The biology-health professions concentration curricula enable the pre-dentistry student to schedule coursework along with other course requirements for the respective major.
Pre-Dentistry at Ship
The BS in Biology/Health Professions Pre-dentistry concentration has a curricular focus for students who plan to enter a dental program. Most pre-dentistry students are biology majors; however, pre-dentistry students can major in virtually any discipline. Pre-dentistry advisors work closely with students with regard to prerequisite courses required by dental programs, Dental Admissions Test (DAT) preparation, dental school application procedures and current trends in dental school admissions.
Science classes are small at Shippensburg University, usually having no more than 16 students per laboratory section. Lectures and labs are taught by seasoned professors, not graduate students. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment is available to students, giving them hands-on experience with current techniques.
The university has a consistent record of placing qualified students into dental programs. Pre-dentistry advisors maintain close ties with regional dental schools by visiting their programs during the summer months to stay current with admissions procedures and standards. They attend conferences for health professions advisors where they meet colleagues from other universities and share ideas. This ensures our pre-dentistry students receive accurate, current and comprehensive information. Pre-dentistry students are given “mock interviews” prior to the time they apply to dental schools. This experience provides the student with interview practice and gives the Health Professions Committee information to write a committee letter of reference in support of the student’s application.
One hundred percent of all qualified Shippensburg University pre-dental students have gained admission to dental programs over the last decade. Students have matriculated to dental programs at University of Maryland, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, Howard University, University of Buffalo, and West Virginia University.
Admission and Degree Requirements
Competitive pre-dentistry students almost always have GPAs of 3.4 or better, performed above average on the Dental Admissions Test, and conducted internships in dental settings. Leadership, community/human service and a willingness to volunteer contribute to the personal qualities of a successful pre-dentistry student. Successful students plan a strategy early in their college career with regard to course sequences, preparing for and taking the DAT, internship experience and application to dental programs. They also communicate frequently with their pre-dentistry advisor.
The basic course prerequisites for the 54 dental schools in the United States vary, however, most dental programs require at least:
- 8 credits of biology
- 16 credits of chemistry
- 8 credits of physics
- 6 credits of English
Certain programs might require other college-level courses, so early in their undergraduate program students should examine the specific requirements of the programs to which they plan to apply. The biology-health professions curriculum enables the pre-dentistry student to schedule this coursework along with other course requirements for the respective major. Pre-dentistry students pursuing a non-science major can include these science requirements as electives; however, dental schools expect non-science majors to perform very well in these science courses. A broad selection of courses is available within the biology and chemistry disciplines, and pre-dentistry students are encouraged to include some of the following courses among their electives:
- Human physiology
- Human anatomy
- Cell biology
- Pathogenic microbiology
Shippensburg University has an articulation agreement with Temple University School of Dentistry that offers early acceptance to qualified students. Under this agreement, biology majors must complete a minimum of 90 credits at Shippensburg including 6 credits of biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics (all with laboratories), and English. Applicants should also have at least 3 advanced science courses. Applicants desiring early acceptance to Temple University School of Dentistry must maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA overall and in their science courses, take the DAT by October of their junior year, obtain shadowing experience with a dentist, and have a favorable letter of reference from the Shippensburg University Health Professions Committee.
Further information on requirements and the timetable for application deadlines are available from the pre-dental advisors. Up to four seats are reserved annually for student participants from Ship. Students who first earn their baccalaureate degree at Shippensburg prior to entering dental school are subject to the same preferential admissions guidelines.
Faculty-directed undergraduate research is highly encouraged at Shippensburg, and each year several biology students present results of their research at regional, state or national conferences.
Pre-dentistry students are encouraged to participate in internship experiences with private and corporate practices and attend on-campus presentations by visiting dental school admissions personnel.
Practicing professionals and dental school admissions personnel are routinely invited to speak to the Health Sciences Club. Additionally, the diverse health professional interests of Shippensburg University students and the variety of health professionals invited to speak at the university expose pre-dentistry students to other areas of the health care field.