Frequently Asked Questions


When will I hear about admission?
Applicants are accepted on a rolling admissions basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply early; preference is given to early applicants.

What are the selection factors?
Applicants are selected based on an evaluation of the interview, academic record, interest in dental hygiene, letters of recommendation, personal statement, potential for leadership, work experience, honors and awards, extra-curricular activities and interests, and potential contribution to the class. We also seek diversity of background within each class. The class size is 14 students. Foreign-born applicants from non-English speaking countries must be eligible to obtain an F-1 visa and demonstrate they have financial support to attend our program and live in the U.S. Fluency in both written and oral English is required; see for TOEFL or IELTS test score requirements.

Can I defer my admission?
We do not defer admission. If you decide not to join our program, you will have to reapply and pay a new application fee. We will evaluate your re-application within the new candidate pool, and therefore cannot guarantee admission on the next round. If you reapply within one year, you will not have to resend your transcripts or reference letters, unless significant changes have occurred.

How do you evaluate my transcripts from an international university (not in the U.S.)?
Your transcripts need to be evaluated by World Education Services (WES). WES provides a U.S. equivalency for education earned outside of the U.S., including accreditation status, grade conversions, semester hours of credit, etc. WES evaluates only official/authenticated records, and their requirements are country-specific.

Who should apply

Who should apply?
Dental hygienists and dentists with a strong interest in the field of dental hygiene who wish to achieve leadership, scholarship and teaching skills in dental hygiene.

What kind of student are you looking for?
The MS degree is academic, not clinical. We emphasize scholarship, evidence-based analysis and critical thinking. We seek applicants who have dental hygiene experience and who have a strong academic record. We also look for potential to contribute to dental hygiene scholarship. We want students who are self-motivated, have demonstrable leadership skills, have a strong commitment to dental hygiene, are team players, and who can contribute to the learning environment. This is a rigorous academic program with high expectations for hard work and graduate-level scholarship.

I am just finishing my dental hygiene program. Can I apply?
You are eligible to apply. We take pride in having a diverse group of dental hygienists with a variety of experience.

During and after the program

Where do classes take place?
Classes take place on the Parnassus campus at UCSF.

Can I choose my own capstone project?
Yes. You will work closely with a mentor to refine your project or if you need guidance in choosing a capstone project. For more information, please see our brochure.

Do I need to choose my capstone project before I am accepted into the program?
No, your mentor can help you to craft your capstone project topic in the summer quarter.

Will I have an opportunity to work part-time during the program?
Yes; however, because this is a time-intensive, rigorous, one-year program, we do not recommend working more than one or two days a week.

What can I do with this degree?
Graduates are prepared to assume roles in education and research collaboration in academic, public health, or oral health care industry settings.

What are your graduates doing now?
Many of our graduates are teaching in community colleges in dental hygiene programs. Others are conducting research along with working in private practice. In addition, alumni hold public health positions and leadership roles within the dental hygiene governing organizations. Others are successful oral health business owners or work for the oral health care industry.