Studying dentistry

Find out how to get onto a dentistry course and what it will involve.Find out how to get onto a dentistry course and what it will involve.

Where can I study dentistry?

Not all universities offer dentistry courses. There are currently 16 dental schools in the UK. You can find a list of these on the Dental Schools Council website.

Applying for dentistry courses

You can apply for dentistry courses through UCAS as usual. You’ll normally need 3 As at A-level, including biology and chemistry. However, some universities offer a pre-dental year for people who don’t have the required grades.

You’ll also need to get work experience in a dental practice – normally at least two weeks (10 days), but more will be helpful. You can also improve your chances by getting a wider range of experience – for example, working in more than one practice, or in a specialist area such as hospital dentistry.

You might also have to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT).

Finally, there are additional requirements for dental students to ensure that you are fit to work with patients, such as a DBS check and medical checks.

What the course involves

Dentistry courses last five years (or six if you do a pre-dental year), followed by one or two years of supervised working. You’ll start out by learning the theory and getting some practice in the university’s facilities, before starting to work with real patients.

As well as specific dental knowledge, you’ll also study health and disease more generally. As a result, some parts of your course might be taken alongside medicine students.

In the later part of your course, you’ll be able to study more specialist subjects according to your interests, such as orthodontics.

Dentistry is a very intensive course, so expect heavy workloads and lots of private study.

Fees and funding

For the first four years of your course, you’ll get the same student finance package as other students. After that, you’ll receive funding from the NHS to help with tuition fees and living costs.

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