Not everyone knows exactly what they want to be when they grow up, it takes some of us some time to figure that out. Universities understand that and accept students from various backgrounds onto their courses and Dentistry is no different. Regardless of what stage you're at in life, if you're willing to work hard there could be a space for you.
All UK dentists require a Bachelors in Dental Surgery (BChD or BDS) from an approved dental school in order to practise. Courses integrate dental theory and science with practical aspects of dentistry. The standard course is 5 years. Below is some information on the academic requirements for most dental schools.
Please Note: You should research the individual schools as standards and requirements vary between them. Click here for a list of UK dental schools
A-Levels (or equivalent)
Three (3) subjects at A-Level (Biology, Chemistry and one other subject) are required typically at AAA, although some universities ask for A*AA.
Typical GCSE requirements are 6 GCSEs at Grades A-C, however requirements do vary greatly between universities and thus it is important to research widely between schools.
Universities may use GCSEs to compare applicants. For example, if there are two applicants with similar A-Level grades and extra-curricular experience, the applicant with higher GCSE grades will likely be offered the place.
Some dental schools also consider candidates holding:
a) 14-19 Advanced Diploma
b) International Baccalaureates
c) Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers
d) Irish Highers
e) European Baccalaureate
The requirements for all qualifications vary between universities and it is important that you check each school’s website for their specific requirements. UCAS is also a great place to find more information.
Most dental schools accept graduate students into their 5 year programme. Candidates should have a 2:1 classification in a science subject.
Note that some dental schools have an accelerated four-year programme for graduate students holding a 2:1 in a course heavily based in Biology and Chemistry. These requirements vary between schools and you should research to clarify information for each school.
Schools currently offering 4-year programmes: University of Aberdeen, King's College London, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Central Lancashire, University of Liverpool
Foundation Year Courses
If your A-Level qualifications are NOT SCIENCE SUBJECTS or you have satisfied certain Widening Participation criteria, you may apply for a Foundation year course/Pre-Dental entry. The first year may typically comprise Chemistry, Biology and Physics courses after which you will enter the standard 5-year dental surgery programme.
Not all schools offer this foundation year option and you should research and contact the individual schools for their specific requirements.
Usually dental schools will allow you to defer your entrance by 12 months. However, it is best to state that you intend to defer on your UCAS application as requests for deferral after you have been accepted are not always granted and you may have to re-apply.
Some universities require candidates to take the UKCAT (United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test), BMAT (British Medical Admissions Test) or the GAMSAT (Graduate Medical Schools Admission Test).
Again, be sure to contact and research the universities to find out whether they require you to take these tests, as you will need to take the required tests before you submit your UCAS application. The significance placed on your result in the tests varys greatly between different universities. Look on individual university websites to find out more.