International Dentist Pathway (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

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

Lloyd R. Harris, DDS
Program Director, UCSF International Dentist Pathway
Associate Clinical Professor, PRDS
Julia Hwang
Director, School of Dentistry, Learner Success Center
Director of Admissions
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. 

Starting Academic Year 2023-2024, we are admitting 20 students to the three-year International Dentist Pathway program to fully integrate into the DDS curriculum and comprehensive clinical programs. Academic Year 2023-2024 will be the last year we admit a cohort of 20 students for the two-year International Dentist Pathway for the U.S. DDS degree. Moving forward (AY24-25 and beyond), we will only admit 20 students to the three-year program. 


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 on the other tabs) 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, including academic background and ability, motivation for a dental career, and the potential for future success in the program and dentistry indicated by past achievements and present commitments. To be considered for admission, you must present evidence that you have completed a dental degree from a foreign institution and strongly recommend passing the National Board Dental Exams Parts 1 and 2 or the Integrated National Board Dental Exam (optional).


UCSF School of Dentistry International Dentist Pathway applications are processed through the American Dental Education Association - Centralized Application for Advanced Placement for International Dentists (ADEA CAAPID). The application can be submitted starting March 9 and must be electronically submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on June 16. We advise you to begin your ADEA CAAPID application early to allow yourself sufficient time to complete it by the deadline. Late applications will not be considered.

Supplemental Questions

The UCSF supplemental questions are in the UCSF school section of the ADEA CAAPID application.

Transcripts and Evaluations

Submit an official ECE or WES course-by-course evaluation of all international coursework and upload a copy of your international transcripts (dental school and all other college/university level course work) via the ADEA CAAPID application. If you cannot have an official ECE or WES evaluation sent to ADEA CAAPID and you have a copy, please scan and upload to the ADEA CAAPID application.

Please note: If selected for an interview, applicants will be required to submit an official transcript from all international institutions. These documents will be required prior to the interview date. Official transcripts must be sent directly to UCSF from the issuing institution(s). Notarized copies are not acceptable.

National Board Exams and TOEFL

Passing the Part 1 and Part 2 of the National Board Dental Examination or the Integrated National Board Dental Examination is optional but strongly recommended. Submit official scores via ADEA CAAPID application.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores within two years of the opening of the application cycle: Minimum TOEFL score is 95 or higher on the internet-based test (iBT). We are accepting the home based TOEFL exam scores.

Letters of Recommendation

Please submit three letters of recommendation via the ADEA CAAPID application: one from a clinician who has supervised your work, one from an academic from your home institution (required within 5 years from graduating; if unable to obtain, you can submit two professional letters of recommendation), and one of your choice. If your recommender is unable to obtain letterhead, we require them to upload the letter directly to ADEA CAAPID and it must include their electronic signature and all of their contact information.


To have your application processed, please submit the non-refundable UCSF application processing fee of $200 (USD) at our Online Payment System. Checks will not be accepted.

Clinical Experience

Clinical experience is not required but suggested. 

All required application materials must be received by ADEA CAAPID on or before June 16, 11:59 p.m. EST.

Helpful Links

Learning Outcomes

The School of Dentistry has 12 competency statements that a student dental graduate must demonstrate. Two are UCSF campus wide statements and 10 are School of Dentistry (dental professional) specific. They are listed on the SOD Competency Standards page and 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