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College of Arts and Sciences

Pre-DH

The Pre-Dental Hygiene Curriculum 


The “pre-dental hygiene curriculum” is just a list of courses that are required for admission to a baccalaureate dental hygiene professional program. 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 bachelor-level dental hygiene programs; however, you should consult the specific schools to which you plan to apply for any variances.

Not all dental hygiene programs offer a bachelor's degree. Many programs can be found at local community colleges and allow students to practice at the associate level. Requirements for these programs will vary by school, and it is recommended that students contact their desired community/junior college directly concerning prerequisites.

Even if you plan to apply to a dental hygiene program after taking only the courses required for admission, you must declare an academic major at USM. Many students choose a major in one of the sciences (Biological Sciences, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Physics) but 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 a dental hygiene program. Application to the University of Mississippi (UMMC) Dental Hygiene program typically occurs after two years of study at USM.

There is a separate program for current licensed Dental Hygienists that are seeking a baccalaureate degree in Dental Hygiene at UMMC.  This separate advanced standing program is primarily an online program, and USM does offer some of the prerequisites for this program. Please consult with the UMMC Dental Hygiene Program directly if you are already a Dental Hygienist.  Beginning freshmen or sophomore students in hygiene do not pursue the advanced standing online program. 

 

Requirements for Applicants 

Requirements for dental hygiene programs will differ based on the school one plans to attend. There are two primary options education routes for dental hygiene, each with their own benefits.

Students attending Southern Miss are typically in search of a four-year degree. In Mississippi, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) offers a Bachelor's Degree program in dental hygiene, which students typically enter into after their sophomore year at USM. This degree route allows for potentially higher pay and more varied job opportunities when searching for employment as a hygienist. This route does, however, take a total of four years to complete (including prerequisite courses), resulting in a higher financial cost than the two-year option mentioned below.

Some students may choose to attend a junior or community college and receive an associate degree in dental hygiene. The closest community college offering such a program is Pearl River Community College at their Hattiesburg campus. This allows students to begin working in their field earlier and generally requires fewer prerequisites, though it also provides a more limited academic background and may not allow for the same opportunities as a Bachelor's program.

There is no correct answer as to which path is the "correct" path; we encourage students who are unsure of their goals to speak directly with a pre-professional advisor (contact information below) in order to determine which route is best suited to their individual needs.

 

The following list of Required Courses is designed to meet the prerequisites of the UMMC Bachelor-level Dental Hygiene ProgramOut-of-state residents will only be admitted to the UMMC program if seats are still available after all eligible Mississippi residents have been placed.

Students should consult the specific schools to which they plan to apply (including UMMC) to verify the information listed below and account for potential future changes.

  • Two semesters of English Composition (ENG 101 & 102)
  • Two semesters of General Biology (BSC 110/L & 111/L)*
  • Two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology (BSC 250/L & 251/L)**
  • Microbiology (BSC 380/L)
  • Two semesters of General Chemistry (CHE 106/L & 107/L)
  • College Algebra (MAT 101)
  • General Psychology (PSY 110)
  • Introduction to Sociology (SOC 101)
  • Public Speaking (CMS 111)
  • Nutrition (NFS 362)
  • Advanced Psychology (PSY 436 or 374 or 372 or 275 or 270)***
  • Medical Terminology (MLS 201)
  • Two humanities electives (6 hours total)
  • One fine arts elective (3 hours total)

*The UMMC Dental Hygiene Program only requires one course in general biology; however, advanced biology courses require both general biology courses for enrollment.

**The UMMC Dental Hygiene Program specifies that the anatomy and physiology component of their prerequisites may be taken as sequential courses (A&P I and A&P II) or as separate courses (Human Anatomy and Human Physiology); however, the specific courses listed above are the recommended courses for this component.

***The UMMC Dental Hygiene Program specifies that only Abnormal, Adolescent, Child, Developmental, or Educational Psychology will satisfy this requirement.

 

Dental Hygiene programs do not admit based on course prerequisites and GPA alone. Most programs also have a series of additional requirements, including submitted ACT scores, a submitted resume, shadowing hours completed (and verified) by a dental hygienist or dentist, possible dexterity tests, and other requirements not listed.

To learn more about the application process and/or potential additional requirements for local programs, please reach out to the Pre-Professional Office, contact information below.

 

Suggested Course Sequence

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.

Students should consult the Bulletin, Course Catalog, and their academic advisor each semester to confirm course offerings.

