Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology with a concentration in health sciences
The pre-dentistry program at Marian University is an undergraduate track that prepares you to be a competitive candidate for admission to dental school after completing your bachelor's degree.
Dentists are oral health specialists who are highly qualified and licensed to diagnose and treat conditions and diseases that impact the teeth and gums of their patients. They provide health services that range from the routine to extremely complex.
Dental schools generally offer two types of advanced degrees that require additional education beyond the bachelor's degree:
- Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)
- Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
While every school is different, there is typically very little difference between the types of training you'll receive in either a DMD or DDS program. Often the curriculum is identical, no matter which degree and school you choose.
Becoming a dentist is academically rigorous and generally requires an additional four years of training after completing a bachelor's degree program. But the benefits of your work include:
- Having a professional career that's in demand. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the employment outlook for dentists through 2026 is expected to grow by 19 percent, which is much faster than average compared to other occupations.
- A salary that is lucrative. In 2017, the BLS reports the median pay for dentists was $158,120 per year.
Why choose the pre-dentistry track at Marian?
According to the American Student Dental Association (ASDA), there are 66 dental schools in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. One of them is located in Indianapolis at the Indiana University School of Dentistry.
The application and admission process for students who want to become dentists is competitive, with the ASDA finding just 50 percent of all applicants are accepted each year.
Marian's pre-dentistry program takes the guesswork out of preparing for admission to the dental program of your choosing. You'll get expert academic advising, one-on-one mentoring, customized plans of study, and personal attention that can be hard to find at larger universities.
Some universities weigh their admission decisions on certain areas of your application and your academic preparation more heavily than others. These strengths, listed in decreasing order of importance, are among those typically ranked more highly than others.
1. Completion of prerequisite coursework
- Most dental schools will not accept you for admission if you haven't completed all prerequisite courses.
- With Marian's program, you will complete all prerequisite courses by the end of your junior year, before most pre-dental students begin applying for admission to their preferred dental school(s).
2. Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
- Marian will prepare you to successfully complete and score well on the Dental Admission Test or DAT, a standard exam required for admission to dental schools. Combined with carefully selected general education requirements, we'll maximize your exposure, problem-solving abilities, and critical analysis required for success on the DAT.
3. Grade point average (GPA)
- According to Kaplan, the average science grade point average (GPA) of students enrolled in dental schools is 3.46 and the average total GPA is 3.55.
- Our biology and health science curriculum, while rigorous and challenging, is intentionally sequenced so that you'll complete coursework at increasing levels of difficulty throughout your studies. Our expert faculty will support and guide you every step of the way. Peer tutors and mentors will help you learn the knowledge and skills needed to master each subject.
4. Research and clinical experience
- Marian's "Research Across the Curriculum" model embeds an authentic scientific research experience within our undergraduate core curriculum, enabling you to become familiar with the scientific process, develop the ability to critically read scientific and medical research and contribute in a meaningful way to evidence-based health sciences.
- You will have opportunities to work side-by-side with faculty on research projects within the College of Arts and Sciences, presenting your work on on- and off-campus undergraduate research symposia and conferences.
- While research experience may not be specifically required, having it as part of your academic background will distinguish you from other candidates if your chosen school must decide between multiple candidates for the same spot in their next class.
- By embedding research in your freshman and sophomore years, you will have more time to volunteer, shadow, intern, and/or work in clinical settings during your junior and senior years.
5. Letters of recommendation
- As a student in the Department of Biology at Marian University, you will work closely with teaching and research faculty, building the personal relationships needed for strong letters of recommendation for admission to the dental school(s) of your choice.
What will you study?
Pre-Dentistry Four-Year Plan (pdf) Pre-Dentistry Checklist (pdf)
Many of our pre-dental students gain clinical experience through internships with local dentists, dental practices and groups, and shadowing dentists (both locally and through study-abroad opportunities). For more information, talk with one of our faculty advisors and staff at The Exchange.