Which major should I choose?
While the practice of dentistry is grounded in scientific principles, there are no specific majors you must choose in order to be admitted to a professional program.
However, a major in the science field does help complete the required classes and prepare you for the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Some of the most common at SUNY Cortland include:
What classes are prerequisites for dental school admissions?
Most dental schools require the following courses:
- Biological Sciences I and II with labs (BIO 201 and BIO 202)
- General Chemistry I and II with labs (CHE 221 and CHE 222)
- Organic Chemistry I and II with labs (CHE 301, CHE 302, and CHE 304)
- Physics I and II with labs (PHY 105 and PHY 106)
- Mathematics - full year of Calculus (MAT 121 and 122) or one semester of Calculus and one semester of Statistics (MAT 201)
- Most require that you take a year of English (CPN 100 and CPN 101)
Some also require the courses below, while others simply suggest them as beneficial:
- Cellular Biology (BIO 210)
- Genetics (BIO 312)
- Microbiology (BIO 304)
- Human Anatomy (BIO 324) and Human Physiology (BIO 514)
- Biochemistry (CHE 451)
- Psychology (PSY 101)
- Sociology (SOC 150)
Most dental schools also note that the following courses can be advantageous:
- Basic business courses. Many dentists end up in private practice.
- Applied art courses. Sculpture (ATS 106) to develop manual dexterity; drawing, painting and ceramics courses also help.
- Foreign Language
* Check individual school websites for specific required and recommended courses.
What are other requirements for dental school admissions?
- GPA of 3.4 or higher to be considered a competitive applicant
- Shadowing experience with a dentist
- Score of 18 or higher on each section of the DAT
What are some other tips?
- Outstanding grades and an excellent DAT score are essential, but it is also important that you are a well-rounded student with other interests and activities on your application, both dental-related and otherwise.
- Taking on leadership roles and participating in activities outside of the classroom demonstrates that you can effectively interact with people, which is necessary for success in dentistry.
- Some leadership roles that exist at SUNY Cortland: participation in a student organization such as SUNY Cortland Emergency Medical Services; tutor or teaching assistant; supplemental instructor; resident assistant; student justice; or participation on a sports team.
Is there a timeline to make sure I stay on track for dental school?
- Work with your pre-dental advisor to plan courses and experiences that will help your dental school application.
- Begin to complete biology, chemistry and physics requirements. Early academic success is a must.
- Attend health-related events on campus. These are hosted by groups such as Alumni Engagement, Career Services, various student clubs and academic departments.
- Get involved on campus and off of it through undergraduate research, volunteer work, clinical experience or other areas that excite you.
- Practice mock interviews with the College’s Pre-Dental Advisory Committee before medical school admission interviews.
- Complete forms for financial aid.
- Send thank-you notes to evaluators and mentors.