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West Virginia University (School of Dentistry)

In the WVU School of Dentistry, a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree is offered for students who wish to become dentists. High school students who are interested in pursuing a D.D.S. should enroll in a college preparatory program that includes courses in biology, chemistry, higher mathematics, and physics. There is no major called "pre-dentistry" at WVU; students essentially have two options from which to choose for their preparation. While some applicants apply after three years of undergraduate study, others decide to earn an undergraduate degree before entering dental school. Any course of study is fine as long as the prerequisite courses are complete.

To provide students in Dentistry with the necessary clinical experience, the School of Dentistry maintains and operates dental clinics in the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.


Successful admission to WVU's School of Dentistry begins with a firm academic foundation. Applicants to the School of Dentistry must complete 90 semester hours at an accredited college or university to be eligible for consideration, including: English composition and rhetoric (six credit hours), biology or zoology (withlab) (eight credit hours), inorganic chemistry (with lab) (eight credit hours). Courses in comparative anatomy, embryology, and biochemistry are recommended. In addition, courses in the humanities, oral and written communication, economics, and the social sciences are helpful in broadening students' intellectual backgrounds for both the study and the practice of dentistry. All majors are considered, if all course requirements have been successfully completed.


The predoctoral curriculum consists of eight semesters and three summer sessions. You are enrolled in courses designed primarily to prepare you for the general practice of dentistry. Your progress is monitored regularly by the Committee on Academic Standards and a team leader program that has been initiated to ensure that students have the appropriate learning experiences to achieve competency. The predoctoral curriculum has recently been revised to provide comprehensive and current course content that is sequenced in a logical manner by addressing how each discipline can contribute to the attainment of competencies that build upon one another. The predoctoral curriculum will prepare you to:

• Integrate course theory with practice to enhance learning,

• Perform appropriate clinical care/community service as early as possible in the curriculum,

• Do more dentistry commensurate with your knowledge and training, and

• Manage the comprehensive needs of a family of patients through the team approach.

In addition, a community-based rural practice rotation is required during the senior year of the curriculum.

Career Opportunities

Following the completion of the D.D.S. program, the dental graduate has various career options ranging from general practice of dentistry to post-doctoral education specialization in one of nine American Dental Association recognized specialties; graduate studies in the basic sciences that lead to additional degrees (M.S., Ph.D.); a career in teaching and research; and postgraduate study that provides graduates with advanced training for the practice of general dentistry. A relatively large portion of dentists are self-employed.

Salary Range

The average income of a dentist is in the highest five percent of U.S. family income. The net mean income of dentists in private practice is about $158,080 a year, according to the American Dental Association.


West Virginia University is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2002, the Commission on Dental Accreditation reviewed all School of Dentistry programs and extended another seven years of accreditation.

School name:West Virginia UniversitySchool of Dentistry
Address:1 Medical Center Dr.
Zip & city:26506-9400 West Virginia
Phone:(304) 293-2521

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