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Masks continue to be strongly encouraged for everyone entering the School of Dentistry. Learn more about COVID-19 precautions …
The Urgent Care Clinic has reopened (by appointment only) as of 7:30 a.m. Monday, Aug 23.

Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene student learning with professor

The Dental Hygiene Program at UTHealth School of Dentistry (UTSD) at Houston prepares students for careers at every level of the profession. Our students learn from nationally recognized faculty and study in state-of-the-art facilities in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, working side-by-side with other members of the dental team. 

We offer a traditional Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree, as well as an online "RDH-to-BSDH" program that lets students work as they upgrade their credentials. Already have a degree in something else? Earn a Post-Degree Certificate in Dental Hygiene and expand your career options. BSDH students may also seek concurrent enrollment at UTHealth School of Public Health for a certificate or master's degree in public health.

The School of Dentistry's newest offering is a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene (MSDH).

Admissions

Dental Hygiene Program at UTHealth Houston

The UTHealth School of Dentistry offers fully accredited programs leading either to a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (BSDH), a Certificate in Dental Hygiene (equivalent to an associate degree), or a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene (MSDH). Individual program prerequisites and requirements may be found on the tab for the program to which you are applying.

  • Entry-Level Dental Hygiene: Two programs are available for students interested in becoming dental hygienists.
    • BSDH Program: For students who have completed the 62 hours of prerequisite courses and want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (BSDH).
    • Post-Degree Certificate Program: For students who already have an associate, bachelor's, or higher degree and do not wish to earn a BSDH. Fewer prerequisite hours (34) are necessary for this program. NOTE: Students will be enrolled in the same dental hygiene courses as students in the BSDH program.
  • Bachelor of Science Degree-Completion:  For students who are already registered dental hygienists and wish to pursue a BSDH.
    • RDH-to-BSDH Program: Students who are not UTSD dental hygiene graduates must complete all 30 hours.
    • RDH-to-BSDH for UTSD Alumni:  Students who earned a dental hygiene certificate from UTSD need only complete 12 hours to attain the BSDH.
  • Graduate Programs
    • MSDH Program: For students who have a bachelor's degree (in any field) and a certificate or associate degree in dental hygiene.
    • Dual-Degree (BSDH/MPH) Program: For BSDH entry-level students who want to pursue a master's degree (MPH) or certificate in public health while enrolled in the School of Dentistry's BSDH program. An application is created once accepted into the BSDH program. 

Guide for Transfer Students

Information Sessions

Twice a year, the School of Dentistry hosts free information sessions (in May and October) to give potential students a chance to learn about the Dental Hygiene Program and ask questions about the admissions process, student financial aid, the curriculum, etc. Each session ends with a brief tour of the School of Dentistry. 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
This test is required if the applicant did not attend high school in the United States. However, if the applicant holds an associate or higher degree from a U.S.-accredited institution, the TOEFL is not required.

Program Costs

Tuition and Fees (approximate)
For a detailed breakdown of tuition and fees, please visit the Office of the Registrar.

Financial Aid

The School of Dentistry has a variety of loan and scholarship funds. Funds may be available based on proven financial need and/or academic excellence. More information on financial aid may be obtained from:

Office of Financial Aid

UTHealth
P.O. Box 20036
Houston TX 77225-0036
713-500-3860

UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston Commitment to Equal Opportunity: The School of Dentistry embraces and enforces the nondiscrimination policy of its parent institution, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The policy states that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity sponsored or conducted by UTHealth or any of its component academic entities on any basis prohibited by applicable law, including, but not limited to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or disability.

Bachelor's Degree in Dental Hygiene

A baccalaureate degree opens doors to expanded career options for dental hygienists. UTHealth School of Dentistry is the only Houston-area school offering a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (BSDH) degree, and recently became the first school in Texas to offer dental hygiene students the option of earning credentials toward a master’s degree in public health (MPH), even as they complete studies for a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. More information about our new Dual-Degree Program (BSDH/MPH) is available on request. 

