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Dental Hygiene

Curriculum & Competencies


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program will transition to a 2-year, six consecutive semester program starting in May 2019. Please contact Lisa Dodge in the dental hygiene office for more information: 734-763-3392.
Applications are being accepted now and the admissions committee will continue to review applications until the class is full.

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry offers a baccalaureate degree program in dental hygiene that is designed to offer students an expanded education, resulting in increased career opportunities after graduation. This degree program provides the education and training needed to become a dental hygienist, allowing you to explore not only the role of clinician but also roles in research, education, public health, administration, and advocacy.

The program consists of prescribed college courses followed by two years of enrollment in the School of Dentistry.

For more information:

Dental Hygiene Course Descriptions (pdf)


Students enter the dental hygiene program as sophomores. The average GPA of incoming students to the Dental Hygiene Program is 3.5.


Students must complete a minimum of 35 credit hours of prerequisite course work prior to applying. The required prerequisite courses are as follows:

  • English Composition
  • General Chemistry with a lab
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Intro to Sociology
  • Speech (Fundamentals of Speech or Public Speaking)
  • Anatomy & Physiology I & II or equivalent
  • Microbiology with a lab
  • Biochemistry

Suggested Electives:

  • English Composition II
  • General Biology

Please see the Dental Hygiene Course Descriptions for additional information.




210 Clinical Dental Hygiene 5
220 Leadership & Professionalism 1
242 Oral Anatomy 2
243 Head and Neck Anatomy 2
272 Dental Practice Emergencies 2
338 Health Education Methods 2
Total 14



209 Radiography 2
211 Clinical Dental Hygiene 4
224 Periodontics I 2
252 Behavioral Science 2
291 Histology & Embryology 2
344 Community Dentistry 2
Total 14



234 Special Patients 1
312 Clinical Dental Hygiene 4
323 Cariology 2
362 Gerontological Dental Hygiene 1
393 General and Oral Pathology 2
429 Dental Pharmacology 2
450 Service Learning 2
Total 13



313 Clinical Dental Hygiene 5
324 Periodontics II 2
345 Research Methods 3
422 Pain Control 3
Required Elective 3
Total 16



310 Interpretive Radiology 1
321 Dental Specialty 1
335 Biomaterials 2
414 Clinical Dental Hygiene 5
416 Intraprofessional Education 1
446 Scientific Communication 2
503 Skills for Patient and Family-Centered Care 2
Total 14



382 Nutrition 3
415 Clinical Dental Hygiene 5
425 Periodontics III 2
430 Practice Management 2
440 Internal Medicine 1
  Board Review  
Total 13

* An additional 10 elective credits are required while in the program. Electives may be taken during the winter semester of the Junior year or during the Senior year. Elective courses may also be taken at any UM campus (Ann Arbor, Dearborn or Flint) in the spring or summer semesters.

A total of 120 credit hours are required for graduation.

The above courses are all considered “core” courses and must be completed in this sequence and at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus. The only exception is Introduction to Statistics. It is recommended that this course be taken at an accredited institution prior to entering the Dental Hygiene Program or between the Sophomore and Junior years. The statistics class requirement is 4 credit hours. A 3 credit hour Introduction to Statistics course is acceptable; however, the student is required to complete 1 additional elective credit hour while in the program. Before enrolling in an Introduction to Statistics course, please check with the Dental Hygiene Office to confirm the course is appropriate and transferable.


The dental hygiene (DH) program is a learning process that takes a student from knowledge to competence. The graduating dental hygiene student must demonstrate competencies in basic and advanced skills, educational methods, and the professional values of an individual ready for a career in dental hygiene in a variety of settings. The DH program at the University of Michigan is structured to confer the baccalaureate degree to students at the completion of the dental hygiene curriculum. Graduates will be prepared not only for the traditional DH duties of clinician and health educator but also for roles as consumer advocate, change agent, researcher, and healthcare manager/administrator.

Goals and Competencies

Goal #1: Develop the basis for ethical and professional behavior and service.

Competency 1-1 The graduating student provides dental hygiene care using the highest professional knowledge and ethical principles.

Competency 1-2 The graduating student practices within the context of the appropriate state Dental Practice Act.

Competency 1-3 The graduating student advocates for the well-being of the public and advances the profession of dental hygiene through participation and affiliation with professional and community organizations.

Goal #2: Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to provide comprehensive oral health care for diverse populations in all ages and stages of life.

Competency 2-1 The graduating student demonstrates and applies knowledge of psychosocial, biomedical, dental and dental hygiene sciences.

Competency 2-2 The graduating student identifies individual risk factors and develops educational strategies that promote patient self-care in disease prevention and health promotion.

Competency 2-3 The graduating student uses the dental hygiene process of care to formulate a comprehensive care plan based on assessment data and in collaboration with other health care professionals as appropriate.

Competency 2-4 The graduating student provides each patient with evidence-based preventive and therapeutic dental hygiene care to assist the patient in attaining and maintaining oral health.

Competency 2-5 The graduating student demonstrates effective interpersonal skills to establish rapport with patients and other health care providers in delivering dental hygiene care.

Goal #3: Foster in students an appreciation for the scientific method and life long learning.

Competency 3-1 The graduating student uses critical thinking and self-assessment skills to prepare for and engage in life-long learning.

Competency 3-2 The graduating student uses the scientific method to evaluate scientific literature and uses an evidence-based approach to patient care.

Goal #4: Provide students experiences in community health care settings.

Competency 4-1 The graduating student assesses, plans, implements, and evaluates community-based oral health programs including health promotion and disease prevention activities.

Competency 4-2 The graduating student provides oral health care to a diverse patient population in community-based settings.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) serves the oral health care needs of the public through the development and administration of standards that foster continuous quality improvement of dental and dental related educational programs

For more information about dental hygiene competencies, please see the CODA Requirements.