Skip to content


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 ranging from routine to extreme complex procedures. Gaining acceptance into a dental program is challenging, and students need to maintain a high level of academic excellence to be competitive. Becoming a dentist generally requires an additional four years of education beyond the bachelor’s degree. Dental schools offer one of two types of advanced degrees, either of which will prepare you for a successful career in dentistry:

  • Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

While every dental school is different, there is typically little difference in the type of training you will receive in either a DMD or DDS program. As of 2022, there are 70 accredited dental schools in the US, and the Indiana University School of Dentistry is the only one located in Indiana, offering a DDS degree.

Pre-Requisite Courses

The admission criteria for each dental program are unique to that college or university. While the following table includes the most common pre-requisite courses for dental programs in the US, additional courses may be recommended. Students should work with their advisor to ensure all pre-requisite courses are completed in a timely fashion depending on the programs to which you plan to apply.

Introductory BiologyTwo, w/labBIO203 and BIO204
MicrobiologyOne, w/labBIO214 or BIO340
Human AnatomyOne, w/labBIO225
Human PhysiologyOne, w/labBIO226 or BIO334
BiochemistryOne, w/labBIO310 or BIO311/312 or BIO411/412L
General ChemistryTwo, w/labCHE140/141L and CHE142/143L
Organic ChemistryTwo, w/labCHE305 and CHE306
General PhysicsTwo, w/labPHY110 and PHY111
Behavioral Sciences

Preparing a Competitive Application

Since all dental schools have slightly different expectations, you should thoroughly explore the requirements for each program to which you plan to apply. At Marian, meet early and often with your advisor to stay on track for a successful application.

A competitive candidate will generally:

  • Demonstrate strong academic performance (GPA 3.5 or higher)
  • Score well on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
  • Demonstrate extensive familiarity with the field to gain an appreciation of the profession
    • Shadow several professionals in the field in which you hope to work
    • Gain direct patient care experience through volunteering or a paid position
    • Get involved in community service, volunteerism, and co-curricular activities
    • Seek leadership opportunities in clubs, organizations, church, or sports
    • Conduct independent research to better understand the scientific literature
  • Exhibit strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work with a diverse group of people, and a desire to help others

Student Success Stories

Chrislyn Fite, who completed Marian University's pre-dentistrty program, was accepted by Tufts University.

"I had amazing relationships with the biology, chemistry, physiology, and other faculty at Marian University. They guided and encouraged me every step of the way as I completed the pre-dental curriculum. Their mentoring and assistance was invaluable in preparing me to score well on the DAT."

Chrislyn (Church) Fite '17

Read Chrislyn's Story

Want to Know More?

Trisha Staab, Ph.D.
Director of Pre-Medicine and Pre-Health Professions
(317) 955-6544

Office of Undergraduate Admission
(317) 955-6300
(800) 772-7264

Can't Find What You're Looking For?

Search for it.

© 2021 Marian University
Notice of Nondiscrimination
Marian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age or disabilities in the selection of administrative personnel, faculty and staff, and students.
*Placement rates are gathered from data collected from graduates within six months of graduation.

Students may make a complaint to the Indiana Commission of Higher Education.

Marian University is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana.

Submit a Marketing Request

Website built with