Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.)

Update Regarding COVID-19

A Message from the Director of Admissions and Recruiting, Dr. Joan E. Kowolik:

This message is to help applicants and prospective applicants to Indiana University School of Dentistry understand how we are responding to the unprecedented effects on education and grades of the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that everyone is feeling great stress at this time and wish to remove the pressure of grades for many students.

Pass/Fail Grades: - Our school will accept pass/fail grades, without prejudice, for courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. We always consider every student in a holistic manner reviewing each applicant individually. Although we are making this statement we do not want any student to feel pressured to take a course with a pass/fail grade when another might be an option.

CASPer and DAT tests – Applications are not processed until all test results are submitted with the AADSAS application. The majority of our interviews are still being held in the Fall but there will be limited number of interviews held in the Spring to allow inclusion of later DAT exams. However, December 1, 2020, is the deadline for consideration for the Spring interviews by which time all test scores should have been received.

Letters Of Recommendation - Due to the COVID -19 pandemic, the admissions committee understands that there may be some difficulty obtaining letters of recommendation. Therefore they will accept letters from academic advisors, research supervisors and other instructors to complete this requirement. If possible all letters should be on university letterhead and signed or contain a digital signature. A PDF letter from the recommender will be accepted this year.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their application on time even if some or all of these are not available.

Apply to the Doctor of Dental Surgery program

The Indiana University School of Dentistry offers a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree program that prepares students for clinical practice or graduate education. The program is four academic years (eight semesters and four summer sessions) in length and requires the completion of 121 required courses consisting of 172.5 credit hours.

The school also offers dual degree programs that allow students to earn a D.D.S. and a Master of Public Health or a D.D.S. and a Ph.D. in Dental Sciences.


Technical standards

You also must meet certain technical standards to be admitted to the D.D.S. program.

Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) is committed to ensure that the opportunity to pursue oral health education is available to all qualified persons without regard to disability. In this spirit, all qualified individuals are considered for admission.

All IUSD students must: 1) have completed the appropriate application process, 2) have fulfilled all prerequisites as determined by IUSD, 3) be capable of acquiring the necessary knowledge, and 4) have the ability to perform or learn to perform the skills specified in these standards with or without a reasonable accommodation. The faculty at IUSD has determined that the skills listed below are essential to the curriculum and are necessary to ensure that graduates of the program are fully prepared to practice dentistry. Although these skills are necessary for admission and retention, successful completion of the DDS program will require meeting other academic and professional standards as specified in the curriculum and in other institutional policies.

IUSD recognizes that the award of the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree (and other degrees offered by IUSD) carries with it the full authority of the institution and communicates to the public that the individual who has earned this degree is competent to practice dentistry. The DDS is a comprehensive degree, unique in that the graduate, after passing a licensing examination, is permitted
to offer patient care in all areas within dentistry.

This means that every dental student must acquire and demonstrate the didactic knowledge, as well as motor, sensory/observational, communication, cognitive, and behavioral skills in order to complete the curriculum and be fully prepared for dental practice. To develop those skills, IUSD acknowledges that the unique DDS curriculum requires a myriad technical, intellectual, and interpersonal skills of its graduates. The faculty is mindful that the curriculum is stressful, requiring both emotional stability and physical stamina. Applicants to the program thus must possess the skills and abilities that will allow them to successfully complete the course of study and receive the full benefit of the education. It is important to note that during the DDS program, students are required to both perform and direct
treatment on IUSD's patients.

Ultimately, the faculty has the responsibility to ensure the safety and proper care of these patients. This includes the completion of treatment safely and within a reasonable amount of time. Because the faculty is mindful of the rigors of the curriculum, the immense responsibility for safe patient treatment, and the fact that the DDS signifies readiness for dental practice, no accommodation can be granted that would result in undue hardship to the institution, would pose a direct threat to patients or others, or would fundamentally alter the curriculum. Accordingly, IUSD has determined that the DDS student must be able to meet the following technical standards for admission to or retention in the program. Students who are accepted and matriculate will be expected to sign a statement that they can meet the technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations.

