Established in 1945, the University of Washington School of Dentistry offers courses leading to a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree, and advanced education leading to a Master of Science in Dentistry degree and/or a certificate of proficiency in endodontics, oral medicine, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics. Residency training is available in oral and maxillofacial surgery and general practice. The Department of Oral Biology offers a Master of Science (MS), an MS non-thesis degree for dental hygiene educators, and a doctoral degree (PhD). Postdoctoral study is available in various disciplines.
Opportunities to earn other degrees concurrently (MS or PhD in the School of Dentistry's Department of Oral Biology and other schools) may be arranged on an individual basis.
These educational programs are enriched by the School's strong commitment to Research and the presence of a Regional Clinical Dental Research Center, the Northwest Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities, Northwest PRECEDENT, an affiliation with the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS,) and a fellowship Research training program for predoctoral and postdoctoral students. The mission of the Regional Clinical Dental Research Center is to foster clinically relevant Research that advances dentistry's knowledge base, improves patient care, and promotes oral health. The Disparities Center performs Research aimed at reducing oral health disparities in the Pacific Northwest. Northwest PRECEDENT is the Practice-based Research Collaborative in Evidence-based DENTistry. Founded in 2005, this network of dental practices has established the infrastructure to perform a wide variety of oral health Research studies across a five-state region covering Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. The mission of the ITHS is to create, enable, and sustain innovative translational Research and Research collaborations across disciplines and professions which accelerates the development of concepts and tangible products that improve human health. State-of-the-art clinical Research facilities are available for faculty and student use.
School of Dentistry Mission Statement: "The School of Dentistry shares the University's overall mission to generate, disseminate, and preserve knowledge and serve the community. The School is an integral part of the Warren G. Magnuson Health Sciences Center and is an oral health-care center of excellence serving the people of the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest. The primary mission, through educational, Research, and service programs, is to prepare students to be competent oral health-care professionals. The School's Research programs contribute to the fundamental understanding of biologic processes and to the behavioral, biomedical, and clinical aspects of oral health. The service mission is to improve the health and well-being of the people of the community and the region through outreach programs that are especially attentive to minority and underserved populations. The School values diversity in its students, staff, faculty, and patient populations. It seeks to foster an environment of mutual respect where objectivity, imaginative inquiry, and the free exchange of ideas can flourish to facilitate personal development, professionalism, and a strong sense of self-worth." (August 2002)
The following departments participate in the curriculum for the School's programs:
Dental hygiene seeks to understand why some people get preventable oral diseases and why others do not. Risk factors, such as poverty, ethnicity, and education, as well as environment, contribute to perpetuation of these diseases. The dental hygienist observes and defines dental diseases, assesses potential outcomes of interventions, and manages conditions that compromise oral health. As an applied discipline, dental hygiene links its theoretical foundation to behavioral and natural sciences. Using evidence-based science, the discipline seeks to facilitate holistic assessments of individuals and communities and to find solutions to oral health problems. Students in the discipline learn to transfer learning from clinical to community contexts as a means of improving the oral health status among people.
The Dental hygiene degree completion program offers the following program of study:
The UW has no pre-licensure program in dental hygiene.
Bachelor of Science
Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: Students desiring entry into the dental hygiene profession may take their first-year general education courses in chemistry, psychology, sociology, public speaking, English composition, mathematics, nutrition, microbiology, and liberal studies at the UW, or another community, technical, or four-year institution. Having successfully completed a pre-licensure dental hygiene program and obtained a license to practice dental hygiene, students are eligible to return to the UW to complete the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in dental hygiene.
Department Admission Requirements
The dental hygiene program is not accepting new applicants. Please contact the program for further information.
Following completion of a pre-licensure dental hygiene program and being licensed to practice dental hygiene, students must complete UW general education requirements as well as dental hygiene major requirements to obtain the BS degree. UW requirements include a 45-credit senior residency; English, writing, and quantitative reasoning proficiencies; and Areas of Knowledge courses. The dental hygiene major requirements include a sequence of three dental-hygiene core courses and a minimum of one path.
