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

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.

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.

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