BSDH – Entry Level   

The entry-level BSDH program is best suited for applicants who are interested in entering the dental hygiene profession. This is a full-time program that includes four semesters, plus a summer term. Classes are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students should not plan to work during their enrollment in the Dental Hygiene Program due to the demand of coursework and clinic. Click here for the list of courses.

Admission to the Dental Hygiene Program requires satisfactory completion of 62 hours of prerequisite courses from a regionally accredited school. A grade of at least C must be earned in each of the required courses while maintaining a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.5.   

NOTE:  Students who already have degrees (associate's, bachelor’s or higher) have the option of seeking a Post-Degree Certificate in Dental Hygiene that requires only 34 hours of prerequisites.

 Prerequisites for Entry-Level BSDH Program:

Course NameSemester Hours
English Composition I & II 6
Speech 3
College Math (or higher) 3
Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4*
Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4*
Chemistry 4*
Microbiology 4*
General Psychology 3
Sociology 3
U.S. History (may include 3 hours Texas History) 6
U.S. Government 3
Texas Government 3
Computer Science (with lab) 3**
Humanities 3
Visual & Performing Arts 3
Nutrition 3
Electives 4***
Total Semester Hours 62

*Laboratory time required   
**Workforce courses POFI and ITSC will not be accepted for Computer Science.   
***Recommended electives include foreign language, research design, and statistics. No PE or remedial courses accepted.

Post-Degree Certificate in Dental Hygiene

For applicants interested in getting into the dental hygiene profession and who already have an associate, bachelor’s or higher degree, the School of Dentistry offers the option of earning a Certificate in Dental Hygiene. This is a full-time program that includes four semesters, plus a summer term. Classes are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students should not plan to work during their enrollment in the Dental Hygiene Program due to the demand of coursework and clinic. Click here for the list of courses.

NOTE: Students with degrees are only required to complete 34 hours of prerequisites before entering the program.

Prerequisites for Post-Degree Certificate Program

Course NameSemester Hours
English Composition I 3
Fundamentals of Speech 3
General Psychology 3
Sociology 3
Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4*
Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4*
Chemistry 4*
Microbiology 4*
Nutrition 3
Computer Science (with lab) 3**
Total Semester Hours 34

*Laboratory time required   
**Workforce courses POFI and ITSC will not be accepted for Computer Science.   
***Recommended electives include foreign language, research design, and statistics. No PE or remedial courses accepted.

Application Deadlines
Applications for the on-campus BSDH and Post-Degree Certificate programs will be available online starting April 1 and ending Aug. 31. To be considered for the incoming class, applicants must apply one year prior to the August start date. All transcripts and supporting documents for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program must be sent to UTHealth Office of the Registrar by Aug. 31 of the year preceding expected enrollment. The Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications in October until all positions are filled. Applicants will be notified of their standing by May 31. All prerequisites must be completed by May 31 prior to the start of the fall semester..

Shadowing - The deadline to submit the required observation hours has been extended to December 1.
All entry-level applicants are required to have a minimum of 20 hours of shadowing experience with a dental hygienist. Shadowing a dentist will not be accepted for any portion of the 20 hours. This experience will allow the applicant to observe the various facets of the dental hygiene profession.  Shadowing Form

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
This test is required if the applicant did not attend high school in the United States. The exception to this requirement is this: If the applicant holds an associate or higher degree from a U.S.-accredited institution, the TOEFL test is not required.

Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT) - Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Health Science Reasoning Tests (HSRT) will not be administered and will not be required for fall 2022 admissions.
With the exception of RDH-to-BSDH applicants, all others are required to take the Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT) as part of the holistic application process. The Health Science Reasoning Test (HSRT) is only administered on specific days that are listed on the UTSD website. Applicants must register to take the test which can only be taken once per application cycle. A score of 15 or above is recommended for applicants to receive the highest consideration for admission.

