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studentstudents, parents, grandparentsgb, united kingdomdentistry

Dentistry courses

This five-year course is the first step to qualifying to practice as a dentist. You need to have an aptitude for science and good people skills. The course involves studying anatomy, physiology and biochemistry alongside placements to learn practical skills, such as taking a medical history, dental examinations and deciding on appropriate treatment, orthodontics - straightening teeth using braces... - and using local anaesthetic.
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Studying dentistry at university

Example course modules

  • Patient assessment
  • Oral biology
  • Digestive, renal and endocrine systems
  • Healthcare ethics and law
  • Radiology
  • Peridontology
  • Paediatric dentistry and orthodontics
  • Clinical skills
  • Oral pathology
  • Oral sciences and medicine

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 60%
    Male : 40%
  • Mature : 13%
    School leaver : 87%
  • Full-time : 85%
    Part-time : 15%
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What students say about dentistry

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What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Chemistry
  • Biology

Useful to have

  • English
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Future dentist? You'll need great grades and a spot-on personal statement to catch the eye of a dental school and nab an interview for a place on one of these demanding courses.

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Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Dentistry qualifications are a savvy choice if a solid and stable career is top of your priority list. It's one of the very few degrees out there able to rival medicine for the strongest employability prospects and starting salary around. The recession appears to have barely touched early career options available for new dentists - almost all graduates get dental jobs on leaving their courses.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Health professionals
Average graduate salary £31k
% of graduates in work or further study 100%

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Medical researcher
  • Dentist
  • Reconstructive surgeon

Other real-life job examples

  • University Lecturer
  • Medical instrument designer
  • Orthodontist

What employers like about this subject

Studying for a degree in dentistry will give you skills in basic anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, in investigation and diagnosis of medical conditions and in the principles, practice and ethics of dental care. You will also develop useful transferable skills such as good communication, problem-solving and decision-making skills. Most dentists work in dental practices, but you can also find them in hospitals, the Armed Forces, or working for universities.

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