Formation for Doctor of Dental Medicine

See more in the Course Catalog.

  • Will Argana

    Will Argana ’18

    Dental student at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Dentistry

    “Benedictine College prepared me to be successful in dental school because of the amazing faculty who genuinely cared about both the subject matter and their students.”

  • Matt Denton

    Matt Denton ’17

    Dental Student at the University of Nebraska Medical School

    “Benedictine College helped me on my path to success in dental school by providing me with professors that challenged me to perform at the highest level in the classroom. Their mentorship not only helped me get into dental school, but it also encouraged me to explore multiple professions so that I could know without a shadow of a doubt that dental school was the perfect fit for my future.”

What is Pre-Dentistry?

The term “pre-dental” refers to a course of study intended to prepare students for a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program. A DMD and a DDS have the same curriculum and therefore are equivalent degrees, but have a different name depending on the university. A student can choose any major and still be pre-dental, but will be most successful in a major he or she is passionate about. However, there are common prerequisite science courses required or recommended by dental schools. In addition, a student must take the dental admissions test (DAT).

Rigorous Liberal Arts Formation

Dental school is academically intensive, requiring a heavy load of memorization and the comprehension of complex scientific ideas. Furthermore, it necessitates the ability to critically analyze, process, apply, and communicate the learned information. A mixture of both science and liberal arts classes will give a strong base for success in dental school.

Benedictine College offers a variety of rigorous courses in the sciences and liberal arts that will provide not only the prerequisites needed for dental school, but also the liberal arts framework that helps with critical analysis as well as written and oral communication.

Best Majors for Pre-Dental School

There are common prerequisite courses you have to take to be admitted to dental school, and several majors will allow you to take these prerequisite courses within the major. These majors are academically rigorous, preparing you for the demands of dental school. Some examples of pre-dentistry majors are Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, or Physics. According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), these are also the most common majors among matriculated dental students.

Outside the Classroom

Dental schools expect students to not only have a strong academic record, but also have a strong record of leadership and service outside of the classroom. Students should seek out service opportunities both at the college and in the broader community that demonstrate a desire to help others with compassion and empathy. Furthermore, students should demonstrate the ability to be a leader in different environments, establishing a clear intrapersonal maturity. Benedictine College has numerous opportunities to be involved in student organizations, academic groups, and community service projects both at home and abroad.

Strong Student-Faculty Relationships

Dental schools expect students to have strong letters of evaluations, vouching for the student’s academic aptitude and overall motivation. Often, dental schools require at least two of these letters to be from a science professor. At Benedictine College, because of small class sizes and professor-guided research opportunities, students have numerous opportunities to interact one-on-one with professors. This builds relationships that will not only help with recommendation letter writing, but will provide sustainable professional relationships that will provide a basis of community learning during a student’s undergraduate career and beyond.


Martha Z. Carletti, Ph.D.
Director of Advising for Pre-Medical Healthcare Professions
Associate Professor of Biology
Contact by Email

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CHEM-1200/1201General Chemistry 1 with lab
CHEM-1210/1211General Chemistry 2 with lab
CHEM-2200/2201Organic Chemistry 1 with lab
CHEM-2210/2211Organic Chemistry 2 with lab
CHEM-3500Biochemistry 1
College Physics 1 with lab
PHYS-2010/2011College Physics 2 with lab
BIOL-1121General Biology 1 with lab
BIOL-1122General Biology 2 with lab
BIOL-2242Human Anatomy and Physiology I with lab
BIOL-2243Human Anatomy and Physiology II with lab
BIOL-3305 or MATH-1220Biological Statistics or Introductory Statistics
BIOL-3000/4000+*Upper-level biology courses
*Molecular and Cellular Biology, Genetics, Immunology,
Cell Physiology, Microbiology
  1. Engage Intellectually
    1. Display a curiosity in learning different subjects
    2. Strive to both learn and retain information
    3. Attend lectures & academic discussions
  2. Familiarize Yourself with the Dentistry Field
    1. Shadow a dentist
    2. Find employment at a dental office
    3. Dental schools require at minimum 80 observation hours
  3. Develop your Research Skills
    1. Work with professors on individual research projects
    2. Present research findings either at Discovery Day or any applicable science conferences
  4. Perform Volunteer and Service Work
    1. Engage the community
    2. Show empathy and understanding of others
    3. Broaden appreciation of diverse backgrounds and experiences
  5. Reflect on the Journey
    1. Recognize strengths and weaknesses
    2. Seek opportunities to improve
  • University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine
  • Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry
  • A.T. Still University – Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health
  • Creighton University
  • Marquette University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center

For more information on preparing for dental school see:

American Student Dental Association

American Dental Education Association

American Dental Association

Be sure to take advantage of the post-graduate support and guidance provided by the Benedictine College Student Success Center.