Skills & Essential Functions
To be successful, dental hygienists must demonstrate cognitive skills in critical and logical/analytical thinking as well as possess and demonstrate the psychomotor skills (fine motor dexterity and coordination) and observational skills (vision, hearing and tactile abilities) sufficient to master the clinical procedures essential in the treatment of dental disease. All individuals who apply for admission to UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston, without exception, must be capable of performing essential functions; which are the basic abilities a student must possess to complete the curriculum. An applicant who cannot perform the following essential functions — either with or without reasonable accommodations — will not be considered for admission: List of Skills and Essential Functions

Application Requirements

Applications will be processed upon receipt of the following:

  • All official college transcripts
  • Shadowing form, with required observation hours (not required for RDH-to-BSDH applicants)
  • Successful completion of Texas Success Initiative (TSI) 
  • Three letters of recommendation from 2 professors and 1 employer using the institutional form.
    • Print and fill out your portion of the form and give it to the person writing the recommendation. The person completing the recommendation should send the completed recommendation form to the registrar. The official university form must be submitted.
  • Health Science Reasoning Test (not required for RDH-to-BSDH applicants)
  • TOEFL test scores, if applicable
  • Applicants outside of Texas MUST reside in a participating National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) state to be accepted into our program. To see if your state participates, or to get more information, please visit NC-SARA.

NOTE: Dental Hygiene Program prerequisites must be completed or near completion at the time of application submission.  All transcripts must be submitted after the completion of each semester. Some dental hygiene courses may or may not transfer to other institutions. Students should contact the transferring institution for details. The deadline for completion of prerequisite course work is May 31 of the year of anticipated enrollment.

Contact Us

Office of the Registrar
UTHealth
P.O. Box 20036
Houston TX 77225-0036
E-mail: Student-Admissions@uth.tmc.edu

Dental Hygiene Program
7500 Cambridge St, Suite 6470
Houston, TX 77054
Phone: 713-486-4084
Fax: 713-486-0410
Email: sod-dental-hygiene@uth.tmc.edu

Office of Student Affairs
School of Dentistry
713-486-4151

Degree-Completion Program (RDH to BSDH)

UTHealth School of Dentistry’s online degree-completion program is for registered dental hygienists who already hold a certificate or associate's degree in dental hygiene and want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. The RDH-to-BSDH program offers flexible enrollment options to meet the need of working hygienists. Twenty-three credit hours of coursework will be offered online. An additional 7 credit hours of practicum, on-campus work are required and may be completed at the School of Dentistry or at an approved dental hygiene campus of the student’s choosing. The program begins in the fall semester. COURSE LIST

Fast-Track for UTSD Houston Alumni:  Applicants who graduated from School of Dentistry’s Dental Hygiene Certificate Program and who have completed the 62 prerequisite credits listed below will only be required to complete 12 hours of the RDH-to-BSDH program.

Admission Requirements

  • All students must complete the required college-level coursework by May 31 of the year of entry.
  • An associate’s degree or certificate in dental hygiene from a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). A grade of “C” or higher must be earned in all dental hygiene courses. Dental hygiene students currently enrolled in a program may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • An active RDH license or ability to secure a license in the first semester of enrollment.
  • GPA of 2.75 or higher in the prerequisite courses listed below. These courses must be completed at a regionally accredited institution prior to enrollment.
  • Completion of the Texas General Education Core Curriculum
  • One letter of recommendation from a professor using the institutional form.
    • Print and fill out your portion of the form and give it to the person writing the recommendation. The person completing the recommendation should send the completed recommendation form to UTHealth Office of the Registrar. The official university form must be submitted.

   Prerequisite Courses

Course Name Semester Hours
English Composition I 3
English Composition II 3
Fundamentals of Speech 3
General Psychology 3
Sociology 3
College Math (or higher) 3
Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4*
Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4*
Chemistry 4*
Microbiology 4*
Nutrition 3
U.S. History (may include 3 hours Texas History) 6
U.S. Government 3
Texas Government 3
Humanities 3
Visual & Performing Arts 3
Computer Science (with lab) 3*
Electives 4**
Total Semester Hours 62

*Laboratory time required.  **Recommended elective courses include foreign language, research design, and statistics. Courses must be non-PE and non-remedial.

