Applying to the dental hygiene program


Program details

Applicants and accepted students



Applying to the dental hygiene program

How do I apply to the dental hygiene program?

The Dental Hygiene application is done through DHCAS.  Please visit the Dental Hygiene Program page for the list of requirements and the deadline for successful submission of your application.  

Do not submit an application through the VCU Admissions website

When do I apply to the dental hygiene program?

Students are accepted into the dental hygiene program once per year in the fall semester. The application deadline for admission is Feb. 15. The application is done entirely online. You may apply at any time after September; however, your application is not complete until after your final, official transcripts (including grades for fall) are received by DHCAS. You should wait until the end of the fall semester, after fall grades have been posted, to request your transcripts. Always follow up to make sure you transcripts are received prior to the application deadline.

Students must complete 60 credit hours of prerequisite course work with a "C" or better grade by the end of the spring semester in the year they are applying. Your GPA at the time of application must be competitive with other applicants. All final admission decisions are made by April 30. If an offer for admission is made and you are unable to complete your prerequisites by the end of the spring semester, the offer will be withdrawn and you will have to reapply the following year.

I applied to the dental hygiene program before, but did not get accepted. If I want to apply again, do I need to submit another application?

Yes - You will need to submit all new documentation, using DHCAS.

If I am not accepted into the dental hygiene program, can I be accepted to VCU for another program?

No – if you are not accepted into the dental hygiene program and wish to enter a different program at VCU, you must apply to that program separately.

When will I know if I have been admitted into the program?

The Dental Hygiene Admissions Committee begins the selection process in March prior to the fall semester when each new junior class begins. Admission to the dental hygiene program is selective and requires more than meeting certain course or grade point average requirements. The admissions committee takes into account a number of candidate factors including academic credentials, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, motivation and other information submitted by the candidate. Before a final decision is rendered, a candidate may be required to attend a personal or group interview with the admissions committee – the student will be notified by e-mail should an interview be necessary. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by e-mail no later than April 30.

Can I enroll in dental hygiene courses anytime?

No – courses in the dental hygiene curriculum can only be taken by students enrolled in the two year program at the VCU School of Dentistry. Equivalent courses taken at another institution prior to entry into the dental hygiene program will transfer as elective credit only and are not acceptable as advanced completion for any part of the program curriculum itself.

I am an international student. How do I apply?

International students must apply through DHCAS.  Applicants with foreign transcripts must have them evaluated before being sent to ADEA DHCAS. Foreign evaluated transcripts are required in order for the application to be considered complete. ADEA recommends applicants use World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators (www.ece.org). ADEA DHCAS does not verify coursework and does not use grades from international transcripts in computing ADEA DHCAS GPAs.

Once you are admitted to the program, you will need to contact the Office of International Admissions at (804) 828-6016 to make sure all required information is submitted for enrollment at VCU.

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What are the admissions requirements?

Though we do not have a waiting list, entry into the program is competitive. We rely heavily on a strong science background. The minimum requirement for entry into the dental hygiene program is a 2.70 GPA in math/science courses and a 2.50 overall GPA.

If you have a GPA below the minimum in any one of these three areas, you will not be considered for entry into the dental hygiene program at the VCU School of Dentistry.

The average GPA for students entering our program is 3.30, which has been consistent over the past five years. The higher your GPA in the three areas mentioned above, the better your chances for entry into the program. Completion of the 60 credit hours of prerequisite course work with the required minimum GPA does not guarantee entry into the program.

A grade of "D" is not acceptable as prerequisite for this program. VCU will not transfer any grade below a "C"; however, all courses taken are factored into the GPA.

What courses must be completed before I can be considered for admission?

You will need to complete prerequisite courses prior to entering the dental hygiene program, either in VCU's pre-dental hygiene program, or equivalent courses at another accredited college or university. Please refer to our admission requirements for specific course details.

Do I have to complete my prerequisites before applying to the program?

No; however, all prerequisites must be completed by the end of the spring semester in the calendar year that you are applying. Some colleges do not include courses in progress on the transcript. If you are taking prerequisite courses during the spring semester and those courses do not appear on your transcript, please submit proof of enrollment in the form of a "screen capture" of your university's eServices page indicating your name, the institution and course(s) and the start and end dates for each. Please do not "copy and paste" from the screen, as this can be manipulated and is not considered valid proof.

Can I transfer to VCU to complete my prerequisite course work?

Yes. You may apply to the university as a non-degree seeking student. Please note that degree seeking students have priority over registration options, leaving the non-degree seeking student limited in the courses available.

How is my GPA calculated for math/science and overall?

We break down the requirement and calculate GPA in the manner and categories described below:

  • Math/science GPA is the most important because we are looking for students with a strong science background. All math and science courses taken at a university level are separated from the students' transcript. We total the math/science credits and we total the quality points for those credits, then divide the number of quality points by the number of math/science credits, which produces your math/science GPA.
  • Overall GPA is calculated for the combined total of all university courses ever taken.

Can I take my pre-requisite courses at a Virginia community college?

Yes – the first two years can be taken at a community college as long as the courses are transferable. Please refer to the admission requirements and follow the instructions provided on how to use the course equivalencies section of the VCU Transfer Guide.

Does VCU accept College Board credit for CLEP?

