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Pre-Dentistry

Department of Chemistry 


For More Information

Pre-Dental Advisor
Department of Biology
Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-5126
Email: Biology@missouristate.edu

Pre-Dental Advisor
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-5603
Email: BiomedicalSciences@missouristate.edu

Pre-Dental Advisor
Department of Chemistry
Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-5506
Email: Chemistry@missouristate.edu

Career Preparation

The practice of dentistry is devoted to maintaining the health of the teeth, gums and other tissues of the oral cavity. Dentistry is a licensed health care profession usually requiring a total of eight to eleven years of formal undergraduate and professional training. During undergraduate education, a Pre-Dental student reinforces his or her commitment to becoming a dentist by learning about the various aspects of the profession and by preparing for admission to dental school. Admission to dental school remains highly competitive so that a student who may be denied admission should plan for alternate career options while an undergraduate student. 

Upon graduation from dental school, dentists are licensed to practice general dentistry, or they may seek to enter residencies in one of the nine dental specialties requiring three to five additional years of training. Because of changes in the profession, it is expected that all dentists soon will be required to complete at least one year of residency training after graduating from dental school.

Men and women who are attracted to dentistry tend to be highly motivated individuals with scientific curiosity, intelligence, ambition and social consciousness. They enjoy the independence and flexibility that dentistry has to offer. They are willing to invest in a profession that repays with respect and monetary rewards. They enjoy the close interactions with patients and the satisfaction from their daily professional accomplishments of being able to improve their health, comfort and appearance.

Academic Program

Although a student may choose to major in any area, most Pre-Dental students major in one of the sciences, usually one of the biological sciences. There are a number of elective courses that help prepare the student for the profession regardless of the student’s choice of a particular major. Students planning to apply to dental school need to work closely with a pre-dental advisor in addition to their academic major advisor. The roles of the pre-dental advisor are to assist in recommending the sequence of coursework, in selecting appropriate electives, in suggesting pre-professional internships, in completing the dental school application process, in sponsoring and advising the Pre-Dental Club, in communicating professional information and recommendations and in serving as the primary professional and academic reference in a competitive dental school admission process.

The specific list of undergraduate course requirements recommended by most dental schools is minimal; however, students who are admitted usually have completed many of the suggested electives in addition to these minimal requirements. These electives not only serve to prepare applicants for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), which is taken during the second semester of their junior year, but also help prepare students for the intense coursework taken during the first two years of dental school.

Courses

Dental Schools have similar course requirements that should be completed before the beginning of the senior year of college. Students should check the specific course requirements for the dental schools to which they intend to apply. Most dental schools require two semesters of inorganic chemistry with a laboratory, two semesters of organic chemistry with a laboratory, two semesters of introductory physics, a mathematics requirement ranging from college algebra through calculus, two or three courses in psychology, two courses in English composition, and two to four semesters of specified courses in the biological sciences. Several schools will not accept major requirements taken at a two year college by a student enrolled at a four year school.

Additional requirements may include courses in general business, accounting, and an arts course, such as metal working, sculpting, or jewelry making. Up to 100 hours of working or shadowing experience in a dental office is often a requirement, as well as evidence of shadowing and interviewing experiences with several dentists.

Incoming freshman students committed to a career in dentistry are strongly encouraged to work for eligibility for the Reserved Admission Program offered by the School of Dentistry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Eligibility for this program disappears after a few semesters of coursework.

Recommended Elective Courses

See the current Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog for specific courses in the Department of Biology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Chemistry or the College of Business. Chemistry and Business majors are strongly recommended to have a minor in one of the biological science departments (BMS or BIO).

 

  • General or human genetics* Accounting
  • Human or comparative anatomy* Embryology
  • Human or general physiology* Microbiology
  • Cell biology/molecular biology* Histology
  • Biochemistry Neurobiology
  • Pharmacology General business*
  • Quantitative analysis Metals, Sculpting, Jewelry*

* A required course for admission into some schools.

Sample Schedule

Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years--see sample graduation plans for this major.

The following is a sample schedule for this major--your actual schedule will vary.

First Semester Courses Hours
BMS 110 or BIO 121
CHM 160 General Chemistry I4
ENG 110 Writing I3
GEP 101 First-Year Foundations2
PSY 121 Introductory Psychology3
CHM 161 General Chemistry I Laboratory1
Second Semester Courses Hours
BIO 122 or BMS 230 or BMS 307
CHM 170 General Chemistry II3
CHM 171 General Chemistry II Laboratory1
Humanities/Soc. Sci. Elective
CIS 101 Computers for Learning2
KIN 100 (Error: Course not found)

Sophomore Year

First Semester Courses Hours
MTH 135 or 261
PLS 101 American Democracy and Citizenship3
BIO 380, BMS 308, or BMS 230
Second Semester Courses Hours
CHM 342 Organic Chemistry I5
BMS 321 BIO 320
Electives