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Doctor of Dental Surgery

Students heading to white coat ceremony

UTHealth School of Dentistry is located in the Texas Medical Center (TMC), the world's largest medical complex with 48 member institutions dedicated to the highest quality in patient care, research and education.

The most advanced equipment and educational technology are available at UTSD. For example, our Clinical Simulation and Learning Center was the first in the world to incorporate electronic patient records, multi-media and mannequins in an actual clinic setting. Before treating real patients, our students train with virtual patients complete with demographics, medical histories, diagnostic images, photographs and even digital models.

The School of Dentistry admits 105 predoctoral dental students each year. The school year consists of two 18-week semesters and one eight-week summer session. A new dual-degree option is available for students interested in earning an MPH concurrently with the DDS degree.


For a detailed breakdown of tuition and fees, please visit the Office of the Registrar.

For estimated Cost of Attendance (educational AND living expenses) and information on how this may affect the amount of financial aid you can receive, please visit Student Financial Services.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) reserves the right to make revisions in curriculum and requirements of all programs. Tuition and fees are subject to change according to the Texas Legislature, UT System Board of Regents, and/or the University.


The admissions policy of the School of Dentistry includes a wide variety of criteria, including qualitative and quantitative information, in evaluating applicants on an individual basis and making decisions as to acceptance into the Dental Education Program leading to the D.D.S. degree. The admissions processes for the undergraduate Dental Hygiene certificate and Baccalaureate (B.S.) degree programs and graduate Advanced Education Programs utilize a mix of cognitive and non-cognitive consideration factors that are similar to the Dental Education Program. Dental Admissions Committees give individual consideration to applicants, and no quotas for any specific group are used. The Admissions Committee considers the application in its entirety and gives importance to the following factors:

  • Intellectual capacity, based on consideration of undergraduate and graduate record; academic progression/regression; standardized test scores; academic awards and honors; a history of research accomplishments; degree of difficulty of undergraduate academic program; pre-professional evaluations; personal interview; and any other data submitted
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, based on consideration of community or charitable service, extracurricular activities and organizations; leadership positions; employment history; recognition for humanitarian service; awareness and direct knowledge of cultural elements as they may impact on healthcare; expression of future goals in the written essay; statements made on the application or in the personal interview; and any other relevant considerations which the student’s pre-professional advisors may present
  • Knowledge of the profession, based on consideration of an understanding of factors that impact access to care, along with the social and financial implications; consideration of the implications of lifelong learning; and demonstrated significant effort in seeking knowledge regarding the practice of dentistry or who have participated in oral health promotion activities
  • Potential for service to the State of Texas, based on consideration of the applicant’s goals for the future; size and location of hometown and whether the applicant resides in a Health Professions Shortage Area; potential for future provision of health services to underserved areas or needed specialties; race/ethnicity as it relates to service to underserved and/or underrepresented populations; linguistic skills appropriate to the Health Professions Shortage Area the applicant wishes to serve
  • Motivation, based on consideration of success in overcoming adverse personal, economic or educational conditions; employment history occurring simultaneously with undergraduate academic preparation; participation in activities requiring time management skills; experience in health-related activities; and heavier than normal academic course loads
  • Integrity, based on consideration of professional evaluations; any academic integrity violation; conduct of a crime; any other relevant background relating either positively or negatively to the applicant’s standard of integrity
  • Essential skills, based on consideration of psychomotor skills (fine motor dexterity and coordination) and observational skills (vision, hearing and tactile abilities) sufficient to master the clinical procedures essential to the treatment of oral disease.

UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston Admissions Committees Mission Statement:

The UTSD Admissions Committees will strive to recruit and admit highly qualified students who embrace the University’s mission to advance human health by providing high quality education, patient care, and research in oral health care for Texas, the nation and the world, and who will be leaders in health care, culturally aware, and sensitive to the oral health needs of patients. The committees will utilize a holistic review model in the selection process in order to assemble a diverse student body and learning environment while observing all best practices in admissions designated by the University of Texas System.

