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Curriculum

The DDS pre-doctoral curriculum is a full-time, four year, 11 semester, competency-based educational program that leads to the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.  Basic and biomedical sciences are integrated with clinical sciences and patient care during most of the curriculum, along with a major emphasis on development of professionalism and ethics that is carried through all four years. At the end of the D1 summer semester, students participate in the White Coat Ceremony, marking their transition from student to healthcare professional and signified by their receiving their white clinic coats. This ceremony is a major milestone in the formation of a professional identity and clinical experiences start only after this important milestone is achieved.

Pre-clinical foundations courses, and clinical didactic courses using clinical cases, in the D1 year through the D3 Spring teach the technical and therapeutic skills needed to provide comprehensive dental care for a patient family. DDS students are assigned their patient family starting in the D2 Winter. Student clinicians encounter increasingly complex patients through the D3 year, which prepares them for participation in community based dental clinics in the D4 year. During the D4 year student clinicians spend approximately 10 weeks in community based dental clinics, where they provide care to patients with complex dental and medical needs, within communities who are underserved.  This setting provides student clinicians the opportunities to rapidly develop their clinical skills, confidence, clinical judgment and ability to work independently upon graduation.

The curriculum also offers opportunities for students to select enhanced educational experiences according to their career interests. The Pathways are a four -year curricular stream in either: Research, Leadership, or Healthcare Delivery.  All students are engaged in mentored scholarship within their chosen Pathway.  Approximately 10% of curricular time is dedicated to the Pathways program, which culminates in the capstone Pathways project.

Throughout the curriculum there is a major emphasis on the development of critical thinking skills, evidence- based dentistry and a deep understanding of the science foundation of contemporary dentistry.  Our aim is to provide graduates with the skills needed for lifelong learning, the ability to function successfully within an interprofessional healthcare team, to provide culturally competent care, and the competencies to lead in a changing healthcare environment.

  • Science integrated into patient care
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Independence
  • Professional development
  • Patient care experiences starting in D1
  • Ten weeks Community Outreach D4
  • D.D.S.  curriculum characterized by depth in advanced dentistry, and leadership, alternative practice models, pre-specialization, or research pathways (4 year program)
  • D.D.S. curriculum with pursuit of M.S. certificate, year out (5+ year program)
  • D.D.S.  curriculum with pursuit of PhD (7+ year program)
  • All students have core curriculum to ensure they graduate with the clinical skills necessary to be excellent dentists
  • The Pathways are an enhancement of the core curriculum
  • Students have choices, to shape their own education
  • Leadership Pathway
  • Research Pathway
  • Health Care Delivery Pathway