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The application deadline is Oct. 15.

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Admissions Contact

Office of Admissions
Learner Success Center

513 Parnassus Ave., S619
San Francisco, CA 94143-0430
415.476.2737 (voice)
415.476.4226 (fax)

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission, you must meet the requirements outlined below and present evidence that you have completed, or will complete within the specified timeframe, the minimum transferable prerequisite coursework. 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 your intended date of enrollment.

Due to the large number of applicants in our pool, we are not able to offer application counseling. We suggest you seek advice from a counselor or pre-health adviser at your undergraduate institution.

We also recommend that you attend our information session and other pre-dental days sponsored by our student clubs. These can be found here.

Academic Standing

All applicants must be in good academic standing (not on probation) at their current or last school attended.

Course Prerequisites

You must complete a minimum of 139 quarter units or 93 semester units (exclusive of repeated and nontransferable courses) of college work at an accredited institution. At least 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 Requirements

Quarter Units

Semester 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.



c. Organic chemistry with laboratory: A minimum of two quarters or one semester of organic chemistry with laboratory.



d. Biochemistry: (Note: This must be taken at a 4-year institution.)



e. Physics: A minimum of three quarters or two semesters of physics with laboratory.



f. Biological sciences: One year of general biology or zoology with laboratory, designed for science majors. Vertebrate zoology is strongly recommended. (Note: Anatomy, botany or elementary courses of a descriptive nature cannot be used to complete this requirement.)



g. Psychology: General psychology.



h. Social sciences, humanities, or foreign language (in addition to requirements "a" and "g").



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)






You must earn at least a "C" grade in requirements "a" through "g."

We recommend that you complete the prerequisites before taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and filing an application.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

While actual coursework is preferred by our faculty, you may use AP exams to partially fulfill the prerequisites. In order to have AP exams applied toward the prerequisites, you must submit an official copy of your AP Test Score Report from the College Board. Using School Code 5482, you may contact the College Board to request that a copy of your score report be sent to our office.

AP credit may be applied in the following manner:

AP Exam


Units Awarded (All units are quarter units)

General Chemistry


8 (Note: one course [4 units] with lab still required)



8 (Note: one course [4 units] with lab still required)

Physics B


8 (Note: one course [4 units] with lab still required)

Physics C, Mechanics


4 (Note: two courses [8 units] with lab in electricity and magnetism still required)

Physics C, Electricity and Magnetism


4 (Note: two courses with lab in mechanics still required)

Physics B & C


8 (Note: one course [4 units] with lab still required)

English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition


4 (Note: fulfills first half of prerequisite)


8 (Note: fulfills entire prerequisite)



4 (Note: fulfills entire prerequisite)

Humanities and Social Science (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)


4 per exam toward social sciences, humanities or foreign language electives

International Baccalaureate Exams

You also may use IB exams to partially fulfill some prerequisites. In order to have IB Exams applied toward the prerequisites, you must have an official copy of your 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 and physics, you still must take at least one 4-quarter-unit course with lab in the subject.

Due to a large number of applicants in our pool, we are not able to offer application counseling. We advise prospective applicants to seek advice from a counselor or pre-health adviser at their undergraduate institution.

We also recommend that you attend our information session and other pre-dental days sponsored by our student clubs.

Application Procedures

We strongly advise applicants to apply early, to submit all materials as requested, and to promptly resolve any problems or questions that may arise, to ensure timely review and decision notification.

  1. Application: Applications are processed through the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). The application can be submitted starting June 5 (accessible starting May 15 for inputting information) and must be electronically submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Oct. 15. We advise you to begin your AADSAS application early to allow yourself sufficient time to complete it by the deadline since late applications will not be considered.
    The UCSF supplemental questions are in the UCSF School section of the AADSAS application. These biographical statement questions are listed below:
    We are interested in learning more about you as a person and the unique experiences, interests and skills that set you apart from other candidates. Your biographical statements are used to expand upon the information in your AADSAS application. The replies to these questions should not be a repeat of what you wrote in response to the questions in the AADSAS application.

