School of Dentistry

DMD Program FAQ

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There is no difference between the two degrees. D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are equivalent degrees and are both dental diplomas. Some schools choose to award a D.D.S. while others award a D.M.D. OHSU offers a D.M.D.

OHSU does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, applicants with science, required science (biology, chemistry and physics courses only) and overall GPAs above a 3.0, preferably above a 3.2, have more competitive applications.

OHSU currently does not have a statute of limitation on course work. We do highly recommend that applicants who have been out of school for an extended period of time, enroll in additional science courses, which will strengthen their foundation of basic science, as well as familiarize themselves with contemporary scientific principles.

As a general rule, applicants should minimize the number of courses completed for pass/no pass credit. Prerequisite course work must be completed for a letter grade, unless a letter grade option is unavailable.  In addition, you should avoid withdrawing from courses if at all possible.  Minimal course withdrawals on your academic record will be tolerated, however, keep in mind that admissions officers look for patterns (i.e. is the applicant consistently withdrawing from one course per term, or only in courses in a certain subject area). 

OHSU does not limit the number of credit hours taken from community colleges. Because applicants apply to approximately 9-10 dental schools, we advise that you become familiar with the community college recommendations of each program you are considering in order to allow you to plan your academic program accordingly. Rigorous full-time basic science enrollment is strongly preferred.  

OHSU does not require a baccalaureate degree for admission, however preference is given to those applicants that indicate the completion of a degree prior to matriculation.

Applicants to OHSU can take post-bacc prerequisite courses at community colleges or at one of the formal post-bacc programs across the country, some of which grant bachelor’s or master’s degrees.  Because applicants apply to approximately 9-10 dental schools, we advise that you become familiar with recommendations with regard to post-bacc academic preparation for each program you are considering in order to allow you to plan your academic program accordingly.  Rigorous full-time basic science enrollment is strongly preferred.

OHSU highly recommends that applicants complete prerequisite courses in a traditional classroom setting versus online.

OHSU requires that you take all labs that correspond with basic science prerequisite courses with the exception of Biochemistry, in which a lab course is highly recommended. All lab courses must be completed for a letter grade unless a letter grade option is unavailable.

OHSU has established a minimum DAT score of 15 in each DAT category. Ideally, applicants should aim to achieve DAT scores no lower than the national average score. National average scores vary per category, but are generally around 18. Please contact the American Dental Association (ADA) for more information. Keep in mind that average DAT scores for OHSU's incoming classes generally range between 19 and 21.

OHSU does not consider ADA DAT scores older than 3 years.

Most applicants to dental school take the DAT no more than twice. If you take it more than once, it is important that your scores consistently improve with every take.  The American Dental Association's Council on Dental Education has established a policy limiting the number of opportunities the DAT can be taken to no more than three.  However,  applicants who have had three or more DAT attempts can apply for permission to test again.  From that point forward, applicants may retest only once per 12-month period.

OHSU considers the most recent set of DAT scores. You will find that every dental school is different in this regard. Some schools take an average of all scores, while others take the highest score per DAT category or take only the most recent scores.

OHSU does not accept the Canadian DAT.

Factors contributing to a competitive application include, but are not limited to the following: extracurricular activities, community service, volunteerism, leadership, research experience, experience in a dental field/dental career exploration, letters of evaluation, work and life experience.

Prior to application, applicants must have a minimum of 50 documented clinical hours of dental observation. At least 25 of the 50 hours should be spent in one or more general practice settings for the reason that you will be exposed to all aspects of operating a general practice and observing the wide variety of procedures performed by a general dentist. The remaining 25 hours can continue to come from a general practice, a dental specialty office or a public health clinic.  While we appreciate the added value of observation in a dental school setting or participating in a mission related experience, we will not count that toward your initial 50 hours of required observation.

Rather than use the terminology 'letter of recommendation' we choose to use the terminology 'letter of evaluation'. We prefer that applicants attain letters from faculty and dental professionals who are able to do more than solely recommend an applicant to our program, but who can also thoroughly evaluate an applicant's many inherent qualities.

OHSU requires one pre-professional committee letter, or two letters of evaluation from natural basic science faculty and one from a dentist or dental specialist. If your pre-professional committee letter does not include an evaluation from a dentist, we ask that you send a supplemental letter of evaluation from a dentist under separate cover.

OHSU is considered a state assisted institution. Therefore, OHSU does give preference to Oregon residents. Although there is no set number, or quota of Oregon residents that we are required to admit each year, the majority of our incoming class will be Oregon residents.

Your purpose for establishing residency in Oregon should not be primarily for educational reasons. Generally, you should reside and be employed in the state of Oregon at least one year prior to matriculation. If you are enrolled in classes in the state of Oregon, you should not be enrolled in more than eight (8) semester or quarter hours. Visit the University Registrar's Office website for information on Oregon residency eligibility. Any applicant in the process of establishing Oregon residency during the application cycle will not be considered an Oregon resident for the purpose of admission and/or tuition assessment until we have been able to confirm that Oregon residency requirements, according to OHSU's residency policy, have been satisfied.

OHSU does accept applications from international students (F-1 visa holders) and permanent residents that have completed their undergraduate education at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or Canada.

Courses taken abroad will not fulfill admissions requirements. This also applies to prerequisite courses completed as part of semester/quarter abroad programs sponsored by U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities. There are few exceptions that would need to be addressed by an admissions officer.

OHSU does not offer an advanced standing program. Visit ADEA for information on programs throughout the country.