Student with laptop working in a clinic.General Preparation

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. In addition, please review our minimum technical standards for admission and matriculation.

Predental Study

Undergraduate study at a regionally accredited institution is required and we strongly prefer a minimum of three academic years; however less than three academic years can be evaluated. 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:

Pass/Fail grades are accepted but standard letter grades are preferred. Course prerequisites remain unchanged.

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.

    All required courses must be taken within the last 5 years.

    Physical education, military science, and similar courses are not acceptable as part of the minimum non-science requirements.

    We will honor online courses and pass/fail courses due to the COVID-19 changes in instruction and grading.

Questions Regarding Requirements

Your Academic Pre-Health Advisor at your college/university can best assist with course requirement questions.


Required letter from Pre-Health Committee or Advisor.* One reference letter from a dentist that you have shadowed is preferred, as well.

*For applicants who do not have such a system or for a student who has been out of school for a time, we will take a minimum of 2 letters from instructors, but no more than 3.

Shadowing Hours

UAB does not have a required number of shadowing hours - this is an individual decision, but it is very important that an applicant understands first hand what they will do as a dentist and has the opportunity to interact with various dental professionals. Shadowing should consist primarily of shadowing general dentists. Many recent applicants seem to shadow 50-100 hours, some do more. Massive numbers of hours are not needed for a competitive application.Shadowing/volunteer hours will be looked at on a case-by-case basis and will focus on consistency of experience rather than accumulation of hours.

Dental Admissions Testing Program

Each applicant is required to participate in the Dental Admission Testing (DAT) Program conducted by the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association (ADA) and to request that test results be sent to the UAB School of Dentistry Admissions Committee. Learn more about how to apply to take the DAT.

For more information on the DAT:

Division of Educational Measurements

American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

(312) 440-2500

DAT 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).

DAT test scores must be taken within the last 3 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many people apply each year?

    For the past several years the number of applications has continued to increase. Recently the number has been well over 1300.

  • How many people are accepted each year?

    Approximately 84.

  • Are Alabama residents given preference?

    Yes, but U.S. candidates with excellent credentials are also considered.

  • Are out-of-state residents considered?

    Yes, and accepted applicants are highly qualified.

  • How is residency determined?

    How do you determine if incoming dental students are considered “resident-students” or “non-resident-students” for tuition purposes? Read more about residency determination for UAB SOD tuition purposes.

  • Are three college years enough to gain acceptance?

    Technically yes. However, an applicant completing only three years of college would generally not be competitive against recent applicant groups.

  • What kind of GPA does the average accepted applicant present?

    The average is about 3.75 on a 4.0 scale.

  • Is the GPA the most important thing?

    No. The overall academic record is more important. Some very important factors that are taken into consideration are where you went to school, the courses you took and how many courses you took each term, and how well you did.

  • What is the average DAT score?

    Approximately 21 for the academic portion and 20 for the perceptual ability section.

  • When should I take the DAT?

    This decision is probably best made in conjunction with your school's predental advisor. However, most people take it during or just after their junior year -after they have completed the prerequisite courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biology. Although physics is an important prerequisite course, it is not on the DAT.

  • How will I know if I should retake the DAT?

    We generally advise students to retake the DAT if they score a 18 or below. A score of 18 is marginal and in recent years has generally not been sufficient for an interview.

  • What other items are of importance to the Admissions Committee?

    Many things, including but not limited to, letters of evaluation, your essay, your interview, extracurricular activities, knowledge of dentistry as a career, and work history.

  • Do I need to get a job in a dental office to be considered?

    No. Although any dental experience is useful in helping to determine whether or not this is a good career choice for you. It is not common that applicants work in a dental office prior to entering dental school. It has been our experience that such opportunities are limited and it is not realistic to emphasize "employment". It is important for you to observe in a number of dental offices to get a real feel for what the profession involves.

  • If I get accepted, when will I hear?

    Acceptances are given throughout the interview year when final decisions are made about individual applicants. This generally occurs from December through February.

  • Are applicants with an international dental degree considered?

    Not unless they are Alabama residents and have completed all undergraduate requirements at an accredited U.S. college or university.

  • What is the difference between a D.M.D. degree and a D.D.S. degree?

    D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine) and D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degrees are equivalent degrees. The University of Alabama School of Dentistry awards the D.M.D. degree.

  • How Do I Get An Application?

    UAB School of Dentistry participates in the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) application service. Through AADSAS, the applicant files only one application for admission to any of the participating dental schools. Extreme care should be exercised to make certain that the application form is filled out accurately and completely. Errors or omissions will delay processing. AADSAS will process the application for distribution to each of the participating schools designated by the applicant. Applicants will be required to pay an initial application fee through AADSAS upon submitting their application.

    For more information on AADSAS:


    1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
    Suite 600
    Washington, DC 20036-2212
    Phone: (800) 353-2237 or (202) 667-9433
    Fax: (202) 667-4963
    E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Do you accept Advance Placement (AP) credits?

    Yes, as long as they are on your official university transcript.

  • What courses count toward the requirements?

    The Academic Pre-Health Advisor at your college/university can best assist with course questions.


UAB School of Dentistry

SDB 125
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-0007

Phone: (205) 934-3387
Fax: (205) 934-0209
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


American Dental Education Association
1400 K Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (617) 612-2045 or (202) 289-7201
Fax: (202) 289-7204
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.