Yes. The applicant must request official transcripts from the College Board website to be sent directly to:

VCU University College Testing Center
PO Box 842500
Richmond, VA 23284

The CLEP transcripts must be received by VCU directly from CLEP. Once received, if the scores are high enough, the CLEP official will send a copy of your scores (transcript) to the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach along with a form for approval and signature of the department director. If approved and the student is accepted into the program, the form and the transcript are sent to VCU records and registration to be posted.

Does VCU accept College Board credit for Advanced Placement tests?

Yes. VCU accepts credit for AP tests and duel enrollment courses. AP tests scores of 3, 4 or 5 will, depending on the test, be considered for advanced standing and credit for the corresponding courses at Virginia Commonwealth University.

If admitted, you will be required to provide a clean copy of the AP Student Grade Report to the Dental Hygiene office. Final determination of credit will be made after test results have been received and evaluated by the Transfer Center. Credits awarded are counted as credits earned toward the degree, but are not included in the student’s VCU GPA.

Dual enrollment courses: Qualified students who have taken college-level work while still enrolled in a secondary school may receive academic credit. Courses taken as dual enrollment courses will be treated as VCU courses or transfer credits according to the evaluation guidelines.

I am an out-of-state student; what prerequisites do I take and how do I know if VCU will take these courses?

For questions regarding the transferability of courses taken at a university other than VCU please refer to the admission requirements and follow the instructions provided on how to use the course equivalencies section of the VCU Transfer Guide, which now includes other universities and colleges in addition to the Virginia Community College System and Richard Bland College.

English is not my first language. Must I take a TOEFL?

TOEFL scores may be required for applicants whose native language is other than English. Please refer to the English proficiency requirement on the admissions requirements page.


Program details

How long is the dental hygiene program?

The dental hygiene program is two years (four semesters) after completion of two years of prerequisite course work. Students enter in their junior year.

Can I do part-time study?

We do not offer a part time program.

Is it possible to work part-time while attending school?

Yes, although the faculty does encourage you to limit your part-time employment due to the academic demands of the curriculum. This is especially important during the first year of the program.

What is a typical day like at the dental hygiene program?

Hours each day may vary, but generally the courses run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The core curriculum focuses on a hands-on approach to dental hygiene education. During your senior year you will be assigned to overnight extramural rotations sites such as Lynchburg, Northern Neck and Danville.

The first semester begins on the last Monday in July or the first Monday in August, depending on the academic calendar for that year. All semesters are conducted on a strict full-time schedule.

You may view the dental hygiene class schedules online. All students are automatically registered for their courses by the director of the dental hygiene program. There are no night classes, no summer courses and no online courses available for this program. The dental hygiene program at VCU is the only such program in the Commonwealth of Virginia directly affiliated with a school of dentistry.


Applicants and accepted students

Is financial aid available for this program?

If you are applying for financial aid to help pay for prerequisite courses, be aware – students cannot qualify for a Pell Grant unless they are enrolled in a degree seeking program. Pre-Dental Hygiene is not a degree seeking program.

  • Check with your academic advisor to find out what types of degree seeking programs are available, that will allow you to still take the courses required for this program
  • Check with the financial aid department at your college or university for more information

The School of Dentistry Office of Financial Aid can help with financial aid issues for students who have been accepted to dental hygiene program at the VCU School of Dentistry. If you need financial assistance to help pay for prerequisite course work, you need to visit the financial aid office of the institution where you are enrolled or plan to enroll to take those courses.

I do not live in the City of Richmond and do not want to live in campus housing. What are my options?

There are several options available to students who would prefer to live off-campus or commute into the city. Information about off-campus housing can be found at the VCU Off-Campus Student Services website. You may also want to check out the Greater Richmond Transit Company for information about city commuting.

What are the computer requirements as a student in the Dental Hygiene Program?

You are required to purchase a School of Dentistry Dell Ultrabook laptop. This laptop will come preloaded with standard software used at the School of Dentistry and compatible with all of our educational technologies and electronic clinical processes.

For more information, please refer to the computer requirements for incoming students.

What kind of job can I expect to get after graduation?

You can work in a private dental practice, a health maintenance organization, long-term care facility, a military dental facility or a school system. You can also work for a dental supply company, university or research facility. You can teach part time in a clinical setting.



Why should I get a B.S. degree in dental hygiene at VCU?

There are many aspects of VCU that make it an excellent place to pursue your dental hygiene career. Being integrated within a dental school provides a wealth of opportunities to interact with a nationally- known faculty, work with a diverse patient population and work along side dentists and dental students. As part of the course of study and community education, students travel to off-campus extramural rotation sites to provide clinical care.

Do you have open house dates?

The VCU Dental Hygiene Program will begin holding information sessions for all of those interested. We will be going over the basics of the program, as well as going over admissions requirements and the application process. We will navigate through the website from beginning to end, highlighting the information that pertains to preparing for entry into our dental hygiene program. This is also a great opportunity to ask specific questions you may have. Although access to clinic areas is limited to patients, faculty, students and staff in accordance with OSHA guidelines, we will be able to tour the dental hygiene offices and classrooms.

Please contact Sabrina Hise, Office Manager, at hises@vcu.edu if interested in attending an open house session.

How much will dental hygiene education at VCU cost?

Detailed estimates of annual fees and expenses can be found at the VCU Student Accounting‌ website. In the "Select a Semester" drop box, choose the current fall/spring. In the "Select a Program" drop box, choose "Undergraduate – Dental Hygiene, First Year". To select housing, you will need additional information.

I still have some questions about my specific academic situation – who can I talk to?

Please contact the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach at (804) 828-9096.