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Pre-Dentistry Advising


Oral health care is a growing field with increasing demand as the overall population ages, cosmetic dentistry options increase in popularity and access to health insurance opens. According to the American Dental Education Association, dentists evaluate the overall health of their patients; perform clinical procedures such as exams, fillings, crowns, implants, extractions and corrective surgeries; and perform general dentistry or practices in one of nine dental specialties.

The University of Tampa equips students to enter dental school by offering a high-caliber faculty who engages and inspires students to exceed their expectations. Smaller classes allow one-on-one dialogue, personal attention and the kind of insightful evaluation, mentoring and guidance that make a difference. Your teachers get to know you well; that means better recommendations for jobs and graduate schools.

Preparing for Dental School

Earn a bachelor’s degree

Choose a major:

Students who are interested in going to dental school typically major in biology, chemistry or biochemistry. These majors include most of the required courses for entrance into dental programs and will help prepare students for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). However, other degrees can also prepare students for health professions; thus students are encouraged to major in the field where they excel and should consult the pre-health professions advisor about course work.

Basic pre-requisite courses required for dental school*:

  • Biology I and II with labs
  • General Chemistry I and II with labs
  • Organic Chemistry I and II with labs
  • Physics I and II with labs
  • Biochemistry maybe be required depending on school 
*Each dental school has its own set of pre-requisites, and students need to research the admission requirements of each school to which they are intending to apply. Search accredited dental schools in the U.S.

Dental Admissions Test (DAT)

  • The DAT is required for all U.S. dental schools. It is a half-day long test which cost $430.

Build an extensive record of relevant experiences

  • Community Service- Students should have a passion for helping others
  • Shadow general dentists- gain knowledge of the dental field and allows you to confirm if this is your passion
  • Research - lab, social science, an area you are genuinely interested in 
  • Manual Dexterity- experience with fine motor skills, minute hand movements 
  • Leadership - roles on and off campus

Dental School Information and Beyond

  • A traditional dental school program is four years long.
    •  The first two years are spent learning the basic biology classes, and the following two years are reserved for clinical study, direct patient care and/or clinical rotations. 
  • There are three dental schools in Florida:   
  • After completion, the student earns a D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine).
    • These are the same degrees, and each university decides which degree it will offer. 
  • After graduation, dentists can practice general dentistry or they can choose to get an advanced dental education in one of the nine areas of specialization.
    • Depending on the specialty, advanced education ranges from one to three years. 
    • Specialty options and time length are explained here

Pre-Health Professions Committee (PHPC)

Members of the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics and the Department of Biology offer guidance to students and write recommendations through our Pre-Health Professional Committee (PHPC) composed of biology, chemistry, biochemistry and physics faculty.

Contact for Advising and Guidance 

Pre-professions advising has a dedicated program specialist to help students prepare for professional school in the health sciences. The program specialist would like to see all pre-health students early on to ensure they are on the path for success. Please email to schedule an appointment. 

Additional Resources

Explore Health Careers- Dentistry 
American Dental Education Association 
UT Pre-Health Advising Guide PDF