Completion of the required major and UW requirements takes one to two years. Students planning to graduate in one year must have a faculty-approved plan of study within the first quarter of enrollment. Students planning a two-year program must have a faculty-approved plan of study within the first two quarters of enrollment. All students must meet with a program adviser yearly and are encouraged to meet with one quarterly.
Students complete a year-long core requirement founded on significant oral health problems and probable solutions within the context of specific communities. Behavioral change, community development, health education models, and scientific literature provide a theoretical foundation for study in the core courses. The core curriculum focuses on real problems in real places. Using a people-places-problems approach, students use Internet and library resources to Research, analyze, discuss, and make evidence-based decisions relevant to oral health promotion and dental disease prevention. Further, they explore core values, ethics, laws, and issues related to care access, health promotion/disease prevention approaches, and healthcare delivery models. Included are field activities linked to education, government, business, and health resources. Additionally, dental hygiene majors complete requirements in at least one path and may take electives of their choice to complete the senior residency requirement. All students must complete the three core courses, D HYG 465, D HYG 492, and D HYG 493 (3 credits each, total 9) in the prescribed order.
Students must select at least one of two pathways to fulfill the path requirement. The options are as follows:
Dental Hygiene Care. This path is for dental hygienists who desire to work as clinicians in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, or other healthcare services that require advanced clinical and management skills. Students take courses in interdisciplinary health sciences, along with courses that focus on dental hygiene care and management of persons with physical, mental, developmental, and complex medical disabilities. Required courses in oral medicine augment this path. Major requirements include a minimum of 11 or 12 credits beyond the core: 10 credits in ORALM 460, or approved alternatives that focus on care of special clients; 3 credits of approved interdisciplinary health science courses; and 2 credits of approved Research.
Oral Health Promotion. This path is for dental hygienists who desire to work in multicultural and multidisciplinary settings at the local, state, national, or international levels and who require skills beyond clinical expertise. Students learn about the framework within which societies organize and manage their healthcare services and learn to link health with the environment, people's beliefs, ways of life, and kinship. They learn about differences between Western, Eastern and Shamanistic philosophies of health as prerequisites to developing educational strategies for oral health promotion and dental disease prevention. As students build skills essential for working with health agencies, they participate in community health projects as educators, advocates, or Researchers. Activities focus on the health of children and families in rural and remote areas of Washington state. Major requirements for this path include a minimum of 15 credits beyond the core, to include 3 credits in approved interdisciplinary health sciences courses, 3 credits in healthcare delivery systems, D HYG 402 or substitute; 3 credits in health promotion strategies (D HYG 403) or approved substitute; and a minimum of 4 credits in at least two sections of D HYG 404 or approved substitutes.
Minimum 2.5 grade in each dental hygiene course counted toward satisfaction of graduation requirements. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all work done in residence at the University. A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.00 in any quarter is placed on academic probation.
Student Outcomes and Opportunities
Of Special Note: The 90-credit community college transfer limit does not apply to students admitted to this program. The last 45 credits for the degree, however, must be earned in residence through the UW.
Through their respective departments, the graduate faculty members of the School offer programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science in Dentistry, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy, as well as postgraduate certificate programs.
Master of Science in Dentistry/Postgraduate Certificates
Fields of study for the MSD programs include endodontics, oral pathology, oral medicine and orofacial pain, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics. Although students may enroll in a graduate certificate program only, they may elect to pursue an MSD. Programs are planned to prepare students to think independently, to evaluate their own services and the literature of the programs, and to develop clinical skills to a level to permit successful clinical practice, teaching, or Research in their chosen specialty. Emphasis is placed on the basic principles of diagnosis and treatment. The purpose of the programs is not only to train students in their respective specialties but also to encourage preparation for academic careers or for Research. Research may be undertaken in basic or applied science. Opportunities for collaborative Research are available with the cooperation of other colleges, schools, or departments of the University.
