pre-dental school courses

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

Even though it’s difficult to find credible information regarding medical laboratory science from websites that don’t always have credibility, the following article provides you with the information you need to know about pre-dental school courses. 

Find out about prerequisite courses for dental school, dental school interview preparation courses, midwestern university dental school prerequisite courses, pre-dental school prerequisite courses, and dental school prerequisite courses.

The UK College of Dentistry operates on a rolling admission basis. Admission interviews may begin in late August and continue until the class is full. Interviews are required for admission consideration and are scheduled weeks in advance. Our first offers of admission will be extended on December 1.  

All applicants, whether first-time or not, must file an application with AADSAS for the year in which admission is desired. 

Once applications have reached the AADSAS verified status, please watch for an email from the UK College of Dentistry requesting payment of an application processing fee. These emails sometimes find their way to Junk and Trash folders, so be watchful. AADSAS advises applicants to also add ‘d[email protected]’ to their safe senders’ list. 

Once this fee has been received by our office, your application will be assigned for review by members of the Admissions Committee. Decisions are made as files are reviewed, including interview invitations, generally beginning mid-July and will continue as long as needed.

Pre-dental Pipeline Programs - School of Dentistry | UAB

Scheduling of Interviews

Applicants are invited to interview at the request of the Admissions Committee. Only those application files that are complete will be considered for interviews. The interview schedule typically runs from the end of August until late November. An invitation for an interview indicates that the Admissions Committee has a strong interest in you. It is important to note that many more applicants are interviewed than there are positions in the class. Candidates will be contacted by email if selected to interview. These emails sometimes find their way to Junk and Trash folders, so be watchful.

The interview is a chance for the Admissions Committee to become acquainted with candidates beyond the application. UKCD will be using multiple mini-interview formats. This format will allow each candidate to meet with different interviewers who will be Admissions Committee members, faculty, staff, and students. Candidates will be presented with a scenario to discuss with the interviewer. No specific science or dental background knowledge will be necessary. 

Also Read: Pre-Dental School Courses, dental school course requirements, what classes do you take in dental school, pre-dental programs online.

Pre-Dental School Courses

You can major in anything, however, to be competitive you will need to satisfy some basic requirements. Requirements vary from school to school. You will need to confirm the requirements at the schools to which you are planning to apply. Students should not get below a C in any required course.

Take these courses required by most dental schools:

  • 2 semesters of Biology with lab.
  • If “introductory biology” is required, take BIOL 180 and BIOL 210
  • 2 semesters of General Chemistry (CHEM 111 and 112)
  • 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry (CHEM 221 and 222)
  • 2 semesters of Physics (PHYS 103 and 104 or PHYS 201 and 202)
  • “English” is required but will be satisfied through your RC degree.

Some schools require the following. Please consider these recommendations if not required. Courses including dissection may be required by some schools.

  • 1 semester of Biochemistry (CHEM 341)
  • 1 or 2 semesters of Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL 230 and 260)
  • 1 semester of Microbiology (BIOL 235)
  • 1 semester of Physiology (BIOL 305)
  • 1 semester of Vertebrate Zoology (BIOL 275)

Many dental programs suggest a few upper-level science courses such as:

  • BIOL 210 (Cell Biology)
  • BIOL 315 (Genetics)
  • BIOL 370 (Immunology)
  • BIOL 390 (Advanced Cell Biology)
  • BIOL 400 (Molecular Biology)
  • BIOL 420 (Developmental Biology)
  • CHEM 342 (Biochemistry II)

Non-science courses that may be required or recommended by a dental school:

  • Statistics (INQ 240)
  • Introductory Psychology (PSYC 101)
  • Introductory Sociology (SOCI 101) or other behavioral science courses
  • Courses involving hand/eye coordination such as drawing or other art classes.
  • 2 units of “mathematics” Please check for specific requirements.
  • Several semesters of courses such as Philosophy, History, Fine Arts, Business and Accounting

Courses that may help a student’s understanding of issues in healthcare:

  • SOCI 223 (Ethics and Medicine)
  • SOCI 323 (Health, Illness and Healing)

Also Read: pre-dental courses in Canada, University of Michigan pre-dental program, pre-dental school courses the UK

Pre-dental Programs - School of Dentistry | UAB

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Commonly Required and Recommended Courses for Dental Schools

Be sure to read the section on Choosing Courses for a comprehensive understanding of the introductory coursework that will likely be required as you prepare for the DAT and for dental school. Note that dental schools typically require a minimum grade of C (2.0) in the pre-requisite courses.

