Preparing for a Career in Dentistry

Once you have decided to pursue a career in dentistry, you should:

  1. Read the Pre-Healthcare FAQ that provides general advice for students considering healthcare careers.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the information on this page.
  3. Consider enrolling in the Premedical Studies Co-Major.
    (While it doesn't perfectly match the courses required for dental school, we feel it can help you achieve your goal of getting into dental school.)
  4. Obtain more detailed information about specific dental school requirements from dental school websites or resources such as:
    • ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools
      This comprehensive book, published by the American Dental Education Association, contains the most up to date information about applying to and attending dental school in the U.S. and Canada. For advisors, students, and parents.
  5. Learn more about the dental profession and dental education by visiting websites such as:
  6. Try to attend Miami Predental Club meetings and events. This student-run organization is here to help you attain your goal of becoming a dentist.
  7. Sign up to receive emails about upcoming prehealth events and opportunities at Miami from the Mallory-Wilson Center (email Ms. Tailyn Walborn to sign up).

For any questions you have about preparing for a career in dentistry, please contact:

Ms. Tailyn Walborn
Mallory-Wilson Center
106 Pearson Hall

Pre-Dental Coursework

Dental School Requirement - Miami Equivalent
Subject Courses
English 1 year or equivalent
(1 year with lab)
BIO/MBI 115, 116
General Chemistry
(1 year with lab)
CHM 141, 142 and CHM 144, 145
Organic Chemistry
(1 year with lab)
CHM 241, 242 and CHM 244, 245
CHM 251, 252 and CHM 254, 255
(1 year with lab)
PHY 161, 162
PHY 191, 192

The list of required courses should be considered a minimum list. Dental schools may require classes in addition to those listed above. Therefore, you should look up the specific course requirements of the schools in which you are planning to apply. This way you'll be able to plan your undergraduate curriculum to meet the requirements of the schools to which you plan to apply. A perfect example of a dental school that has additional course requirements is the Ohio State University College of Dentistry.

If you intend to apply to Ohio State, you'll need to take the courses listed above, as well as, the following four courses:

  • a semester of biochemistry
    (CHM 332 or 432)
  • a semester of human or comparative anatomy
    (BIO 201)
  • a semester of human or animal physiology
    (BIO 161 or BIO 305)
  • a semester of microbiology
    (MBI 121 and 123, MBI 161, or MBI 201)

Other Course Recommendations

In addition to the ones listed above, other courses that could be helpful in providing a foundation for the basic science courses to be taken in dental school include:

  • BIO 203 - Introduction to Cell Biology
  • BIO 342 - Genetics

If you have the opportunity to choose a few electives outside of the College of Arts and Science, you may want to consider courses in:

  • drawing
  • three-dimensional art
  • personal communication
  • business courses

Course Planning

For advice on planning out your pre-dental coursework during your time at Miami, please contact:

Ms. Tailyn Walborn
106 Pearson Hall

Applying to Dental School

Competition for places in dental school is keen and dental school admission committees choose among many talented and qualified students. The evaluation of candidates is based largely on objective criteria; a high overall GPA and science GPA, as well as, competitive scores on the Dental Admission Test (DAT) are very important. Other important factors are:

  • significant prior experience in dentistry
    (We recommend at least 80 hours of observation in a general practice dental office.)
  • strong letters of reference
  • evidence of leadership potential as demonstrated by a few carefully chosen extracurricular activities
  • well-developed interpersonal skills

Also, dental schools require a minimum number of 3 years or 90 semester hours of undergraduate course work. However, the vast majority of first-year dental students have completed a four-year degree.

Almost all US dental schools use an online application service called AADSAS ( American Association of Dental Schools Application Service). Since it takes approximately 1 year to complete the dental school application process, most students apply to dental school after their third year of undergraduate work with the goal of matriculating into dental school after their fourth year of college.

Planning for Your Application

For information on how to apply to dental school (processes and timelines), please contact:

Ms. Tailyn Walborn
106 Pearson Hall