Students must have or be able to acquire sufficient motor function so that they are able to execute movements required to provide general care and treatment to patients, both during the DDS program and at completion of the curriculum. This means the student must possess motor skills necessary to direct palpation, bimanual manipulation, fine tactile perception, and other diagnostic maneuvers, as well as basic laboratory procedures. Such activities require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional uses of the senses of touch and vision.

Students must be able to perform basic life support procedures, including CPR, and position and reposition themselves around the patient and dental chair in either a standing or sitting position. Students must be able to operate foot controls utilizing fine movements, operate high and low speed hand pieces, which require controlled intraoral and extra oral movements of less than one millimeter, and utilize hand instrumentation, including scalpels for surgical procedures.

Students must be able to master a defined level of information as presented though demonstrations and experiences in the biomedical and dental sciences. This includes but is not limited to: information conveyed through microbiological cultures and microscopic images of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. Students must be able to efficiently acquire information from written documents and to visualize information presented in images on paper, film, slides, or video. Students must interpret radiographic and other graphic images, with or without the use of assistive devices.

Students must have functional use of visual, auditory and tactile sensation.

In practice, a dentist must be able to observe a patient accurately, both at a distance and close at hand, and must notice and appreciate nonverbal communication when performing dental operations or administering medications. Thus, students in the DDS program must be able to perform visual and tactile dental examinations and treatment, including the use of visual acuity, accommodation, and color vision to discern the differences and variations in color, shape and general appearance between normal and abnormal soft and hard tissues. Use of tactile senses may be either direct palpation or indirect through instrumentation. Students must also possess the visual acuity to read charts, records, small print and handwritten notation, and distinguish color intraorally and extraorally. The type and degree of color blindness will determine a student's limitations. Of color blindness, daltonism is surmountable, while achromatic vision is not.

Good communication skills are essential for any health care provider and are stressed in the DDS curriculum. Therefore, a student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with patients, faculty, staff and students in both oral and written forms.

Because successful dental practice depends on timely and efficient rendering of patient care services, students in the DDS program must have sufficient facility in English to obtain information from a variety of learning resources, convey concepts and knowledge on written examinations administered during a specific time period, elicit patient histories, problems and symptoms, record in and retrieve information from patient charts, and coordinate patient care with all members of the health care team.

Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, interpret, integrate, synthesize and diagnose. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of dentists, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Because dental care must be rendered in a timely and orderly fashion, students must be able to demonstrate cognitive skills in specified times and setting.

Students must possess the emotional health and stability required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, for the exercise of good judgment, in the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to diagnoses and care of patients, and in the development of mature sensitive and effective relationships with patients, staff and other health care practitioners. Students must be able to tolerate physically and emotionally challenging workloads and to function effectively under stress, while in the DDS program and at completion of the degree. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, to function in a climate of uncertainty in health care and to treat patients with compassion and integrity.
The IU School of Dentistry will work to ensure that all qualified students, consistent with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, will have the opportunity to succeed in the College's programs of study. Admitted DDS students in need of disability accommodations should contact the IUSD Assistant Dean for Diversity and Student Success
( who will work with the IUPUI Office of Adaptive Educational Services (AES)
(; 317-274-3241) and follow standardized procedures to evaluate the request.

Step 3: Visit the School of Dentistry for a personal interview

If your AADSAS application has been verified and released to our office by the American Dental Education Association, IUSD will begin reviewing your application. It may take 4-6 weeks from the date of submission to ADEA before our office will have a chance to review your application. If you are offered an interview, you will be notified through the email listed in your AADSAS application. The interview offer will provide guidelines, expectations, and interview logistics. Historically, interviews are conducted throughout the fall of the application year but may vary from cycle to cycle.