic year. Administrative leave for the attendance of professional meetings is given on an individual basis.

Students must attend all scheduled clinics, rotations, classes, examinations, and departmental activities. When absence is anticipated, arrangements must be made well in advance with the program director, instructors, and all who will be affected by such absences. Unauthorized absences may result in dismissal from the program.

Attendance at professional meetings is encouraged and particularly so at meetings which occur outside of normal duty hours. It is general policy to allow second and third-year students to attend, at their own expense, one national meeting each year.

Students matriculate on July 1 and must remain in residence for the entire period of the program. Applications for part-time programs will not be accepted.

EVALUATION AND GRADING

Written or oral examinations are given in most of the didactic courses. Students are required to attend classes as scheduled and to pass examinations with above average grades. Annually, each student must satisfactorily participate in the In-Service Examination of the American Academy of Periodontology and this examination will be taken at the student's expense. Satisfactory performance by all second and third-year students on annual UAB board examination is mandatory.

There are formative and summative evaluations by the periodontal faculty of each student's performance in clinics, case conferences, literature reviews and other activities. When appropriate, written or oral examinations are used.

In addition to the evidence of knowledge displayed on oral and written examinations, the performance evaluations are based on demonstrated abilities, active participation, interest, attitude, industriousness, reliability, judgment, leadership, professional demeanor, cooperation with faculty, fellow students and staff, and the fulfillment of administrative duties. Clinical performance evaluations are done in accordance with the criteria of a grading sheet distributed at time of enrollment. Semiannual formative and annual summative evaluations are presented to the students using a 360° evaluation of the overall performance of the resident and progress towards graduation.

It should be clearly understood that advancement in and completion of an ADE program is not automatic and is not predicated only on time in residence. Students whose performances are not satisfactory, qualitatively or quantitatively, may be dismissed from the program or required to repeat portions of the program.