Academic Preparation for Dental Programs

There are four dental schools in Texas. All of these programs are through public institutions. Career options in dentistry include general dentistry, endodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, and more.


Dental Schools require no specific academic major, but do require that set prerequisite coursework be completed to apply. Prerequisites for admission can vary by program and the classes listed below are common course prerequisites for programs in Texas. (SHSU course codes provided.)

  • 14 hours of Biological Sciences (BIOL 1406 and BIOL 1407 recommended)
    • Including: 4 hours of Microbiology (BIOL 3470), 8 hours of Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL 2403 and BIOL 2404)
  • 8 hours of General Chemistry (CHEM 1411 and CHEM 1412)
  • 8 hours of Organic Chemistry (CHEM 2323 & 2123 and CHEM 2325 & 2125)
  • 3 hours of Biochemistry (CHEM 3438)
  • 8 hours of Physics (PHYS 1301 & 1101 and PHYS 1302 & 1102)
  • 3 hours of Statistics (MATH 1342 or MATH 1370 or MATH 3379 or BIOL 4374)
  • 6 hours of English Composition (ENGL 1301 and ENGL 1302)

Most students find additional science coursework to be beneficial in performing well on the Dental Admission Test (DAT).

All prerequisite courses must be designed for science majors. Dental schools in other states may have a different slate of prerequisite requirements. Most dental colleges do not accept AP credit to meet admission requirements. Natural science majors are efficient pathways to dental colleges. If you choose a major outside Biology, Biomedical Science, or Chemistry, you must include the basic science requirements for dental school along with satisfying requirements appropriate for your major. Any academic major is suitable and acceptable for dental school as long as the prerequisite coursework is complete. However, if you choose a different major, you must still complete the requirements for dental school, and these may be in addition to the requirements needed to satisfy your degree plan for your selected major.

Texas residents must apply to dental school through the Texas Medical & Dental Application Service.  The application opens May 1.  Early application is recommended.  To apply out of state, students will apply through the American Dental Education Association's (ADEA) common application (AADSAS). The American Student Dental Association is another very helpful resource for applicants. Let ADEA's timeline is a good guide for preparation to apply to dental school. 

Successful applicants are academically excellent and demonstrate passion for dentistry through shadowing, community service, activities and experiences that will help prepare for a career in dentistry.