Advisor: Kevin Stewart, Ph.D.
Students who pursue a career in dentistry may elect any major. Previous students that have successfully matriculated into dental school have majored in a variety of fields including Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Spanish, History, and English. Regardless of the undergraduate degree, students interested in pursuing dental school must complete the courses in the Predentistry Concentration and any additional prerequisite courses required by the dental program. While most dental schools only require three years of undergraduate work for admission into their program, an overwhelming majority of students have earned a bachelor’s degree. Admission to dental programs is dependent on several factors in addition to the courses completed, such as GPA, passion for dentistry, and the student’s performance on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT).
It is advisable to complete the Predentistry Concentration before taking the DAT. Course requirements beyond those listed vary from school to school, so it is advisable to check with the dental schools where the student might apply. Many dental programs will not accept Advanced Placement (AP) or CLEP credit for prerequisite courses, so it is advisable for students to communicate with the dental schools for substitute courses. Other courses that are highly recommended include psychology, sociology, business management, foreign language, and any course that improves manual dexterity and eye/hand coordination (such as drawing, sculpture, ceramics or jewelry making). Information regarding the admissions process, the DAT, and accredited schools of dentistry can be found at www.adea.org. The application process starts 15 months before the fall semester in which the student desires to begin dental school. Because of the number of qualified applicants it is in the student’s best interest to apply as early as possible to a school in the student’s state of residency in addition to any other schools the student may choose, and to have at least 75 hours of documented observation in a dental office or clinic. The current average GPA of accepted applicants is above a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Upon request, Harding will confer the bachelor of science degree with a major in general science to students who complete one year in an approved school of dentistry and who satisfy the Liberal Arts requirements and Predentistry Concentration at Harding.