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Where Is a Good University to Go to if You Want to Be a Dentist?

by Rudy Miller, studioD

More than 60 dental schools are accredited in the United States, but not every school fits every student. The American Dental Association conducted surveys to find out which schools are the biggest, the most competitive and offer the best instruction. Students can weigh the data as they consider which schools might best meet their needs.

Think Big

New York University’s College of Dentistry had 239 students enroll in the 2010-11 school year, more than any other accredited program, according to the ADA's most recent survey. The school trains 1,800 people a year, including dental hygienists, nurses, undergraduates and graduate students, according to data from 2013 on the NYU website. Boston University had the second-most enrollees in 2010-11 with 190, and more applicants than any school with 5,546. The school offers undergraduate and doctoral programs for its 700 students, according to its website in 2013.

The Best of the Best

The Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is more selective than any other school in the ADA survey. Only 2.2 percent of applicants were accepted in 2010-11, the latest data available at time of publication; 69 students made up that class. The school offers a Master of Public Health degree in addition to a basic dental degree. Marquette University accepted only 2.5 percent of its applicants in 2010-11. The school has a patient- and student-centered philosophy and is the only dental school in Wisconsin, according to its website.

Lots To Learn

The Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health offers the most instructional hours of any program, with over 7,451 hours of instruction over the four-year program, according to recent survey data from the ADA. The University of Iowa placed second with 6,547 hours. Iowa is the only dental school in the United States with advanced education in all dental specialties. Loma Linda University in California placed third with 6,175 hours. Loma Linda offers advanced degrees in anesthesia, endodontics, pediatric dentistry and implant dentistry.

Keep Studying

Midwestern University in Arizona has the most instructional hours per week of any accredited program surveyed by the ADA. The program has 43.4 hours of instruction on average for each week of the four-year program. Students need at least a 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 scale to enroll, although a 3.2 GPA is generally necessary. The Arizona School of Dentistry came in second, University of Iowa third and Meharry Medical College in Tennessee fourth with 37.7 instructional hours per week, where students must take first-year classes alongside doctors. Sixty students are admitted to the Meharry dental program each year.

About the Author

Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.

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