Dental School Requirements

There are certain requirements you must meet in order to get into dental school. Here are the generalities for most school. But please realize that some schools may change their requirements slightly.

Required Science Classes for Dental School

  • 8 hours Biology (+ lab)
  • 8 hours Physics
  • 8 hours English
  • 8 hours General Chemistry (+ lab)
  • 8 hours Organic Chemistry (+ lab)

You are expected to do well in all your science classes. Most schools set a minimum grade you must get in these classes. At the minimum you better get a C. But if you really want to get in, you better get A’s.

Dental School requirements for Harvard Dental School
Example: These are the dental school requirements for Harvard Dental School. They are one of the few schools that require math classes.

Along with meeting these required classes, there are often other classes that schools may require.

My school, San Antonio, required biochemistry. Harvard requires calculus and biochemistry. Louisville highly recommends anatomy and biochemistry but doesn’t require it. There are too many differences, I can’t list them all here.

Want to find out what your dream dental school requires, visit their website and check out their admission page. Here is a list of all the dental schools in the U.S. and Canada. 

Credit Hours

Most students that apply to dental school also complete a college undergraduate degree. Having a degree is not a requirement, but not having one means your grades and DAT scores must be even more competitive.

You do not have to get a science major to apply. In fact some students have commented that they felt more competitive by setting themselves apart with a different major. They mentioned that a different major made them stand out during interview time.  But overall, just make sure you complete all the required classes.

DAT Scores

You must also take the DAT to apply.  Getting a good score on the DAT is very important so make sure you set apart some time to study for it. I used the whole summer and it worked out great for me. Also, realize that math is on the DAT so don’t forget to study up on math before the test.

Letters of Recommendation

You will need to have a certain number of letter of recommendations to get into dental school. Start picked professors right now to write these letters. Check out my article on dental letters of Recommendation for great techniques on how to get these letters.

Make a Plan

Getting into dental school requires a plan that spans over multiple years. Map it out now. Make sure you can answer all these questions.

  • How are you going to get all your science classes finished?
  • Which classes will you take during which semester?
  • When are you going to take the DAT, will you have enough time to study?
  • Who will write your letters of recommendation? Do you have a backup letter writer?

If you start planning now, then you won’t be freaking out later. Good luck!

20 Replies to “Dental School Requirements”

  1. Hey there, you might think I’m still too young to be thinking about all this but I’m a grade 10 student whos passion is to become a dentist. I’m confused on what classes I should take to prepare myself. More specifically math and science. Should I try to take uni level math in grade 12? What science classes should I take?

    Thanks for reading

  2. My Name is Donte’ Boyer, I’ve procrastinated enough its time for me to stop freaking out and plan now. my vortex brung me to this point and im right where i should be thank the universe and all good feelings and emotions, i am a great dental assistant and will become a great dentist for me and the people who need a dentist like me. study hard and make sacrifices for better greatness of family

  3. Hey Ben, I am freshman attending a community college. My goal is to first get my Associates and then transfer to a university and get my bachelors in Biology. After that I will apply to dental school. So far I have taken Biology 1 for science and I came out with a B. Should I be concerned? This spring I will be taking Biology 2 and Chemistry 1. I determined to put in my best effort, but I worry about getting B’s. I am a full time student community from home and I really hope to be a dentist one day.

  4. Hi first off thanks for your time and advice
    I am a mature student 31 years old. didn’t decide on dentistry until I went to work one summer with my uncle who was a dentist.
    my GPA is 3.6 with last few years being straight A , the problem is I was not a full time student so it took a long time for me to finish.
    Imy question is what are my chances of getting into Harvard. provided I do great on DAT. is it likely at all? and if so what DAR mark should I get.

  5. Hello,
    I studies Construction Management and working on my Masters in engineering, however, my heart has always been with medicine and dental education. I wonder if I could transfer my degree of some of credits to dental school.
    Btw, Do you know of any other medical related major that I could easily transfer my degree to and continue … of course I’m aware of prerequisites. Thanks- Nima

  6. Hi, one quick question; I’m finishing up my associates in biology at a community college, what would be my next step? Do I need a Bachelors in order to apply to a dental school?
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Karissa,

      You need to finish all the required classes for the school you are applying to. Usually this is enough classes to get a bachelors in biology or something related. I would suggested reviewing the website of the dental school you want to go to, they will list required courses. Here is a list of the dental schools.


  7. Hi Ben 🙂
    I’m going to be a junior in high school in a month and truthfully, I am very nervous about starting my chemistry class. Anyway, just a few days ago I changed my mind about wanting to become a pharmacist (before that I wanted to be a graphic designer, crazy, I know). Now I’ve been researching things about dentistry like crazy and really considering becoming a general dentist. I know this will be hard but your website is slowly putting me at ease Lol. Our school doesn’t have a lot of science classes available for juniors. I’m planning on taking AP Psychology and Chemistry. We don’t have anatomy or physics. I also need to get ready for ACT so I am taking an ACT Prep class. Math is my worst subject but I like science (specifically biology and astronomy). Anyway, what do you think I should do this year to get ready for senior year/University/Dental school? What are some baby steps I can take? Any ACT advice? Any help at all would be so appreciated!
    Thank you!

