Dental school is incredibly competitive to get into. Currently, there are only 67 accredited dental schools in the United States and 10 in Canada. According to the American Dental Association, there were 25,381 students enrolled in dental education programs in 2018-2019.
That is a large number for only having 67 accredited dental schools in the country – on average, each school will have 379 dental students. With so many dental students and so few schools, what are the best majors for dental school?
Best Majors for Dental School
Many students assume that the only way they can get into dental school is by majoring in biology. While biology may be one of the best majors for dental school, it is certainly not the only option. Technically, there are no specific major requirements to apply and get into dental school. With that being said, having a good foundation and taking courses in the sciences will be required.
Since there is no specific major requirement for dental school, we will be looking at the best majors for dental school that help students meet the pre-requisites. Keep in mind that students can major in whatever they want and take courses to meet the pre-requisites. Some majors that will ensure students meet the pre-requisites include:
Biology is one of the most popular majors for students thinking about pursuing dental school. Most students think that this is a required major to get into dental school – it is not. Biology is the study of living organisms.
Students will spend time in both the classroom and research labs to learn about the role of living organisms, their function, and characteristics. Biology majors will develop a great base of knowledge that will help them on the DAT exam and get into dental school.
Biochemistry is exactly what it sounds like. It is the study of the chemistry of living things. Students will take plenty of courses in both biology and chemistry and will learn about the chemistry of living things. Students who major in biochemistry will also take courses in mathematics and physics.
Biochemistry will involve a lot of labs, so working well with others and in a team setting is important. Biochemistry is a great option for students who want to take the DAT and get into dental school. It is one of the best majors for dental school.
Chemistry majors will study the make up and behavior of matter, chemical changes that take place, and participate in laboratory studies. Chemistry is another one of the best majors for dental school because of the variety of courses that students will take as chemistry majors.
Students will take courses in chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry, and math. Students who major in chemistry tend to have strong communication skills and excel in math and physics. Chemistry majors should be hands-on learners and enjoy experimenting and learning in innovative ways.
Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms. Some organisms a microbiologist might study include viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. There are a ton of subspecialities in this field as well like industrial, agricultural, medical, and clinical microbiology.
Students who major in microbiology will focus on courses that pertain to general microbiology, biomedical sciences, and general courses like chemistry, physics, and biology.
Neuroscience majors will study the neurological systems of both human and animal organisms. They will also look at the relationship of those systems with the central nervous system. Neuroscience is one of the best majors for dental school because of the multiple science disciplines that students will be studying.
Neuroscience is a very research oriented major and is perfect for students preparing for graduate school, medical school, or dental school. Students who decide to major in neuroscience will take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and other interesting science courses.
Physics is the study of the natural world and how it works. Students majoring in physics will learn about mechanics, sound, electricity, magnetism, heat, and the exchange of energy. This major includes a lot of math, so an interest in math is a plus.
Physics is one of the best majors for dental school because of the knowledge that students will learn as physics majors. Students will learn a ton in both the chemistry and biology fields, as well as various mathematics fields. A ton of concepts in this major overlap with chemistry, biology, and engineering.
Choosing a Major for Dental School
Each of the above majors should ensure that students meet the dental school pre-requisites for candidates who have received admission. The most important thing is to major in something that is interesting to you.
Majoring in something just to major in it so you can get into dental school won’t be any fun. It will probably be hard too because you are not interested in that subject. Pick something that interests you and something you care about. Remember, there is no requirement for a specific undergraduate major to get into dental school.
Dental School Pre-Requisites
There is no requirement for a specific major to get into dental school, but there are pre-requisites that student should complete to give themselves the best chance to get into a dental school program. Some of those pre-requisites include:
- Two semesters of biology with a lab
- Two semesters of chemistry with a lab
- Two semesters of organic chemistry with a lab
- Two semesters of physics with a lab
While these aren’t necessarily 100% required, dental schools have traditionally selected candidates who completed the above pre-requisites. The majors listed above will require courses in most of the pre-requisites which makes them some of the best majors for dental school.