Pre-Dentistry At Southern Oregon University
Welcome to pre-dentistry at Southern Oregon University. If you are considering dentistry as a career, please read through this information, and contact either Miller or Oswald very soon. We want to know of your interests and help answer any questions you may have.
Dr. John Roden, Department of Biology Pre-dental Advisor
Office: Diamond 105, Cascade
Tel: (541) 552-6798
Dr. Greg Miller, Department of Chemistry Pre-dental Advisor
Office: Hawthorne 13, Cascade
Tel: (541) 552-6408
Basic Requirements For Admission To Dental School
The following information is based principally on the Oregon Health Sciences University Doctor of Dentistry Program, but applies to most of the dental schools in the United States.
* Completion of 3 years minimum in any academic major (4-year bachelor's degree in practice)
* Completion of required courses in the sciences
* Dental Admissions Test
* Letters of recommendation from professors and dentists
* Health-care experience in dentistry
* Extra-curricular activities/accomplishments
No particular major is preferred. Pre-dentistry is not a major, but a collection of courses that fulfill admission requirements to most dental schools. Students must complete a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate work to be admitted to OHSU, but in practice, most have completed a 4-year bachelor's degree before starting dental school.
Biology and chemistry are the most common majors; others include anthropology, education, math, philosophy, psychology. In terms of acceptance, no major has a selective advantage over another.
We recommend that students select a major that they enjoy, can do well in and would want for a career as an alternative to dentistry. Selection of a major should be discussed with a pre-dental advisor and chosen by the sophomore year.
Average GPA of entering dental students was 3.63 at OHSU for the 2005 entering class. Only 116 out of 892 applicants were accepted. Clearly, this is a very competitive field, and it is crucial to make your credentials as strong as possible.
Required Pre-Dent Courses
* General Chemistry, one-year sequence with labs (Ch 201-206)
* Biochemistry (Ch 350)
* Organic Chemistry, 8 quarter hours minimum
o Ch 334, 335, 336 + labs Ch 337, 340, 341 OR
o Ch 331, 332 + labs Ch 337, 338
* Principles of Biology, one-year sequence (Bi 211-213)
* Human Anatomy and Physiology (Bi 231-233)
* General physics, one-year sequence (Ph 201, 202, 203 OR Ph 221, 222, 223 both with labs Ph 224, 225, 226)
Recommended additional courses
* Microbiology (Bi 351)
* Cell biology (Bi 342)
* Comparative Animal Physiology (Bi 314)
* Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (Bi 427)
* Neuroscience (not offered at SOU)
* Courses in behavioral and social sciences, and in arts and humanities will enhance the student's ability to practice dentistry
1. All required pre-dent courses must be taken for a letter grade; pass/no pass options are not acceptable. A perfect 4.0 GPA is not necessary for admission, but consistently high grades in both science and non-science classes are important.
2. Though Human Anatomy and Physiology (Bi 231, 232, 233) is now required for OHSU dental school, please be aware these courses count toward the required courses for Biology majors only if 1) the student is in the Biomedical Science Option, and 2) the student enrolls in the upper division HAP (Bi 331, 332, and 333). See Dr. Richard May for details.
Dental Admission Test (DAT)
* The DAT is required by all dental schools.
* It consists of 4 parts: Science survey (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry); Perceptual ability; Reading comprehension; Quantitative reasoning
* The test scores are preferred by Sep 1 in the year preceding the applicant's intended start date at dental school.
* The test fee is $160, with some additional fees for sending the scores to more than 5 schools.
* Applications to take the exam must be submitted before a student is eligible to take the exam.
* Tests are given at Sylvan Learning Centers (Eugene, Portland, and Salem) on any date arranged in advance with the center.
* Tests are strictly computerized; there are NO paper exams given.
* Exams may be re-taken, but no sooner than 90 days after the last time.
Letters of Recommendation
- Letters from science professors and dentists with whom the applicant worked are mandatory.
