Dental schools vary in the specifics of their prerequisite course requirements and their acceptance of AP credit and community college coursework. For specific and up-to-date information, research individual schools, either on their websites, or by purchasing the ADEA Dental School Explorer. Pay particular attention to all schools in the region closest to your legal residence.

We recommend that most, if not all, prerequisites be taken at UVM, or another four-year institution. If AP credit has been received for a prerequisite science course, we recommend using the credit to take the equivalent number of credits in higher level courses, as many schools require that, particularly for science courses. There is more flexibility regarding AP credit for English and calculus. Look carefully at the specific wording used at your schools of interest.

Completing the UVM courses listed below will fulfill recommendations and requirements for most dental schools.

Biology & Microbiology

  • Introductory courses: BIOL 001 & 002 or BCOR 011 & 012 or BCOR 021
  • Upper level courses: MMG 101 and BCOR 103 (and/or 101) and ANPS 019 & 020 OR (if taken elsewhere) one semester each of anatomy and physiology, both with lab

College of Nursing & Health Sciences and engineering majors may be able to use BHSC 034 and BIOL 002 to fulfill the first year / introductory biology requirements and then complete at a minimum the upper level courses indicated above.

Chemistry & Biochemistry

One of the following sequences is recommended, based on your major:

  • Most life science and non-science majors: CHEM 031 & 032, CHEM 141 & 142, and BIOC 201
  • Most Chemistry majors: CHEM 047 & 048, CHEM 051 & 052 (labs), CHEM 165, CHEM 231, and BIOC 201
  • Most Biochemistry majors: CHEM 047 & 048, CHEM 051 & 052 (labs), CHEM 131 & 165, BIOC 205, 206 (& 207 - required for major)


  • Most non-physics majors: PHYS 011 & 012 PLUS PHYS 021 & 022 (labs) 
  • Some physics majors and  non-physics majors interested in calculus-based physics: PHYS 051 & 152
  • Most engineering majors and some physics majors: PHYS 031 & 125 and PHYS 022 (lab)

Calculus & Statistics

One calculus AND one statistics course will fulfill the requirement at nearly every school

  • Calculus: MATH 019, 020, 021, or 022 
  • Statistics: STAT 111 OR 141 [141 preferred]


  • Some schools, e.g., Harvard, recommend Biostatistics (for which STAT 111 or 141 are required prerequisites)
  • AP credit for calculus OR statistics may be acceptable, although using credit to take a higher level course is encouraged. Check specific schools of interest to confirm.

English, Writing-Intensive Courses & Humanities

Most dental schools require two composition/writing intensive courses. The following is recommended:

  • ENGL 001 or  TAP classes or HCOL 085 and a second English composition course

Note: AP English composition credit will generally be accepted for one of the required courses. Check specific schools of interest to confirm.

Additional Humanities, Social Sciences & Other Courses

The majority of dental schools do not have specific additional course requirements, although some recommend other coursework and a few require a set number of credits in non-science disciplines. Some schools are clear in their recommendation that science majors thoughtfully expand their education. For instance, Boston University School of Dental Medicine encourages breadth outside of the sciences, acknowledging that “exploration of diverse subject areas and perspectives contributes to a broad knowledge base and enhances critical-thinking skills.” These courses can come from humanities, social sciences, arts, business, engineering, or other disciplines. University of New England College of Dental Medicine recommends courses in communications, ethics, public Health, and 3-D art (e.g., sculpture). Columbia University College of Dental Medicine strongly recommends courses in sociology, history, fine- or industrial arts, and one or more foreign languages.

Perceptual Ability & Manual Dexterity

A prospective dental student should have well-developed perceptual abilities (spatial visualization and reasoning) and evidence of manual dexterity (the ability to use one’s hands in a coordinated way with precise movements in a small space). These skills are likely gained predominantly through hobbies and activities pursued throughout life that utilize eye-hand coordination. A few schools specifically recommend course work that might foster these competencies (e.g., sculpture).