Upper Level Biology

Beyond introductory biology, there is some freedom to choose upper-level coursework.  We strongly encourage you to consider the following when making your choices:


Physiology is typically tested to some degree in the Biological Sciences section of the DAT.  There are several lecture courses that work well

  • BIOLOGY 225: Principles of Animal Physiology and Neurobiology
  • PHYSIOL 201: Introduction to Human Physiology
  • PHYSIOL 301, 302: Human Physiology I & II
  • PHYSIOL 502: Human Physiology
  • BIOMEDE 419: Quantitative Physiology


Anatomy is not tested on the DAT.  Human anatomy, however, is required by a few dental schools in the United States.  It is also among the first topics taught in the first year of dental school, so a course in anatomy can be helpful.

  • ANATOMY 403: Human Anatomy: Structure and Function


Microbiology is required by a significant subset of dental schools in the United States, including the University of Michigan Dental School.

  • BIOLOGY 207: Microbiology lecture with  lab included
  • MICRBIOL 405/350:  Microbiology lecture and Microbiology lab

Additional upper level biology courses

Additional courses labeled BIOL, EEB, MCDB, MICROBIOL, and PHYSIOL will typically be included as biology courses.  Note that some dental schools may require a specific number of biology credits or courses taken at the 300 level or higher.  Some examples:

  • CDB 450: Introduction to Histology
  • EEB 341: Parasitology lecture with lab included
  • PHYSIOL 541 / ANATOMY 541 / PSYCH 532: Mammalian Reproductive Endocrinology   
  • MCDB 427/429: Molecular Biology lecture & Lab
  • MCDB 428/429: Cell Biology lecture and Lab

Biology laboratory courses

Dental schools typically require two laboratory courses in Biology. Independent research courses, in which you earn credit for working on a particular research project, may not be considered sufficient.  It is safest to either take two regular methods lab classes or to carefully check the requirements of each of your target dental schools. As an LSA student, you will typically begin with BIOLOGY 173 (Introductory Biology Laboratory), and then take another methods lab associated with a regular biology lecture.   Microbiology lab (including the lab component built into BIOLOGY 207) will likely also count as your second methods lab.

If you plan to take CHEM 352 lab (Introduction to Biochemical Research Techniques), as a requirement for your major or for interest, note that this lab will typically count as a Biology lab for the purposes of dental school admissions.  


Dental schools typically require one year of inorganic chemistry and one year of organic chemistry (with labs). Refer to Choosing Courses.

If you place directly into organic chemistry (with no AP credit for General Chemistry), you are entitled to a Chemistry Exemption Letter, issued by a pre-health advisor. Request this letter at the time of application to dental programs. Some dental schools may not accept this letter and instead will insist on courses taken on a college campus.  It is also the case that some dental schools will not accept AP credit for chemistry. If you need or wish to take additional coursework in general chemistry, consider CHEM 245/246/247 (Biomedical Analytical Chemistry). 


Although the DAT does NOT include physics, most dental schools require two semesters of Physics with lab. Refer to Choosing Courses to find out more about which Physics courses work best for you.

Behavioral Sciences

It is not unusual for dental schools to list specific requirements in the behavioral and/or social sciences.  The University of Michigan School of Dentistry requires a lecture in both psychology and sociology (must be taken for a grade).  As always, check your target programs for their specific requirements.

Math and Statistics

Many dental schools require an introductory-level Statistics course (STATS 250 will suffice, along with other introductory Statistics courses taught on campus).  Calculus is not typically required, but you should check directly with the schools to be sure. The DAT tests pre-calculus content (MATH 105), as well as some aspects of probability and statistics. 

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dental school course requirements

Bachelor’s Degree

To be considered for admission to the DMD program at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, an applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university in the USA or Canada, or be enrolled in a course of study that will result in the awarding of the degree before matriculation into the DMD program.

Applicants who completed their bachelor’s degree more than two years before expected dental school attendance are advised to pursue academic activities, research, or employment in the oral health field to maintain and strengthen preparation for a dental school curriculum. 

Prerequisite Courses

All prerequisites must be completed successfully prior to matriculation. At the time of submission of the application, it is understood that some prerequisites may be pending completion. In the AASDAS application, list your planned courses.

Although most of the prerequisite courses are science-based, an applicant may be enrolled in any major.

Credits from an accredited four-year U.S./Canadian college or university should match or exceed the prerequisite requirement in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and physics.

Community college courses cannot be applied to science prerequisites (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics). Science prerequisite courses must be completed at an accredited four-year U.S./Canadian college or university.  If you have community college science credits, take upper-level courses in the relevant field of study at a four-year institution to earn sufficient prerequisite credits in the topic. It is not necessary to re-take the basic course at a four-year institution if you have at least the minimum required credits in upper-level coursework in the topic from a four-year institution.