To be successful, dentists and dental hygienists must demonstrate cognitive skills in critical and logical/analytical thinking. Dentists and dental hygienists must possess and demonstrate 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 The University of Texas School of Dentistry, without exception, must be able to perform essential functions. Essential functions are the basic activities that a student must be able to perform 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:


Students must be able to communicate effectively with peers, staff, faculty, patients and patient family members, and other members of the health care team. Communication requires the ability to assess all information provided by the patient including non-verbal responses, within safety-related timeframes. Students must be able to communicate in oral and written format that is succinct, organized and complete. These communications will include assessments, prescriptions and dental record notes. Students must be able to demonstrate sensitivity to cultural, emotional and societal issues.

Sensory and Psychomotor Skills

Students must be able to gather patient information needed for a diagnosis through adequate visual, tactile, olfactory and auditory senses. Students must have sufficient physical abilities and stamina to provide dental care and respond to emergency situations. Students must have the manual dexterity to execute the gross and fine motor movements required to provide dental care for their patients.

Cognitive Abilities

Students must have the cognitive abilities to master the dental curriculum, including the basic, behavioral and clinical sciences. Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, integrate and apply information. In addition, students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships required to provide dental care. Students must be able to demonstrate critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills required in the practice of dentistry.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must be able to demonstrate professional behavior and function with integrity and responsibility while maintaining a high ethical standard. In addition, the students must be able to demonstrate the ability to be compassionate, empathic and tolerant. Students must be able to interact in a collegial manner and demonstrate the ability to participate in teamwork. Students must possess the emotional health required to use their intellectual abilities fully, such as exercising good judgment, promptly completing all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and developing mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. Students must be able to adapt to changing environments, respond appropriately to unpredictable circumstances, and to display flexibility.

Chronic Conditions

Students must not possess any chronic or recurrent illnesses such as infectious, psychiatric or substance abuse problems that would interfere with quality patient care or safety and that are not compatible with dental practice or training.

Online applications are accepted between May 1 and October 1 of the year preceding anticipated matriculation. Early submission of the application is encouraged.

Texas Residents

Texas residents must apply through the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS):

Non-Texas Residents

Non-residents may apply through either the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) or the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS)

**Submit only one application. Do not apply through both TMDSAS and AADSAS.**

Students are advised to choose (by the beginning of the sophomore year) a program of study leading to a baccalaureate degree and to strive for a grade of B or better in their overall course work. A grade of at least C must be earned in each of the required courses. Admission to UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston requires a minimum of 90 semester hours from an accredited college. It is recommended that at least 30 semester hours be accomplished at a four-year college or university.

Education Requirements for UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston:

  • Applicants must have completed a minimum of 90 semester hours (or 134 quarter hours) at a regionally accredited US or Canadian college or university.
  • All undergraduate course requirements listed in the table below must have been completed at a regionally accredited US or Canadian university/college. Foreign coursework will not count towards meeting any of the prerequisites, even if transfer credit has been given for them by a US or Canadian school.
  • Each required course, listed in the table below, must be completed with a grade of C or better. Courses taken Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit will not count towards meeting the requirement.
  • Advanced placement credit is accepted only if the school granting the credit lists the specific course(s) and number of units granted per course on an official transcript. Lump sum credit is not accepted.
  • Graduate courses do not satisfy the 90 hour requirement OR the required coursework.
  • All required course work must be completed before OR by the time of enrollment into UTSD.
  • Baccalaureate degrees are highly desirable. However, exceptionally mature students without a degree, who have outstanding academic records, superior performance on the respective admissions test and highly desirable personal qualifications may be considered for admission.
  • The prescribed course requirements are the minimum requirements for admission to UTSD. Applicants are best served to take additional upper-level course work so they are better prepared for the academic rigors of dental school.

Undergraduate Course Requirements

Courses for non-science majors or for health career majors (nursing, pharmacy, allied health sciences, etc.) will NOT satisfy the required coursework. All required coursework must be applicable towards a traditional science degree.

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 14 semester hours (12 semester hours of lecture and 2 semester hours of formal lab) or 21 quarter hours (18 quarter lecture hours and 3 quarter lab hours) of Biological Science are required.

Includes all Biological Science courses applied toward Baccalaureate degree in traditional science fields, such as General Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Ecology, Immunology, Parasitology and Anatomy and Physiology.
GENERAL CHEMISTRY UT School of Dentistry at Houston requires 3 semester hours (or 5 quarter hours) of Microbiology. This requirement will count toward fulfilling part of the 14 semester hour Biological Science requirement.

8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of General (Inorganic) Chemistry, as required for college science majors, including the corresponding laboratory experience are required. (8 semester hours = 6 hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab; 12 quarter hours = 9 hours of lecture & 3 hours of lab).

Courses such as Physical Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis may also satisfy the requirement.
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of Organic Chemistry, as required for college science majors, including the corresponding laboratory experience are required. (8 semester hours = 6 hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab; 12 quarter hours = 9 hours of lecture & 3 hours of lab).
BIOCHEMISTRY 3 semester hours or 5 quarter hours of Biochemistry are required. This requirement is in addition to the Biological Science requirement of 14 hours and may not be used to fulfill the Biological Science requirement.

The course may be taught in the Biology, Biochemistry or Chemistry department.
PHYSICS 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of Physics, as required for college science majors, including the corresponding laboratory experience are required. (8 semester hours = 6 hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab; 12 quarter hours = 9 hours of lecture & 3 hours of lab)

Includes all physics courses applied toward a baccalaureate degree in any traditional science field.
ENGLISH 6 semester hours or 9 quarter hours of college English are required.

Any course accredited by the English Department that fulfills a general education English requirement of a baccalaureate degree will be accepted. Remedial or developmental courses or "English As a Second Language" courses ARE NOT ACCEPTED.
STATISTICS 3 semester hours or 5 quarter hours of Statistics are required.

The Statistics course should be taught in a Math or Statistics Department.

Dental Admission Test:

In addition to the scholastic requirements for admissions, all candidates are required to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The DAT should be taken in the spring of the year in which the application is initiated. It is given at several testing centers in the state by the Division of Educational Measurements, Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association. An application to take the DAT and a brochure describing the testing program may be obtained from the American Dental Association's website or by calling them at 312-440-2689.

Residency Requirements:

UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston will only review and consider admissions for the D.D.S. program applicants who are U.S. citizens or legal Permanent Residents of the U.S.

Contact Us
UTHealth School of Dentistry
Office of Student Affairs
7500 Cambridge St, Suite 4120
Houston, TX 77054
Phone: 713-486-4151
Fax: 713-486-4425
Email: [email protected]

Advanced Standing & Transfer Program

The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston classifies transfer students as applicants enrolled in dental schools accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). Advanced-standing applicants are classified as graduates of dental schools not accredited by the ADA. Both transfer applicants and advanced-standing applicants will be considered for admission only if space is available in the 2nd year DDS class. A completed application must be submitted online, along with all required documents mailed to the Registrar's Office, no later than March 1st of the year of entry.

To learn more information about admission requirements, please click on the button below:

Admission Requirements

The application opens August 1st and closes on March 1st.  Mail all application materials to:

Office of the Registrar
University of Texas Health Science Center
7000 Fannin, Suite 2250 UCT
P.O. Box 20036
Houston, TX 77225-0036

Phone: 713-500-3361
Online application found at:


DDS student study group

We offer a program that provides our students with the opportunity to qualify for the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and for eligibility for licensure in the 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The curriculum includes basic sciences, behavioral sciences, preclinical sciences, and clinical sciences. The instruction in basic and preclinical sciences, along with initial clinical experiences, are the primary focus in the first two years of study, with more emphasis placed on clinical sciences during the final two years.

Accepted Students

  • General Information
    Letter of Intent

    First, reply to the email that you received notifying you of your conditional acceptance. This way, the Office of Student Affairs is aware of your intentions as soon as possible. Then print the Letter of Intent, sign it, and return it to:

    UTHealth School of Dentistry
    Office of Student and Academic Affairs 
    Crystal Zarate
    7500 Cambridge St, Suite 4120
    Houston, TX 77054

    Official Transcripts

    The Office of the Registrar needs official transcripts of ALL college coursework. Even if nothing has changed since you sent transcripts during the application process, you still need to have final official transcripts sent to:

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

    Submit: May 1 through June 1

    Student Identification Badges

    To better assist our incoming classes, we ask that you send a recent passport-type photo(white background) to be used on your student ID badges. These should be sent electronically to [email protected] beginning April 1 of the year of entry, but no later than June 1.