- These letters must address personal qualities such as reliability, integrity, and temperment, as well as knowledge of and dedication to the profession of dentistry.
- Students should begin early in their academic careers to cultivate relationships with individuals who will be able to provide detailed and positive evaluations of the student. Participation in class, research projects, volunteering or working in a dental office or clinic, etc. are critical.
- Many dental schools accept a single letter of recommendation composed by the Pre-dental Committee on campus. A student who uses this option must still have individual faculty and dentists who can speak to her/his abilities so the Committee can compose the letter. The student will also participate in an interview with the pre-dental Committee to help them in the evaluation process. This should occur in the spring term of the junior year for a student who intends to apply in the fall of senior year.
Health Care Experience
The dental admissions committee is particularly interested in an applicant's knwoledge of the profession of dentistry, in its many forms: orthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, public health, research, etc. The wise student will make it a point to educate him/herself on dentistry through practical experience, talking with professionals, and reading. In the past, students have worked with dentists, either as volunteers or as employees, at private offices, clinics, dental schools, and/or research facilities. Students make these arrangements themselves. The more experience the better.
Participation in other activities, particularly public-service, will strengthen your application. Diverse interests such as foreign languages, music, athletics, and other pursuits helps to demonstrate your discipline and uniqueness as an individual. Admissions committees want to know that an applicant is capable of relating to people from a variety of backgrounds.
When And How To Apply
- The American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) is used by nearly all of the US dental schools.
- Students submit one application to AADSAS and it distributes the materials to the schools of the applicant's choice.
- Applications should be submitted to OHSU between July 1 and Nov 1 of the year preceding the year you hope to begin dental school. Submittal before Sep 1 is highly recommended. Allow at least 3 weeks for AADSAS processing.
- The fee is $100 for the first school and $25 for each additional school.
- If a dental school requests a secondary application, they usually charge an additional fee ($40 for OHSU).
- The admissions committee at most dental schools (OHSU included) will invite a select group for a personal interview, and choose from among these students.
- Students are encouraged to apply to their home-state university dental school, and several other schools of their choice.
- Consult with an advisor early in your program to monitor requirements, watch for timelines in course sequences and obtain application information.
- To major in biology, consult with Dr. Oswald.
- To major in chemistry, consult with Dr. Miller.
- Other majors should see an advisor in their own department and Dr. Oswald or Dr. Miller
An outline for a Biology major pre-dental program:
Principles of Biology (Bi 211-213) 12
General Chemistry (Ch 201-206) 15
College Colloquium 12
Math 111, 112, 243 or 251 4-12
General Education Courses 0-6
Genetics (Bi 341) 4
Cell Biology (Bi 342) 4
Developmental Biology (Bi 343) 4
Organic Chemistry (Ch 331, 332, 337, 338, 350)
Organic Chemistry (Ch 334-337, 340, 341) 13-14
Psychology (Psy 101) 3
General Education courses 12
(psychology good choice from Social Sciences)
Ecology (Bi 340) 4
Animal Physiology (Bi 314) 4
Evolution Bi (446) 3
Biology Electives (e.g. Microbiology) 12
Physics (Ph 201-203, 224-226) 12
General Education courses as needed 9
Biology Electives (e.g. Vertebrate Anatomy) 8
Biology Senior Capstone 4
General Education courses as needed 9
(e.g., Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry,
Foreign Language, Biology)
For More Information:
For application packets, or to order a copy of Admission Requirements for United States and Canada Dental Schools ($25 - highly recommended)
American Association of Dental Schools
1625 Massachsetts Avenue, NW
Washington D.C. 20036-2212
For DAT information and application packets:
Dental Admission Testing Program
211 East Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
For OHSU information:
Office of Admissions and Student Affairs
Nora Cromley, M. Ed., Associate Dean
School of Dentistry
Oregon Health Sciences University
611 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97201-3097
Office of Financial Aid
Victoria Souza, Director
Oregon Health Sciences University
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road
Portland, OR 97201-3098