Preparing for Admission to Dental School
Prerequisite Courses Required by Dental Schools
Most dental schools require a minimum of
- 8 credits of biology courses with accompanying laboratory courses
- 8 credits of inorganic/general chemistry with labs
- 8 credits of organic chemistry with labs
- 8 credits of physics with accompanying labs
- 6 credits of English composition courses
There is a present and increasingly popular trend among dental schools to also require
- 3–4 credit Biochemistry course
- 4 credit Microbiology course
- 4 credit Anatomy and Physiology course with an accompanying laboratory
- 3 credit General Psychology course
Given the variability in the prerequisites required by different dental schools, it is a student’s responsibility to refer to the Official Guide to Dental Schools, an annual publication of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), to ensure they take the prerequisites required by the schools to which they plan to apply. All prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the Spring semester that precedes a student’s expected August matriculation into dental school; although, the biology, inorganic and organic chemistry prerequisite courses must be completed before a student takes the Dental Admission Test (DAT).
Copies of ADEA’s Official Guide to Dental Schools are available at UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library. Students may also purchase their own copy from ADEA or log onto each individual dental school’s website for detailed information about each school’s admission requirements.
The list of UMBC equivalents of the dental school prerequisite courses is linked below. This list provides the general minimum requirements for most dental schools.
Advanced Placement (AP) Credit for Science Prerequisites
Students frequently ask if they can use AP credit in lieu of taking the prerequisite courses for a grade and credit at UMBC. Pre-dental students should not rely on AP credits to fulfill dental school prerequisites. Not all dental schools accept AP credit, particularly for the science prerequisite courses, even if UMBC accepts AP course credits for those same courses. Each dental school has the final say if a student meets their admission requirements and every dental school has different policies regarding AP credit. In order to prepare students to meet the requirements of as many institutions as possible, it is advisable that UMBC students complete the science prerequisite courses at the university-level for a grade and credit and not rely on AP credits to fulfill prerequisite coursework. This is particularly true for the chemistry and physics sequences. First-year students with AP credit in chemistry and physics are urged to begin science coursework at UMBC at the introductory level (with CHEM 101 and PHYS 11 1 or 121).
Slightly more flexibility exists if a situation arises where a student decides to use AP credit for BIOL 100 and BIOL 100 Lab. In such a circumstance, sometimes dental schools will accept advanced biological sciences coursework at the intermediate level. In this case, the student would then be required to complete either a 300 or 400 level biological science lecture course that has an accompanying laboratory, such as Cell Biology with lab or Comparative Animal Physiology with Lab. This student could then use BIOL 302 with Lab and either Cell Biology with Lab or Comparative Animal Physiology with Lab towards fulfillment of the minimal 8.0 credits of biological sciences, required by dental schools. Again, UMBC cannot promise that all dental schools will function in exactly the same manner and therefore, students are advised to proceed with caution when using AP credits towards fulfillment of the dental school requirements.
Also, CLEP (College Level Examination Program) course credit, long-distance or online courses are generally not accepted by dental schools toward fulfillment of the prerequisite courses.
Advanced Placement (AP) Credit for Non-science Prerequisites
Each dental school sets its own unique standards and admission requirements. There are some dental schools that do NOT accept AP credit for non-science prerequisites such as English. Because not all dental schools function in exactly the same manner, UMBC pre-dental students are urged to complete all dental school prerequisite courses at the university-level for a grade and credit and not rely on AP credits to fulfill any dental school requirements, regardless of whether the course is a science or non-science prerequisite.
Profiles of Accepted Applicants
This PDF includes profiles of accepted dental school applicants from one application year at UMBC. These profiles include all experiences from first-semester freshman year up to and including the Spring semester that preceded submission of the AADAS application. They can serve as a tool to help students critically analyze their individual competitiveness for admission to allopathic medical schools. Many factors influence the admissions decisions of medical schools.
At UMBC, there are many opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in research. Please visit the Office of Undergraduate Education’s Undergraduate Research website and UMBC’s Research and Scholarship website for instructions on how to get started with research not only at UMBC, but also at locations across the country.
The Baltimore-Washington, D.C. corridor also offers a plethora of dental-related undergraduate research opportunities at dental schools, medical schools and government organizations.
Some off-campus locations where students have completed undergraduate research include:
Extracurricular Involvement and Leadership
With over 200 campus organizations at UMBC, there is a club or organization for almost any interest area. Please visit the UMBC Office of Student Life website for more information.
Current UMBC students can get connected to the Pre-Dental Society by accessing the Office of Student Life’s Student Organizations List. Students are strongly encouraged to get connected to the Pre-Dental Society listserv, even if they cannot attend the meetings. To get onto the Society listserv, please email one of the officers of the Society from your UMBC email account and request that they add you to the listserv. The listserv provides weekly information about workshops, professional school visits, internship postings, walkin advising hours, advising appointment schedules, and much more.