Advanced Placement credit is not accepted toward the science prerequisites. Applicants who received college credit and/or placed out of prerequisite courses because of AP credits must either retake those courses at an accredited four-year United States or Canadian institution or take an equal number of credits in upper-level coursework in the same discipline at a four-year institution.

Advanced Placement credits will be accepted for English and math/statistics prerequisites if the degree-granting institution awarded college credit toward the bachelor’s degree.


  • Prerequisite science courses should be taken at an accredited, four-year United States or Canadian college or university.
    • Neither community college coursework nor Advanced Standing credit may be applied to science prerequisites.  Take upper-level courses to meet the prerequisite credit requirements.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited, four-year United States or Canadian college or university is a requirement for enrollment at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

The Admissions Committee strongly suggests that the following courses be taken to ensure a competitive application.

PrerequisiteMinimum creditsDescription
Biology with lab3 semesters (9-12 credits) or 4 quartersAdvanced Placement credits do not fulfill the Biology prerequisite: upper-level Biology college courses can be used to fulfill the prerequisite credit requirement. Refer to the list of suggested biological science courses, below.
General Chemistry with lab2 semesters (6-8 credits) or 3 quartersAdvanced Placement credits do not fulfill the General Chemistry prerequisite: upper-level Chemistry college courses can be used to fulfill the prerequisite credit requirement.
Organic Chemistry with lab2 semesters (6-8 credits) or 3 quartersAdvanced Placement credits do not fulfill the Organic Chemistry prerequisite: upper-level Organic Chemistry college courses can be used to fulfill the prerequisite credit requirement.
Biochemistry1 semesters (3-4 credits) or 2 quartersA lab is not required for the biochemistry prerequisite. Matriculated students are not exempted from the dental school biochemistry curriculum.
Physics with lab2 semesters (6-8 credits) or 3 quarters·       Courses including general principles of physical laws and phenomena: mechanics, light, heat, sound, electricity, radiation.·       Advanced Placement credits do not fulfill the Physics prerequisite: upper-level Physics courses can be used to fulfill the prerequisite credit requirement.
Calculus1 semester (3-4 credits) or 2 quarters·      Advanced Placement credits will be accepted if the degree-granting institution awarded college credit toward the bachelor’s degree.·      A second calculus course fulfills the separate Math or Statistics requirement.
Math or Statistics1 semester (3-4 credits) or 2 quarters·      Advanced Placement credits will be accepted if the degree-granting institution awarded college credit toward the bachelor’s degree.·      A mathematics or statistics course will fulfill this requirement, including a second calculus course or a statistics course offered through a department other than mathematics.
English or Composition2 semesters (6-8 credits) or 3 quarters·      Advanced Placement credits will be accepted if the degree-granting institution awarded college credit toward the bachelor’s degree.·      University-designated writing intensive courses will also satisfy this requirement. A course description will be required at time of interview.

Recommended advanced biological science courses

Advanced biological science coursesDescription
AnatomyCell biologyEmbryologyGeneticsHistologyImmunologyMicrobiologyMolecular biologyPhysiologyZoology·      For applicants who have AP credits for Introductory Biology, a selection of advanced biological science courses may be used toward the prerequisite requirements. Note that prerequisite science courses must include lab.·      Upper-level biological sciences courses taken in addition to prerequisite course credits enhance an applicant’s preparation for dental school.

Additional courses

Additional coursesDescription
HumanitiesSocial SciencesArtsBusinessEngineeringEtc.Applicants, especially science majors, are encouraged to include a variety of courses in their undergraduate program. Exploration of diverse subject areas and perspectives contributes to a broad knowledge base and enhances critical-thinking skills.

Standards for Admission

In considering applications, the Admissions Committee places primary emphasis on an applicant’s undergraduate record. The successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year U.S. or Canadian college or university is a requirement for matriculation into Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. Applicants who are admitted during their final year of undergraduate study must demonstrate successful completion of the bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation in the DMD program. The committee takes into account the applicant’s scores on the Dental Admissions Test, as well as factors such as the quality and difficulty of courses taken, demonstrated leadership ability, and motivation for the study of dentistry. Applicants’ personal statements submitted as part of the AADSAS application and letters of recommendation are important elements in the evaluation.

The applicant has the opportunity to describe extra-curricular and co-curricular experiences in the AADSAS application, including observation of dental professionals (“shadowing experience”), involvement in community through employment or volunteering, and research experience.

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