Requirements and Involvement for Dentistry

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Pre-requisite course requirements vary widely by individual school. You should determine specific requirements for programs of choice using the American Dental Education Association Official Guide to Dental Schools

The summary below is a list of the most common pre-dental requirements.

Course Amount Required for Schools
Introductory Biology 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes
General Chemistry 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes
Organic Chemistry 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes
General Physics 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes
Biochemistry 1 course Yes
English / Writing Composition 2 courses Some
Mathematics 1 - 2 courses Some
Cell Biology 1 course Some
Immunology 1 course Some
Microbiology 1 course Some
Genetics 1 course Some
Anatomy & Physiology 2 courses Some
Histology 1 course Few
Zoology 1 course Few
*Texas Residents: TX dental schools require 14 semester hours of biological science courses (not including biochemistry). Make sure you are familiar with the summary of TX school undergraduate course requirements outlined here by TMDSAS.

Dependent upon your academic home at UVA (College or School), specific course options to fulfill these requirements vary.

Self Assess

Use the Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment to keep track of your progress.

Advanced Placement Credit

Programs vary on whether they accept Advanced Placement (AP) credit as completion of a prerequisite requirement.

  • You should complete lab courses for science coursework if UVA did not award lab credit for your AP science coursework.
  • Many programs that accept AP credit require you to supplement that credit by completing an equal number of hours in the same discipline at the university level.
  • Some students choose to retake science coursework they received AP credit for to prepare them for upper level coursework, as well as for entrance exams.

Dual Enrollment

Provided you earn a C or better in your dual enrollment coursework, you can receive credit for the purpose of health professional program admission requirements. We encourage you to complete upper level coursework in the science disciplines to supplement your dual enrollment credit.


Student Organizations

Getting involved in a student organization is a great way to network with peers who have similar interests, access resources such as programs, speakers, and shadowing opportunities, as well as gain leadership and teamwork skills. Whether you select an organization specifically related to dentistry or not, we encourage you to review these organizations and participate. 

Find additional health-related UVA student organizations on the clinical opportunities page.

*Although these organizations have members who are University of Virginia students and may have University employees associated or engaged in their activities and affairs, these organizations are not a part of or an agency of the University. They are separate and independent organizations, which are responsible for and manage their own activities and affairs. The University does not direct, supervise, or control these organizations and is not responsible for the organizations' contracts, acts, or omissions.

Opportunities for Engagement

Engagement in the field of dentistry will not only help you continue to explore and confirm your interest in the profession, but also demonstrate a commitment to serving others. We encourage you to review the sampling of opportunities below, as well as self-initiate opportunities of your own!

Find additional health-related opportunities for engagement on the clinical opportunities page.

Manual Dexterity Development

During the admission process, dental schools look for evidence of your psychomotor skills to perform the necessary dexterity tasks dentistry demands. Consider some of the following tasks or identify others to help you practice this important skill set:

  • Woodcarving
  • Sculpting
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Jewelry-Making
  • Sewing / needlepoint
  • Cross-stitching
  • Crocheting
  • Knitting
  • Learning to tie fishing knots
  • Playing a musical instrument that requires extensive hand-eye coordination (i.e. piano, violin, guitar)
  • Lab work that requires a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination

More to Explore

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