Postgraduate certificate programs are not administered by the Graduate School, and no thesis is required. The course content may vary somewhat from the MSD program, although the same academic standards are applied in both programs. Tuition and fees are assessed at the graduate level for both programs.
Master of Science in Dentistry
50 credits, to include:
Master of Science in Dentistry, Endodontics
Minimum 148 credits, to include:
Master of Science, Oral Biology
Minimum 70 credits, to include:
Master of Science in Dentistry, Prosthodontics
Minimum 108 credits, to include:
Master of Science, Dental Hygiene
70 credits, to include:
Doctor of Philosophy
Minimum 90 credits, to include:
Through coursework, students are expected to gain proficiency in one or more basic biologic sciences and to master modern biological approaches in addition to gaining expertise in the subject area of oral and craniofacial sciences. At least 15 credit hours must come from science courses in departments other than oral biology. These include courses offered through the School of Medicine and courses selected to match the basic science interests of the student. Cross-disciplinary training in bioengineering is also available. All graduate students attend and participate in departmental seminars (ORALB 575).
Residency training programs are available in oral and maxillofacial surgery and the general practice of dentistry. Both programs provide for rotation through several of the University-affiliated hospitals. Each is a fully accredited program that grants a certificate upon successful completion of the training. Stipends are provided.
The oral and maxillofacial surgery program is four years in duration and provides broad exposure to all aspects of the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Application, selection, and administration of this training program is provided through the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Applicants to the program must be graduates of an accredited U.S. or Canadian Dental School, demonstrate proficiency in the English language, submit National Dental Board Examination scores for Part 1, and register and participate in the Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Residency Program Coordinator, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Box 357134, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7134, (206) 543-7722.
The General Practice Residency (GPR) is a one-year training program with a second optional year that emphasizes the general dentist's role in a hospital setting and the management of medically, physically, and mentally compromised patients. It also provides multiple resources for enhancement of dental clinical skills in the dental setting, applying management techniques through minimal, moderate sedation and general anesthesia in the operating room. Applicants to the program must be graduates of an ADA-accredited dental school, submit National Dental Board Examination scores for Part 1, and register and participate in the Postdoctoral Application Support Service (PASS) and Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program (MATCH). Further information can be obtained by visiting the website at dental.washington.edu/departments/gpr/general-practice-residency.html.
Postdoctoral training fellowships are available in behavioral or public-health Research in dentistry in addition to those in oral biology. Programs vary in duration and many accommodate degree-seeking or Research fellows pursuing an academic career. NIH-sponsored partial tuition and a stipend for up to three years are provided for U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, and those foreign nationals with permanent-residency status in the United States. Members of ethnic minorities and women are especially invited to apply. Application, selection, and administration of the program are provided through the Departments of Dental Public Health Sciences and Oral Biology.
Graduate Training in Dental Public Health
Opportunities exist for pursuing graduate degrees in public health which emphasize applications to Research in dentistry. Master of Public Health (MPH) programs in the Departments of Epidemiology and Health Services of the School of Public Health can be pursued in conjunction with postdoctoral training in the School of Dentistry's Department of Dental Public Health Sciences. Didactic coursework is taken in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, augmented with independent study and thesis Research on selected topics in the School of Dentistry. Similar opportunities exist for pursuing the PhD in epidemiology or biostatistics with an emphasis on Research in dentistry. Further information may be obtained from the Office of Academic Affairs, Box 357480, School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7480, (206) 221-6887.
The Office of Continuing Dental Education, School of Dentistry, offers programs and courses throughout the year to provide dentists, auxiliary personnel, and others involved in healthcare with current scientific knowledge and methodology of patient treatment. Utilizing local, national, and international experts, these programs provide a broad spectrum of information relevant to the needs of dental-health professionals. The instructional program consists of lectures, clinical courses, study clubs, extended clinical training, correspondence, and participation courses, some of which are offered in the simulated-patient laboratory. Various programs are presented throughout the year in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii.
