Chemistry Department

Pre-Dental Advising Tip Sheet

Required for application to dental school
Most schools have the following requirements:

  • one year of laboratory based college level biology (BIOL 1110 & 1120) 
  • one semester of upper level Biology (BIOL 3020 or 4130 preferred) 
  • one year of Inorganic Chemistry (CHEM 1110 & 1120) 
  • one year of Organic Chemistry (CHEM 3010 & 3020) 
  • one semester of Biochemistry (CHEM 3530) 
  • one year of college level Physics (PHYS 2010,2011 & 2020, 2021) 
  • one year of college level English (ENGL 1010 & 1020) 
  • one semester of Calculus (MATH 1910) 
  • at least 90 total semester hours 

Most schools will not seriously consider you for admission until you are done with your bachelor's degree or would be done prior to beginning dental school.

Application to most dental schools in the United States is made via the American Association Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) in the summer one full year before you expect to start with a fall dental school class. This is done after taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Overall GPA, and Science & Math GPA will be calculated by AADSAS. They will include all grades on all science and math courses in their calculations (taking a class over does not replace the grade in their calculation). Overall GPA, Science & Math GPA and DAT scores along with an application essay and additional elements stipulated below determine whether or not you will be invited for an interview. Currently, average GPAs for entering dental school classes are approximately 3.5- 3.6, and average DAT score is 17-18 to be minimally competitive.

Additional Courses to Help Improve DAT Score Very Helpful: strongly recommend prior to taking DAT 

  • BIOL 3250 
  • BIOL 4210 
  • BIOL 4110 
  • BIOL 4130 

Dental Schools Like to See the Following in Your Schoolwork 

  • full course loads of 16 - 18 hrs/semester unless you are also working 10+ hrs/week 
  • 2 - 3 lab classes most semesters 

Dental Schools Need to See Clinical Experiences 

  • Before applying to dental school, you need 50 - 200 hours of direct observation of doctors in dental settings. Dental schools will look for a record of clinical experience over several years in multiple settings 
  • Begin getting clinical experience early so you will find out quickly if you really want to be around sick people and insurance company paperwork for a career. 
  • How to get experiences - Call physicians you know, and ask if you can watch them at work for a day (called "shadowing"). Other ways you can gain clinical experience include volunteering or working in emergency rooms, clinics, nursing homes, or hospice. You can also gain valuable experiences through volunteering in support organizations for the chronically ill (muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis associations for example). 

Dental Schools Like Proof of Community Involvement & Leadership 

  • You need to demonstrate an ability to make good grades, carry a full course and/or work load, while doing more than just studying. 
  • You need to demonstrate leadership qualities, concern for others, and an ability to work well in groups. 
  • How to demonstrate community involvement & leadership - There are many different way to demonstrate these. For example, be an active church member; or volunteer for the Special Olympics, Heart Walk, Memory Walk or MS walk. join clubs, and become an officer. Volunteer for charitable organizations or service organizations. Coach children's or youth's sports teams, or become a Sunday school or Vacation Bible School teacher.