Dentistry is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral disease and disorders. Professional dental study typically involves a four-year program of graduate classroom instruction, lab work and hands-on patient treatment. Students who want to specialize within the field may pursue advanced training at the post-doctoral level. Specialists and general dentists must be licensed by the state before practicing.
While a definite pre-dentistry curriculum is not required for admission to dental school, students planning to apply should include specific courses in their undergraduate studies. At UAF, these are biology (BIOL 105X and 106X), chemistry (CHEM 103X and 104X, or 105X and 106X), organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 321, 322, and 324), and physics (PHYS 103X and 104X). Some schools suggest additional science course work in areas such as anatomy and physiology (BIOL 111X and 112X). Dental schools expect students to have a broad general background in the social sciences and humanities. Some dental schools accept applicants after their third year of undergraduate work, but the majority of students entering dental school have completed a bachelor's degree. A strong undergraduate academic record and high scores on the Dental Admission Test (DAT) are desirable for admission.
Students who are considering dentistry as a career should contact the Academic Advising Center. An academic advisor will help students plan an appropriate undergraduate program and explore professional schools, licensing requirements and financial aid. See www.uaf.edu/advising/degree/preprof/dentistry.html for detailed information on preparing for dental school while at UAF.