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.
NOTE: Pre-dental is not a major or a program, and The University of Tampa does not have a dental school. Pre-dental is an interest or path students choose that advisors help guide on their journey towards applying to dental school.
Preparing for Dental School
Earn a bachelor’s degree
Dental school is a graduate program; to become eligible to apply to dental school students need to earn a bachelor's degree and take specific pre-requisites (classes that dental schools require). At UT, students can earn a bachelor's degree and take pre-requisite courses. They will need to choose a major, as pre-dental is not a major or a program at UT.
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* (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.):
- Biology I (1) and II (2) with labs
- General Chemistry I (1) and II (2) with labs
- Organic Chemistry I (1) and II (2) with labs
- Physics I (1) and II (2) with labs
- Biochemistry may 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.
Build an extensive record of relevant experiences
- Shadow general dentists- gain knowledge of the dental field and allows you to confirm if this is your passion
- Community Service- Students should have a passion for helping others.
- 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 Admissions Test (DAT)
- The DAT is required for all U.S. dental schools. It is a half-day long test which cost $430.
- Completion of most of the basic pre-requisites is needed to be prepared to take the DAT.
- Students who are on the traditional plan of going to dental school directly following graduation from UT should be prepared to take the DAT in the late spring/early summer of their junior year.
- Take the DAT before applying to dental schools.
Dental school applications
- Students apply to dental school a full year before they intend to start (summer of junior year through fall of senior year).
- Applications open every June, and each school has its own deadline.
- Most dental schools have rolling admissions, so they will review student files as soon as they are complete and submitted. Applicants are encouraged to apply early!
- Take a look now at what is expected of the application: ADEA AADSAS Application Instructions
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
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 Jackie Mikulski to schedule an appointment.