The Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) is a professional degree awarded by the College of Dentistry. Admission requirements include 90 s.h. of undergraduate credit, including specific required courses, completed at an accredited college; see Admission in this section of the Catalog.

Students working toward a bachelor's degree in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences before being admitted to the College of Dentistry may be able to complete their bachelor's degree during their first year in dentistry; see "Bachelor's Degree/D.D.S." under Requirements in this section of the Catalog.

The Doctor of Dental Surgery requires a minimum of three years of preprofessional study and four years of study in the College of Dentistry. Students are required to maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 2.00 to earn the degree.

Coursework during the first and second years in the College of Dentistry integrates the biomedical sciences with preclinical and clinical disciplines. The biomedical sciences include gross anatomy, biochemistry, general histology, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and physiology. Students also study topics specific to dentistry, such as principles of occlusion, anesthesia and pain control, operative dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, cariology, and preventive dentistry. During the latter part of the first year, students are introduced to their first clinical patient treatment situation.

Second-year dental students continue their study of biomedical sciences, take preclinical courses, have additional patient treatment experiences in restorative and preventive dentistry, and are introduced to aesthetic and implant dentistry.

Third-year dental students rotate through a series of clerkships that expose them to eight clinical disciplines: endodontics, operative dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral pathology, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, and oral radiology and medicine.

Fourth-year dental students deliver comprehensive dental care in conditions that closely approximate those in private dental practice. They also are exposed to varied community dentistry health programs throughout Iowa and other states that include hospitals, nursing homes, and special care clinics. They may choose to participate in the Colorado Migrant Worker Program or the Indian Health Service Program. The community dentistry programs provide exposure to facets of dentistry usually not observable in an academic setting.

Biomedical Sciences in the Dental Curriculum

The following science courses are offered by University of Iowa departments outside the College of Dentistry and are a required part of the D.D.S. curriculum.

ACB:8120Human Gross Anatomy for Dental Students6
ACB:8121General Histology for Dental Students4
BMB:8101Biochemistry for Dental Students3
MICR:8230Dental Microbiology3
MPB:8115Human Physiology for Dental Students4
OPRM:8240Basic Pharmacology3
PATH:8133Introduction to Human Pathology for Graduate Students4

Dentistry nondepartmental courses are listed under Courses in the College of Dentistry section of the Catalog. Courses offered by the college's departments are listed in each department's General Catalog section.

Bachelor's Degree/D.D.S.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) allows its students to count 30 s.h. of elective credit earned in any other University of Iowa college toward graduation with a bachelor's degree. Under this policy, CLAS students who enroll in the College of Dentistry before completing their bachelor's degree may be able to complete their degree during their first year in dentistry. Students planning to take advantage of this plan must satisfy the CLAS residence requirement in order to enroll in the College of Dentistry. They also must fulfill all requirements for the bachelor's degree, including the GE CLAS Core requirements and the requirements for a major. Contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for more information.

Applicants must submit a completed AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) application form to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). The AADSAS application must be completed online at the American Dental Education Association website.

Applications are accepted in June of the year that precedes the year of entry. Completed applications must be on file at ADEA by October 1. Applicants should apply as early as possible. Notifications of acceptance are sent beginning in December.

Predental Studies

The basic academic requirement for admission to the College of Dentistry is completion of at least 90 s.h. of academic study at an accredited college. No more than 60 s.h. of credit is accepted from a community college or two-year institution. The predental program of study should include the following.

English: satisfactory accomplishment in English composition, rhetoric, and speech commensurate with the academic requirements for a bachelor's degree at the college attended.

Physics: one year (equivalent to 8 s.h.), of which one-fourth must be laboratory work.

Chemistry: two years (equivalent to 16 s.h.), of which one year (equivalent to 8 s.h.) must be in organic chemistry; one-fourth of each year's study must be laboratory work.

Biological science: one year (equivalent to 8 s.h.), which must include appropriate laboratory work; the requirement may be satisfied by a one-year course in principles of biology, with instruction in cell biology, metabolism, organismic biology, animal biology, genetics, development, ecology, and evolution. Preference is given to applicants who have completed more than 8 s.h. Courses in human anatomy and cell physiology are strongly recommended.

Biochemistry: one course (3 s.h.) that covers basic concepts in modern biochemistry and molecular biology.

Electives: sufficient coursework in the social sciences, philosophy, psychology, history, world languages, business, and mathematics to provide a well-rounded educational background.

Grade-Point Average Requirement

Applicants should have a cumulative g.p.a. higher than 2.50 on a 4.00 scale; a g.p.a. above 3.50 is preferred. The admissions committee gives special consideration to the quality of applicants' coursework in the predental sciences, in addition to the cumulative grade-point average.


Personal interviews are required of applicants for admission to the College of Dentistry. After a complete AADSAS application is received by the admissions office, select applicants are contacted to arrange an interview.

Required Dental Admission Test

All applicants must complete the Dental Admission Test (DAT) sponsored by the Council on Dental Education and Licensure of the American Dental Association. A computerized DAT is available throughout the year at designated Prometric centers. Tests must be scheduled in advance.

Test application forms are available online or by mail from the American Dental Association, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.

Deposit by Accepted Applicants

Applicants accepted before February 1 are required to submit a $500 deposit within 30 days after notification of admittance. Applicants admitted after February 1 must submit the deposit within two weeks after notification of admittance. This deposit is not refundable but is credited toward the first fee payment. Applicants who fail to make the deposit within the time specified forfeit their place in the entering class.

Additional Admission Considerations

Fulfillment of the specific requirements listed for admission does not ensure admission to the College of Dentistry. The admissions committee reviews applicants who meet the minimum requirements and selects those who appear best qualified for the study and practice of dentistry. The committee considers quantitative and qualitative components of the application, letters of recommendations, the interview, and other factors.

Financial assistance for dental students is based on need. Dental students who demonstrate need are eligible for Health Professions, Stafford, and Grad PLUS loans. Students applying for loans must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), including parental information in order to be considered for the Health Professions loan. Loans are repayable over an extended period of time after the course of study is completed.

Collegiate short-term and long-term loans are available through the financial aid coordinator at the College of Dentistry.

Tuition scholarships are awarded each year to qualified entering dental students. The awards provide financial support up to $15,000 per year for as many as four years, if the student maintains an appropriate level of academic and professional performance.

Information on financial assistance for dental students is available from the University's Office of Student Financial Aid as well as the College of Dentistry Office of Student Affairs.


The College of Dentistry maintains the Supply-Instrument Management System (SIMS), which provides students with instruments and supplies necessary throughout their dental training. The SIMS usage fee for the D.D.S. is payable in installments over the four-year program.

A fee for expendable laboratory supplies is charged each of the first two years. A $100 breakage fee also must be deposited; the deposit is refundable upon graduation or termination of enrollment.

The Doctor of Dental Surgery program prepares students to practice general dentistry.