A list of courses offered may be obtained from the Office of Continuing Dental Education, Box 357137, University of Washington, School of Dentistry, Seattle, WA 98195-7137, (206) 543-5444, dental.washington.edu/cde/current-course-listings.html.
Doctor of Dental Surgery
The Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) curriculum provides students opportunities to learn the fundamental principles significant to the entire body of oral health. Students (approximately 63 per class) learn the basic health sciences, attain proficiency in clinical skills, develop an understanding of professional and ethical principles, and develop reasoning and critical decision-making skills that enable implementation of the dental knowledge base. The first year is divided among lecture, laboratory, and preclinical activities in basic sciences, dental anatomy, occlusion, and dental materials. There are also early clinical experiences in preventive dentistry and periodontics. In the second year, students develop additional preclinical skills, learn how basic science principles are applied to the clinical setting, and begin clinical patient treatment. In the third and fourth years, students primarily concentrate on providing clinical treatment and attend lectures that refine diagnostic and technical skills. Additionally, students are required to participate in elective clinical and didactic courses. Students choose elective courses offered by all departments, including opportunities in independent study, Research, seminars on various topics, and specialty clinical topics.
The DDS curriculum extends for 42 months or 14 quarters, including two summer quarters. Twelve of the academic year quarters are ten weeks of instruction and one week of examination, while the two required summer quarters following years two and three are each nine weeks long. If needed, students may be allowed additional time to complete required coursework beyond 42 months.
Requirements include all undergraduate courses listed below; Dental Admission Test; personal interview. The Admissions Committee encourages diversity in majors. Courses in the social sciences and the humanities are included in the committee evaluation. Dental experience, community service, and non-cognitive factors are given consideration as part of the whole file review.
The School of Dentistry is a state-supported institution and participates in the student exchange program provided by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) which supports students from western states without dental schools. Although all applications are carefully reviewed, preference in admission is given to residents of Washington and WICHE states, followed by residents of other states.
Required courses: general chemistry - two quarters or one semester; organic chemistry - two quarters or one semester; general biochemistry - two quarters or one semester; general physics - three quarters or two semesters; general biology or zoology - three quarters or two semesters; general microbiology - two quarters or one semester. Recommended: medical microbiology.
Transfer Applicants: The school rarely, and only under exceptional circumstances, admits transfer students from other dental schools.
Foreign Applicants: The school does not provide a special program for foreign-trained dentists.
Health Sciences Minority Student Programs: To increase diversity of students, the school participates in the Health Sciences Minority Student Program. In addition to advising and career counseling, this office works with Health Sciences schools to provide student development and support programs, networking opportunities, and summer Research programs. The HSMSP office activities include participation on several health sciences and campus-wide committees for purposes of collaborating and exchanging strategies on effective methods for recruiting and retaining a diverse student body, as well as promoting and celebrating diversity.
Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) is a strategic expansion of the University of Washington School of Dentistry in conjunction with Eastern Washington University, designed to help meet the oral health needs of rural and underserved communities in the Northwest. RIDE creates regional training sites in areas lacking dental schools by partnering with regional universities, dentists and dental associations, community health centers, and others. Student admission to the RIDE program in Spokane is limited to residents of Washington State.
The School belongs to the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). November 1 of the year prior to matriculation is the AADSAS priority filing deadline. Only applications received in the AADSAS Washington, D.C. office by the priority filing date are forwarded to the UW for consideration by the Admissions Committee. There are no exceptions. AADSAS applications are available online at www.adea.org. The UW Dental School's DAT deadline is October 31 of the year prior to matriculation. Information regarding the Dental Admission Test may be found at www.ada.org.
