Pre-Dentistry at Southern Oregon University

Welcome to pre-dentistry at Southern Oregon University. If you are considering dentistry as a career, please read through this information, and contact either Drs. Miller or Roden very soon. We want to know of your interests and help answer any questions you may have.

Dr. John Roden, Department of Biology Pre-dental Advisor 

Office: Science 381

Tel: (541) 552-6798



Dr. Greg Miller, Department of Chemistry Pre-dental Advisor

Office: Science 282

Tel: (541) 552-6408


Basic Requirements For Admission To Dental School

The following information is based principally on the Oregon Health Sciences University Doctor of Dentistry Program, but applies to most of the dental schools in the United States.

    * Completion of 3 years minimum in any academic major (4-year bachelor's degree in practice)

    * Completion of required courses in the sciences

    * Dental Admissions Test

    * Letters of recommendation from professors and dentists

    * Health-care experience in dentistry

    * Extra-curricular activities/accomplishments

Academic Major

No particular major is preferred. Pre-dentistry is not a major, but a collection of courses that fulfill admission requirements to most dental schools. Students must complete a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate work to be admitted to OHSU, but in practice, most have completed a 4-year bachelor's degree before starting dental school.

Biology and chemistry are the most common majors; others include anthropology, education, math, philosophy, psychology. In terms of acceptance, no major has a selective advantage over another.

We recommend that students select a major that they enjoy, can do well in and would want for a career as an alternative to dentistry. Selection of a major should be discussed with a pre-dental advisor and chosen by the sophomore year.

Average GPA of entering dental students was 3.61 at OHSU for the 2014 entering class. Only 76 out of 1,328 applicants were accepted. Clearly, this is a very competitive field, and it is crucial to make your credentials as strong as possible.

Required Pre-Dent Courses


    * General Chemistry, one-year sequence with labs (CH 201-206)

    * Biochemistry (Ch 350)

    * Organic Chemistry, 8 quarter hours minimum

          o Ch 334, 335, 336 + labs Ch 337, 340, 341 OR

          o Ch 331, 332 + labs Ch 337, 338


    * Principles of Biology, one-year sequence (Bi 211-213)

    * Topics in Human Anatomy and Physiology (Bi 361, 362)

    * Comparative Animal Physiology (Bi 314)


    * General physics, one-year sequence (Ph 201, 202, 203 OR Ph 221, 222, 223 both with labs Ph 224, 225, 226)

Recommended additional courses

    * Microbiology (Bi 351)

    * Genetics (Bi 341)

    * Cell biology (Bi 342)

    * Immunology (Bi 456)

    * Molecular biology (Bi 425)

    * Neuroscience, Histology (not offered at SOU)

    * Courses in behavioral and social sciences, and in arts and humanities will enhance the student's ability to practice dentistry

Important notes

1. All required pre-dent courses must be taken for a letter grade; pass/no pass options are not acceptable. A perfect 4.0 GPA is not necessary for admission, but consistently high grades in both science and non-science classes are important.

 2. Though OHSU dental school prefers the 300 level Human Anatomy course (Bi 361, 362), they also want to see those classes with a lab which we do not currently offer. Comparative Animal Physiology is used to complete a third term of “HAP” and it does have a lab. See Dr. Richard May for details on these courses.

Dental Admission Test (DAT)

    * The DAT is required by all dental schools.

    * It consists of 4 parts: Science survey (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry); Perceptual ability; Reading comprehension; Quantitative reasoning

    * The test scores are preferred by Sep 1 in the year preceding the applicant's intended start date at dental school.

    * The test fee is $430 (as of 2016), with some additional fees for sending the scores to more than 5 schools.

    * Applications to take the exam must be submitted before a student is eligible to take the exam.

    * Tests are scheduled through Prometric test centers and need to be arranged in advance with the center.

   * Tests are strictly computerized; there are NO paper exams given.

    * Exams may be re-taken, but no sooner than 90 days after the last time. 

Letters of Recommendation

  • Letters from science professors and dentists with whom the applicant worked are mandatory.
  • These letters must address personal qualities such as reliability, integrity, and temperament, as well as knowledge of and dedication to the profession of dentistry.
  • Students should begin early in their academic careers to cultivate relationships with individuals who will be able to provide detailed and positive evaluations of the student. Participation in class, research projects, volunteering or working in a dental office or clinic, etc. are critical.
  • Many dental schools accept a single letter of recommendation composed by the Pre-dental Committee on campus. A student who uses this option must still have individual faculty and dentists who can speak to her/his abilities so the Committee can compose the letter. The student will also participate in an interview with the pre-dental Committee to help them in the evaluation process. This should occur in the spring term of the junior year for a student who intends to apply in the fall of senior year.

