Advisor: Dr. Holly Boettger-Tong
Dentists are devoted to maintaining oral health as well as a patient’s overall health. In their practices, dentists treat and work with people from all age groups. They diagnose and treat conditions of the oral cavity and associated structures using advanced technologies including radiography and computer generated imaging. Dentists restore and replace teeth damaged from decay, trauma, or disease. They help patients improve chewing, speech, digestion of food, sleep patterns, and physical appearance. Specialties available within dentistry with further training following dental school include endodontics (nerves), oral surgery, orthodontics, prosthodontics (appliances), public health, and others.
To become a dentist, one must complete a bachelor’s degree in any major, along with requisite courses (see “Coursework” below). Thereafter, completion of a 4 year professional degee dental program is required. The terminal degree is either a DDS (doctor of dental surgery) or DMD (doctor of medical dentistry). Upon completion of dental school, passing a professional licensing exam is required.
The general requirements for dental school include the following courses. Dental schools have different requirements for coursework, so make sure to check with the dental school of your choice. You do not have to major in biology or chemistry, but you must have the requisite biology/chemistry courses in order to fulfill the requirements for admission. Consult the pre-Dental Advisor, Dr. Holly Boettger-Tong, for assistance with coursework and timeline.
Course and Semester Hours
Science Courses Suggested: biochemistry, comparative anatomy, microbiology, genetics, molecular cell biology
Other Courses Suggested: marketing, management, psychology, art (esp. sculpture, ceramics)
|YEAR ONE Fall Semester||YEAR ONE Spring Semester|
|BIO 110||BIO 112|
|CHM 101||CHM 102|
|Gen Ed Electives/PSY 101||Gen Ed Electives/ART 108|
|WISE 101||MAT 220|
|YEAR TWO Fall Semester||YEAR TWO Spring Semester|
|CHM 221||CHM 222|
|BIO 203||BIO 245|
|Gen Ed Electives/ENG 111||Gen Ed Electives/ART 231|
|Major Coursework/Foreign Language||Major Coursework/Foreign Language|
|YEAR THREE Fall Semester||YEAR THREE Spring Semester|
|PHY 115||PHY 116|
|BIO 311 or BIO 320||BIO 318|
|Major Coursework/ Gen Ed Electives||Major Coursework/ Gen Ed Electives|
|YEAR FOUR Fall Semester||YEAR FOUR Spring Semester|
|Major Coursework||Major Coursework|
|Gen Ed Electives||Gen Ed Electives|
|BUS 106||BIO 340|
*This plan presumes a minimum SAT score of 600 MAT/CR, entering as a first year traditional student
Please note that as mentioned above, schools differ in their criteria, and in the weight given to each of the following. Make sure that you are familiar with the criteria used by the school to which you are applying. The following is a general consensus of what most schools are using to evaluate applicants, listed in the order of importance.
The resources below are helpful for students preparing for a career in dentistry. Wesleyan's Center for Career Development can help students with deciding if this path fits them, as well as with strategic career planning, creating resumes/CVs, writing personal statements, and more.
This association provides resources for students interested in the profession, as well as runs the centralized application service for all U.S. dental schools. Website
The official resource for students on a path to a career in dentistry or dental hygiene. Website
This site is designed to help students begin their journey towards a career in the health professions. It provides exploration tools and career information on fields including dentistry, medicine, allied health, veterinary medicine, and more. Website
It’s important to gain work or volunteer experience in a dentistry setting. The Center for Career Development can help you prepare a resume and practice your professional introduction as you get ready to contact organizations about shadowing, volunteer, or internship opportunities.
A free summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions. SHPEP is exclusively for freshman and sophomore college students. Applications are usually due in early February for the summer program. Website
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