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Course Requirements

General Course Requirements

Each year, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) publishes the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools, which details admissions requirements and data for every accredited dental school in the US and Canada. This guide, published in March of each year, includes the statistics of the class that matriculated in the past summer/fall in schools across the nation.  You can purchase your own copy of the guide and use it in conjunction with each individual school’s website for the most up to date information. 

Although requirements do vary from program to program, dental schools generally require the following courses:

  • One year of inorganic/general chemistry with lab (CHEM 1211/L and 1212/L)
  • One year of organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 2211/L and 2212/L)
  • One year of biology with lab (BIOL 1107/L and 1108/L)
  • One year of physics with lab (PHYS 1111/L and 1112/L or PHYS 1211/L and 1212/L) (Not on the DAT)
  • One year of English (ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1102)

DISCLAIMER: This is not a definitive list of the classes you will need for every school.  Always check with the individual schools to see their specific requirements.  For example, Dental College of Georgia says Organic Chemistry l and Biochemistry are sufficient without Organic Chemistry ll. Most other schools require 2 semesters of organic chemistry and may also require or recommend biochemistry.

Additionally, some schools require courses in Biochemistry, Microbiology, Physiology, Calculus, Statistics, Psychology, English, and the Humanities. (Please note: currently two-thirds of U.S. dental schools require biochemistry). Most schools strongly recommend additional hours in upper division biological science from lists usually on their websites. It is important to realize that schools may alter their requirements from cycle to cycle. Please be mindful of the requirements of the schools you are interested in applying. Double-check the schools admission website. You can also reach out to each schools Admissions Counselor’s for answers to specific questions not addressed on the webpage.

AP Credit & Substitutions

Most schools have policies regarding advanced placement (AP) credit. Some schools restrict the use of such credit in fulfillment of pre-requisite requirements. In these cases, schools will often allow you to take additional upper-level courses in the science areas where AP credit was received. The policies for each dental school and their admission requirements, generally, can be found in the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools. However, for the most updated information, please visit the website of each dental school that you wish to apply since the guide is only updated once a year.

Dental College of Georgia

According to the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools for 2017-2018, the Dental College of Georgia does accept AP credit for both prerequisites and electives. However, double check the schools website for the most up-to-date information

Should I major in Biology?

Although a life-science major such as Biology may offer the most practical route to completing the requirements for admission into dental school, you are not limited to only the life science majors. It is more important that you choose a major that best fits your interests.  As long as you show proficiency in the sciences (via pre-requisites and the DAT) and a general pattern of challenging yourself, your major is largely unimportant to admission committees.