    • DENTAL OR OTHER HEALTH CARE EXPERIENCE: Please choose one experience that you had in dental/health care field listed on your application. Describe what you learned from this experience and how it influenced and/or reinforced your career choice. (500-character limit)
    • LEADERSHIP SKILLS OR SELF-INITIATIVE: Describe your most difficult leadership experience and tell us how it was resolved. Why was it difficult? What did you learn about yourself? (500-character limit)
    • COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS: What did you learn from your community work that you were surprised by or did not expect? What influenced you to be involved in community work? (500-character limit)
    • WHY SHOULD UCSF OFFER YOU ADMISSION? Please state briefly why you should be chosen for admission to the UCSF School of Dentistry over other applicants with similar experiences and qualifications. (500 characters limit)
    • OTHER (optional): Please use this space to tell us anything additional that you believe is relevant to your admission application. (OPTIONAL and 500 characters limit)
  2. Transcripts: Official copies of transcripts for all college-level work you have completed at an accredited U.S. institution (or Canadian institution where English is the language of instruction) must be submitted to AADSAS by the Oct. 15 deadline. Please do not submit copies of these transcripts to UCSF until instructed. Applicants with foreign transcripts: please see the international applicants section below.
  3. US Dental Admission Test (DAT): The DAT is also required. We recommend that the DAT be taken no later than Sept. 15 so that your scores may reach UCSF by our application deadline of Oct. 15. Applications without DAT scores received by the deadline will be regarded as incomplete and will not be reviewed. Test scores are valid for only two years from the opening of the admission cycle. Scores accepted for the 2019 admission cycle must be dated no earlier than June 5, 2016. Unofficial/faxed score reports are not accepted. In general, we are looking for students who have scored 17 or higher on Academic Average and Total Science sections. Our average DAT score for the entering class is around 21.4 in both Academic Average and Total Science.
  4. Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required and only accepted via the AADSAS application. One letter should be written by a college science professor, one by a dentist with whom you have volunteered, or an advisor / researcher / mentor; and one from an individual of your choice. Or, you may have one composite letter sent from a pre-professional health advisory committee in lieu of the three required letters. All letters must be received at AADSAS by the Oct. 15 deadline.
  5. UCSF fee: The University of California requires a non-refundable application processing fee of $75. Please visit our online payment system at A limited number of application fee waivers are available to socio-economically disadvantaged applicants. If you would like to be considered for an application fee waiver, please request a fee waiver application by sending your request to

Evaluation of Applicants and Final Decision

Completed applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Those who are selected will be invited for an interview.

The Admissions Committee is composed of faculty members and students. We take a holistic approach to our admissions process. The Admissions Committee considers all aspects of the application, including academic background and ability as shown on transcripts of record and DAT scores, motivation toward a dental career, and the potential for future success in dentistry indicated by past achievements and present commitments. Other major factors include a desire to practice in a medically underserved community and how well applicants present themselves in an interview. The school welcomes applications from all economic, social and cultural segments of society, and is committed to increasing the number of professionals from underrepresented minority groups.

Important Facts: Class of 2021

Class size

90 (53 women, 37 men)


California: 62

Out-of-state: 25

International: 3

Cumulative GPA


Science GPA



Academic average: 21.4

Total science: 21.4

Required: 17 or higher

Technical Standards

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.


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 be able to demonstrate high emotional intelligence (i.e. self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills). 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.

International Applicants

If you were educated at institutions where English was not the official language of instruction, you must meet the regular requirements for admission to UCSF and to the School of Dentistry and prove, through the successful completion of at least one year of college work in the United States, that you can compete in the U.S. educational system. The required courses in English composition must be taken in the U.S. Please note that UCSF financial aid is limited to United States citizens and permanent residents; therefore, you must be able to fund your own education and living expenses for the entire program.

To ensure smooth processing of international transcripts, we recommend you take the steps below:

  1. Report your entire academic history. (This is required as part of a complete application.) Request that official copies of all transcripts (detailed marks reports, etc.) and degree certificates (if applicable) be sent directly from the issuing institution to UCSF at the address listed below:
    Office of Admissions
    UCSF School of Dentistry
    513 Parnassus Ave., S-630
    San Francisco, CA 94143-0430
  2. Order a course-by-course credential evaluation by either World Education Services (WES) through AADSAS or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) directly with ECE by Oct. 15. The WES ICAP report will fulfill the transcript and evaluation requirement.
  3. If you wish to apply international coursework toward the prerequisites, you also must email or send course syllabi to UCSF, as the information provided in transcripts does not provide enough information for us to determine if the coursework will satisfy our prerequisites.

All international documents sent to UCSF must have a postmark no later than Oct. 15.

Supporting All Abilities

UCSF welcomes students with all types of disabilities and strives to devise creative and innovative solutions to ensure equal access to all students.

Learn more about Student Disability Services

Student Success at UCSF

Success in school requires care and attention to all aspects of your life. UCSF is committed to providing resources and services to help you succeed.

Visit the Student Success website