College Majors for Aspiring Dentists

If you are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry, there are pre-dentistry programs available at an undergraduate level to best prepare you for entering dentistry school. Read on to learn about the pre-dentistry program curriculum, typical prerequisites to enter dental school, and some suitable undergraduate majors if a pre-dentistry program isn't available at your school of choice. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What College Degrees Do Dental Schools Accept?

Dental schools don't require applicants to have any specific undergraduate major. In fact, some dental schools don't even require you to complete an undergraduate degree, although it is preferred. This doesn't mean that dental schools don't have any academic prerequisites for entry; in fact, entry can be very competitive.

While every dental school has slightly different requirements for entry into their programs, they share many prerequisites in common. One common entry requirement is that you complete at least two years of undergraduate studies at a college or university. You should be aware that some dental schools have extra requirements if some of your undergraduate schooling was completed at a community college. Most dental schools also require you to have completed a certain number of credit hours in scientific fields of study, including biology, chemistry, physics and biochemistry.

Education RequirementsMinimum 2 years undergraduate studies, bachelor's preferred; credit hours in select science courses
Suitable Undergraduate Major Fields Natural sciences (biology or chemistry)
Pre-Dentistry Curriculum Classes and professional seminars targeted specifically for entry into dentistry school
Other Prerequisites Time spent shadowing a dentist, Dental Admission Test (DAT) results

What Should I Major In?

While dental schools accept students with all different types of majors, some majors are more applicable to the dental profession than others. Due to the nature of dentistry, you may benefit the most by choosing a natural science major, such as biology or chemistry. Choosing one of these majors may also make entrance into dental school easier, because completion of these majors includes many of the courses that dental schools require you to have taken.

In addition to making your undergraduate degree easier to complete, a biology or chemistry major may put you at an advantage in dental school. There, you'll take classes in anatomy and immunology, which are also required of natural science majors. Additionally, natural science majors take physics courses, which may be useful later in dental school when learning about dental equipment and imaging techniques.

What Is Pre-Dentistry?

If your school offers a pre-dentistry program, this is not a college major; but it is a path to dental school after undergraduate school. Pre-dentistry programs combine classes and other professional development outlets, such as seminars, to prepare you for entry into dental school. Examples of what you'd do in this program include the following: prepare for the DAT, prepare application for Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS), prepare personal statement, participate in mock interviews.

What Other Requirements Are Typical?

Dental schools typically have other entrance requirements aside from undergraduate coursework. One common requirement is that you shadow a dentist for a certain number of hours, either as a volunteer or as an intern. You'll also be required to have completed the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) with a qualifying score before being considered for entry into dental school. For more information on dental school requirements, you can look on the American Dental Education Association's website (adea.org).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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