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UK Dentistry Courses

Develop your key knowledge and skills across the full range of dental disciplines

Dentistry courses in the UK generally last five years (six if a foundation year is required) and are demanding at both an academic and technical level. Dentistry students will study the cause, prevention, management and treatment of oral and dental disease. The most common type of dental qualification is the BDS degree (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), whilst students who wish to focus on a particular area of expertise can choose to study a Master of Dental Surgery.

A dentistry degree in the UK is one of the most competitive courses to apply for, and successful applicants will require strong academic grades, the commitment to complete a long degree and the practical and mental skills needed to concentrate over long periods. Dentistry graduates will complete their course with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) award. Dentistry is the only subject in which graduates are paid more than £30,000 in professional jobs six months after university.

dentistry UK application

The first year of study on a dentistry course will concentrate on basic medical and clinical knowledge in anatomy, physiology, oral biology and biochemistry. These academic studies will continue throughout the degree, but practical work under supervision will begin to be carried out towards the end of the first year. State-of-the-art simulation dummies are provided to practice practical work. Year 2 will see students build upon their knowledge of year 1, with an increased focus on the wider context of dentistry and patient behaviour on oral hygiene.

Types of Dentistry Degree Course

Bachelor of Dentistry

A Bachelor of Dentistry is an undergraduate degree that equips students with foundational knowledge and practical skills essential for a career in dentistry. The programme typically spans five years and combines rigorous academic coursework with hands-on clinical training. Students learn about oral anatomy, dental procedures, radiography, and patient care. The curriculum covers preventive, restorative, and surgical aspects of dentistry, preparing graduates to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral diseases and upon completion, students often pursue licensure to practice as dentists or continue their education in specialised fields. 

  • Course fees: £15,000 to £35,000
  • Course duration: 4-5 years
  • International entry requirements: A-level offer is AAA, including Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology. International Baccalaureate: 32 points with at least 766 at a higher level.

Master’s of Dentistry

A Master's in Dentistry (MScD) builds upon the foundational knowledge and skills acquired during a Bachelor's in Dentistry (BDS) degree. An MScD is designed to provide advanced education and training in various aspects of dentistry, allowing students to specialise in particular areas such as orthodontics, endodontics, periodontology, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, or prosthodontics. Students will also learn about the latest advancements in dental materials, technologies, and techniques, staying up to date on new restorative materials, digital dentistry, and other emerging technologies.

  • Course fees: £15,000 to £35,000
  • Course duration: 1 to 2 years
  • International entry requirements: A bachelor’s degree in dentistry. International Baccalaureate score of 32.

PhD in Dentistry

A PhD in Dentistry is an advanced research degree where you'll work closely with experienced researchers, use advanced technology, and write a thesis presenting your findings. This degree can lead to academic, research, or specialised dental careers. It's a pathway to becoming an expert in dental science and significantly contributing to the dental community's understanding and practices.

Please note the above are expected average fees but will vary depending on the university.

Dentistry Scholarships in the UK

  • The MSc Dental Public Health Aubrey Sheiham Scholarship: It offers £2,500 for home students and £5,000 for overseas students of UCL, requiring recipients to fund the rest of tuition fees and living expenses.
  • MRC IMPACT Studentships at the University of Birmingham: They are funded by the Integrative Midlands Partnership for Biomedical Training (IMPACT), a collaboration between the universities of Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, and the Research Complex at Harwell, supporting doctoral training in biomedical fields.
  • The Edinburgh Dental Institute MSc Scholarship: It covers 10% of the remaining tuition fee after deducting any sponsorships.

