The Basics

Preparing to be a dentist does not happen overnight. Most people know that it is important to have strong grades, but just as important is gaining experience to develop the skills, knowledge, and maturity necessary to be an effective healthcare provider. As with others on a healthcare team, a dentist’s decisions and actions affect human life and well-being. Dentists must pay attention to detail, have high ethical standards, communicate well with patients and other healthcare providers, maintain reliable records, and be knowledgeable about existing and new dental treatments to ensure each patient has optimal results.

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Knowledge of Self and Profession

Throughout the application process, you will need to demonstrate knowledge of yourself (values, goals, motivations, strengths, weaknesses), an understanding of the profession, and a commitment to become a dentist. You must clearly articulate your readiness to enter the profession as a result of first-hand experience in the field. There should be evidence in your application that you are committed to service and helping others. You must demonstrate your ability to work on a team, to lead, and to communicate with people with different backgrounds, values, and perspectives from your own.

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Major & GPA

And finally, there is no “best major” for pre-dental students. You can choose ANY major and be successful in your application to dental school. Admissions personnel will review your GPA from a variety of perspectives…cumulative GPA, science/math GPA, prerequisite GPA. Choose a major that you will enjoy and allow you to successfully complete the required and recommended courses while also gaining experience outside the classroom. Consider a major that will provide many career options, recognizing that students commonly change majors and career plans multiple times as they learn about themselves and their career options.  The prerequisite courses below can be worked into any major on campus.  Some may have more overlap, while other majors may have more flexibility.  Choose a major that works for you!

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Prerequisite Courses

Category Prerequisite Area Minimum Recommendation Course Numbers
Biological Sciences General Biology 2 Lectures & 2 Labs MCB 150/MCB 151 & IB 150/IB 151 (Note: Upper level labs may substitute for 151 labs)
Anatomy & Physiology 1-2 lectures covering all organ systems MCB 244 & 246 OR IB 202
Genetics 1 Lecture MCB 250 OR IB 204
Microbiology 1 Lecture MCB 100 OR MCB 300
Physical Sciences Physics 2 Lectures & 2 Labs PHY 101 & PHY 102
Chemistry 2 Lectures and 2 Labs CHEM 102/CHEM 103 & CHEM 104/CHEM 105
Organic Chemistry 2 Lectures and 1 Lab CHEM 232/CHEM 233 & CHEM 332
Biochemistry 1 Lecture MCB 354 OR MCB 450
Communication Written 2 Lectures Composition I & Advanced Composition