 

Fall

  • BSC 110/L or BSC 111/L a (4h)
  • CHE 106/L (4h)
  • MAT 101/S b (3h)
  • ENG 101 c (3h)
  • One required elective d (3-4h)

Spring

  • BSC 110/L or BSC 111/L a (4h)
  • CHE 107/L (4h)
  • PSY 110 (3h)
  • ENG 102 c (3h)
  • One required elective d (3-4h)

a   The order in which students take the introductory Biological Sciences (BSC) courses does not matter. BSC 110 covers molecular and cellular topics whereas BSC 111 covers ecology and organisms.

b   Placement in mathematics (MAT) courses depends on the student’s ACT subtest score. Consult the prerequisites for the math course you plan to take. 

c    Placement in English Composition courses depends on the student’s ACT English subtest score. Consult your academic advisor to determine your placement level.

d   “Required courses" may include courses to fulfill the major/minor, as well as those required for the Dental Hygiene program.

Strategies for Success

  • Students should visit the Pre-Professional Office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.
  • Students should focus on doing well in their academic studies, particularly the required science, behavioral science, and math courses. Students should study for long-term retention of knowledge in preparation for the Dental Hygiene program.
  • Students should start getting some hands on exposure to dentistry and dental hygiene (sights, sounds, smells, feel). It is important to maintain a record of these experiences, including the dentists/hygienists shadowed, their contact information, valuable lessons or experiences, etc. Students should complete the shadowing verification forms as required by their desired schools.
  • Students may join AED (Alpha Epsilon Delta), the National Health Preprofessional Honor Society, as associate members at any time even if they do not fulfill the requirements for full membership. Full members are inducted during the Spring semester. Applications and instructions for membership are available at the pre-professional office.

 

Fall

  • BSC 250/L or 251/L e (4h)
  • BSC 380/L (4h)
  • Advanced psychology elective f (3h)
  • Additional courses g (4-8h)

Spring

  • BSC 250/L or 251/L e (4h)
  • NFS 362 (3h)
  • Additional Courses g (8-12h)

e   The order in which students take BSC 250/L and BSC 251/L does not matter.

 f   Recommended Advanced Psychology courses are Abnormal Psychology (PSY 436), Adolescent Psychology (PSY 372), Child Psychology (PSY 270), Educational Psychology (PSY 374), or Developmental Psychology (PSY 275). The prerequisite for all upper level PSY courses is PSY 110.

g Additional courses can include courses to improve overall or BCPM GPA, additionally recommended courses for the desired Dental Hygiene program, or courses to fulfill the major/minor.

Strategies for Success

  • Students should continue to follow strategies from Year 1.
  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

 

The Application Process 

The application process to the UMMC Dental Hygiene Program should begin late in the Fall semester or very early in the Spring semester of the second year (February 15 deadline) for entry into the program that starts in the summer of that year. For other Dental Hygiene programs, please check with the desired school for the appropriate timeline.

Applicants must:

  • Complete a minimum of 60 hours of academic credit (exclusive of physical education, military science, dogmatic religion and vocation courses) from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. Twelve hours of the science courses and 24 of the non-science courses must be completed prior to Feb 15 application deadline. This often requires completion of summer courses in order to apply in a timely manner.
  • Have successfully completed (grade of C or better) the minimum prerequisite course requirements listed above.
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 2.50 on a 4.0 scale. All course attempts are used in GPA calculation for UMMC.
  • Complete 8 hours of observation of licensed or registered dental hygienists in two separate clinical settings.
  • Submit ACT scores.
  • Complete an interview with the Admissions Committee.
  • Complete a hands-on dexterity exercise.
  • Meet the technical standards of the program

 

Students are advised to practice their interview skills BEFORE attending their first interview. UMMC uses the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) process for their interviews. More information about the MMI process and its uses in the UMMC Schools of Medicine and Dentistry can be found at the UMMC website.

For interview preparation at USM you may use the online Big Interview resource. You can also sign up for mock interviews through Career Services or the Pre-Professional Office (contact information below). 

 

Pre-Professional Office

Dr. Jeffrey Evans

Bobby Chain Technology Center
Room 102
Hattiesburg Campus

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jeffrey.evans@usm.edu
601.266.6848

 

Destiny DeLancey

Liberal Arts Building
Room 102
Hattiesburg Campus

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destiny.reynolds@usm.edu
601.266.4636

 

 

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