Pre-Dental Preparation at Fresno State

Pre-Dental FAQ

Click on the question to view the answer; click again to close the panel.

What are the minimum requirements for dental school admission?

  1. A minimum of 90 semester units (three years) of university preparation.  However over 90% of the admitted students have completed at least a bachelors degree.  You should consider applying after 90 units only if your science and overall GPAs are well over 3.5.
  2. You must be either a citizen or a permanent resident of the US.
  3. Take the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT).

    Most pre-dental students major in either biology or chemistry.  However, you may take any major that you want as long as you take the minimum required coursework in biology and chemistry.  This will take careful planning on your part.  Consult with an advisor.

What are the minimum course requirements?

The following are the minimum requirements for most US dental schools.  Check the web sites of the dental schools you want to attend for more details of requirements.  There is some variation between schools.

  1. One-year course series in biology chemistry and physics.  At CSU Fresno, the required courses are Bio 1A and 1B, Chem, 1A and 1B, and Physics 2A and 2B.
  2. Organic chemistry.  At CSU Fresno, the required courses are Chem 128A, 128B, and 129A.
  3. Biochemistry.  At CSU Fresno, the course is either Chem 150 or 155.
  4. English composition.  At CSU Fresno, the courses can be either Eng 5A and 5B or 10 plus 20.  Other combinations are possible.
  5. Many schools want a course in Psychology.  At CSU Fresno, most students take Psych 10.

Are There Recommended Courses?

Some schools list recommended courses.  You should check out the web sites of your target schools to see what they recommend.  Some of the commonly recommended courses taught at CSU Fresno are Bio 120, Microbiology; Bio 143, Comparative Vertebrate Morphology; Bio 162 plus Bio 162L, Comparative Animal Physiology; and Bio 163, Advanced Human Physiology.  Some students take the pre-nursing/pre physical therapy courses, Bio 64, Functional Human Anatomy and Bio 65, Human Physiology.

How Do I Apply to Dental School?

How Do I Prepare for the DAT? How Do I Register for the DAT?

Go to this website for DAT information and instructions.

Many students take the Kaplan course to prepare for the DAT.

How Do I Find the Websites of American Dental Schools?

There are links listed on this website.

Is There a Club For Pre-Dental Students?

Yes.  Check with your advisor to get on the club email list.  The club brings in local dentists to describe the educational process, getting started in a practice, and to answer your questions.  The club also organizes trips to California dental schools so that you can check out potential schools in person.

Are There Any Publications That I can Use to Plan My Career?

Your best guide is the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools, published annually by the ADEA.  Request your copy at this link.

A copy is also available in the Henry Madden Library, at the first-floor reference desk.  It lists all US and Canadian dental schools.  The Guide has an extensive discussion about finances and a detailed look at the most recent entering class (DAT scores, GPA, applicant pool), application process, and each school’s costs.

When Should I Apply To Dental School?

One year before you expect to enter dental school.  You should take the DAT and start the AADSAS process the spring semester or early summer one year before you graduate.  Check the ADSAS deadlines and instructions so that you do not miss important dates.

What Can I Do if I am Not Accepted By a Dental School?

Many students apply again the next year and are successful.  There are also alternative career paths which include podiatry, optometry, and clinical laboratory science, among others.  You should keep these alternatives in mind early in your career and learn about the admission requirements for the above alternative programs.  You may be able to take coursework that will prepare you for admission to more than one program.  Dental and medical schools accept only about 25% of their applicants so you need to be realistic, especially if your GPA drops below 3.0.

How Do I Get to All of These Links?

Note that most of them are at the ADA and ADEA.  You can just type “American Dental Association” and “American Dental Education Association” into Google to get the main web pages.  Search from there.