Dentistry Jobs and Careers

Dentistry offers a rewarding and diverse array of job opportunities and careers. Here are some aspects to consider:

  • General Dentist: As a general dentist, you'll be the primary oral healthcare provider, responsible for diagnosing, treating, and managing a wide range of dental issues. You'll perform routine check-ups, fillings, cleanings, and educate patients about oral hygiene practices. 
  • Academia: Dental schools and institutions offer opportunities for dentists to become educators and researchers. In an academic role, you'll teach aspiring dentists, conduct research to advance dental knowledge, and contribute to developing new techniques and treatments.
  • Public Health: Public health dentists work to improve the oral health of communities. This involves designing and implementing oral health programmes, advocating for policies that promote oral health, and addressing dental disparities to ensure access to care for underserved populations.
  • Dental Hygienist: Dental hygienists are vital members of the dental team. They clean teeth, take X-rays, provide preventive treatments like fluoride application and sealants, and educate patients on proper oral hygiene practices.
  • Technician: Dental technicians create prosthetics and appliances based on dentists' prescriptions. This can include crafting crowns, bridges, dentures, and orthodontic appliances in a laboratory setting. 
  • Industry: Working with dental product companies involves roles such as sales representatives, product specialists, or consultants. You'll engage with dental professionals to introduce new technologies, equipment, and materials, helping practices stay up-to-date and efficient.
  • Practice Owner: Owning a dental practice provides a chance for autonomy and entrepreneurship. As an owner, you'll manage the business side of the practice, including staffing, finances, marketing, and patient care coordination. 

These diverse career paths within dentistry cater to different interests, skill sets, and levels of responsibility, ensuring a wide range of opportunities for those entering the field.

Dentistry Salary

The average annual starting professional salary for dentists in the UK is approx £31,00; more experienced dentists or those in high-demand areas can earn higher salaries, while newly qualified dentists may start at a lower range. Private practice and additional qualifications can also impact earnings.

  • Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016-17.

UK Clinical Aptitude Test

The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) is part of the selection process of some UK medical and dental schools. It is an online test designed to test cognitive abilities, attitudes, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. There are four reasoning tests and a situational judgement test.

Verbal reasoning- Assesses ability to think logically about written information and arrive at a reasoned conclusion: 21 minutes, with 11 passages to read and 44 questions.

Quantitative reasoning- Assesses ability to solve numerical problems: 24 minutes, 9 tables, charts, graphs etc., as information and 36 questions.

Abstract reasoning- Assesses the ability to infer relationships from information by convergent and divergent thinking: 13 minutes and 55 questions.

Decision analysis- Assesses ability to deal with various forms of information to infer relationships, make informed judgements, and decide on an appropriate response: 32 minutes, 1 scenario full of information and 28 questions (basic calculator provided)

Situational judgement- Measures your responses in situations and your grasp of medical ethics: 27 minutes and 67 questions on 20 scenarios.

The test is taken at your local test centre, and each subtest is in a multiple-choice format. Past papers are not available, but there are specimen questions on the UCAT website. Applicants can take the UCAT at the following universities:

Please note that entry requirements vary for each UK university.

Where can I study a Dentistry course?

To learn more about the best dentistry courses in the UK, find details on the top ten ranking dentistry universities in the Guardian University Guide 2024 below:

  1. Plymouth University
  2. Queen’s University Belfast
  3. University of Dundee
  4. University of Glasgow
  5. University of Bristol
  6. University of Liverpool
  7. Queen Mary, University of London
  8. University of Birmingham
  9. Cardiff University
  10. Newcastle University

Do you need assistance in applying to a dentistry course in the UK? The Medicine Service can fully prepare you for your application to a UK dentistry school with interview practice and personal statement assistance.

Study Dentistry in the UK

If you are interested in studying dentistry course in the UK, arrange your free consultation with SI-UK today.

Dentistry Course FAQ

To become a dentist, you must complete a five-year training program at an accredited UK university. Throughout the five years, you will learn practical skills and attend academic lectures and seminars.

It's difficult to say which dental school in the UK is the easiest to get into as each university has different standards for what they're looking for in applicants. However, the University of Leeds' Dental Institute has a comparatively low entry requirement for studying dentistry courses in the UK.

To become a dentist in the UK, you will need good communication, concentration, the ability to work long hours, often under pressure, and manual dexterity.

Dentistry is an esteemed profession, and a successful dentist will have good judgement, professionalism, critical thinking, and organization skills.

Breckett Front  My consultant was very helpful and motivating. She helped me every step of the way, even when the deadline was so close. I feel I could not have done it without her. I'd highly recommend this service to any and all of my many friends interested.  Breckett Front

Brishti Basu Biosciences at Coventry University