Program Requirements

  • Students must complete the 30 credit hours required for the RDH-to-BSDH program.
  • Additional hours of Entry-Level Dental Hygiene Coursework (transferred from an AAS DH program) may be transferred for the remaining credits, bringing the total to the 128 hours required for graduation.
  • Applicants outside of Texas MUST reside in a participating National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) state to be accepted into our program. To see if your state participates, or to get more information, please visit NC-SARA.

Application Deadlines

The application for this program opens online Nov. 1 and closes on June 1 for August entry of the same year. All prerequisites must be completed by May 31 prior to the start of the fall semester. 

Online Application

Contact Us

Office of the Registrar
UTHealth
P.O. Box 20036
Houston TX 77225-0036
E-mail: Student-Admissions@uth.tmc.edu

Dental Hygiene Program
7500 Cambridge St, Suite 6470
Houston, TX 77054
Phone: 713-486-4084
Fax: 713-486-0410
Email: sod-dental-hygiene@uth.tmc.edu

Office of Student Affairs
School of Dentistry
713-486-4151

Dual-Degree Program (BSDH/MPH)

This program is offered to BSDH students after their first semester in the entry-level BSDH program and requires application and acceptance by the UTHealth School of Public Health (SPH) and approval by the Dental Hygiene Program director. Concurrent with their dental hygiene coursework, students may take up to five online courses through the SPH that are required to earn a certificate in public health. Once accepted into the MPH program, the student can apply the courses to the MPH degree. Additional information regarding application to and requirements for this program will be presented once students are accepted into the BSDH program.

Master of Science in Dental Hygiene (MSDH)

If you are a dental hygienist with a bachelor’s degree and ready to advance your career, this program will allow you to do so. An MSDH degree opens  opportunities for dental hygienists to teach in dental hygiene programs (especially at universities or dental schools) and prepares graduates for positions in teaching, administration, management and oral health research. The American Dental Education Association reported that 75% of dental hygiene faculty teaching in 2016 were over the age of 40, and that over 50% would be approaching retirement age within 5-10 years, creating a significant need for dental hygiene educators.

The MSDH program consists of 33 credit hours of upper-level course work, and it is a hybrid program that allows students to complete 73% of coursework online. The on-campus courses may be taken at UTSD or at another participating dental hygiene program campus as approved by the UTSD program director. Students may enroll full- or part-time, but must complete the program within five years. Faculty will work with students to accommodate their individual interests and needs. Click here to read a news story about the new MSDH program.

Admissions Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree (in any field) from a regionally accredited university or college
  • Certificate or associate degree in dental hygiene from a CODA-accredited dental hygiene program
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher in your dental hygiene coursework
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (Recommended)
  • State license to practice dental hygiene
  • Applicants outside of Texas MUST reside in a participating National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) state to be accepted into our program. To see if your state participates, or to get more information, please visit NC-SARA.

DEGREE PLAN

Prefix & NumberRequired CoursesSCHFormat
FALL 1
DHMS 6501 Graduate Seminar in Education 1 3 Online
DHMS 6502 Introduction to Educational Research 3 Online
SPRING 1
DHMS 6503 Academic Leadership & Communication 3 Online
DHMS 6503 Graduate Seminar in Education II 3 Online
SUMMER 1
DBPG 5352 Biostatistics for Dental Professionals 2 Online
FALL 2 or SPRING 2
*DHMS 6506 Clinical Teaching 3 Online
*DHMS 6508 Graduate Seminar in Education III 3 Online
FALL 2 or SPRING 2
*DHMS 6507 Clinical Teaching Practicum 4 Online/Campus
*DHMS 6509 Education Practicum 4 Online/Campus
DHMS 6510 Capstone 4 Online
SUMMER 2
DHMS 6511 Capstone Extension 1 Online

* The semester these courses are taken will vary according to the dental hygiene program where the practicum is completed.

