University of Aberdeen School of Medicine and Dentistry Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) Honours 4 year course (Graduate entry only)


UCAS course code A201, institution code A20

4 year (graduate entry) full time course developed by both the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine and Dentistry and the University of Dundee Dental School. Students will be awarded a joint degree from both institutions.


The University of Aberdeen School and Medicine and Dentistry is based in a purpose built new facility in Foresterhill, along with two other dental facilities; the Aberdeen Dental Institute and associated outreach clinics, and Argyll House.

The course is designed specifically for graduates, and teaching is based on independent and reflective learning. Pre-clinical teaching mainly takes place during year one via a series of lectures, practicals and small-group tutorial classes, supported by e-learning. Clinical experience is introduced early from year one.

Most of the teaching on the BDS programme is by academic staff supported by specialist colleagues in the Dental Hospital, General Dental Practitioners, and members of the Community Dental Service.

Teaching is “patient-centred”, with teaching in year one initially focusing on the ‘normal’ dentate adult patient, with other groups being considered later in the course such as the child patient, the older patient, the anxious patient and the patient with special needs.

Course topics

A series of themes that cover all aspects of delivery dental care are integrated both horizontally and vertically throughout the course, and is designed to meet the requirements of the General Dental Council (GDC).

General Health and Disease is commenced in a year one and covers the normal structure and function of the body before considering abnormal structure, function and disease. This theme continues through years two and three, and will give students an understanding of the implications of a patient’s medical history, disease, and drug metabolism and interactions, as well as oral manifestations of systemic disease.

Dental Health and Disease covers dental anatomy, oral biology and physiology, oral pathology and oral microbiology. The most common endemic oral diseases (caries and periodontal disease) are covered in year one, with the full range of oral diseases being covered in subsequent years.

Patient Care is an important theme that is integrated throughout the four years. Please see Clinical Experience below for more details.

Behavioural Science and Dental Public Health Strategies include strategies for effective patient communication is commenced in year 1, which will support students’ first contact with patients. Development and modification of these strategies is explored for communication with different patient groups, including behavioural techniques for managing dental anxiety. Dental Public Health covers interventions with individual patients and population groups, epidemiology, statistics, evaluating evidence, the dental public health consultant, links between dental health and disease, and social deprivation.

Law and Ethics / Professionalism is a theme that explores the legal aspects of dental practice, including patient confidentiality, consent, patient records, as well as developing appropriate professional attitudes and behaviour.

Decontamination / Infection Control begins in year one with theoretical and practical teaching, and the application of infection control and decontamination is assessed throughout clinical attachments as part of the assessment of professionalism.

Clinical experience

From Semester 1 of year one, students will be introduced to clinical work through an introductory clinical skills course covering the treatment of simple periodontal disease and caries management.

From Semester 2, students will begin Integrated Clinically Related Activities (ICRAs) as well as beginning patient contact with observation and simple preventative advice.

Patient care begins is Semester 3 with simple restorative procedures, and clinical experience continues throughout the course with further clinical skills courses and clinical attachments in the full range of dental disciplines.

In the final year, students cover holistic patient care and become responsible for all aspects of patients’ dental care.


Each student will develop their own personal e-portfolio which will include evidence of their learning and experience, and will form part of the assessment.

Formative exams will be undertaken after Semester 1 with summative exams at the end of the year. Methods of assessment may include short essay questions, practical exams and multiple short answer questions. Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) and Structured Clinical Objective Testing (SCOTs) are used at appropriate stages to assess clinical skills.


Academic entry requirements

Degree: Only graduates with a good honours degree (First class or Upper Second class) in a Medical Science or health-related degree (such as Pharmacy or Physiotherapy). Candidates with a First class degree in Medicine will also be considered. There are no pre-degree requirements. Please note: undergraduates in their final year of study on an Honours degree programme must ensure that their predicted grades are included in the academic reference. Applicants without this information will not be considered.

UKCAT: All applicants must sit the UKCAT test before the 15 October of the year of application. UKCAT tests cognitive ability and is used as an additional screening tool for the suitability of each candidate prior to interview.

English Language: Please note, only applicants from home/EU will be considered. Appllicants should have an International English Language Testing Score (IELTS) of 6.0, with 6.0 in the writing component (or equivalent).

General entry requirements

Work experience: All applicants should ideally have undertaken some work shadowing and have a good understanding of what being a dentist involves.

Personal qualities: Candidates should be enthusiastic and show commitment to dentistry. Candidates should also have good interpersonal and practical skills.

Manual dexterity: Candidates should possess sufficient bi-manual dexterity to handle, simultaneous the necessary equipment to treat patients. Candidates should have a steady hand with good vision (with spectacles if needed), and good hand-eye coordination.

Health screening: A health questionnaire must be undertaken by all entrants onto the degree by the NHS Grampian Occupational Health. Occupational Health screening must be undertaken to screen for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and HIV infection. Admission is not possible for those who may pose a risk of blood borne virus (BBV) infection to patients.

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) enhanced disclosure: All successful applicants must provide a certificate of an enhanced criminal records check from Disclosure Scotland.


There are 20 places available on the BDS programme. Only applications from graduates from Home/EU will be considered.

Applicants must apply via UCAS by 15 October. Applications will not normally be considered after this date. Candidates may apply for a maximum of four dentistry courses on the UCAS form, and may apply for additional non-health programmes.

Selection of candidates is based on academic qualifications, UK CAT score, personal statement and referee’s report. Candidates who score highly will be invited for interview.


University of Aberdeen
University Office
King’s College
AB24 3FX
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 272090 / 1
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576


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