University of Birmingham School of Dentistry

Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) (1st year entry)


UCAS course code A200, institution code B32

5 year course (1st year entry); an integrated interdisciplinary programme consisting of five terms of pre-clinical studies followed by three years and one term of clinical work.


Years one and two are largely modular-based and focuses on the interdisciplinary study of different systems of the human body with subjects including anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, oral biology and pharmacology, as well as modules on biological sciences, the principles of learning, clinical dentistry and behavioural science. Teaching is mostly small group teaching and self-directed learning.

During the third and fourth years, students will continue studying oral biology and pathology alongside their clinical work, as well specialist dental subjects such as paediatric dentistry, restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, radiology and oral medicine and surgery.

During the final year, study consists of academic work and clinical dental practice. Students may also wish to choose a special study module for in-depth research.

Clinical experience

Students will first encounter patients early in the third year. In preparation for this, students will spend most of the last term of year two working on Phantom Heads practising preparing and filling teeth with restorative materials. Students will also practice taking medical histories from each other as well as examining each other’s teeth and gums and administering local anaesthesia.

From the first term of the third year students will begin to take responsibility for patients and start carrying out simple treatments under close supervision.

As part of the medicine and surgery module in year four, students will spend time in residence at a general hospital to learn about the social and psychological side of patient care whilst developing interpersonal and communication skills. Students will also gain valuable insight in factors controlling dental disease, epidemiology, statistical techniques and key ethical and medico-legal issues associated with dentistry.

Students also have the opportunity to spend time with general dental practitioners as part of the practitioner attachment scheme. Visits to specialist dental units and the community dental service can also be organised.

Students will also have the opportunity to carry out an elective programme of study, a topic of personal interest, which may take place abroad.


Each student is allocated a personal tutor who will provide academic guidance and support, and a welfare tutor who will support personal needs during the BDS programme.

There will be formal written examinations and tests, as well as continuous assessment which allows progress to be monitored at all times. All clinical work is marked continually during clinical sessions with feedback given to provide constructive advice and help progress.


Academic entry requirements

GCSEs: Candidates must have achieved at least grade A in Chemistry, Biology, Physics (or integrated science double award), Mathematics, and English Language or Literature.

A levels: AAB including both Chemistry and Biology at grade A, plus an additional AS level at grade B / A. General studies in not accepted as one of the A or AS levels.

International Baccalaureate Diploma: A minimum of 36 points must be achieved including Higher level Chemistry and Higher Level Biology.
General entry requirements

Work experience: All applicants to the BDS course must have undertaken work experience in a general dental practice before submission of their UCAS application.

Health screening: Admission of candidates to the University of Birmingham School of Dentistry BDS programme is conditional on the results of testing for blood-borne viruses (BBV). All potential students must be screened for non-infectivity of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV prior to admission; in addition immunisation against Hepatitis B should be commenced prior to joining the programme.

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) enhanced disclosure: All students at dental schools will have a high level of unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults and must therefore undergo a CRB check at enhanced level. University of Birmingham School of Dentistry reserves the right to discontinue a student’s studies on receipt of unsatisfactory disclosure.

Manual dexterity skills: Candidates should be able to demonstrate practical ability through their academic or non-academic interests such as through art, sewing or model-making.

Social and communication skills: Candidates should be able to demonstrate the understanding and empathy needed when dealing with different members of society. Prospective students must also demonstrate commitment, involvement and understanding of the need to be working for the benefit of others.

Non-academic interests and achievements

For more detailed guidelines on entrance requirements, please contact the dental admissions department.


Only candidates from the UK / EU may apply for the BDS program at the University of Birmingham.

Candidates must apply via UCAS. The application must include a personal statement detailing reasons for choosing dentistry and any supporting information such as team or leadership experience. The application will also include a school or college reference. Applications must be received from UCAS in the period from mid September to October 15. Applications are not normally considered after October 15.

Successful candidates will be invited for interview; this is normally an informal, friendly interview which lasts for 15 minutes, and will also give the candidate a chance to tour the Dental Hospital and talk to some current students.


Admissions tutor: Mr Donald Spence
The School of Dentistry
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
St Chad’s Queensway
Birmingham B4 6NN
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)121 237 2761


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