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.
Apply to the Doctor of Dental Surgery program
Contact usOffice of Academic Programs
1121 W. Michigan Street, Room 105
Indianapolis, IN 46202
- Phone: 317-274-8173
- Fax: 317-278-9066
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dental Admissions Committee uses a holistic review process to select a diverse group of qualified applicants for admission to the D.D.S. program. The committee will consider your academic record, technical skills, DAT score, letters of academic recommendation, personal interview, and exposure to the field of dentistry, as well as your motivation, character, personality, and ethics.
When reviewing your academic record, the Dental Admissions Committee will consider your cumulative GPA, your science GPA, the number of credit hours you have completed as an undergraduate, and whether you have satisfactorily completed all prerequisite coursework.
The School of Dentistry does not give preference to IU graduates.
Any undergraduate major is acceptable for application to the D.D.S. program, provided that you complete all prerequisite coursework prior to entering the program.
A minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework must be completed by the time you enter the program. You must complete at least 30 of the 90 credit hours at a four-year college or university. Preference is given to applicants who have completed an undergraduate degree.
If you have fewer than 60 credit hours at the time you apply, your application will not be considered.
You should complete as many prerequisite courses as possible prior to applying. All prerequisites must be completed by May 31st of the year in which you plan to enter the program.
You should take upper-level courses intended for science majors at a four-year college or university to fulfill the science prerequisites. Up to 4 credit hours of AP credit in a nonscience discipline may be used to fulfill prerequisites.
You must complete the equivalent of 20 credit hours of coursework in the biological sciences. Only courses intended for science majors will count toward fulfilling this prerequisite.
- Human, mammalian, or comparative anatomy, or histology (lecture and lab)
- Human, mammalian, or cell physiology (lecture)
- Microbiology or immunology (lecture)
- Cell biology, biochemistry, or molecular biology (lecture)
You must complete the equivalent of 12 credit hours of coursework in chemistry. Only courses intended for science majors will count toward fulfilling this prerequisite.
- General chemistry or inorganic chemistry (lecture and lab)
- Organic chemistry (lecture and lab)
You must complete 8 credit hours of coursework in physics. Only courses intended for science or engineering majors will count toward fulfilling this prerequisite.
You must complete 3 credit hours of coursework in the social sciences, including at least one of these courses:
- Communication studies
You must complete 3 credit hours of coursework in the humanities, including at least one of these courses:
- English composition
- Foreign language
You also must meet certain technical standards to be admitted to the D.D.S. program.
The Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) is committed to the principle of diversity in all areas. In that spirit, admission to IUSD is open to all qualified individuals and complies with all applicable state and federal nondiscrimination laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Indiana Civil Rights Law. IUSD will consider applicants who 1) have completed the appropriate application process, 2) have fulfilled all prerequisites, 3) are capable of acquiring the necessary knowledge, and 4) have the ability to perform or learn to perform the skills specified in these standards. 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 Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) 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 D.D.S. degree 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 D.D.S. 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 to be fully prepared for dental practice.
IUSD acknowledges that the unique D.D.S. curriculum requires 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 D.D.S. program, students are required to both perform and direct treatment on IUSD’s patients. Ultimately, the faculty has the responsibility of ensuring 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 D.D.S. signifies readiness for dental practice, a student can be denied admission to the D.D.S. program or disenrolled from the program if accommodating a student's disability would result in undue hardship to the institution, would pose a direct threat to patients, or would compromise the academic integrity of the program or create a fundamental alteration in the degree program. With this in mind, IUSD has determined that the D.D.S. student must be able to meet the following technical standards for admission to or retention in the program.
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 D.D.S. 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 either in a standing or sitting position. Students must be able to operate foot controls utilizing fine movements, operate high- and low-speed hand pieces that require controlled intraoral and extraoral 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 D.D.S. 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 to 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 D.D.S. 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 D.D.S. 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 time periods and settings.
Students must possess the emotional health and stability required for full utilization of their 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 D.D.S. 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.
Although the IUSD faculty may not inquire whether an applicant has a disability prior to making a decision on admission, an applicant to the D.D.S. program may disclose a disability for which he or she wishes accommodation during the application process. If this occurs, the director of admissions will request that the applicant provide documentation of the disability. The applicant should submit a written request for accommodation and documentation of the disability to the IUPUI Office of Adaptive Educational Services (AES), where AES staff will review the request and documentation, establish whether the applicant has a qualified disability for which an accommodation is due, and make or confirm recommendations for accommodations, if any, to the D.D.S. Admissions Committee. The D.D.S. Admissions Committee will consider the applicant based on the published criteria for admission for all applicants. The committee will make a determination as to whether the applicant can perform the essential skills of the D.D.S. curriculum, including the skills described above, taking into account the accommodations that the applicant has requested or any effective alternative reasonable accommodations.
If a student discloses a disability after admission and requests an accommodation, the student must provide documentation of disability so that appropriate accommodations may be considered. Such a request should be initiated with the IUSD associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, who shall follow the same procedures for evaluating the request as described above. The Curriculum Committee shall make a determination as to whether a recommended accommodation can be granted or if any effective alternative reasonable accommodations are possible.
IUSD will provide reasonable accommodations but is not required to make modification or provide auxiliary aids or services that would fundamentally alter the nature and substance of the D.D.S. curriculum, present undue hardship for the institution, pose a direct threat to the safety of patients, or compromise the academic integrity of the D.D.S. program. The student must be able to perform the essential skills of the D.D.S. curriculum, including the skills described above, with or without accommodation, in order to begin or continue in the program.