Health Care Experience

The dental admissions committee is particularly interested in an applicant's knowledge of the profession of dentistry, in its many forms: orthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, public health, research, etc. The wise student will make it a point to educate him/herself on dentistry through practical experience, talking with professionals, and reading. In the past, students have worked with dentists, either as volunteers or as employees, at private offices, clinics, dental schools, and/or research facilities. Students make these arrangements themselves. The more experience the better.

Extra-curricular Activities

Participation in other activities, particularly public-service, will strengthen your application. Diverse interests such as foreign languages, music, athletics, and other pursuits helps to demonstrate your discipline and uniqueness as an individual. Admissions committees want to know that an applicant is capable of relating to people from a variety of backgrounds.

When and How To Apply

  • The American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) is used by nearly all of the US dental schools.
  • Students submit one application to AADSAS and it distributes the materials to the schools of the applicant's choice.
  • Applications should be submitted to OHSU between June 2 and Nov 1 of the year preceding the year you hope to begin dental school. Submittal before Sep 1 is highly recommended. Allow at least 3 weeks for AADSAS processing.
  • The fee is $245 for the first school and $93 for each additional school (as of 2016).
  • If a dental school requests a secondary application, they usually charge an additional fee ($75 for OHSU).
  • The admissions committee at most dental schools (OHSU included) will invite a select group for a personal interview, and choose from among these students.
  • Students are encouraged to apply to their home-state university dental school, and several other schools of their choice.

Curriculum Planning

  • Consult with an advisor early in your program to monitor requirements, watch for timelines in course sequences and obtain application information.
  • To major in biology, consult with Dr. Roden.
  • To major in chemistry, consult with Dr. Miller.
  • Other majors should see an advisor in their own department and Dr. Roden or Dr. Miller

An outline for a Biology major pre-dental program:

                            Course                                                  Credits

Year One        

            Principles of Biology (BI 211-213)                                  15

            General Chemistry (CH 201-206)                                   15

            University Seminar (or House)                                       12

            Math (MTH 111, 112, 243 or 251)                               4-12

            General Education Courses                                           0-6

    Total                                                                       46-54

Year Two       

            Genetics (Bi 341)                                                          4

            Cell Biology (Bi 342)                                                      5

            Organic Chemistry (CH 331, 332, 337, 338)      


 Organic Chemistry (CH 334-337, 340, 341)                        11-16

            Psychology (PSY 201)                                                   4

            General Education courses                                           12

               (psychology good choice from Social Sciences)

            Total                                                                      36-41

Year Three     

            Ecology (Bi 340)                                                           4

            Animal Physiology (Bi 314)                                            5

            Evolution Bi (348)                                                         4

            Biology Electives (e.g. Microbiology etc.)                       12

    Physics (Ph 201-203 or 221- 223 and labs 224-226)  15-18

            General Education courses as needed                             6

            Total                                                                      46-49

Year Four       

            Biology Electives (e.g. HAP Bi 361, 362)                         8 

    Biochemistry CH 350                                                     4

            Biology Senior Capstone                                                5

    General Education courses as needed                                  9

            Electives                                                                    24

               (e.g., Foreign Language, Business)          

            Total                                                                          50

For More Information:

OHSU School of Dentistry web page

For application packets, or to order a copy of Admission Requirements for United States and Canada Dental Schools (highly recommended)

American Dental Education Association

655 K Street, NW, Suite 800 
Washington, DC 20001 
Tel: 202-289-7201 
Fax: 202-289-7204



For DAT information and application packets:

Dental Admission Testing Program

211 East Chicago Ave

Suite 1846

Chicago, IL 60611-2678

Tel: 312-440-2500

For OHSU information:

Office of Admissions and Student Affairs

Oregon Health Sciences University

2730 SW Moody Ave.

Mail Code: SD-SA

Portland, OR 97201-5042

Tel: 503-494-5274

Fax: 503-494-6244


Office of Financial Aid

Oregon Health Sciences University

3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road

Mail Code L105

Portland, OR 97201-3098

Tel: 503-494-7800

Fax: 503-494-4629


web site: