Pre-Dental Area of Emphasis (3 or 4 years)

Overview of Dentistry as a Career

Dentistry tends to be less competitive than other professional schools because the surplus of dentists produced in the 40s, 50s, and 60s are now retiring. It is still relatively easy to gain admission to dental school, and a person can join an established practice and make a good living as a dentist. Many students gain admission after three years in undergraduate school.

The duration of dental school is approximately four years and no internship is required. West Virginia University has the only school of dentistry in the state.

See the Occupational Outlook Handbook: Dentist. Also, see the American Dental Association.

Prerequisite Courses

The courses listed below are general suggestions. Check the professional school of your choice to see specific admission requirements.

Science Coursework

  • Principles of Biology I and II (BSC 120 and 121)
  • Principles of Chemistry I and II and Labs (CHM 211, 212, 217, and 218)
  • Organic Chemistry I and II and Organic Lab (CHM 355, 356, and 361)
  • General Physics I and II and labs (PHY 201, 202, 203 and 204)
  • Mathematics to meet prerequisite requirements for the science courses listed above (MTH 122, Trigonometry; MTH 127/130, College Algebra; MTH 140, Applied Calculus, or MTH 229, Calculus I). COS requires Calculus (MTH 140 or 229) to meet graduation requirements.

General Education Coursework

  • English Composition I and II (ENG 101 and 201)
  • Follow catalog for degree requirements B.S. or B.A.

Recommended Coursework

  • Vertebrate Embryology (BSC 301)
  • Human Anatomy (BSC 227) Note: BSC 227 does not count toward a Biological Science degree.
  • Human Physiology (BSC 228) Note: BSC 228 does not count toward a Biological Science degree.
  • Introductory Biochemistry (BSC 365 for Biology majors or CHM 365 for Chemistry majors)

Professional Exam

Dental Admission Test (DAT) usually taken in the spring of your sophomore year for 3-year student or during the spring of your junior year for 4-year student.

The DAT is a four and one-half hour computer-based examination consisting of 280 multiple-choice items distributed across a battery of four tests. First, the natural sciences [90 minutes consisting of 100 test items distributed across biology (40 items), general chemistry (30 items), and organic chemistry (30 items)]. Second, the perceptual ability (60 minutes consisting of 90 items distributed across six subtests). Third, the reading comprehension (60 minutes across three reading passages with a total of 50 items). Fourth, the quantitative reasoning (45 minutes to complete 40 items).

The approximate cost is $190.00. Additional fees such as late registration, change of testing site, or rescheduling fees can be included in the total cost.

Standard scores range from 1 to 30; a score of 17 typically signifies the average national performance. There are no passing or failing scores. Unofficial score reports, generated at the test center, are provided upon completion of the test. Official score reports are sent directly to those schools requested on the application approximately three to four weeks after the test.

For the most current information, review the DAT web site.

Links to Professional Schools

College of Science • One John Marshall Drive • Science Building 270 • Huntington, WV 25755
(304) 696-2372