Pre-Dental Plan

The UT Martin Pre-Dental Plan is designed to prepare students for application to dental school.  By following the Pre-Dental Plan recommendations, students will be eligible for admission into most Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) programs; however, the undergraduate courses required for admission vary substantially from one institution to the next.  The courses listed in the plan are intended only as a guideline and students are strongly encouraged to review the requirements for their school(s) of choice as they vary from school to school. 


Please note: The Pre-Dental Plan is not a major and does not fulfill the requirements for a baccalaureate degree at UT Martin.  The courses listed below are recommendations and are not required for degree completion unless also listed under the student’s chosen major. 


Frequently Asked Questions


What does a dentist do?
Dentists are the primary caregivers for your mouth.  They provide instruction on oral care including brushing, flossing, and the use of fluorides.  Dentists are also responsible for diagnosing and treating problems with teeth and tissues in the mouth.  Their job duties include removing tooth decay, filling cavities, examining x-rays, extracting teeth, repairing fractured teeth, performing corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases, making models and taking measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth, administering anesthetics, and writing prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.  Additionally, since many dentists own their own practices, they often oversee a variety of administrative tasks. 


Is there a demand for Dentists?
YES! According to the US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2026.


What degree to do I need to become a dentist?
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)


What is the difference between a D.D.S. and a D.M.D.?
Nothing.  The only difference is in the name. 


How many accredited dental programs are there in Tennessee?
Two: Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry


What is the typical length of the professional program?
4 years of dental school plus optional training for specialties


Are there any required admissions tests?
Yes, the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)


What application service do I use to apply to dental school?
Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS)


When should I apply?
Applications to dental schools should be submitted in the summer or fall of the year preceding the desired admission date.  For most students, this means that they will apply the summer after their junior year. 


Do I have to have a bachelor’s degree to get into dental school?
Not necessarily; however, most dental schools recommend a degree.  The majority of students entering dental school have a bachelor’s degree.


What kind of grades do I need to get into dental school?
Academic performance is crucial.  A GPA of 3.6 or higher is needed to be a competitive applicant.  Moreover, most dental schools require that all prerequisite classes be completed with a grade of “C” or higher.  Some schools require that prerequisite coursework be completed with a grade of B or higher. 


What kind of dental experience do I need?
You don’t necessarily have to have work experience in the dental field; however, dental schools expect direct observation of the field prior to admission.  That direct observation can be gained through volunteering, shadowing a dentist, or working in a dentist’s office as a dental assistant.  It is a good idea to do at least some observation in a primary care setting because dental school focuses on primary care, regardless of which specialty a student is considering. 


How many hours of direct observation do I need?
There is no magic number for how much shadowing/observation you have to have.  It is a good idea to observe as many different clinical settings and populations as you can.


Will I be a pre-dental major?
No.  The Pre-Dental Plan is not a major and does not fulfill the requirements for a baccalaureate degree at UT Martin.  The courses listed in the plan are recommendations and are not required for degree completion unless also listed under the student’s chosen major. 


What should I major in?
As a pre-dental student at UT Martin, you can major in any area you choose.  The best major is the one in which you are the most interested and the most likely to succeed.  The most common majors for pre-dental students at UT Martin is the Biology – Cellular and Molecular Concentration because that major includes many of the classes required by the dental schools.  Because many dentists open their own practices, you may also want to consider combining a science major with a business major or minor.   


What are the minimum requirements for Dental school? 
At a minimum, most dental schools require:

  • 8 hours of biology
  • 8 hours of chemistry
  • 8 hours of organic chemistry
  • 6 hours of English
  • 8 hours of physics
  • 3 hours of biochemistry


However, most students who are successful in gaining admission to a dental school take classes well beyond the minimum and you are strongly encouraged to pursue as rigorous a schedule of courses as possible to be competitive.  In particular, you should expect to take 18-19 hours a semester (particularly in your junior and senior year) and multiple science classes each term in preparation for the rigors of dental school.


What classes at UT Martin should I take as a pre-dental student?
While not an exhaustive list, the following courses are strongly recommended for students considering applying to dental school.  Because the requirements for the different dental schools vary, you should always check with your advisor and/or school(s) of choice before deciding which classes to take.  Additionally, you should considering taking advanced math courses such as statistics and calculus as well as social science and humanities courses such as literature, philosophy, business administration, economics, public speaking, and computer science. 


Recommended courses

  • Biochemistry 411 Cell & Comparative Biochemistry I
  • Biology 130 Foundations of Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity
  • Biology 140 Foundations of Biology: Cell and Molecular
  • Biology 336 Genetics
  • Biology 337 Cell Biology
  • Biology 338 Cell Biology laboratory
  • Biology 432 Developmental Biology
  • Biology 436 Molecular Biology
  • Biology 437 Molecular Biology lab
  • Chemistry 121 General Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 122 General Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 341 Organic Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 342 Organic Chemistry II
  • English 111 English Composition I
  • English 112 English Composition II
  • Microbiology 310 General Molecular Microbiology
  • Microbiology 401 Immunology
  • Physics 211 College Physics I OR Physics 220 University Physics I
  • Physics 212 College Physics II OR Physics 221 University Physics II
  • Psychology 101 Introduction to Psychology
  • Zoology 251 Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Zoology 352 Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Zoology 461 Histology


Where can I find out more about the field of dentistry?


Where can I find out more about the DAT?

Dental Admission Test (DAT) info

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