Admissions FAQs

Do I need a bachelor’s degree?
No. However you will need to finish all required courses/units specified under admission requirements. Approximately 98 percent of those accepted at UCSF have completed a bachelor’s degree upon matriculation.

Does it matter what size academic load I carried in undergraduate school?
We recommend that applicants carry a full academic load (15-16 credits hours) per semester and suggest taking a minimum of 2-3 science courses each term. This gives you a chance to preview what is in store for you in dental school (i.e., a full course load which cannot be taken part-time). At the same time, it gives us the opportunity to better evaluate your potential for performance in the dental school curriculum.

Does it matter which undergraduate school I attend?
Generally, no. However, be certain that the college or university is regionally accredited. For more information on accredited schools, visit the US Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs

Must I major in biology or the sciences?
No. The choice of a major is yours. Choose a course of study that interests you. However, if you choose a non-science major, we recommend that you take additional upper-division science course work beyond the prerequisites.

Do you recommend other courses?
Any course in biology, related to growth and development such as microbiology and human anatomy, is highly recommended. Other recommendations would include physiology, embryology or histology.

What if a grade of less than a “C -” is received in a prerequisite course?
We require a grade of a least a “C -” in all prerequisites. Therefore, you must retake any prerequisites in which you originally earned less than a “C -.”

How recent does my prerequisite course work need to be?
It is recommended that an applicant apply within 5 years of taking the science prerequisites. Although course work older than 5 years is still eligible to be submitted as part of the admissions process, it is to your advantage to retake all or part of this course work because the sciences change rapidly and the information you learned may be out of date. It is also assumed that upon entering dental school you will have a ready command of the basic sciences. Unless you have applied the material regularly since you took the courses, this is unlikely. Any applicant in this situation should do an honest self-assessment of their retention of the basic sciences and decide from that on which courses to retake.

What is a competitive grade point average?
Our average for incoming students is 3.6.

Does UCSF require a minimum number of dental volunteer or shadowing hours?
UCSF does not have a minimum requirement for dental volunteer or shadowing hours, but recommend at least 100 hours.

Does UCSF require research to apply?
UCSF does not require research experience.

Does the UCSF School of Dentistry offer counseling to prospective students?
No. Unfortunately, the School does not offer this service. Prospective students should seek advice from the advisor at their undergraduate institution.

Do I need to submit my Education Abroad Program (EAP) transcript?
Maybe. It depends on which organization hosted the program, which whether your grades appear on a U.S. transcript. Please see our International Coursework page for detailed information.

How do I apply to dental school?
Begin the process by submitting an application through the American Dental Education Association, Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (ADEA AADSAS).

Do you give preference to California residents? If I grew up in California, but I am going to school out of state, can I still apply as a California resident?
No, we do not give preference to California residents. To determine California residency requirements please visit the UCSF Registrar’s website.

How early may I apply?
The ADEA AADSAS application becomes available mid-May and may be submitted in early June.

Must I complete all required courses before I apply?
No. However, we recommend that you have completed most of the science courses prior to taking the required Dental Admission Test (DAT). All prerequisite courses must be completed by Sept. 1 of your matriculation year.

How will I know when you have received my application from the application service (ADEA AADSAS)?
We will verify receipt of your application by email; typically an ADEA AADSAS application is received at our school 4-6 weeks after you submitted the application (assuming all transcripts have also been received by ADEA AADSAS). Applicants should check their status through the ADEA AADSAS website. Please note: The Office of Admissions & Outreach does not provide application status updates via email or over the phone.

What is the deadline for applications?
The UCSF deadline is Oct. 15. ADEA AADSAS applications must be electronically submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time). All transcripts, official course-by-course evaluations, letters of recommendation, and DAT scores must also be received at ADEA AADSAS by this date.

Is a supplemental application required?
No, applicants should complete the supplemental questions under the UCSF school section of the ADEA AADSAS application.

When will I be notified of acceptance?
Admissions offers are made between December and March in accordance with an agreement among dental schools.

What does “Provisional Admit” mean?
It indicates that your final admission is contingent upon (a) maintaining your GPA, (b) the receipt of your deposit, (c) the receipt of your final transcript with degree posted, and (d) other documents as required.

How much is the registration deposit?
A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 will be applied toward the student's registration fees and will be required upon notice of provisional admission. Applicants who do not pay the deposit within the period stipulated will have their offer of admission rescinded.

How many letters of recommendation are required?
Three letters of recommendation are required. We require one from a science instructor (e.g., biology, chemistry, anatomy), one from a dentist, researcher and/or mentor whom you have worked with, and one additional letter of your choice. Or, you may have one composite letter sent from a pre-professional health advisory committee. See Application Procedures for additional details.

Although three letters are required, what do I do if my classes were large and the professors did not know me well?
Make an appointment to talk to the professors to ask for letters of recommendation. Use your appointment to discuss your experience and your career goals with the professor. The most important part of any letter is an indication that the writer knows you reasonably well and supports your application.

I am planning on retaking the DAT. Will you hold my application until the new scores arrive?
Yes. If we receive your ADEA AADSAS application it must list a retake date. If your ADEA AADSAS application is received with valid DAT scores with no retake date, your file will enter the review process with the current scores.

When should I take the DAT?
You should take it no later than Sept. 15 of the year preceding the anticipated date of entry. We recommend that you complete as many science courses as possible before taking the DAT.

How should I prepare for the DAT?
Information on how to prepare for the DAT can be found on the ADA website.

What is a competitive DAT score?
Our average DAT score for the entering class is around 22 in both the Academic Average and Total Science sections.

How long are my DAT scores good for?
Scores are valid for only two years.

Are Canadian DAT scores acceptable?
No, all applicants must take the U.S. DAT.

How many times may I take the DAT?
The ADA has implemented a limit of no more than three times. An applicant who fails to achieve competitive scores in three attempts should seriously consider their suitability for dentistry. After three attempts, the individual can submit a request to retake the test. More information can be found here.

If I have taken the DAT more than once, which score is used in the review of my application?
Your most recent scores are used when we report our admissions statistics, but we will look at all of the scores submitted in evaluating your application.

Are there certain science courses I should complete before taking the DAT?
Yes. The DAT contains sections on biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry that require a substantial knowledge base.

Is an interview required of all applicants?
Interviews are by invitation only. An interview is required for admission; however, the interview does not guarantee that an applicant will be offered a place in the class.

How many applicants are interviewed per day at UCSF? How many total applicants are interviewed?
Typically 24 applicants are interviewed per day. Approximately 300 applicants are interviewed per year.

What time does the interview day begin and end?
Interview days begin in the morning and last through the late afternoon. The interview day includes a tour, presentations, and information sessions.

What do I need to bring on my interview day? Where do I check in?
No additional application materials are required for the interview day. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes for the tour of the school and facilities. You will receive specific information in the interview confirmation letter sent prior to your interview via email.

Who will interview me?
Usually a faculty member and a dental student will interview you. You are encouraged to bring questions for your interviewers as an opportunity to learn more about campus life and ways to engage with the campus community.

Can I sit in on classes or enter into the clinics?
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer this experience.

Do you have a student housing program for applicants during the interview period?
SNDA, a student club, offers limited slots through the DentStay program that organizes housing with current dental students. Information about this program will be sent to those who receive an interview.

What is the best way to travel to UCSF?
Public transportation is recommended; you can find details and directions to the Parnassus campus online. Parking around this area is for residents with permits or 2-hour street parking. There is a parking garage on campus; find rates online.