Prerequisites to Dental School

The key to dental school admissions success is planning based on correct information. Research the schools in which you are interested. What are their admissions requirements? And, keep in close contact with your pre-health advisor. Are you taking the proper classes now?

By knowing all of the information before hand, you will avoid the extra scrambling and aggravation upon finding out that you do not meet all of the necessary prerequisites.

Required Coursework

Most schools agree on the basic elements for pre-dental education. Minimum course requirements for most U.S. dental schools include one year each of biology, general (inorganic) chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and related lab work for each science course. In addition, many dental schools require English and Math courses. Check the Admissions Requirements of U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools, published by the American Association of Dental Schools, for admissions requirement information on specific schools.

Selecting a Major

While science majors are certainly more common, dental schools stress their interest in well-rounded students with broad-based undergraduate backgrounds. In fact, regardless of your major, your undergraduate transcript is a vital part of the admissions decision.

If you are not majoring in a science, your work in both science and non-science courses will be evaluated. However, with fewer courses on which to judge your science ability, your grades in the core science courses will take on greater importance. Bottom line? Don't choose a major because you think it will get you accepted to dental school. Choose to major in a subject in which you are really interested. You will probably get better grades.


For all U.S. dental schools, the DAT carries significant weight in the admissions process. Your score on the DAT is a relatively objective way for admissions committees to compare you with other applicants. In addition, dental schools use DAT scores to assess whether or not you have the academic foundation upon which to build a successful career in dentistry.

Dental Experience

Obviously, dental schools look favorably on dental-related experience. In fact, some require it. Check with the dental schools to which you are applying to see if they require dental work experience for admissions.