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Admissions Requirements


Minimum eligibility for UCSF School of Dentistry consideration

Students who wish to apply for admission into the first-year dental class must meet certain minimum eligibility requirements:

  1. California residents must have a minimum overall and science college grade-point average of 2.70. Non-California residents must have a minimum overall and science college grade-point average of 3.0.
  2. All applicants must have minimum Dental Admissions Test (DAT) scores of 17 in the Total Science and Academic Average sections. For information see: Dental Admission Test (DAT) FAQ'S 
  3. All applicants must be in good academic standing (not on probation) at their current or last school attended.
  4. They must present evidence that they have completed, or will complete within the specified time frame, the minimum transferable prerequisite coursework.

Additional information on minimum University requirements can be obtained from the Information for Prospective Students brochure available at all University of California undergraduate offices.


Essential Abilities Required for Completion of the DDS Degree


Dentistry is the art and science of maintaining the health of the teeth and surrounding oral structures. It involves physical evaluation of patients, prevention of oral and dental diseases, disease diagnosis, and therapy. The UCSF School of Dentistry intends for its graduates to become competent and compassionate dentists who are capable of meeting all requirements for licensure. In order to successfully complete the DDS degree, participate in all necessary aspects of dental training, and meet licensing requirements, a student must possess a minimum of certain essential physical and cognitive and emotional abilities. That an individual student may intend to practice only a narrow aspect of clinical dentistry, or to pursue a non-clinical career, does not alter the requirement that all dental students must complete and demonstrate competency in the entire curriculum. For the purposes of this document and unless otherwise defined, the term "candidate" refers to candidates for admission to the dental school as well as enrolled dental students who are candidates for promotion and graduation.

The School of Dentistry has an ethical and professional responsibility for the safety of patients with whom students and graduates will come in contact. Although students learn and work under the supervision of the faculty, students interact with patients throughout their dental school education. Therefore, patient safety and well-being are major determinants for establishing requirements involving the physical, cognitive, and emotional abilities of candidates for admission, promotion, and graduation. The essential abilities and characteristics described herein are also referred to as technical standards. They are described below in several broad categories including: observation communication, motor function, and social and behavioral skills.

Technical Standards

I. OBSERVATION: Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in experiments of science, including but not limited to such things as dissection of cadavers; examination of specimens in anatomy, pathology, and neuroanatomy laboratories; and microscopic study of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. Candidates must be able to accurately observe patients and assess findings. They must be able to obtain a medical history and perform a physical evaluation and comprehensive oral evaluation in order to integrate findings based on these observations and to develop an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan. These skills require the use of vision, hearing, and touch or the functional equivalent.

II. COMMUNICATION: Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with patients, their families, and members of the health care team. They must be able to obtain a medical history in a culturally competent manner, interpret non-verbal aspects of communication, and establish therapeutic relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to record information accurately and clearly; and communicate effectively in English with other health care professionals in a variety of patient settings.

III. MOTOR FUNCTION: Candidates must possess the capacity to perform procedures requiring the use of fine motor skills. They must be able to respond to clinical situations in a timely manner and provide general and emergency dental care. Such activities require functional physical mobility and coordination of both gross and fine motor skills. They must adhere to universal infection protocols and meet established safety standards applicable to inpatient and outpatient settings and other clinical activities.

IV. BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL ATTRIBUTES: Candidates must demonstrate the maturity and emotional stability required for full use of their intellectual abilities. They must accept responsibility for learning, exercising good judgment, and promptly completing all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. They must understand the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of dentistry and function within both the law and ethical standards of the dental profession. Candidates must be able to interact with patients, their families, and health care personnel in a courteous, professional, and respectful manner. They must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads to function effectively under stress, and to display flexibility and adaptability to changing environments. Candidates must be able to contribute to collaborative, constructive learning environments; accept constructive feedback from others; and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes.

Equal Access to the School of Dentistry Educational Program.  When considering candidates for admission, the School of Dentistry abides by the non-discrimination policy of the University as outlined at:


Applicants for admission to the dental curriculum must meet the requirements for admission to the University of California as well as the requirements outlined below. Although all course requirements need not be completed at the time of application, they must be completed by the end of the spring session before the desired date of enrollment.

