Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

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Degree Offered: Doctor of Dental Surgery

Program Leadership:

Dr. Michael S. Reddy, DMD, DMSc
Dean, UCSF School of Dentistry
Associate Vice Chancellor, Oral Health Affairs
Interim Dean for Education and Student Affairs

Jennifer Perkins, DDS, MD
Associate Professor, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Executive Director of Clinical Education, School of Dentistry

Julia Hwang
Director, School of Dentistry, Learner Success Center
Director of Admissions

Stephanie Wallace
Director of Education and Curricular Services
School of Dentistry Learner Success Center

Admissions Inquiries:
Julia Hwang, Director, Learner Success Center; Director, School of Dentistry Admissions

Program Description

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry provides a unique balance of clinical excellence, research opportunities and community service as part of one of the leading health science centers in the nation. Since its founding in 1881, the School of Dentistry has evolved from the lone outpost of dental education west of the Mississippi into an international leader in the education of oral health care practitioners and scholars, comprehensive dental care and breakthrough research. The school has a tradition of service, strong clinical programs that prepare dentists for the future and research activities at the vanguard of contemporary science.

We are looking for candidates who share the school's educational objectives and can master our curriculum. We look for evidence of past achievements, as well as outstanding personal qualities and interest in contributing to the advancement of knowledge and service to the dental profession and the community.

We seek graduates who will return to their communities with the clinical, intellectual and interpersonal skills expected of a health professional. In addition, our graduates should possess the enhanced sensitivities, broad understanding, open-minded attitudes and appreciation of cultural diversity that assure equitable distribution of high-quality dental health care to all members of our society. Further, we seek people who have the discipline to apply themselves, the desire to use their talents and abilities to the fullest, and the willingness to undertake leadership roles in academia, in their profession and in their communities.

Curriculum

UCSF and the School of Dentistry attach importance to creating a culture and environment that promotes student engagement and offers all students an opportunity to be involved in its quality systems. The school is committed to working in partnership with its students in order to enhance all aspects of the student experience. Accordingly, our courses (as listed below) and curriculum are subject to continuous quality improvement and may change in response to feedback and learner needs.

We believe all UCSF dental graduates deserve mastery in procedural and clinical skills coupled with laser-focused critical thinking to prepare them for the next steps in their career, whether clinical practice, research, academia, public sector, or some combination. Students, faculty and staff work as a team to provide scientifically based patient-centered care. We are proud to develop clinicians who graduate as competent dentists, and as scientists.

Admission Requirements

The UCSF School of Dentistry takes a holistic approach to our admissions process. Our Admissions Committee considers all aspects of the application. This includes the following: academic background and ability; motivation for a dental career; the potential for future success in the program and dentistry indicated by past achievements / present commitments; and an applicant's performance in an interview. The school welcomes applicants from all economic, social and cultural segments of society, and is committed to increasing the number of professionals from underrepresented minority groups.

Applications

UCSF School of Dentistry DDS applications are processed through the American Dental Education Association - American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (ADEA AADSAS). The application can be submitted starting June 1 (accessible starting May 11 for inputting information) and must be electronically submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Oct. 31. We advise you to begin your ADEA AADSAS application early to allow yourself sufficient time to complete it by the deadline. Late applications will not be considered.

Supplemental Questions

The UCSF School of Dentistry DDS supplemental questions are in the UCSF school section of the ADEA AADSAS application.

Transcripts and Coursework

On the ADEA AADSAS application, please submit the following:

  • In the “Colleges Attended” section, report all colleges or universities attended, including any coursework taken at a foreign institution or study abroad program.
  • In the “Transcript Entry” section, enter all courses taken. This includes any coursework taken at a foreign institution or study abroad program, if the ADEA AADSAS system allows you to do so. This option is not available for most non-U.S. schools.
  • Request official transcripts from all U.S. and English-speaking Canadian colleges attended to be sent to ADEA AADSAS for verification. Transcripts must be received by ADEA no later than Oct. 31. Please see our International Coursework section for information about reporting international and study abroad coursework.

U.S. Dental Admission Test (DAT)

The DAT is also required. We recommend that the DAT be taken no later than Sept. 30 so that your scores may reach UCSF by our application deadline of Oct. 31. Applications without DAT scores received by the deadline will be regarded as incomplete and will not be reviewed. Test scores are valid for only two years; scores accepted for the 2022 admission cycle must be dated no earlier than Jan. 1, 2019. We will accept unofficial scores updated via the ADEA AADSAS application.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation must be submitted via the ADEA AADSAS application.  All letters must be received by ADEA AADSAS by the Oct. 31 deadline.

UCSF Fee

The University of California requires a non-refundable application processing fee of $75. Please visit our online payment system to submit it electronically.

Course Prerequisites

You must complete a minimum of 139 quarter units or 93 semester units (exclusive of repeated and nontransferable courses) of college work:

  • Units must be earned at an accredited U.S. or English-speaking Canadian institution.
  • At least 43 quarter units or 29 semester units must be completed at a four-year institution.
  • Up to 96 quarter units or 64 semester units can be accepted from a community college.
  • You must earn at least a "C -" grade in requirements "a" through "g."
  • We recommend that you complete the prerequisites before taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and filing an application. Find specific details on units and subjects

Helpful Links

Learning Outcomes

The School of Dentistry has twelve competency statements that a student dental graduate must demonstrate. Two are UCSF campus wide statements and ten are School of Dentistry (dental professional) specific. They are listed on the SOD Competency Standards page and the SOD website.

These statements represent broad levels of academic and clinical achievement, measured by specific faculty evaluations and written and clinical examinations at various times during the academic program. These fundamental competencies prepare the graduate for lifelong learning and success with achieving licensure, and the safe practice of general dentistry.

The School of Dentistry defines a general dentist graduate as: “An oral health care provider who can evaluate, diagnose, prevent, and treat diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. A UCSF School of Dentistry graduate is a novice provider who is able to provide safe and effective treatment to the extent of their training and has the judgment to know when to refer for more complex treatment.”

As part of the program, students are required to challenge a number of individual high-stakes competency examinations. Competency is a complex behavior or ability essential for the general dentist to begin independent and unsupervised dental practice. Competency includes knowledge, experience, critical thinking, problem-solving, professionalism, ethical values and procedural skills. These components of competency become an integrated whole during the delivery of patient care.

Additional Information

Program Core Faculty