Application Deadlines
The application process opens November 1st and closes June 1st for entry in August of the same year. Applicants will be notified of their standing by July 1.

Application Requirements
Applications will be processed upon receipt of the following:

  • All official college transcripts
  • One letter of recommendation from your dental hygiene program faculty using the institutional form.
    • Print and fill out your portion of the form and give it to the person writing the recommendation. The person completing the recommendation should send the completed recommendation form to the registrar. The official university form must be submitted.

                            Office of the Registrar
                            UTHealth
                            P.O. Box 20036
                            Houston TX 77225-0036

Financial Aid
Financial Aid is available for those who qualify.
Information may be obtained at www.uth.edu/sfs/

Information Session
Twice a year, the School of Dentistry hosts free information sessions (in May and October) to give potential students a chance to learn about the Dental Hygiene Program and ask questions about the admissions process, student financial aid, the curriculum, etc. Each session ends with a brief tour of the School of Dentistry.

Online Application

Contact Us

Office of the Registrar
UTHealth
P.O. Box 20036
Houston TX 77225-0036
E-mail: Student-Admissions@uth.tmc.edu

Dental Hygiene Program
7500 Cambridge St, Suite 6470
Houston, TX 77054
Phone: 713-486-4084
Fax: 713-486-0410
Email: sod-dental-hygiene@uth.tmc.edu

Office of Student Affairs
School of Dentistry
713-486-4151

Gray Line


Accepted Students

  • General Information

    A few forms and processes need to be completed now that you have received your conditional offer of acceptance. Please complete these items as soon as possible, but no later than the specified deadline. All of these items must be completed for you to be registered as a first-year student in the fall. If you have any questions, contact the Office of Student Affairs at 713-486-4151.

    Invitations

    Keep an eye out for your invitation to New Student Orientation and the White Coat Ceremony, which usually takes place the Friday of orientation week. You'll need to RSVP for yourself and your guests.

    Official Transcripts

    All conditionally accepted students are required to send official transcripts of ALL college coursework previously completed to the Office of the Registrar prior to matriculation. Send final official transcripts to:

    Office of the Registrar
    UTHealth
    P.O. Box 20036
    Houston, TX 77225-0036
    Deadline: May 31

    Mobile Device Policy

    All students are required to have a laptop that meets or exceeds these specifications. If you have questions about the computer requirements or the support offered, please contact:

    Patrick Finnerty - 713-486-4183
    Richard "Hal" Halpin - 713-486-4216

  • Criminal Background Check

    Please review the policy before following the steps below.

    Student Criminal Background Check
    Please read through ALL the information. The answers to frequently asked questions are provided below, as well as information that you will need to know.

    • Once you have completed your application, please review the information you provided before submitting to avoid a delay in your background check.
    • If you have your phone or computer set to Auto fill, then you absolutely need to double check the information you entered.
    • If there is a problem with your application or additional information is needed, we will contact you using the email address that you provided. Please double check that you provided a valid email address. You are responsible for replying to our email when information is updated, as we will not be notified otherwise and your background check will not be started.
    • You will receive an email when your background check has been accepted. Your background check will usually begin processing within 1-3 business days; however, we cannot guarantee this time. Please complete the process as soon as possible to avoid exceeding the deadline.
    • Please do NOT contact The Pre-Check Company for the status of your background check. The completed background check will be sent directly to the school. You will not receive notification when it is completed.
    • Students with criminal activity or that have lived outside of Texas may take longer to process. Additional fees may apply for certain counties. We will contact you if an additional fee is required.
    • International students will take longer to process. The processing time varies per country. There will be an additional fee for all International background checks. This fee also varies per country. After reviewing your completed application, we will contact you with the fee amount and if any additional information is required.
    • If you have any questions, please e-mail Shannan Tighe.
    • Please do NOT call The Pre-Check Company.

