Preparing for a Career in Dentistry

Learn More About the Career, Working Conditions and Practice Options

Academic Requirements

Requirements vary somewhat for dental programs so it is important to look at the requirements for admission on the web sites of schools to which you plan to apply.  The following tables show the most commonly required courses for dental programs.  Please note that there may be alternative courses you can take to fulfill requirements so it is important to check with a pre-health advisor to be sure you are completing both your major requirements as well as your prerequisites for Dental School in the most efficient way.

Dental School Prerequisites

Requirement General Description University of Arizona Course Numbers
Biology 8 Semester Hours Biology

MCB 181R & 181L

ECOL 182 R & 182L

General (Inorganic) Chemistry 8 Semester Hours Chemisty

CHEM 151 or 141/143

CHEM 152 or 142/144

Organic Chemistry 8 Semester Hours Organic Chemisty

CHEM 241A & 243A

CHEM 241B & 243B

Physics 8 Semester Hours Physics

PHYS 102&181 and PHYS 103&182

(other levels of Physics may fulfill the requirement as well)

English 6 Semester Hours

English 101& 102 or

English 109H & additional English class, usually composition

Additional Requirements or Recommendations

Discipline Required/Recommended General Description University of Arizona Course Numbers
Microbiology Required for some 3-4 semester hours

MIC 205A (lecture=3 hours)

MIC 205L (lab=1 hour)

Statistics Required for some 3 semester hours

Suggested:  Biostatistics = Math 263

Other stats courses may meet requirement

Anatomy Required for some 4 semester hours Combination of PSIO 201 and 202 meets the 8 semester hour requirement for the combination of anatomy & physiology
Physiology Required for some 4 semester hours See above
Biochemistry Required for some 3 semester hours

One of the Following:

BIOC 384, 385 or 462A


Art Recommended esp. 3D 3 semester hours Many options; see pre-health advisor


Application Pathway

The admission test required for Dental Schools is the Dental Admission Test or DAT. 

The centralized application service used for application to most dental programs is the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service or AADSAS.  This is also referred to as the "primary application," and it goes to all of the schools to which you apply.  It includes biographical information, you will input your college-level coursework and credits earned, describe your co-curricular activities and also complete a personal statement, all of which goes to all of your schools.  Speak with your pre-health advisor about the right timeline for you to apply to dental schools and learn about the importance of applying early in the application process.

Once your schools review your primary application, they may invite you to complete a "secondary application," which usually includes additional essays and fees.  Ideally, you will complete your secondary application within 2 weeks of receiving the invitation.

More information about AADSAS

Students with economic challenges may qualify for the American Dental Education Association (ADEA)'s Fee Assistance Program which offers scholarships for the application process.

From the link above, look on the left side menu under "HELP" to find the Fee Assistance Program (FAP).


Fee Assistance Program through AADSAS for the application process

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA), Division of Educational Pathways has launched GoDentalSM, a new career building and social networking site. GoDentalSM is the official web resource for up-to-date information for people on the pathway to dental education and exciting oral health careers.  It offers an interactive experience for networking, community development, and engagement.

To learn more, explore some of the videos on the ADEA GoDental Youtube page and read more about dentistry from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For a listing of accredited dental schools in the United States, see the American Dental Education Association or American Dental Association Websites.


Follow for more information