Pre-Dental Program

Pre-Professional Programs at UT Tyler


A dentist has earned a degree as either a doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) or a doctor of dental medicine (D.D.M.). Dentists examine and treat diseases, injuries and malformation of teeth, gums and mouth. They can enhance the appearance of their patients through dental techniques such as braces, dentures or dental surgery.

Ninety percent of dentists are general practitioners and are usually self-employed. Dentists supervise the work of the dental health care team and have final responsibility for all dental services being provided.

Admission to dental schools requires a minimum of 90 semester hours of credit from an accredited college. Ninety-five percent of applicants have a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field. Graduation from an accredited school of dentistry usually takes about four years. Specialization requires additional years of training.

Dentists in the state of Texas must hold a degree from a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) and must pass a national board examination, a clinical examination and a specialty examination. They must also be licensed by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

Basic minimum prerequisites listed by school:

Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry

  • Six semester hours of English.
  • Eight semester hours of inorganic (general) chemistry.
  • Eight semester hours of organic chemistry.
  • Eight semester hours of physics.
  • Three semester hours of biochemistry.
  • One semester of statistics.
  • Fourteen Semester Hours of Biology -- 12 hours of lecture and 2 hours of formal laboratory. (Suggested biology courses: anatomy, physiology, microbiology, cell/molecular biology, immunology, neuroscience, histology, embryology and biochemistry II. These are suggested to strengthen the student’s biology background.)
  • Small business management, accounting, mechanical drawling, studio art and computer literacy will aid in the business and technical aspects of dental practice.
  • Courses in speech, psychology and sociology will help improve communication skills for interactions with other individuals in a diverse society.

UT Health Science Center San Antonio Dental School

  • One year college-level English.
  • Two years (4 semesters) of biology as required for college science majors, including one year of formal laboratory work.
  • One year of physics as required for college science majors, plus laboratory.
  • One year of general chemistry for majors, including laboratory for science majors.
  • One year of organic chemistry for majors, including laboratory for science majors.
  • One semester of biochemistry.
  • One semester of statistics.

The University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston

  • One year of college English.
  • Two years of biology as required for college science majors, including laboratory work.
  • One year of physics as required for college science majors, plus laboratory.
  • One year of general chemistry for majors, including laboratory for science majors.
  • One year of organic chemistry for majors including laboratory for science majors.
  • One semester of biochemistry.
  • One semester of statistics.

Although these dental schools do not require a specific major, the majority of successful applicants have majored in the biological or biomedical sciences.

The applicant must perform well in the science courses including upper division hours and should be aware of the competition with other students who have taken more than the required number of hours of science, especially biology. The well-rounded pre-dental education should include some liberal arts courses along with science courses.

In order for your application to be strong, you must:

  • Keep your GPA as high as possible.
  • Score above average scores in ALL areas of the DAT.
  • Have the upper-division biological science courses that are similar to those taken by the first-year dental students.
  • Apply early and pay attention to detail when completing the application.
  • Your personal statement should allow the Admissions Committee to know you better. Include your academic and personal achievements, any hardships that you have overcome or other factors that have affected personal or academic progress.
  • You must have some observation or shadowing experiences in a general practice dental office. This is required!
  • Participate in opportunities for community service to show the admissions committee that you are serious about helping people.
  • Articulate your skills, abilities, attitudes and dexterity to show the Admissions Committee that you are motivated and committed for a career in dentistry.

Dental Admissions Test (DAT)

Applicants should take the DAT in the spring or summer prior to applying. The DAT is offered at Prometic Testing Centers with locations throughout the country. The DAT is administered on computer almost every day of the week. An applicant with below-average scores on the test may wish to retake the test in order to become more competitive. A 90-day waiting period is required before re-testing.

Application Procedures

The college participates in the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS). This central processing service allows the applicant to apply to any or all of the three dental schools in the state of Texas. The TMDSAS accepts and processes all materials of the primary application for admission to the Doctor of Dental Surgery program only. Texas Residents MUST apply through the TMDSAS.

The College participates in the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) for out-of-state students. Out-of-state applicants who apply through AADSAS must also apply with the Baylor College of Dentistry application. The BCD application is available online.

What does the Admissions Committee look at when they do a "whole-file review'' of an application?

A comprehensive (whole-file review) of the application is performed to reveal characteristics critical to the practice of dentistry, factors that indicate success in the dental curriculum that are not evident from academic history or standardized test performance, and potential for future contributions to the dental profession. They include:

  • Motivation to pursue a career in dentistry.
  • Involvement in community service.
  • Observation or involvement in a dental office or clinic.
  • Involvement in a summer pre-dental preparatory program.
  • Letters of evaluation.
  • Communication capabilities including writing (as evidenced in personal statement) and conversational English proficiency.
  • The applicant's ability to contribute to the diversity of the class including their race or ethnicity, socioeconomic background, talents, life skills and experiences and special attributes.
  • Region in Texas, in which applicant resides.
  • Residence in a Texas county designated as underserved by dental health professionals.
  • Employment while attending college.
  • Preparation to attend and succeed in post-secondary education.
  • Parents' educational background.
  • Applicant is first college attendee in his/her immediate family.
  • History of extreme hardship.
  • Leadership positions held in societies or organizations.
  • Evidence of diverse cultural experience.
  • Multilingual capabilities.

How can a re-applicant become more competitive?

  • All re-applicants must be enrolled in course work to be considered as a competitive candidate. We recommend taking post-bac course work in the biological sciences to further prepare for the dental school curriculum, keep current with study skills and prove to the Admissions Committee the applicant's motivation and preparedness. (For example: anatomy, physiology, biochemistry II, microbiology, histology, neuroscience, cell & molecular biology, immunology.)
  • Re-applicants need to critically review their applications for areas that may need further work: biological science course work, DAT scores, GPA, community service and volunteer work, general dental office shadowing experience.
  • Re-applicants should continue to participate in shadowing and on-going volunteer activities during the application cycle.
  • Re-applicants who follow this advice to improve their academic background and general application will be more competitive than those with little change from year to year.
  • Working in a dental office alone will not improve the applicant's competitiveness.

For more information or questions about courses at UT Tyler that will fulfill dental school prerequisites, please contact:

Dr. Rachel Mason
Chief Health Professions Advisor & JAMP Faculty Director
Associate Professor of Chemistry & Assistant Chair
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The University of Texas at Tyler
3900 University Blvd
Tyler, Texas 75799
Office: RBS 3002
Phone: 903.565.5641

Marti Halbrook, MS
Assistant Director, of Academy of Future Health Professionals
The University of Texas at Tyler
3900 University Blvd
Tyler, Texas 75799
Office CAS 132
Phone: 903.566.7193