Confirm your interest in dentistry, prepare academically and develop the necessary skills and experience:
Timeline to Dental School
Take the Academic Pre-Requisites
Review the ADEA pre-requisite courses website.One year of biology
- BILD 1, 2, 3, & any upper division Biology lab course (must be at least 4 quarter units)
- CHEM 6A, 6B, 6C, & 7L (lab)
- CHEM 40A, 40B, & 43A (lab)
- OR, Student who are Chem/Biochem, or Engineering majors will use: CHEM 41A, 41B, 41C, & 43A (lab)
- Physics 1A, 1AL, 1B, 1BL, 1C, 1CL, or
- 2A, 2B, 2BL, 2C, 2CL
Some schools may require:
- Biochemistry (one from BIBC 100, 102, CHEM 114A, 114B)
- Microbiology (BIMM 120)
- Anatomy (BILD X13 is offered at UC San Diego Extended Studies, or consider community college)
- Physiology (BIPN 100, 102)
Manual Dexterity/Fine Motor Skills
Some programs may want to see evidence of fine motor skills or manual dexterity. Students who do not have any extracurriculars in this may want to take art courses (such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, music instruments) either as elective coursework or consider outside of the class room experience. UC San Diego Craft Center and UC San Diego Extension provide additional ways of getting access to these types of courses.
- Subscribe to the ADEA GoDental Newsletter
- ADEA Enrichment Programs Calendar
- CA Dental Association
- American Dental Association (ADA)
- Keep records of your experience (dates, hours, contact persons) for future applications
From the ADEA:
- Academic Enrichment: Programs sponsored by colleges, universities or other not–for–profit
organizations (e.g., Summer Medical and Dental Education Program/Summer Health
Professions Education Program).
- Dental Shadowing: Time spent officially following and observing a health care professional at
work, preferably a dentist. When listing a dental shadowing experience, please specify the type
of dentist you shadowed in the description box (e.g., general dentist, orthodontist, etc.) Free Dental Clinic
- Employment: Paid work done outside of the dental care field; for example, a non-dental
healthcare experience, retail or restaurant job.
- Extracurricular Activities: Any sports teams and other activities through a college or university.
- Research: Research projects done in addition to classroom work; research should NOT appear
as credit on a school transcript.
- Volunteer: Volunteer work done outside of the health care field; for example, working for
Habitat for Humanity, tutoring students, participating in or working for a fundraiser walk or
blood drive, etc.
Get Involved in Student Organizations
Students are encouraged to explore any student organization of interest, not necessarily limited to dental-related groups. A comprehensive list can be found at the Center for Student Involvement.
Dental-related student groups include the following:
The Pre-Dental Society at UC San Diego provides excellent opportunities to meet other pre-dental students, local dentists, and visiting dental school deans. The also run Free Dental Clinics in the San Diego area which provide excellent clinical observation experiences and potential letters of rec for dental school.
Additional Preparation Information
Click to learn more about gaining experience - clinical, service, leadership, and research.