    Core Residency Questionnaire

    All residency decisions are determined by TMDSAS and our Registrar’s Office will accept these decisions as final and official. The only time a “Core Residency Form” will need to be submitted to our Registrar’s Office is when it is determined that a DDS student is a non-resident by TMDSAS. ALWAYS PROMPTLY CHECK YOUR TUITION BILL FOR ACCURACY.

    DDS Entering Guide 2023-2024

    Please read through the entire DDS Entering Guide 2023-2024 guide as it offers very important information to our entering class.

    If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail [email protected].

  • Criminal Background Check
    Information for New Students
    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 June 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 Dos” sections. Once you list required dates and submit your records you will be asked to upload your immunization documentation. You will be able to upload multiple documents.

    After you have logged and submitted all required information and it has been verified by our office we will release your immunization hold. We recommend that you submit this information immediately to avoid any delays in your registration process.

    View Immunization Requirements.

    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.

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

  • Insurance

    Beginning in June our Registrar's Office will begin emailing out 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.

  • Collect Teeth

    Procedures For Handling Extracted Teeth:

    Collection, storage, sterilization and handling of extracted teeth to be used for educational purposes at the School of Dentistry follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and guidelines.

    Before being used in an educational setting, extracted teeth that do not contain amalgam can be steam heat sterilized to allow for safe handling. Microbial growth can be eliminated by using an autoclave cycle for 40 minutes.

    Extracted teeth containing amalgam restorations should not be heat-sterilized because of the potential health hazard from mercury vaporization and exposure. If extracted teeth containing amalgam restorations are to be used, immersion in 10% formalin, solution for 2 weeks is recommended for disinfecting both the internal and external structures of the teeth. The School of Dentistry uses disinfection in formalin to eliminate microbial growth on all teeth.

    • Sources of extracted teeth:
      • Oral Diagnosis Department – Pathology Laboratory, Room SOD 6110. You must wear gown, gloves, mask and protective eyewear when selecting teeth from this source.
      • Private Practice – Teeth acquired by students from private practitioners must be placed in a holding solution as described below. Teeth must also be submitted for sterilization or disinfection as described below.
    • Holding Solution - Use 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (1:10 dilution of commercial chlorine bleach) in wide-mouthed plastic jars for initial collection and storage medium. This solution is available in the laboratory, DBB 3130.
    • Sterilization and Disinfection of Extracted Teeth:
        • Steam Sterilization - The teeth must be cleaned of visible blood and gross debris and maintained in a hydrated state in a well constructed closed container filled with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (1:10 dilution of commercial chlorine bleach) until ready for sterilization.
        • Formalin - Teeth with amalgam cannot be steam sterilized and must be disinfected in a solution of 10% Formalin for a period of two weeks.
    • All teeth are to be submitted to Educational Support Services (SOD 3450) for disinfection.
    • Use of Extracted Teeth for Laboratory/Mock Board/Western Regional Examining Board:
      • Disinfection - Before use in the laboratory or in preparation for mock board and the Western Regional Examining board, all extracted teeth must be sterilized or disinfected as described above.
      • Approval for Use of Teeth – After the extracted teeth have been disinfected as described above, they should be submitted to the Educational Support Staff overseeing the preclinical lab prior to using the teeth in lab. Prior to using teeth for Mock Board or Western Regional Examining Board, submit the previously formalin disinfected teeth to the appropriate faculty members for approval.
      • Personal Protective Attire – Wear gowns, gloves, masks and protective eyewear any time that you handle extracted teeth.
      • Holding Solution and Collection Jars – Sodium hypochlorite holding solution is to be poured down the drain followed by generous amount water. Discard the collection jars and their lids in biohazard waste receptacles.
      • Surface Disinfection – Countertops and desktops must be disinfected using Sani Cloth Plus wipes.