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College of Arts and Sciences


Predental Hygiene Curriculum

The “predental 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.


What Should I Major In?

Even if you plan to apply to a dental hygiene program after taking only the courses required for admission (minimum of 60 hours for the program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center), 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 predental hygiene do not pursue the advanced standing online program. 


Requirements for Applicants

The following list of Required Courses is designed to meet the prerequisites of the UMMC Dental Hygiene Program, to be entered into after the sophomore year of study at USM. Great preference is shown for Mississippi residents; out-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 must consult the specific admission requirements and application deadlines for the school(s) to which they plan to apply, including UMMC.

  • ENG 101 & 102
  • BSC 110/L & 111/L*
  • BSC 250/L & 251/L**
  • BSC 380/L
  • CHE 106/L & 107/L
  • MAT 101
  • PSY 110
  • SOC 101
  • CMS 111
  • NFS 362
  • PSY 436 or 374 or 372 or 275 or 270
  • 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, the additional biology prerequisite courses require both general biology courses for entry.

**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.



Suggested Course Sequence & Strategies for Success

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 must consult the USM Undergraduate Bulletin, the USM Class Schedule, and their primary academic advisor during each semester of study to account for potential course scheduling changes. 


Year 1



BSC 110&L OR BSC 111&L a  4h BSC 110&L OR BSC 111&L a 4h
CHE 106&L  4h CHE 107&L  4h
MAT 101 b  3h PSY 110   3h
ENG 101 c   3h ENG 102  3h
One required elective d  3h One required elective d  3h

a   The order in which students take the introductory Biological Sciences (BSC) courses does not matter; 110 covers molecular and cellular topics whereas 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. Calculus is required for some majors in the USM College of Arts and Sciences but is not required by most veterinary schools. The DAT quantitative section is based more on algebra, data analysis, probability, and statistics.

c    Placement in English Composition courses depends on the student’s ACT English subtest score.

  • ACT English subtest score 16 or below:  ENG 99E (Expanded Composition Studio) and ENG 100E (Composition I expanded)

  • ACT English subtest score 17-19:  ENG 100E (Composition I expanded)

  • ACT English subtest score 20 or above:  ENG 101 (Composition 1)

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 preprofessional 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 their DAT exam and for use in veterinary school. The DAT tests knowledge of general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, and math. Students should strive to grasp the connections between their courses. The early classes provide foundational knowledge to be built upon in later science courses and in veterinary school.

  • 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, which generally relate to shadowing dentists and hygienists in practice.

  • 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 (must be enrolled at Southern Miss for a minimum of three semesters and meet specific course and GPA requirements). Full members are inducted during the Spring semester. Applications and instructions for membership are available at the preprofessional office.



Year 2



BSC 250/L OR BSC 251/L e 4h BSC 250/L OR BSC 251/L e 4h

BSC 380/L 

4h NFS 362 4h
Advanced Psychology course f 5h] 3 required courses d 8-9h
One required elective d 7-9h  

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.


Strategies for Success

  • Students should continue to follow strategies from Year 1.

  • Students are typically inducted into AED, the national Health Preprofessional Honor Society, in the Spring semester of the Sophomore year, but may be inducted in Junior or Senior year (must be enrolled at Southern Miss for a minimum of three semesters and meet specific course and GPA requirements).

  • 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. 

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


The Interview

Students are advised to practice their interview skills BEFORE attending their first interview. UMMC uses the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) process for their interviews. See information about the UMMC interview system at

For interview preparation at USM you may use the online Perfect InterviewTM resource. You can also sign up for mock interviews through Career Services or the preprofessional office (contact information below).   



For More Information about a Career in Healthcare, Contact the Preprofessional Office

Dr. Jeffrey Evans

Preprofessional Advisor


Phone: 601-266-4315

Office Location:

Bobby Chain Technology Center (TEC 100)

Destiny DeLancey

Preprofessional Advisor


Phone: 601-266-4636

Office Location: Liberal Arts Building (LAB 212A) 


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