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Dental Hygiene

Master of Science Online: Curriculum

Course Descriptions

NOTE: Curriculum is subject to change without notice.

Year 1, Fall

  • DHYGRACK 684 - Writing for Oral Health Sciences: In this writing-intensive course, students will focus on developing their academic and scholarly writing skills through analysis and application of topics relevant to dental hygiene education and practice. This course includes the step-by-step development of a scholarly manuscript.
  • DHYGRACK 693 - Research Principles and Application: In this course, students will gain an understanding of evidence-based practice, scientific methods, and analysis of research findings. Emphasis will be placed on types of research, formulation of research question and hypotheses, research planning and design, data collection, statistical concepts, and synthesis of the scientific literature.This course will also guide students through the stages of developing a proposal and will culminate with each student presenting a draft research proposal.

Year 1, Winter

  • DHYGRACK 687 - Foundations of Dental Hygiene, Education, and Healthcare: This course provides an overview of the current and future trends impacting oral health, dental hygiene, higher education, and healthcare services. The role of individuals and organizations in addressing health disparities, preparation of future workforces, and promoting change will be addressed. Students will begin to examine leadership roles and professional development.
  • DHYGRACK 692 - Evidence Based Practice: This course builds upon foundational skills learned in Research Principles and Application. Through judicious critical appraisal of current clinical and scientific literature, students will learn how to combine a thorough evaluation of the literature with their own clinical expertise in order to formulate best evidence-based patient care decisions. Students will develop a research proposal and will be prepared to begin their individual master’s level research project.

Year 1, Spring – Summer

  • DHYGRACK 689 - Educational Concepts and Strategies: This course will focus on the study of theory, principles, and research related to teaching and learning, development of ethical reasoning, critical thinking and reflective judgment, development of curricular frameworks, outcomes and competencies, and course delivery methods.
  • DHYGRACK 680 - Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: This course focuses on social and behavioral science theories, research, and interventions aimed at promoting health of individuals and communities. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health and health behaviors. The impact of culture and health literacy will be factored into strategies for behavior change and health promotion initiatives. Students will examine and apply strategies for influencing health behavior change and facilitating individual and community involvement in disease prevention, health maintenance, and health improvement.

Year 2, Fall

  • DENTED 630 - Practicum in Pre-Clinical/Clinical Teaching: This course provides students with guided experiences in teaching foundation and advanced clinical skills. The seminar will focus on the theory and practices of clinical instruction and clinical supervision as they relate to psychomotor skill development and competency-based evaluation systems. In addition, CODA standards, dealing with students in difficulty, promotion of critical thinking/self-directed learning, faculty calibration, evidence-based teaching, and professionalism and ethics will be applied to the role of the pre-clinical and clinical instructor.
  • DHYGRACK 685 - Foundations of Oral Health Services: This course examines issues and policies affecting healthcare and oral health services. Factors influencing access to care and provision of care to underserved populations are included. Elements of program planning and implementation in community health will also be covered.

Year 2, Winter

  • DENTED 631 - Practicum in Didactic Teaching: This course provides students with guided experiences in teaching foundation and advanced didactic teaching skills. The seminar will focus on the theory and practices of didactic instruction as they relate to cognitive, affective, and psychomotor development, using the principles of integrated course design as the platform for teaching design.
  • DHYGRACK 694 - Applied Biostatistics: This second course in statistics is intended to provide students with the skills necessary to carry out statistical analyses commonly employed in health sciences. Students will identify the scientific objectives of their research projects and develop a statistical analysis and presentation strategy appropriate for those objectives. Various statistical software packages will be used to manipulate the data into an analyzable form.

Year 2, Spring-Summer

  • DENTED 632 - Leadership and Administration: There are many potential roles for the dental hygienist and this course is designed to provide the knowledge and experience for career advancement. Students will be introduced to leadership theories and models with emphasis on self-evaluation and skill development. Students will also be introduced to administrative concepts in organizations specific to program planning, strategic planning, managing change, as well as duties and responsibilities for faculty beyond the classroom.
  • DHYGRACK 688 - Thesis: Students will conduct independent research leading to the advancement of a new point of view. Students must complete the thesis and thesis defense prior to conferral of the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene degree. This is the final course in the thesis curricular thread of the MSDH program, and is designed to guide students through the development of the remaining chapters of their written thesis document as well as the other required sections of this work. The course also helps prepare students for their public thesis defense presentation. Also included are modules focusing on publishing a master’s thesis research project, including important authorship responsibilities.

Program Prerequisites

  • Certification in local anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia is a requirement and must be completed before year 2. This requirement can be completed before enrolling in the Online Program or during the course sequencing, either through U-M's Continuing Dental Education program [link to ] or through any other accredited dental hygiene program or continuing education program.
  • Students are required to complete a baccalaureate-level biostatistics or statistics course prior to beginning the program. A grade of “C” or better is required. Transcripts showing the course grade should be sent directly to the program director if the course is not included in the submitted undergraduate transcripts.
  • The biostatistics/statistics course must be approved in advance by the graduate program director.


Rackham Cognate Course Requirement

Cognates are those courses that are in a discipline or area different from a student’s field of study, but are related to some aspect of that field. Cognate coursework must be approved by the graduate program, and may be satisfied by completing 4 credit hours of cognate coursework in approved graduate-level courses with a grade of B- or better. Courses outside of DHYGRACK meet the definition of a ‘cognate course'.

Visit the Rackham Graduate School website for more information.

For More Information

Contact Dr. Danielle Furgeson (