    Step by Step Instructions for New Students

    • Go to ESA and click on "Apply Here." Once you enter the application, please complete the following steps:
    • Fill in your contact information. The application is based on your e-mail address so if you need to apply again for another background check, you will need to use a different e-mail address.
    • Pay the $44 fee via credit card using the Submit Payment button.  
    • Click “yes” if you have paid and then Submit Now.
      • Your background check will not be started until payment is received.
    • Read through the Acknowledgements.  
      • Click Submit Now.
    • Provide your Identity Information.
      • If you do not have a middle initial, fill the space with a period.
        • Please do not put n/a, no middle name, etc. in the middle initial field.
      • If you do not have a former name, you can leave this section blank.
        • Please do not provide your current name again in this section.
      • If you do not have a Social Security Number, fill in 999-99-9999.
    • Click Next Section.
    • Complete the Current Residence Section.
      • Click Next Section.
    • Complete the Previous Residence Section.
      • If you do not have a prior address, you can leave this section blank.
      • Click Next Section.
    • Complete ALL of the Criminal Record Information.
      • Click Next Section.
    • Electronically sign the Student Release for Background Investigation.
      • Click Next Section.
    • Complete the Non-United States Residency form.
      • Please note: It is not assumed that you are, and have been, a resident of the U.S. for at least 6 months. All applicants are required to complete this form before your background check can be accepted.
  • Immunizations

    Beginning late March our Registrar's Office will begin emailing your User ID and Password to access MyUTH (Student System). You will need this User ID and Password for the link below.

    You must document your immunizations through myUTH and upload supporting proof of all immunization requirements. To submit your immunization you will need to log into myUTH and select the Immunizations links under the “Holds and To Do’s” sections. Once you list required dates and submit your records, you will be asked to upload your immunization documentation. The system will only allow one upload but you will be able to upload multiple documents. Only load your immunization records into the online database once they are 100% complete. Any updates after this upload must be faxed into UTHealth which can extend the processing time.

    After you have logged and submitted all required information and it has been verified by Student Health Services, the immunization hold will be released. We recommend that you submit this information immediately to avoid any delays in your registration process.

    View Immunization Requirements. If there are any questions regarding immunization requirements, please contact Student Health Services at 713-500-5171.

    Please note:

    • You must submit a copy of the laboratory report on all titers.
    • Please submit your immunization record only when you have uploaded ALL of the required documents.
    • Your uploaded documentation must be legible.
    • We recommend that students keep a personal copy of their immunizations and titers for future needs.
  • Insurance

    Beginning late March our Registrar's Office will begin emailing your User ID and Password to access MyUTH (Student System). You will need this User ID and Password to either submit proof of your health insurance or confirm your participation in academic health plans.

    Health Insurance Requirements for All Students:

    The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System mandates health insurance (Texas Education Code Section 51.961) for all students enrolled in the UT System health components. As such, each UTHealth student who cannot provide evidence of continuing coverage under another approved plan will be enrolled in the student insurance plan with Academic HealthPlans and assessed a health insurance fee.

    Before being able to register for classes each semester, every student must complete the health insurance certification process through his/her MyUTH account. Through this process, students either provide proof of their own coverage or confirm their participation in Academic HealthPlans. To waive this fee you are required to show proof of current health insurance coverage through another provider by completing the information below before the twelfth day of class for the Fall/Spring semester and the fourth day of class for the Summer semester of every academic year. Failure to provide this information before the deadline will result in forfeiting your option to waive the health insurance coverage and associated fee. Please note that it is not necessary to submit the waiver every semester, as after submitting the waiver in the fall and/or spring semester, the insurance fee will be removed from your bill for the remaining academic year.

    Please visit UTHealth Auxiliary Enterprises - Student Insurance for more information.