Pre-Dental @ IUPUI

Pre-Dental student in IU School of Dentistry

Interested in a Career in Dentistry?

The School of Science office for Pre-Professional & Career Preparation (PREPs) will support you throughout the process of preparing for dental school.

From advising you on pre-requisite courses and professional development activities to helping you through the application process, PREPs can assist you in every step.

Admission to dental school is very competitive. You need to plan thoroughly from the start to be successful. The links below include detailed information on everything from the courses to the application process.

If you are an IUPUI School of Science student, we strongly encourage you to make an appointment to meet with a pre-professional advisor. The Make An Appointment link is on the right!

Join the PREPs Pre-Professional Advising Canvas Site


Pre-Requisites for Dental School

The minimum requirements for dental school include 90 credit hours of coursework. A Bachelor's degree is strongly recommended. In addition applicants should also show evidence of manual dexterity.

All pre-dentistry students must complete at least one year of biology, two years of chemistry (general and organic), one year of physics, and one year of college algebra and trigonometry. Applicants must demonstrate a strong academic record and, in most cases, do well on an entrance exam. Experience in the field, whether volunteer work, job shadowing, or paid experience, is also very important to help the admissions committee understand the student's passion for the profession.

Prerequisite courses for the IU School of Dentistry

  • BIOL-K101 Concepts of Biology I (5 cr.)
  • BIOL-K103 Concepts of Biology II (5 cr.)
  • BIOL-K384 Biological Chemistry or CHEM-C384 (3 cr.)
  • BIOL-K356 Microbiology OR BIOL K338 Immunology (3 cr.)
  • BIOL-K324 Cell Biology (3cr.)
  • BIOL-N217 Human Physiology (5 cr.)
  • BIOL-N261 Human Anatomy (5 cr.)
  • CHEM-C105 / CHEM-C125 Principles of Chemistry I/Lab  (3 cr./2 cr.)
  • CHEM-C106 / CHEM-C126 Principles of Chemistry II/Lab (3 cr./2 cr.)
  • CHEM-C341 / CHEM-C343 Organic Chemistry I/Lab (3 cr./2 cr.)
  • CHEM-C342 Organic Chemistry II(3 cr.)
  • PHYS-P201 General Physics I  (5 cr.)
  • PHYS-P202 General Physics II  (5 cr.)
  • PSY-B110 Introduction to Psychology (3 cr.)
  • ENG-W131 English Composition I (3 cr.)
  • COMM-R110 Fundamentals of Speech Communication (3 cr.)

Dental School Timeline

Download the Dental School Timeline to help you stay on track for dental school!

Entrance Exams

All dental schools have different requirements for admission, but most schools require the completion of the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a standardized exam designed to assess competencies in areas important for success in dental school and a career as a dentist.  There are four sections to the DAT: Survey of the Natural Sciences (including biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry), Perceptual Ability Test, Reading Comprehension Test, and Quantitative Reasoning Test. Although coursework in physics is required for admission to dental school, physics is not a subject covered by the DAT.

If you plan to go straight into dental school after you complete your senior year of college you should plan to take the DAT in the summer after your junior year at the latest, so that dental schools will be able to review your completed applications by late summer and offer you interviews for early fall.

A fundamental way to begin to prepare for the DAT is to review the content of the exam.  Review the concepts and ask yourself if you are familiar with them. You should prepare intensively through taking repeated practice DAT exams. Students should familiarize themselves in particular with the perceptual ability problems that are included on the DAT.

You may take the DAT up to three times (in order to take it more than three times applicants must apply for special permission). You must wait 90 days between exam dates.

Gaining Relevant Experience

Professional Shadowing

Professional shadowing, or job shadowing, is another means of career exploration in which you observe a professional at work. With a professional shadow, you can learn more about a profession before you invest too much time preparing for a career that may not be right for you.

Indiana University School of Dentistry requires 100 hours of general dentistry shadowing.

For more information on job shadowing, visit our Job Shadowing Page. There you can download a free copy of our Professional Development Directory for a list of professional shadowing contacts. 

The Application Process

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) provides a centralized application service called ADDSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Service) that allows applicants to submit one initial, primary application in order to apply to multiple dental schools. Most dental schools participate in AADSAS, although there are some that do not.

The process of applying to most dental schools works like this: 1) you fill out one online primary application, choose the schools you would like to receive the application, and send any supplemental materials requested by them; 2) those schools receive your application, review it, and if they would like to consider you further for admission they send you supplemental application materials or contact you to schedule an interview.

It is recommended that you try to complete and submit this application by mid-June, in order to leave ample time for processing.  You should also make sure that all supplemental materials are submitted to dental schools by early August, so that dental schools may have time to review your application and invite you for an early fall interview.