Preparation for the study of dentistry requires a thorough knowledge of the basic biological and physical sciences and proficiency in communication skills. Social sciences and humanities are desirable electives. Students should consult their predental advisors early in their college careers for guidance in selecting courses of study.
A minimum of three academic years of study (90 semester hours or equivalent) is required at a college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A maximum of 60 semester hours earned at an accredited junior college is acceptable as partial fulfillment of this requirement. The last year of predental study must be completed at an accredited four-year degree-granting institution. Only those courses that carry credits toward a baccalaureate degree from the institution in which the candidate receives his or her predental instruction are acceptable.
Currently some colleges are developing new curricula, new grading systems, and modified entrance requirements, and some students may be admitted to college with advanced standing and therefore may be exempt from (CLEP) some elementary courses that are required for admission to dental school. Applications from students enrolled in such predental programs of study are considered; however, these students can qualify for admission only if the Admissions Committee is satisfied that these programs provide predental preparation at least equal to the minimum entrance requirements outlined in the section:
Specific Course Requirements
Biology (12 semester hours)
Twelve semester hours of general biology or zoology. Additional upper level human/animal biology courses are recommended. These courses may include cell biology, physiology, comparative anatomy, embryology, histology, human anatomy, microbiology and others.
Chemistry (16 semester hours)
Eight semester hours of general inorganic chemistry which includes qualitative analysis and laboratory work. Eight semester hours of organic chemistry with laboratory work. Biochemistry is recommended strongly.
Physics (8 semester hours)
Eight semester hours of physics. Mechanics, heat, light, sound, and electricity, with appropriate laboratory work, should be included in the courses.
Mathematics (6 semester hours)
Analytic geometry and differential and integral calculus are recommended.
Non-Science Courses (30 semester hours)
The requirement that at least 30 semester hours of non-science coursework be included in the predental program of study assures a broad general education which is the best preparation for a career in dentistry. Such non-science courses as English (six semester hours) and courses in the social sciences and humanities are recommended strongly to meet this requirement. Courses to enhance manual dexterity (sculpting, painting, etc.) also are encouraged.
Physical education, military science, and similar courses are not acceptable as part of the minimum non-science requirements.
Dental Admissions Testing Program
Each applicant is required to participate in the Dental Admission Testing Program conducted by the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association and to request that test results be sent to the Admissions Committee. For applications and detailed information, contact DAT . The DAT is administered throughout the year at certified test Centers:
Division of Educational Measurements
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Application information is usually available at the applicant's undergraduate pre-health careers advisory office. Applicants are strongly advised to seek all available help from their pre-health advisor(s).
Get in Touch
Steven J. Filler, DDS, MS, MA
Director of Admissions
UAB School of Dentistry
SDB 125 1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-0007
American Dental Education Association
1400 K Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 617.612.2045 or 202.289.7201