Skip to content

Admission requirements

For information regarding prerequisite courses at VCU, refer to the VCU University College pre-dental hygiene program information.

Two years of liberal arts study with a minimum of 60 semester hours of transferable quality academic course credits are required. Click on a course subject for a brief description of the types of courses required for this program.

The generic list of courses below will be helpful to you when choosing prerequisites and electives. If the courses you have taken or plan to take match closely with the brief descriptions provided, they will most likely transfer, as long as they are from an accredited institution.

English (6-9 credits) +

Two or three semesters. Intensive writing and research consisting of UNIV 111, UNIV 112 and UNIV 200 or the transfer equivalent.

General biology with laboratory (3-5 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits with lab. Human biology, not plant or animal biology. Topics should include molecular aspects of cells, bioenergetics, photosynthesis, celluluar respiration, cellular and organismal reproduction, genetics and evolution and ecology.

College chemistry with laboratory (3-5 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits with lab. Fundamental principles and theories of chemistry, including qualitative analysis. Not organic.  (Must be equivalent to CHM 111 or higher within the VCCS)

Human anatomy with laboratory (3-5 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits with lab. Human specimens, models and interactive software are used to study human body structures; emphasis is on the skeleto-muscular aspects.  Note: NAS 161 and 162 will not transfer to VCU.

Human physiology with laboratory (3-5 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits with lab. Functioning of the human body with emphasis on experimental procedures.

Microbiology with laboratory (3-5 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits with lab. General principles of microbiology and immunology to provide a thorough understanding of the host-microbe relationship in disease.

Humanities (3 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits. Examples of humanities courses: foreign language, philosophy, literature, history, religious studies, anthropology, sociology, psychology (in addition to the required sociology and psychology), etc.

Introductory sociology (3 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits. An intro to or survey of basic concepts of society and culture.

Introductory psychology (3 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits. An intro to or survey of basic principles.

Speech (3 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits. Structured speaking and critical listening, basic forms of interpersonal and small group communication.

Statistics (3 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits. Scientific math, not business math. Topics should include examining distributions, relationships, producing data, probability, etc.

Visual or performing arts (3 credits) +

One semester, minimum 3 credits. Art history or music appreciation course.

Electives +

Electives must fulfill the remaining 60-credit hour minimum in addition to the required coursework for admission. We strongly recommend you take some science electives. Most appropriate are the follow up courses to the required general biology and general chemistry. You might also take an additional course in some type of biology, such as cell biology or principles of nutrition.

You may be required to take some type of math, such as pre-algebra, prior to taking statistics at your school. Any 100-level course of this type that you take should also transfer as elective credit.

You may also take anything that you see listed under "humanities", as long as it is transferable.

The remainder of the 60 required credits can be chosen from any of the following areas of study:  science, math, computer usage, first aid and CPR and humanities. Science electives are strongly recommended.

Prerequisites for Admission 

Ensuring that all prerequisite coursework be completed no later than the spring semester of the application year is solely the responsibility of the applicant.  Please note online Math/Science courses are not acceptable.  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.


A minimum GPA of 2.50 based on a four-point scale in the cumulative courses and a minimum GPA of 2.70 in the math/science courses.

Technical skills

In order to successfully complete the dental hygiene 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.

Transfer Credits

The VCU transfer guide now includes other universities and colleges in addition to the Virginia Community College System. Once you select which school you attend, you will click on the “Course Equivalency Tables” tab on the left hand side of the screen. Use the prerequisite list to compare courses on the course equivalencies list and you should have no problem choosing the right courses for this program.

When choosing elective courses, make sure any courses you have taken or you are considering taking, are on the course equivalencies list. These elective courses do not have to be equivalent to anything specific at VCU, but they must be on the list and may simply be indicated as "elective" in the right column.

If you do not see your school on the transfer guide course equivalencies list, please contact the VCU Transfer Center at (804) 827-1349 for specific guidance.

Course work completed in the Dental Hygiene Program at VCU may or may not transfer to another institution and is at the discretion of the program or institution.

English proficiency

To successfully complete the dental hygiene curriculum, students are required to communicate clearly (in English) with faculty, students, staff and patients. To assure such competence, the Dental Hygiene Program requires any applicant whose native language is not English and who has been educated primarily outside of the United States to submit official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores.

Applicants are required to submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score. The test must have been taken within the past two years (exempt if you have successfully completed 60 or more transferable semester credits at a two- or four- year postsecondary institution in the U.S., to include the full freshman English.

The Dental Hygiene Program does not conditionally admit applicants who have not met the requirement for proof of English proficiency. For more information visit the VCU Global Education Office.


VCU’s dental hygiene program minimum TOEFL score requirements are 550 (paper) or 80 (internet-based). For more information about TOEFL testing, visit the Educational Testing Services website.


VCU’s Dental Hygiene Program minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.0.

Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Dentistry
Lyons Dental Building
520 North 12th Street, Fourth Floor
Box 980566
Richmond, Virginia 23298-0566
Contact us