Please note: A list of all UK dental schools can be found on the UK dental schools page
The Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree is a five year programme in the UK. There is both a standard entry pathway and a graduate entry pathway. Applicants to the graduate entry pathway must demonstrate that thier prior formal qualifications have covered relevant biomedical subjects.
It is advisable to find out as much as you can about the dentistry profession before making your application. There are many sources of useful information including:
The exact entry requirements differ between schools with most requiring three good A level grades or equivalent. For further details please contact the individual schools directly or look at the UCAS website.
UCAS handles all applications to study dentistry in the UK. Please note that for applications for study beginning in September of each year, the closing date is October 15 of the previous year.
The Guiding Principles for the Admission of Dental Students have been agreed by all UK undergraduate dental schools, and relate to the selection and admission of students to dental school. The principles set out the requirements and expectations of both dental schools and dental students, reflecting that selection to dental school implies selection to the dental profession.
The Guiding Principles can be found here:
DSC Admissions Principles Feb 2012
UK Clinical Aptitude Test
Nine UK dental schools use the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) to supplement traditional measures of achievement. It will only form one part of the selection process and each school will determine the weight given to results. Check individual university websites to find out whether you will be required to sit the test.You will also find this information on the UCAS website.
It is important that students, as far as possible, are protected from infectious diseases that could be contracted from their patients. Similarly, dental schools have a duty of care to the patients with whom dental students come into close contact during their studies. Consequently, dental schools require entrants to produce satisfactory evidence of immunisation against hepatitis B and non-infectivity for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
The Dental Schools Council, Medical Schools Council, the Association of UK University Hospitals and the Higher Education Occupational Physicians Group have produced guidance on Blood Borne Viruses. It is worth reading this if you are considering a career in dentistry, especially if you have a blood borne virus.
The full guidance is available to download:
Courses offering one-year exemptions
Four dental schools offer graduate entry places that allow exemption from one year of the course if the learning objectives for that year have been covered in their first degree. Applicants should hold a degree which includes a large element of biology and chemistry, and require at least an upper-class second level.
Entry requirements to study in the UK are the same for UK and non-UK applicants. The UCAS website will list the non-UK equivalent grades that will be accepted. If you are still unsure whether your qualifications will be sufficient you should contact the Admissions Department at the dental school where you hope to study. You can find all contact details on the UK Dental Schools page.
International students will also be required to undertake the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
The British Council produces guidance for non-UK applicants
The National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education offers advice information for non-UK qualified dentists who wish to work in the UK, to undertake general/specialist training, or to study for a postgraduate degree or diploma.
Options after qualification
After qualification as a Bachelor of Dental Surgery, students are expected to undertake one or two years of vocational training in a salaried role, known as General Professional Training. It is anticipated that this will soon be a requirement for all dentists upon qualification.
Most trainees opt for either Dental General Practice or specialisation for their career options. There are fifteen broad specialties, such as Oral Surgery, Endodontics and Paediatric Dentistry. The Royal College of Surgeons offers links to careers advice by specialty, as well as specific careers advice for trainees wishing to pursue academic dentistry (university teaching or research).
Dental Schools Council
20 Tavistock Square
London WC1H 9HD
Tel: +44 (0)20 7419 5494
Fax: +44 (0)20 7380 1482
You can see the full list of UK dental schools and contact information on the UK dental schools page
A clinical academic dentist works in a university environment to develop teaching and undertake research into their area of dental interest. All clinical academics continue to provide clinical care to patients.
For more information visit the Royal College of Surgeons of England website, or download an information fact sheet on clinical academic careers