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Southern Oregon University

Pre-Dentistry At Southern Oregon University

Welcome to pre-dentistry at Southern Oregon University. If you are considering dentistry as a career, please read through this information, and contact either Miller or Oswald very soon. We want to know of your interests and help answer any questions you may have.

Dr. John Roden, Department of Biology Pre-dental Advisor

Office: Diamond 105, Cascade

Tel: (541) 552-6798


Dr. Greg Miller, Department of Chemistry Pre-dental Advisor

Office: Hawthorne 13, Cascade

Tel: (541) 552-6408


 Basic Requirements For Admission To Dental School

The following information is based principally on the Oregon Health Sciences University Doctor of Dentistry Program, but applies to most of the dental schools in the United States.


    * Completion of 3 years minimum in any academic major (4-year bachelor's degree in practice)

    * Completion of required courses in the sciences

    * Dental Admissions Test

    * Letters of recommendation from professors and dentists

    * Health-care experience in dentistry

    * Extra-curricular activities/accomplishments


Academic Major

No particular major is preferred. Pre-dentistry is not a major, but a collection of courses that fulfill admission requirements to most dental schools. Students must complete a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate work to be admitted to OHSU, but in practice, most have completed a 4-year bachelor's degree before starting dental school.


Biology and chemistry are the most common majors; others include anthropology, education, math, philosophy, psychology. In terms of acceptance, no major has a selective advantage over another.


We recommend that students select a major that they enjoy, can do well in and would want for a career as an alternative to dentistry. Selection of a major should be discussed with a pre-dental advisor and chosen by the sophomore year.


Average GPA of entering dental students was 3.63 at OHSU for the 2005 entering class. Only 116 out of 892 applicants were accepted. Clearly, this is a very competitive field, and it is crucial to make your credentials as strong as possible.


Required Pre-Dent Courses



    * General Chemistry, one-year sequence with labs (Ch 201-206)

    * Biochemistry (Ch 350)

    * Organic Chemistry, 8 quarter hours minimum

          o Ch 334, 335, 336 + labs Ch 337, 340, 341 OR

          o Ch 331, 332 + labs Ch 337, 338




    * Principles of Biology, one-year sequence (Bi 211-213)

    * Human Anatomy and Physiology (Bi 231-233)




    * General physics, one-year sequence (Ph 201, 202, 203 OR Ph 221, 222, 223 both with labs Ph 224, 225, 226)


Recommended additional courses


    * Microbiology (Bi 351)

    * Cell biology (Bi 342)

    * Comparative Animal Physiology (Bi 314)

    * Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (Bi 427)

    * Neuroscience (not offered at SOU)

    * Courses in behavioral and social sciences, and in arts and humanities will enhance the student's ability to practice dentistry


Important notes

1. All required pre-dent courses must be taken for a letter grade; pass/no pass options are not acceptable. A perfect 4.0 GPA is not necessary for admission, but consistently high grades in both science and non-science classes are important.


2. Though Human Anatomy and Physiology (Bi 231, 232, 233) is now required for OHSU dental school, please be aware these courses count toward the required courses for Biology majors only if 1) the student is in the Biomedical Science Option, and 2) the student enrolls in the upper division HAP (Bi 331, 332, and 333). See Dr. Richard May for details.

Dental Admission Test (DAT)

    * The DAT is required by all dental schools.

    * It consists of 4 parts: Science survey (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry); Perceptual ability; Reading comprehension; Quantitative reasoning

    * The test scores are preferred by Sep 1 in the year preceding the applicant's intended start date at dental school.

    * The test fee is $160, with some additional fees for sending the scores to more than 5 schools.

    * Applications to take the exam must be submitted before a student is eligible to take the exam.

    * Tests are given at Sylvan Learning Centers (Eugene, Portland, and Salem) on any date arranged in advance with the center.

    * Tests are strictly computerized; there are NO paper exams given.

    * Exams may be re-taken, but no sooner than 90 days after the last time. 


Letters of Recommendation

  • Letters from science professors and dentists with whom the applicant worked are mandatory.
  • These letters must address personal qualities such as reliability, integrity, and temperment, as well as knowledge of and dedication to the profession of dentistry.
  • Students should begin early in their academic careers to cultivate relationships with individuals who will be able to provide detailed and positive evaluations of the student. Participation in class, research projects, volunteering or working in a dental office or clinic, etc. are critical.
  • Many dental schools accept a single letter of recommendation composed by the Pre-dental Committee on campus. A student who uses this option must still have individual faculty and dentists who can speak to her/his abilities so the Committee can compose the letter. The student will also participate in an interview with the pre-dental Committee to help them in the evaluation process. This should occur in the spring term of the junior year for a student who intends to apply in the fall of senior year.


