Admission requirements

Admission requirements

A minimum of 90 semester credit hours (or 145 quarter credit hours) is required by the date of application and demonstration that the candidate is on track to receive a qualifying bachelor's degree by the administrative deadline, generally one month prior to the date of matriculation.  

Candidates may attend an accredited community college for a maximum of two years (60 semester hours or equivalent) followed by a minimum of two years (60 semester hours or equivalent) at an accredited four-year degree-granting institution.  Generally, we expect most prerequisite courses completed at the time of application with at most one or two planned between applying and that date of matriculation.  All courses listed as planned on a candidate's application, or equivalent courses to the satisfaction of the School of Dentistry, must be completed prior to matriculation.  

It is preferred that prerequisite courses be completed no more than five years prior to applying and all other courses be completed no more than 10 years before applying.

Prerequisite coursesSemester hoursQuarter hours
General biology
including lab and lecture
8 12
General inorganic chemistry
including lab and lecture
8 12
Organic chemistry
including lab and lecture
8 12
College or university level physics
including lab and lecture
8 12
Biochemistry 3 4 or 5
Math/Stats 6 4 or 5
English 6 4 or 5

Strongly Recommended Courses

  • 300/3000 level and above biology courses
  • Behavioral science courses
  • Courses involving the use of psychomotor skills

Technical skills

In order to successfully complete the dental curriculum at VCU, students must meet nonacademic criteria for motor, sensory/observation, communication, cognitive and behavioral abilities, as listed in the School of Dentistry Technical Standards. Accordingly, applicants may be required to prove their proficiency in American English via standardized tests and interviews. An applicant may consider the option of postponing matriculation until such time that he/she can meet these requirements.

Dental Admission Test

Conducted by the American Dental Association, the Dental Admission Test (DAT) has been in operation on a national basis since 1950. It is administered electronically through private testing centers located in almost every major city and college town throughout the U.S. and can be taken most anytime throughout the year. While candidates can retake the test with a minimum of 90 days between tests, they can attempt the test only three times. The scores can NOT be more than 3 years old.

Participation in the Dental Admission Test of the American Dental Association is required for admission to the VCU School of Dentistry. We recommend that this test be taken the year before the intended matriculation year.

More information on the DAT can be found on the American Dental Association website.

Background checks

An offer of acceptance to the VCU School of Dentistry is contingent upon the successful completion of a criminal background check (CBC) and is required prior to matriculation into our DDS professional dental program. The criminal background report will serve to verify and supplement information provided in the application.  The VCU School of Dentistry requires this criminal background screening process following conditional acceptance and prior to enrollment. The rationale for extending these requirements to incoming dental students is the concept of due diligence and completion of degree requirements.

The criminal background check will not be a component of the application, interview, or selection process but will be a mandatory component of the pre-matriculation process.  It is anticipated that background reports will be honored for the duration of the student’s enrollment in the program if the student has not had a break in the enrollment.  Students are required to complete this process upon re-entry in the program subsequent to a leave of absence, program separation or program withdrawal greater than thirty consecutive days. The final decision regarding matriculation of an applicant will be based on the self-reported information in the candidate’s application and information in the CBC report.   

Factors involved in the final decision may include, but are not limited to: 

  • The nature, circumstances, and frequency of any reported offense(s)
  • Length of time since the offense(s)
  • Available information that addresses efforts at rehabilitation
  • The accuracy of the information provided by the applicant

The information obtained through a criminal background report will not become part of a student’s academic file and will remain confidential unless the findings result in an institutional action by the School of Dentistry. 

Only candidates offered class positions will be asked to provide a criminal background check prior to matriculation.   

Individuals who do not give permission to the conduct of the criminal background check or who fail to provide the report as required will not be allowed to matriculate into the educational program. 

An independent vendor has been identified by AADSAS and accepted by the VCU School of Dentistry to provide the criminal background screening. Conditionally accepted individuals will be responsible for requesting the report and submitting payment for the report. Copies of the report shall go to VCU School of Dentistry admissions office. The individual has the opportunity to challenge the accuracy or completeness of the report through the independent vendor.  The independent vendor has no involvement in any decision that may adversely affect the individual. 

All information will be separately maintained in a secure confidential file. The background report will be destroyed upon graduation or separation from the institution. The criminal background report shall span the prior seven year period, and shall include all convictions and deferred adjudications of a felony or misdemeanor level.  

Validated background reports found to be in conflict with responses on the application may be grounds for withdrawal of an offer of enrollment based upon submission of false or misleading information on the application.  

The existence of a conviction will not necessarily result in a denial of admission to our dental institution, its programs or its housing.  Instead each case will be reviewed by a committee other than the admissions committee and evaluated on its facts. 

This review committee shall include but is not limited to the: admissions administrator, dean for academic affairs (or other administrative dean), two faculty members and if necessary, the university attorney to clarify legal processes. 

All students must also report any felony or misdemeanor charges and convictions which occur during enrollment within ten business days of occurrence to both the senior associate dean and the senior associate dean for student services. Failure to report disqualifying criminal offenses could result in dismissal or suspension from the program.  Any criminal offense can delay or terminate an individual’s education at the School of Dentistry. 

Drug Screening

Drug screening is currently required by our extramural affiliates.  The School of Dentistry may require drug screening to matriculated students; however, at this time drug screening of DH3, DH4 and D3, D4 students is necessary to participate in required off-campus rotations. 

In the event of an adverse drug screening report, the student will be barred from clinical participation and as a consequence, could be at risk for not fulfilling degree program requirements.  Identification of such students will enable appropriate assessment, indicated treatment and follow-up retesting. 

In all instances, students are responsible for the cost of the screening and retesting.