What is Pre-Dentistry?

To be "pre- dental” means you are embarking on a course of study aimed at preparing you for application to a dental school. It is not a major.

What is Dentistry?

Dentistry is the branch of the healing arts and sciences devoted to maintaining the health of the teeth, gums, and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. While most dentists in private practice are general practitioners, others choose to specialize in one particular field. Dentistry offers stimulating career options.

What type of education is required?

An undergraduate degree followed by a four-year professional program.

What should I major in at NDSU, if I want to go to dental school?

Please be aware that pre-dental is not a major. The students are encouraged to select a major based on their area of interest. Most dental schools seek applicants with a strong foundation in the natural sciences and have completed the pre-requisites for admission. 

Coursework required for most dental schools*    

  • 1 Year General Biology- BIOL 150/L, BIOL 151/L
  • 1 Year General Chemistry- CHEM 121/L, CHEM 122/L
  • 1 Year Organic Chemistry- CHEM 341/L, CHEM 342/L
  • 1 Year General Physics- PHYS 211/L, PHYS 212/L
  • 1 year English- ENGL 120 and upper division writing course (ENGL 324)
  • 1 semester  of Calculus- MATH 146
  • 1 Semester Biochemistry- BIOC 460
  • 1 semester of Psychology - PSYC 111
  • 1 semester of Sociology - SOC 110

* Although this coursework will meet the requirements for many schools, students should check for additional requirements of the schools to which they hope to apply. Most schools want the applicant to have completed the required courses prior to applying. Also, note that many schools will accept AP credit in lieu of the required courses.

Recommended courses        

  • Statistics- STAT 330
  • Genetics - BIOL/PLSC 315/L
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology- BIOL 220/L, BIOL 221/L
  • Cell Biology- BIOL 370
  • Microbiology- MICR 350
  • Vertebrate Histology- BIOL 444
  • Animal Physiology- BIOL 460
  • Comparative Chordate Morphology- BIOL 410
  • Immunology- MICR 460
  • Business (Accounting, Economics)
  • Sculpture/3-D Drawing and/or Ceramics
  • Pre dental externship- BIOL 496

 What do dental schools look for in applicants?

  • Cumulative GPA
  • DAT (Dental Admission Test)
  • The personal statement and/or interview.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Motivation through experiences


Applicants should consider volunteering at a local hospital or dental clinic to gain practical experience in dentistry. A well-rounded sampling of extra-curricular activities or work experiences, both related and unrelated to dentistry, will help broaden an applicant's knowledge and development.

Pre-dental students are encouraged to participate in student organizations at NDSU such as the Pre-Dental Club and American Medical Student Association and Allied Health (AMSA). These organizations are run by students with similar career goals and provide an opportunity for others to discuss career plans and gather details about the professions they are interested in.

The Application Process

The timeline for admission/application into dental school is available here.


Here are some helpful websites to learn about the dental field, the application process and more:

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