Health Care Experience

The dental admissions committee is particularly interested in an applicant's knwoledge of the profession of dentistry, in its many forms: orthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, public health, research, etc. The wise student will make it a point to educate him/herself on dentistry through practical experience, talking with professionals, and reading. In the past, students have worked with dentists, either as volunteers or as employees, at private offices, clinics, dental schools, and/or research facilities. Students make these arrangements themselves. The more experience the better.


Extra-curricular Activities

Participation in other activities, particularly public-service, will strengthen your application. Diverse interests such as foreign languages, music, athletics, and other pursuits helps to demonstrate your discipline and uniqueness as an individual. Admissions committees want to know that an applicant is capable of relating to people from a variety of backgrounds.


When And How To Apply

  • The American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) is used by nearly all of the US dental schools.
  • Students submit one application to AADSAS and it distributes the materials to the schools of the applicant's choice.
  • Applications should be submitted to OHSU between July 1 and Nov 1 of the year preceding the year you hope to begin dental school. Submittal before Sep 1 is highly recommended. Allow at least 3 weeks for AADSAS processing.
  • The fee is $100 for the first school and $25 for each additional school.
  • If a dental school requests a secondary application, they usually charge an additional fee ($40 for OHSU).
  • The admissions committee at most dental schools (OHSU included) will invite a select group for a personal interview, and choose from among these students.
  • Students are encouraged to apply to their home-state university dental school, and several other schools of their choice.


Curriculum Planning

  • Consult with an advisor early in your program to monitor requirements, watch for timelines in course sequences and obtain application information.
  • To major in biology, consult with Dr. Oswald.
  • To major in chemistry, consult with Dr. Miller.
  • Other majors should see an advisor in their own department and Dr. Oswald or Dr. Miller


An outline for a Biology major pre-dental program:

                            Course                                                  Credits

Year One        

            Principles of Biology (Bi 211-213)                                  12

            General Chemistry (Ch 201-206)                                   15

            College Colloquium                                                      12

            Math 111, 112, 243 or 251                                           4-12

            General Education Courses                                          0-6


            Total                                                                         43-51


Year Two       


            Genetics (Bi 341)                                                          4

            Cell Biology (Bi 342)                                                      4

            Developmental Biology (Bi 343)                                      4

            Organic Chemistry (Ch 331, 332, 337, 338, 350)      


            Organic Chemistry (Ch 334-337, 340, 341)                   13-14

            Psychology (Psy 101)                                                   3

            General Education courses                                           12

               (psychology good choice from Social Sciences)


            Total                                                                          44-45


Year Three     

            Ecology (Bi 340)                                                           4

            Animal Physiology (Bi 314)                                           4

            Evolution Bi (446)                                                         3

            Biology Electives (e.g. Microbiology)                             12

            Physics (Ph 201-203, 224-226)                                     12

            General Education courses as needed                            9


            Total                                                                           44


Year Four       

            Biology Electives (e.g. Vertebrate Anatomy)                   8

            Biology Senior Capstone                                              4

            General Education courses as needed                           9

            Electives                                                                    24

               (e.g., Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry,

                Foreign Language, Biology)          


            Total                                                                          45



For More Information:

OHSU School of Dentristy web page


For application packets, or to order a copy of Admission Requirements for United States and Canada Dental Schools ($25 - highly recommended)

American Association of Dental Schools

1625 Massachsetts Avenue, NW

Suite 600

Washington D.C. 20036-2212

Tel: 202-667-9433

Fax: 202-667-4963




For DAT information and application packets:

Dental Admission Testing Program

211 East Chicago Ave

Suite 1846

Chicago, IL 60611-2678

Tel: 312-440-2689


For OHSU information:

Office of Admissions and Student Affairs

Nora Cromley, M. Ed., Associate Dean

School of Dentistry

Oregon Health Sciences University

611 S.W. Campus Drive

Portland, OR 97201-3097

Tel: 503-494-8825

Fax: 503-494-6244



Office of Financial Aid

Victoria Souza, Director

Oregon Health Sciences University

3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road

Portland, OR 97201-3098


Tel: 503-494-7800

Fax: 503-494-4629