The Oral and Craniofacial Sciences (OCS) Program is an interdisciplinary graduate program that provides students with the research tools and support to study craniofacial development, oral health, and disease processes and treatments. Recognizing that revolutionary discoveries and developments in such diverse fields as molecular biology, biotechnology, biomaterial, tissue engineering and computer science will radically alter how we diagnose and treat patients, the program emphasizes the importance of translating scientific discoveries to advances in the delivery of care.
The OCS program leads to a PhD or joint DDS/PhD degree. The scientific interests of our students include research related to cell and developmental biology, protein biochemistry, tissue engineering, oral cancer, biomaterials, lasers and imaging, and clinical research.
DDS/PhD Degree Program
As the U.S. faces significant changes in the dental profession, as well as an acute shortage of dental school faculty, clinically trained scientists and scientifically trained clinicians are in high demand. If you wish to prepare for an academic career while also earning your DDS degree, consider this program.
You will begin training with a focus on PhD-related training for the first two years (see below). During this time, you will complete the required PhD course work and rotations, complete the PhD qualifying exam, and choose a lab and mentor, with whom you will complete your PhD training.
You must apply for admission to both the dental school and the oral and craniofacial sciences PhD program. Only one or two slots are offered in this training program each year.
See below for application procedures for the PhD program and the DDS Admissions page for the DDS application requirements.
PhD Degree Program
This program is open to DDS degree holders and other health professionals, as well as to non-professional students with a strong commitment to research.
Regardless of your research interests, you must take the following courses, designed to provide you with the basic science tools to advance your graduate studies:
- OCS core course, which focuses on developmental biology, extracellular matrices and biomaterials
- Graduate course in cell biology (directed by faculty in the program in biomedical sciences)
- Graduate course in bioethics
- Grant writing workshop
Beyond the core courses, you must take an additional four to six units of elective courses, depending on your scientific area of interest and chosen in consultation with your graduate advisor. You also will take at least an additional two units of elective courses.
If you don't have a background in biological sciences and will not be attending dental school, you may be required to take additional courses in tissue and organ systems of the human body, depending on your undergraduate background and consultation with your research advisor.
In addition, you will be required to attend Journal Club and the Research Seminar Series each year you are enrolled.
To apply for the OCS PhD program, please submit the following:
- Graduate Division application (due by Dec. 1)
- Statement of purpose (one page, single spaced)
- Three letters of recommendation (preferably from professors who are familiar with your research experience)
- Original transcripts from all schools attended
- Official TOEFL scores (if English is not your native language)
Student Disability Support
UCSF welcomes students with all types of disabilities and strives to devise creative and innovative solutions to ensure equal access to all students. Visit our Student Disability Services website for more information.