A Dentist is a doctor, scientist and clinician dedicated to the highest standards of health through prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases and conditions.

Dentists play a key role in the early detection of oral cancer and other systemic conditions of the body that manifest themselves in the mouth. They often identify other health conditions, illnesses, and other problems that sometimes show up in the oral cavity before they are identified in other parts of the body.

Is Dentistry right for you?

Academic Preparation

Review the ADEA list of prerequisite coursework, required and recommended coursework. Closer to application, it is highly recommended to purchase a copy of the ADEA Dental School Explorer for information on all dental schools. In addition, Path32 provides free resources related to admissions information. 

While prerequisites can vary by program, here is a list of common coursework:

Traditionally, dental schools have selected candidates for admission who possessed:

Course course at usf Units
 General Biology I Lecture/Lab BIOL 105/105L 4
General Biology II Lecture/Lab BIOL 106/106L 4
General Chemistry I Lecture/Lab CHEM 111/112 3/1
General Chemistry II Lecture/Lab CHEM 113/114 3/1
Organic Chemistry I Lecture/Lab CHEM 230/232 3/1
Organic Chemistry II Lecture/Lab CHEM 231/234 4/1
Intro to Physics I Lecture/Lab PHYS 100/100L 4
Intro to Physics II Lecture/Lab PHYS 101/101L 4
Fundamentals of Biochemistry or Biochemistry I  CHEM 356/CHEM 350 4
General Psychology PSYCH 101 4

Other programs may require or highly recommend human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology and other coursework. It is important to look at the schools you are interested in for their specific requirements.

Here are links to requirements for three dental programs highly desired by USF applicants: 


Dental schools highly value experience within dental clinical settings and often expect significant shadowing or work hours. USF pre-dental students often reach out to dentists (both their own and local San Francisco dentists) in order to find opportunities to explore the field of dentistry. This is a  common practice and dentists are often welcoming to pre-dental students.

Local dental schools, like UCSF and University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry also offer enrichment opportunities year-round, including:

Also, consider joining the USF Pre-Dental Society to meet other students and engage in a variety of activities related to dentistry.

It is also important to be a well-rounded applicant who pursues a variety of interests and passions, including community service, hobbies, artistic endeavors, research, employment, student activities and more. 

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) lists the important experiences and skills that a future dentist should have. 

Application Components

The centralized common application for dental schools is AADSAS. Through this application, you will submit all materials related to the admissions process.

The application cycle opens up every June for the following matriculant year (i.e. applying in June 2023 for Fall 2024 entry). Therefore, you should plan to have all components of your application ready to go roughly a year before you want to enter dental school. This includes:

You should also assess your current candidacy to gauge how confident you feel with your grades (both overall and science GPA) and experiences.