Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best major for Dental School?
Dental Schools do not require a particular major. Although the vast majority of dental school students have a degree in a science area. By the nature of the DAT, which is mostly Biology and Chemistry, students tend to major in one of those disciplines. A the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry roughly 80% of the students have a degree in Biology, 15% in Chemistry and 5% in a non-science area.
What undergraduate courses do I have to have to get into Dental School?
Dental school undergraduate course requirements differ from school to school. Check the dental programs you are interested in for more information. The University of Mississippi School of Dentistry requires the following math and science courses:
- 2 courses in Behavioral Science
- 2 courses in Biology
- 2 courses in Inorganic Chemistry
- 2 courses in Organic Chemistry
- 1 course in advanced Chemistry or Biology
- 2 courses in Physics
- 2 courses in Mathematics (algebra, trigonometry) or 1 course in calculus.
- 1 course in Statistics
Do I have to graduate from College to get into Dental School?
No, you do not have to have a college degree to start Dental school at the Mississippi Medical Center. However, 90% of those students have their Bachelor's degree. Other Dental schools do require a degree. Check the schools that you are interested in for more information. The minimum requirements at the University of Mississippi Medical Center are 3 years of college totaling a minimum of 90 semester hours. It is possible to complete your bachelor's degree at MC upon completion of your first year in dental school. Check Dental School catalogue for more specific information.
What kind of courses will I be taking in Dental School?
Dental school is 4 years. The first 2 years you will take a combination of science courses and practical courses having to do with dentistry. Your third and fourth years are a combination of practical and clinical courses. At the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry you will be taking the following science courses (practical dentistry courses have been omitted from the list below):
- Human Gross Anatomy
- Human Neuroanatomy
Third and Fourth years:
Clinical and practical courses
What kind of board exams will I be taking when in Dental School?
At the end of your second year you will take the National Board Dental Exam Part I. The exam covers all of the basic science course work that you took the first two years of dental school. You must pass this exam in order to enter your third year of dental school. In the spring of your fourth year you will take the National Broad Dental Exam Part II, which covers clinical information. Graduation from dental school is contingent upon passing this exam. You not licensed to practice dentistry upon graduation. June following graduation you will take the Mississippi State Board Exam. This is a practical exam where your clinical skills are assessed by other dentists. You are a licensed dentist in the state of Mississippi once you pass this board exam.
What is the DAT and what subject matter does it cover?
The DAT is the Dental Admissions Test and is a requirement for getting into Dental School. You should take this exam some time your junior year. It is about 4 hours and 30 minutes long. It can be taken on computer at any time. It has four parts:
- Natural Science: Biology and Chemistry
- Reading Comprehension
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Perceptive Ability
How can I get information and the registration form for the DAT?
Candidates who are applying for the DAT must submit the application form and fee payment to the Dental Admission Testing Program. Order the registration packet online. Follow the link: DAT registration packet. Dr. Stan Baldwin has registration packets that he can give you. After the application and fee payment are processed, the Sylvan registration center will receive notification of the candidate's eligibility for DAT testing. Also, the candidate will receive instructions to call an 800-number to register with Sylvan for the DAT. By calling the 800-number, the candidate will be able to arrange the day, time, and place to take the DAT. Sylvan testing centers require at least a 48-hour advance notice for scheduling a test. A list of Sylvan testing centers is included in this booklet. The candidate is eligible for a 12 month period. If candidates do not register during this period, they will have to submit another application and fee in order to take the DAT examination.
For more information about the DAT and its content, visit their web site: Dental Admission Test
Contact the American Dental Association:
Department of Testing Services
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(800) 621-8099 or (312) 440-2500
How many times can I take the DAT?
As many times as you wish. The admissions committee at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry will only consider your highest score.
What kind of GPA and DAT score do I need to have to get into Dental School?
The average cumulative GPA of a student attending the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry is about 3.6 with a science/math GPA of 3.5. The average DAT scores of those students is about 17 in each of the sub-categories of the DAT except the verbal reason sub-category, which is a 22.
How do I get letters of recommendation for Dental school?
Letters of recommendation are handled through Ms. Beverly Taylor.
What is the application deadline for Dental School?
The University of Mississippi Dental School accepts applications July 1 through December 1 the year before admission. All supporting materials to complete the application must be filed by February 1 of the year of enrollment. Accepted applicants must respond within two weeks of their acceptance notification.
What non-academic things do I need to do that would help me?
The most important thing that you can do is spend significant time with a dentist. It is hard to convince the admissions committee that you really know what you are talking about when you tell them that you want to be a dentist but have not spent time finding out what it is like to work in that field.
How many years do I have to train from the time I begin Dental School until I start my own practice?
Dental School is 4 years. Upon graduation and passing of the State Board Exam, you can start your practice.
What will my salary be working as a Dentist?
According to the American Dental Association, median net income of dentists in private practice was about $120,000 a year in 1995. Median net income for those in specialty practice was about $175,000 a year, and for those in general practice, about $109,000 a year. Dentists in the beginning years of their practice often earn less, while those in mid-careers earn more. A relatively large proportion of dentists are self-employed. Like other business owners, these dentists must provide their own health insurance, life insurance, and retirement benefits.
Can I specialize in dentistry?
Yes, there are sub-specialties such as orthodontics and oral surgery. These specialties require additional training and board exams. Orthodontics is a 3 year residency and oral surgery is usually a 5-6 year residency. This length of residency programs varies among schools.
What is the AADSAS?
The AADSAS is the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service. This organization handles the Dental School application process. For more information, visit their web site: American Association of Dental Schools Application Service. Fifty of the 55 Dental schools in the United States participate with AADSAS. The following schools do not participate with AADSAS:
- University of Mississippi
- Louisiana State University
- Medical College of Georgia
- University of Tennessee
- Northwestern University