Pre-Dental Advising

Students wishing to pursue a career in dentistry can major in anything - but just need to make sure they take the prerequisite courses needed to get into dental school.  (Many students choose to be either Biology or Chemistry majors, because there is so much overlap between the prerequisites and the course required for those majors).  Courses that are typically required for entrance to dental school include:

  • Biology with lab (2 semesters) (such as Foundations of Biology I and Foundations of Biology II)
  • General Chemistry with lab (2 semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry (2 semesters, 1 with lab) 
  • Physics (2 semesters)
  • Mathematics (precalculus or statistics)

Some schools also require the following:

  • English literature, speech or composition (2 courses)
  • Calculus
  • General Psychology
  • Biochemistry

(Note:  Some institutions will not accept AP credits). 

Most schools also require the DAT (Dental Aptitude Test).  The test is usually taken Spring semester, junior year and covers four areas of study: 1) a survey of natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry); 2) reading comprehension; 3) quantitative ability; and 4) perceptual ability. Note that physics is not covered on the DAT. In the future, a section may be added to assess critical thinking skills.

Some helpful links:

 American Dental Association

American Dental Education Association

ExploreHealthCareers.org Dentistry Overview 

University of Minnesota School of Dentistry

John Hopkins University pre-dental advising web page

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