Course Prerequisites

Completion of 139 quarter units or 93 semester units (exclusive of repeated and nontransferable courses) of college work at an accredited institution is a minimum requirement for admission to the UCSF School of Dentistry dental curriculum. A minimum of 30 quarter units or 20 semester units must be completed at an accredited four-year institution. These units must include the following subjects:

Minimum Unit RequirementsQuarter UnitsSemester Units
a. English

Two courses in English composition. (Note: ESL, Scientific, Professional, Technical and Creative Writing classes do not fulfill the English requirement)

b. Inorganic Chemistry with Laboratory A minimum of three quarters or two semesters of inorganic chemistry with laboratory.128
c. Organic chemistry with laboratory A minimum of two quarters or one semester of organic chemistry with laboratory.84
d. Biochemistry (Note: must be taken at a 4-year institution)43
e. Physics A minimum of three quarters or two semesters of physics with laboratory.128
f. Biological sciences One year of general biology or zoology with laboratory, designed for science majors. Vertebrate zoology is strongly recommended. (Anatomy, botany or elementary courses of a descriptive nature cannot be used to complete this requirement.)128
g. Psychology General psychology.43
h. Social sciences, humanities, or foreign language (in addition to requirements "a" and "g").1611
i. Additional electives to bring the total number of units to at least 139 quarter units or 93 semester units. (Recommended: embryology, comparative vertebrate anatomy, genetics, statistics)6342

You must earn at least a “C” grade in requirements “a” through “g’

It is to the applicant's advantage to complete the prerequisites before taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and filing an application. It is required that all above prerequisite courses and units be completed by the end of the spring term of the year of intended enrollment. No required coursework may be taken during the summer prior to fall registration.

We regret that the School of Dentistry is unable to offer advising services at this time.

Approved course lists for all UC, CSU and California Community Colleges can be found on ASSIST. Course substitutions are not allowed.

To determine what coursework from private California schools or out-of-state schools will satisfy our prerequisites, please consult with an advisor at your school.

Advanced Placement (AP) Tests

While actual course work is preferred by our faculty, applicants may use AP Tests to partially fulfill the prerequisites. In order to have AP Tests applied towards the prerequisites, applicants must submit an official copy of their AP Test Score Report from Educational Testing Services (ETS). Using School Code 5482, you may contact ETS at to request that a copy of your score report be sent to our office.

AP credit may be applied in the following manner:

AP TestScoreFulfills (all units are quarter units)
General Chemistry3-5awards 8 units, one course (4 units) with lab still required
Biology3-5awards 8 units, one course (4 units) with lab still required
Physics B3-5awards 8 units, one course (4 units) with lab still required
Physics C, Mechanics3-5awards 4 units, two courses (8 units) with lab in electricity and magnetism still required
Physics C, Electricity and Magnetism3-5awards 4 units, two courses with lab in mechanics still required
Physics B & C3-5awards 8 units, one course (4units) with lab still required
English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition3awards 4 units, fulfills first 1/2 of prerequisite
4-5awards 8 units, fulfills entire prerequisite
Psychology3-5awards 4 units, fulfills entire prerequisite
Humanities and Social Science (includes the following):3-5awards 4 units each towards social sciences, humanities or foreign language electives
Art History, European History, French, German Language, Government & Politics, Human Geography, Latin, Macro-Economics, Micro-Economics, Music Theory, Spanish, Studio Art, US History, World History

International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams:

Applicants may also use IB Exams to partially fulfill some prerequisites. In order to have IB Exams applied towards the prerequisites, applicants must have an official copy of their IB transcript sent directly to UCSF.  Information on requesting transcripts can be found at:

IB credit may be applied in the following manner: Scores of 5, 6 or 7 on Higher Level exams award 8 quarter units in the subject.  For chemistry, biology an physics, students must still take at least one 4 quarter unit course with lab in the subject.