Why Study Pre-Dentistry

The Bachelor of Science 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 you to:

  • Schedule prerequisite courses required by dental programs
  • Prepare for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
  • Apply to dental school

Why Study Pre-Dentistry at Ship

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. This ensures that you receive accurate, current and comprehensive information. Our pre-dentistry students are given “mock interviews” prior to applying to dental schools. This experience provides you with interview practice and gives the Health Professions Committee information to write a committee letter of reference in support of the your application.

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.

You are encouraged to participate in internship experiences with private and corporate practices and attend on-campus presentations by visiting dental school admissions personnel.

Career Opportunities and Salary Estimates

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.

Successful completion of these dental programs can lead to rewarding careers for our students, including:

  • Dentist
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Surgeon
  • Endodontist
  • Orthodontist

The average salary for dental jobs in PA is $89,000. 

To be a competitive and successful pre-dentistry student you need to:

  • Communicate frequently with your pre-dentistry advisor
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.4 or better
  • Perform above average on the Dental Admissions Test
  • Conduct internships in dental settings
  • Exhibit leadership and community or human service
  • Have a willingness to volunteer
  • Plan a strategy early in your college career: course sequences
  • Prepare for and take the DAT
  • Apply to dental programs

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

The biology-health professions curriculum enables you to schedule the necessary coursework to apply to dental schools along with required courses for your major. Dental schools expect non-science majors to perform very well in science courses. A broad selection of courses is available within the biology and chemistry disciplines, and non-science majors are encouraged to include some of the following science courses among their electives:

  • Biochemistry
  • Human physiology
  • Human anatomy
  • Cell biology
  • Histology
  • Pathogenic microbiology
  • Immunology

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. You 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. 

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 will expose you to other areas of the health care field.  

142 Franklin Science Center, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1401
Department Website