You must apply both to the School of Dentistry and to IUPUI in order to be admitted to the D.D.S. program.
Step 1: Apply to the School of Dentistry
The School of Dentistry uses the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS), an online application service managed by the American Dental Education Association, to receive applications for the D.D.S. program. Only AADSAS-verified applications that have all required application materials and are submitted by the deadline will be considered.
All application materials must be submitted via AADSAS. Do not send any application materials to the School of Dentistry.
Required application materials include:
AADSAS begins accepting applications in early June each year. The application deadline is October 15 each year; however, it is strongly recommended that you submit your application as soon as possible after the application cycle opens in June.
All applicants must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The School of Dentistry accepts your most recent DAT score, regardless of whether it is higher or lower than any previous scores. You must have taken the DAT no more than three years prior to the date you submit your application. Canadian DAT scores are accepted.
Your score report must be sent directly from the ADA to AADSAS. When you fill out the AADSAS application, you will receive instructions on how to have the ADA send your score report.
You must submit three letters of academic recommendation as part of your application.
- All three letters must be submitted with the author's original signature on official letterhead.
- Two of the letters must be from science faculty members under whom you studied in a college or university setting.
- One of the two science faculty letters may be submitted by a research faculty member who guided you on a significant science research project.
- The third letter of choice should be from an instructor from any area of study or dentist with whom you have shadowed within the 12 months prior to the date of your application, and who is able to evaluate your skill, character, and potential for success in the program.
- Please note that we accept only letters under the prescribed content and formatting, all others will be rejected.
All recommendations must be submitted directly to AADSAS. When you fill out your AADSAS application, you will provide the names of your recommenders and their contact information, and AADSAS will contact them via email with instructions on how to submit a recommendation. The email will include a link to an online portal where they will upload their recommendations.
Each recommendation must:
- Be on school letterhead.
- Include the recommender’s original signature.
We encourage you to let your recommenders know that they will receive an email from AADSAS with your request for a letter of academic recommendation. The School of Dentistry’s Office of Admissions and Student Affairs ensures that recommendations are valid by calling recommenders at random.
You must request official transcripts from each college or university you have attended. When you fill out the AADSAS application, you will receive instructions for submitting your transcripts.
You must spend a minimum of 100 hours shadowing oral health professionals in dental offices. It is recommended that you do your shadowing in at least three general dentistry practice settings. Shadowing in specialty practices, public health clinics, and other environments also counts toward the 100-hour minimum.
When you fill out the AADSAS application, you will receive instructions for submitting documentation of your hours.
CASPer is an online test allowing assessment of non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. CASPer will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. The CASPer implementation will allow us to enhance fairness and objectivity in our holistic review selection process.
In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a computer with audio capabilities, a webcam, and a reliable internet connection on your selected test date. CASPer can be taken practically anywhere that you can satisfy the aforementioned requirements. No exceptions will be provided for applicants unable to take CASPer online due to being located at sites where internet is not dependable due to technical or political factors.
Please go to www.takeCASPer.com to sign up and reserve a test using your AADSAS ID number and a form of government-issued photo ID (passport, state driver’s license).
You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly; there may be updates to the test schedule. Always check you spam folder for important correspondence.
Please direct any inquiries on the test to email@example.com. Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the takecasper.com website.
The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections of video and written scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of probing questions under a time contract. The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete. Each response is graded by a different rater, giving a very robust and reliable view of personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required for CASPer, although you may want to familiarize yourself with the test structure at takeCASPer.com, and ensure you have a quiet environment to take the test.
CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.
Step 2: Apply to IUPUI
To apply for admission to IUPUI, you must complete the Graduate and Professional Admissions Application and pay a $80 application fee.
Do not submit a personal statement or upload any additional documents with your IUPUI application. If you have any questions about applying to IUPUI, contact the IUPUI Graduate Office.
Go to the Graduate and Professional Admissions Application home page. If you do not have an IU computing account, select “Create a new guest account.” If you have an IU computing account, use your existing username and passphrase to sign in.
Answer the question “What are your current academic intentions?” by selecting “To apply to a professional degree program.”
Intended Program and Plan
Answer the question “What type of degree do you intend to pursue?” by selecting “Dental School.”
- When the dropdown menu for “Academic Program” appears, select “Dentistry Professional.”
- When the dropdown menu for “Academic Plan” appears, select “Dental Surgery DDS.”
External Application Number
Your external application number is your AADSAS ID.
Step 3: Visit the School of Dentistry for a personal interview
If your AADSAS application is complete and you submit it correctly, the School of Dentistry will receive it approximately six weeks after you submit it. The Dental Admissions Committee will review it and determine whether to extend an interview offer to you. The dental school typically conducts interviews from September through November, and the committee begins making interview offers in late summer of each admission cycle.
The Dental Admissions Committee modified its interview process for this cycle to include a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) component along with the traditional interview format. The interview process for applicants will be completed over a two-day period, Friday / Saturday, on designated dates. Attendance for both days is required.
You may wish to tentatively mark the following dates on your planner or calendar in the event you are selected for an on-campus interview:
September 20 and 21, 2019
November 1 and 2, 2019
November 8 and 9, 2019