College of Arts and Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
The “pre-dental curriculum” is just a list of courses that are required for admission to dental school. It is NOT an academic major, a minor, or an emphasis area. The list of courses we describe here meet the course requirements for many dental schools; however, you should consult the specific dental schools to which you plan to apply for any variances.
Admission to dental schools is not solely determined by prerequisites. Other factors are weighed as well, such as GPA (overall and science specific), Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores, evidence of care for others through service and/or employment experiences, leadership roles, observation and shadowing experiences, manual dexterity, and other personal characteristics. Gaining entrance into dental school is highly competitive, and students who are accepted usually surpass the minimum requirements.
Dental schools do not require a particular major. Although most pre-dental students choose an academic major in one of the sciences, such as Biological Sciences or the Biochemistry emphasis of Chemistry, other majors are acceptable including those in the humanities, social sciences, or business. Students should select the major in which they feel the most comfortable and in which they would like to work if they are not accepted into dental school.
Some students already have a B.A., B.S., or above and decide to pursue becoming a dentist. It is recommended that such students visit the preprofessional office for additional advisement. It is common for these students to take their missing prerequisite science or non-science courses for dental school here at USM as post-baccalaureate students, work on the other non-course requirements while taking courses, prepare for and take the DAT, and then apply to dental school(s).
Some students may choose to pursue a second major, while others enroll in prerequisite courses as a non-degree-seeking student. In either case, students must go through the University's Undergraduate Admissions office to be either admitted (new students) or re-admitted (former students) prior to enrollment.
Other DDS/DMD programs can be found listed by state at the Commission on Dental Accreditation website.
Dental schools have relatively similar minimum requirements for admission, typically:
The following list of Required Courses* meets only the minimum requirements for admission to the School of Dentistry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson. Students must consult the specific admission requirements and application deadlines for the school(s) to which they plan to apply, including UMMC.
*Courses not accepted include courses taken by correspondence or online, physical and military science courses, dogmatic religion courses, and courses in the BCPM areas for non-majors. Advanced (300+) science courses must be taken at a four-year institution.
The suggested course sequence below is merely a guideline for timely completion of UMMC required courses. Courses to fulfill the major must be worked into the student’s schedule; it is recommended that students work with their academic advisor to develop a detailed course plan.
It is important to begin the Chemistry sequence as early as possible. The General Biology sequence should also be taken early in the academic career, as these courses are prerequisites for advanced science courses.
a The order in which students take the introductory Biological Sciences (BSC) courses does not matter. BSC 110/L covers molecular and cellular topics, whereas BSC 111/L covers ecology and organisms.
b Placement in mathematics (MAT) courses depends on ACT subtest scores. Consult the prerequisites for the course you plan to take. Calculus is required for some majors in the USM College of Arts and Sciences but is not required by most medical schools.
c “Other” courses include those to satisfy the major, minor, or General Education Curriculum, as well as supplemental or additional courses recommended by dental schools.
d Either physics sequence will satisfy the dental school prerequisites. Physics 201 and 202 are calculus-based, whereas Physics 111 and 112 are not.
e Students are strongly encouraged to take the Hatten Externship course (BSC 392) in the Fall semester of the second year; the course can be repeated in the Fall of the third year.
f This is the recommended statistics course for dental students. Depending on the student's major, another course may be required. Many dental schools accept general, business, or scientific statistics.
g UMMC requires students to take either Microbiology (BSC 380/L), Comparative Anatomy (BSC 361), or Biochemistry (CHE 420 or 421) for one of the advanced science electives. Other advanced science electives include Cellular Biology (BSC 360), Genetics (BSC 370), Physiology [BSC 451 (Human Physiology), BSC 450 (Comparative Animal Physiology)], Immunology (BSC 486), Biochemistry II (CHE 422), Biochemistry III (CHE 424), Analytical Chemistry (CHE 311/L), Analytical Biochemistry (CHE 423), Physical Chemistry (CHE 461/L, CHE 462/L), and others.
h Students may take BSC 399 (MCAT Preparation) during the Spring semester of the Junior year if they would like to review Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in a formal class. Otherwise, students need to prepare on their own before attempting the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) for the first time.
Students are strongly encouraged to take an online practice DAT before taking the DAT they will use on their application. There are a number of websites, including the DAT site, that have practice questions or practice tests. The DAT contains the following sections:
The DAT has a partial fee waiver program to lessen the cost of the exam. Applications for the 2018 fee waiver program began on January 1, and funds are typically depleted within three months. The American Dental Association has published a guide to the DAT with information about the scope and scoring of the test, exam fees and fee waivers, retesting, and regulations.
Applications for most dental schools are centralized through AADSAS. Under this system, students fill out one application with all pertinent information, upload their transcripts and letters of evaluation, and designate which schools they would like their application to be sent to. Not every dental school has an application process that goes through AADSAS.
It is important to note that dental schools set their own deadlines, separate from the application system deadlines. Students should check with their desired schools for specific deadline information, as well as information about possible secondary applications.