A major in any discipline is acceptable for admission to dental schools, but most dental programs require a basic foundation of eight to 10 courses in chemistry, biology and physics. Dental schools base admission decisions on a student's college courses, grade point average, performance on the Dental Admission Test (taken in the junior year) and a personal interview.
Most dental schools require a minimum of BIOL 121, 221, CHEM 123, 234, 235, 236; 8 credits of physics and 4 credits of mathematics. Specific requirements, however, vary from school to school. As an example, the University of Minnesota Dental School requires that applicants complete Psychology 111 and document 30 hours shadowing a practicing dentist. Students considering a career in dentistry are urged to contact the pre-dental advisor early in their studies.
A few dental schools admit students after three years of undergraduate study. A three/one program is available at Saint Benedict's and Saint John's for students interested in this option. Students remain at the colleges for three years, during which time they complete all core curriculum requirements and all requirements for a natural science major except for four upper-division courses. Sufficient credits may then be transferred from the first year of dental school to complete the CSB/SJU degree requirements. Students contemplating a three/one program should consult early with the natural science chair.