Pre-Dentistry

Prerequisite Courses

Required and Recommended CoursesMason Courses
Biology with lab, 2 semesters BIOL 213/Cell Biology
BIOL 311/Genetics
Anatomy & Physiology with lab, 2 semesters
(Strongly recommended)
BIOL 124 and 125 or BIOL 430 and 431
General Chemistry with lab, 2 semestersCHEM 211 and 213
CHEM 212 and 214
Organic Chemistry with lab, 2 semestersCHEM 313 and 315
CHEM 314 and 318
Biochemistry, 1 semesterBIOL 483 or CHEM 483
(Same course offered through different departments)
College Physics with lab, 2 semestersPHYS 243 and 244
PHYS 245 and 246
English, 2 semesters* ENGH 101 and ENGH 302
*Honors College students fulfill this through the Honors Curriculum
Statistics, 1 semester
(Strongly recommended)
BIOL 214/Biostatistics or STAT 250/Statistics
Psychology, 1 semester
(Strongly recommended)
PSYC 100/Basic Concepts in Psychology
Sociology, 1 Semester
(Strongly recommended)
SOCI 101/Introductory Sociology
  • Required and recommended coursework can vary by school. Applicants are encouraged to research the specific requirements for the schools they are considering. Information regarding each dental school can be found in the ADEA Recommended and Required Course Guide (free) or the ADEA Official Guide to Dental School (requires subscription).
  • Strongly recommended courses include 300 level and above biology courses such as Anatomy & Physiology, Histology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Zoology, and psychology and/or sociology coursework. Some schools require one or two semesters of calculus or one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics.
  • Schools vary as to whether they will accept AP, IB, community college, P/F, or online coursework to meet prerequisites.

According to the American Dental Association, dentists “diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth and mouth, improve a patient’s appearance, perform surgical procedures such as implants, tissue grafts and extractions, educate patients on how to better care for their teeth and prevent oral disease, teach future dentists and dental hygienists, and perform research directed to improving oral health and developing new treatment methods.”

CAREERS IN DENTISTRY
Information about careers in dentistry may be found at ADEA.

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK AND EARNINGS
The current Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Dentists can be found online.

APPLYING TO DENTAL SCHOOL

Admission to dental school is competitive. Students should plan to:

• Apply early (late spring) of the year before the expected year of matriculation.
• Submit application to schools that best match your strengths.
• Obtain shadowing and/or practical clinical experience in a general dentistry setting. Some schools require 100 – 150+ hours of pre-application shadowing.
• Volunteer to work with underserved populations.

Most dental schools participate in the American Association of Dental Schools Application Services (AADSAS) which is a centralized application service. AADSAS provides uniform information about applicants in a standardized format. As a rule, students should initiate the application process approximately one year and two months prior to the expected date of entry into dental school.

STANDARDIZED TEST: DENTAL ADMISSIONS TEST (DAT)
Dental school applicants must take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) which helps evaluate an applicant’s aptitude for dentistry. The DAT is designed to assess a student’s knowledge of natural sciences, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and perceptual ability. The DAT is given at Thomson Prometric Test Centers on a computer and is administered almost every day of the year. Students are encouraged to take the test at least one year prior to their anticipated entry into dental school. The DAT is a four hour and fifteen minute test.

For information and statistics regarding applicants, admitted students, and matriculants to dental school, explore the ADEA Data pages