The biology/health sciences track and chemistry/health sciences track curriculums enable the pre-dentistry student to schedule this coursework along with other course requirements for the respective major.
What is pre-dentistry?
Pre-dentistry is 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 students are advised by the pre-dentistry advisors 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. 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.
What is the pre-dentistry curriculum?
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 and
- 6 credits of English.
Other college-level courses might be required by certain programs so students are advised to examine the specific requirements of the programs to which they plan to apply early in their undergraduate program. The biology/health sciences track and chemistry/health sciences track curriculums enable the pre-dentistry student to schedule this course work 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 among their electives courses such as biochemistry, human physiology, human anatomy, cell biology, histology, pathogenic microbiology and immunology.
What are the characteristics of a successful pre-dentistry student?
Competitive pre-dentistry students almost always have GPA’s 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.
Is Shippensburg University affiliated with any dental school?
Shippensburg University and Temple University School of Dentistry entered into an affiliation agreement in 2000 that provides qualified pre-dental students automatic interviews for early acceptance into the Temple University program. Under this agreement a minimum of 90 semester hours must be completed at Shippensburg as a biology major including a minimum of six hours of biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physics (all with laboratories) and English. It is also recommended that applicants have at least three advanced science courses. Applicants desiring early acceptance through this program must maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA overall and in their science courses, take the Dental Admissions Test 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 Shippensburg University. Students who first earn their baccalaureate degree at Shippensburg prior to entering dental school are subject to the same preferential admissions guidelines.
What programs have SU pre-dentistry students entered?
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.
Why attend Shippensburg University as a pre-dentistry student?
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 by graduate students. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment is available to students, giving them hands-on experience with current techniques. 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.
These experiences contribute to the excellent quality of education available at Shippensburg. As a result, Shippensburg 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 on counseling. This ensures Shippensburg University 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.
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, making students aware of alternative programs before they commit to the dental profession.
Where can you get more information about pre-dentistry at Shippensburg University?
For more information regarding the pre-dental curriculum, call or write the following:
Department of Biology
142 Franklin Science Center
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257-2299