For information on admission to the UW School of Dentistry, contact the Office of Student Life and Admissions, School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Box 356365, Seattle, WA 98195-6365, (206) 543-5840, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.dental.washington.edu (click on the "prospective student" link). University of Washington undergraduates may contact the Predental Advising Office, University of Washington, 141 Mary Gates Hall, Box 353760, Seattle, WA 98195-3760.
Once the AADSAS application has been received, a preliminary screening determines if an applicant meets the Admissions Committee's criteria to receive a supplemental application and request for the following materials:
The application is considered complete once all materials noted above (1-9) are returned. Upon receipt of the completed application, invitations for an interview are sent to applicants based on an additional screening of the whole file. The interview is an opportunity for an open, friendly discussion of the applicant's interests, background, and reasons for selecting dentistry as a profession. During the interview day, applicants have numerous opportunities to learn about UW programs, faculty, and student life. In addition to the interview, the School provides the applicant with financial aid and cost information. During the lunch hour, applicants meet with enrolled students and tour the School. Applicants also meet with the deans to learn about programs, Research, and cultural opportunities.
The admissions committee, composed of faculty and community dentists, determines admission status after considering the following:
Interviews begin in October and typically end in February. The American Dental Association Traffic Rules allow dental schools to begin making offers of acceptance on December 1. The School uses a "rolling admission" format, so interviews and committee decisions continue to be made between December and March.
The Admissions Committee makes one of three decisions:
Accepted applicants receive follow-up information about registration procedures, financial aid, and the orientation program throughout the spring and summer. Attendance at orientation is mandatory and provides an opportunity for newly enrolled students to learn about the upcoming curriculum, student rights and responsibilities, financial aid information, student organizations, challenge examinations, and the start of academic coursework. Orientation begins in late August. New students attend an off-campus student retreat to interact with peer advisers and meet classmates in an informal setting.
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE): The school participates in a program administered by WICHE for students who reside in western states not served by a dental school (Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Wyoming). Such students should seek requests for certification and information about benefits of the program from the WICHE commission office in their state of residence.
Projected costs can be found at dental.washington.edu/prospective-students/projected-costs.html.
Information on loans and scholarships may be obtained from the Director of Financial Aid, D323 Health Sciences, Box 356365. Information relating to student life, including the Academic Regulations Manual and Professional Ethics Code may be obtained from the Associate Dean for Student Life and Admissions, D323 Health Sciences, Box 356365.
285-333 credits minimum, as follows:
School clinics, teaching laboratories, and lecture halls are up-to-date, well maintained, and periodically renovated. Clinical modules are assigned to students for use in patient treatment. The D-1 Simulation Clinic is a state-of-the-art teaching facility used for preclinical and laboratory courses.
School Accreditation and Licensure
The school is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the recognized accrediting body for dentistry and the related dental fields. For information, write to the Commission on Dental Accreditation, 211 East Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611-2678. Admission to the practice of dentistry in any state is conditional upon meeting the requirements of the individual state dental licensure requirement. In order to practice in the State of Washington, the candidate for licensure must have a dental degree from a U.S. or Canadian dental school, and have successfully completed the American Dental Association National Board Examinations and the Western Regional Examining Board Examination. Additional information about licensure requirements should be requested from the Washington State Department of Health, Dental Quality Assurance Commission, PO Box 1099, Olympia WA 98504-1099, (360) 586-6898.
Health Care and Immunization Policy
Enrolled students at the UW School of Dentistry are eligible for healthcare services provided by the Hall Health Primary Care Center. In addition, the University has arranged for an Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan specifically designed for students, their dependents, and their domestic partners for which the Hall Health Primary Care Center is the preferred provider. The UW Health Sciences Center requires that its students, staff, and faculty show documentation of protection against a number of vaccine-preventable diseases. Additional information is available via the Hall Health Primary Care Center website at depts.washington.edu/hhpccweb/