School of Dental Medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the prerequisites?
The prerequisites are 1 year (8 semester credits) each of general physics, general biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry - all with labs, plus 1 year of English (6 semester credits) and 1 semester of biochemistry (3 semester credits). It is very highly recommended these courses be completed at the time of application. A minimum of 90 semester credits is also required with no more than 60 earned at a 2-year community/junior college. A grade of “C” or higher must be attained in the prerequisite courses.
Is a bachelor's degree required?
No, a bachelor's degree is not required. You may apply to UNLV as long as the prerequisites have been taken and you will have the minimum 90 credits before you start dental school. However, having a degree will give an applicant a competitive edge and is recommended.
What should I major in?
Most applicants have majors in the sciences - biology, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, etc. However, you may have any major so long as the prerequisites have been completed. It is advisable that additional upper division biology courses be taken in preparation for the first year of dental school.
What are the GPA and DAT scores you will be looking for?
An applicant would be considered competitive if he/she had GPA of 3.4 in the sciences and overall and 19’s on the DAT, specifically the total science, PAT and academic average sections.
How long is dental school?
Dental school is a 4-year full time program.
What is the curriculum?
The curriculum is as follows:
  • Biomedical and Oral Health Sciences – Study and competencies of breadth and depth of biomedical sciences for the oral health professional with emphasis on the orofacial complex and its relation to systemic health disease
  • Competency in Dental Practice – Study and competencies for the clinical practice of dentistry with an emphasis on general dentistry, serving the lifespan of patients
  • Clinical and Professional Studies – Study and competencies of the values, ethics, legal and regulatory aspects of health professional practice, including practicing in the public, academic and private health enterprises
  • Public Health and Externships – Hands-on participation in service learning and in dental services under close supervision of faculty and associated faculty. A related academic curriculum is required, including classroom assignments and case presentations.
What if I have taken courses at a foreign institution. Can I still get credit for them?
Courses taken in a foreign country are not automatically accepted. You must have your transcript evaluated by a credentialing service that will provide a report of whether or not the courses are equivalent to those taken at an accredited U.S. institution. For more information, contact ECE at (414) 289-3800. An application may also be obtained from their website. The cost of a course-by-course evaluation is approximately $135.
When is the best time to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)?
An applicant would be ready to take the DAT after completing 1 year of general biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry. It is best to have scores at the time of application or by September before the application year. Interview decisions may be held up if DAT scores are needed; in other words, the sooner the better. UNLV will accept test scores no older than 3-years. As of May, 2008, the Canadian DAT scores will not be accepted.
What if I retake the DAT?
It would be advisable to be prepared the first time you take the test. Studies have shown repeaters do not markedly improve their scores and in some cases score lower. If an applicant has retaken the test, the highest of each section will be taken. Keep in mind you will have to wait 90 days between test dates.
When do I turn in my AADSAS application?
AADSAS will begin processing applications June 1st. Although UNLV's deadline isn't until January 1st, it is recommended the application be turned in as early as possible. The sooner a file is complete, the sooner it is reviewed by the committee for interview decisions. Interviews are mandatory and by invitation only. The committee will typically begin reviewing files as early as August and start interviewing in September. Please note that it is the applicant's responsibility to check with the Office of Admissions to ensure their file is complete and not lacking supporting documents.
How soon will I find out if I am accepted? 
After the interview, acceptances will be sent out beginning December 1st and continue until the class of 75 is filled (rolling admission).
When do I turn in my supplemental application and fee?
The Office of Admissions will accept supplemental applications and fees even before receiving the AADSAS application. However, processing of application materials will commence once the AADSAS is received.
How do I get a supplemental application?
Supplemental applications will be sent once the AADSAS is received. However, if you wish to turn in your application ahead of time, you may download the application from our website at A money order or cashier's check of $50 made payable to the Board of Regents is required plus a 2" x 2" color photograph.
Does UNLV grant a waiver for the supplemental application fee?
No, unfortunately there are no fee waivers given for any circumstances.
How can I get residency status other than applying for reclassification after the first year in dental school?
In order to be considered a resident, you must have been living in the state at least 12 consecutive months prior to matriculation. You are automatically considered a resident if you have graduated from a high school in this state.
How many letters of evaluation are needed? Do I need a committee letter?
Three letters of evaluation are required of which two must be from science professors. It is preferred that the third letter come from a liberal arts professor but an employer, pastor, etc is acceptable. In addition to the 3 letters, a letter from a dentist you have observed or worked for is required. Not all schools have prehealth professions committees. If your school does, then a committee letter will fulfill the requirement of three letters.
What if I’ve been out of school for over 10 years and cannot reach my professors for letters?
A letter from a dentist is still required but in lieu of the science professors, employers, and/or colleagues may be used as references. A note explaining your circumstances must be sent to us.
I am a graduate of a foreign dental program. How can I obtain a degree from your school?
UNLV does not have a specific program for foreign-trained dentists. Our program will require starting from the beginning and completing the four-year training. The application procedure is the same for all prospective students—applying through AADSAS, submitting DAT scores, letters of evaluation, etc. If National Boards have been taken, it may be used in lieu of the DAT but will be determined on an individual basis. There are programs for foreign-trained dentists where a two-year clinical training results in a DDS or DMD degree. The programs nearest to Nevada are in California at Loma Linda University or University of Southern California.
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