  8. Hello, I really wanan study to become a dentist in the US but I live in Europe so I was wondering if you could tell me what is needed from students that come from abroad. Thanks!

  9. Hey, I have a couple questions I am having some trouble finding the answers to. I hope you can help!
    1. Is a major required to get into dentistry school?
    2. If you start college right after highschool (at age 18), what is the average age you will get out of dental school?
    3. Is it hard to find a job right out of dental school?

  10. Hey Ben,

    I’m a first year college student and I’ve been reading your comments and advice about getting into dental school. I spoke to my dentist about the requirements needed to apply to Dental school back in the 10th grade and he said the same thing about just passing these classes. However, should one be discouraged if he or she is getting C’s and B’s in Bio and general Chem classes? I always feel pretty confident going into these classes and taking the exams, but the results have been very disappointing because what I understand in the class isn’t reflecting in my grades. I understand that to determine whether dentistry is something I want to go into, I should shadow dentist and get some experience in the field to see if its something I would enjoy, and I have been, but with how my college classes are going so far I don’t know if those are signs that I shouldn’t go into Dentistry.

    1. Well, I believe that if you put your mind to something you can do it. But… it will not be easy.

      I was a straight A, almost perfect 4.0 student at college. But now in dental school I am only average and often struggle. The competition for me is much harder. If you are having trouble now, I think dental school would be very hard on you. Likewise, with C’s and B’s in your core science classes, getting in would be very hard.

      I guess you have 2 choices, work harder and start getting A’s or find out what else you would enjoy.

      Good luck, Ben

  11. I have read all what you posted in here.. I really want to become a doctor student. That’s why I’m reading most of the information here. This helped me a lot. Thanks for sharing this… I was a computer programmer last year, but I have decided to switch my course of becoming a Dental Hygeniest. One of our closest friend recommend me to do this,Well, she is a Dental hygeniest too. And they make a lot of money. That’s one of my concern. Everybody wants to make a big money right? but it depends. And I did some research about this. I would enjoy cleaning others teeth for sure… except the payments and it takes more years to grad. etc. I thought before there’s 2 years only. lol

    1. Thanks for your comments. I would suggest you shadow a dentist or hygienist. Find out if it is something you would really enjoy. Do NOT get into this career for the money.

      Trust me, no one knows what the future will hold. A dentist or hygienists salary could easily change. There are many factors at work that could change a dentists pay, like mid-level providers or socialised medicine. Make sure you really want to be a dentist or hygienists before you start.

  12. i am a senior in high school and planning on becoming a dentist, is going to a community college fr two years to get your basics a good decision? what do do after i get done with all my credits for dentistry?

    1. For most people to get into dental school (in the US), you need to get a B.S. degree. I would suggest getting great grades at your community college and transferring to a University. Then get great grades there and get a B.S. in some science field. During your last 2 years you can start preparing to apply to a dental school

  13. Hey whats going on ben. I am in my second year and i requested leeters of reccomendation from teachersi did good with. I have a problem the teacher emailed be back and said where do i send them to. Does that mean she cant send them to me and am i asking to early? should i tell her to hold off or send them to be with a signature?

    1. This is a specific issue and depends on multiple factors, like what schools you are applying to, and what school you are attending. I would suggest talking with your schools pre-professional office to see how your University manages letters of recommendation.

  14. So right now I am at a junior college, doing my general ed. I am taking some science courses, but I have only taken biology not any chemistry or phisics. I will take physiology next semester and by may I will be able to transfer to a four year university, but I have to say that I am not good in math at all what can I do? In what should I major if i really want to become a dentist? Can I take physics, and chemistry courses at the four year college once a transfered? Or do I need to take them at a junior college?

    1. Thanks for your questions, I’ll try to answer them here:
      1. I am not good in math at all what can I do?
      – Don’t worry too much, the only math you are going to need is math for the DAT (unless you want to go to Harvard). The DAT math is basic math, story problems, geometry, basic trigonometry, etc… Just start practicing now, and take a math class if you think that will help for the DAT. As far as the schools, they don’t look too much at math classes.

      2. In what should I major if i really want to become a dentist?
      – Doesn’t matter, just so long as you finish your requirements. Read my comments here about, picking a major you enjoy

      3. Can I take physics, and chemistry courses at the four year college once a transfered? Or do I need to take them at a junior college?
      – You can take them at either, so long as you complete them before you apply. It might look better if you take some of the upper science classes at a 4 year university, it will show you can handle harder work.

      Good luck!

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