Dentists seek to prevent, diagnose, and treat oral diseases and conditions. They do this by educating patients and evaluating their oral health. Dentists are trained to give exams, in addition to installing fillings, crowns, and implants. They perform extractions and corrective surgeries as well. Dentists can work in several environments. These include within their own practice, alongside a small staff, with partners in their practice and as an associate dentist for an established practice. Dentists can work in general practice or specialize. 

Professional Degree Required to Practice

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD)

Dentists are...
personable, empathetic, trustworthy, artistic, and have strong leadership skills

Requirements Vary by Program

General Requirements for Graduate Admission

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above 
  • Specific prerequisites as dictated by individual programs. These may include: 
    • Specific undergraduate coursework
    • Completion of the Dental Admission Test (DAT)
    • Professional observation and/or clinical experience 
    • Academic and professional letters of reference


Additional Requirements Vary by State

Preparation to Practice

  • Pass the National Board Dental Exam to become professionally credentialed 
  • Obtain state-awarded professional license 
  • A professional residency may be required 


Common Pre-Dental Requirements


Number of Courses 

English/Writing Composition Two courses
College Math One course
Statistics One course
General Biology or Zoology (with lab) Two courses
Molecular Biology/Genetics One course
Anatomy (with lab) One course
Physiology (with lab) One course
Microbiology (with lab) One course
Immunology One course
Histology One course
Cell Biology One course
General Chemistry (with lab) Two courses
Organic Chemistry (with lab) Two courses
Biochemistry (with lab) Two courses
Humanities/Social Sciences One course
General Physics (with lab) Two courses

*It is recommended that pre-dental students take courses or engage in activities that develop fine motor skills.

MSU Equivalent Courses MSU Transfer Equivalencies