University of Bristol Dental School

Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) Honours 5 year course (1st year entry)


UCAS course code A206, institution code B78

5 year (1st year entry) full time course with opportunity to integrate and study abroad


Teaching is mainly delivered through lectures and small-group tutorials; additional teaching material is also available on Computer Aided Learning (CAL) programmes. Emphasis is placed on the prevention of disease and whole patient care throughout the 5 year teaching programme.

Course topics

During the pre-clinical first year, students will spend the majority of their time in the School of Medical Sciences. Teaching aims to develop an understanding of normal body structure and function and will cover the basic subjects of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry.

From years two to four, the oral environment will be covered in detail with topics such as oral anatomy, histology, biochemistry, microbiology and physiology. This is complemented by units of Pathology and Microbiology, and Pharmacology. Teaching is based both in the School of Medical Sciences and the Bristol Dental School. Biomaterials Science is also introduced in year two, and will be a recurring theme throughout the rest of the programme along with the theme of The Dentist in Society (behavioural and social sciences relevant to dentistry).

In year three, the Human Diseases course is studied, which includes visits to other hospitals and clinics.

Clinical experience

In year two, students will prepare for clinical training and practice by attending the Bristol Dental Hospital. Here, students will gain experience in dental teamwork and learn the foundations of periodontal treatment as well as receiving teaching in history taking, dental anxiety, pain control and radiation protection. Students will also begin the Operative Skills Unit, where students will work on the Phantom Heads, which will introduce students to basic clinical procedures and help develop manual dexterity.

From year three, students will deliver patient treatment within each of the clinical departments and receive teaching from each of the following departments; the Division of Child Dental Health, the Division of Oral Medicine, Pathology, and Microbiology; the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; and the Division of Restorative Dentistry (which encompasses Conservative Dentistry, Periodontology, and Prosthodontics). Students will begin to take responsibility for treating patients within the clinical departments under close supervision of members of staff.

Students will spend time in year three in clinical rotations within the United Bristol Hospital Trust, Weston Area Health Authority and North Bristol Trust.

During years four and five students will deliver dental treatment in the local community as part of the Outreach programme. From 2009, students from all clinical years will receive outreach teaching and treat patients in a new dedicated facility at South Bristol Community Hospital.


All students will be allocated a personal tutor who will provide academic and personal guidance if necessary, and will also monitor progress on the BDS (hons) programme.

Years one and two are formally examined, which may include written, oral and clinical components. At the end of year three, the Human Diseases teaching unit is formally examined, and the Final BDS examination takes place at the end of year five which covers all aspects of the clinical dental sciences.

Other details

After completion of the second year, students may wish to consider taking an extra year to study for an intercalated science Honours BSc degree. After this year, students will rejoin year three of the BDS (hons) programme.

There are also 5 places available on the six-year pre-dental programme (A204) for those applicants who do not hold the required science A levels for the five-year programme. On successful completion of the pre-dental year, students will enter the BDS 5 year programme. Please see the following link for details or refer to UCAS:

The University of Bristol Dental School also has excellent links with Hannover Dental School, and an exchange programme takes place each year.

At the end of year four, there is an elective period where an independent research project must be carried out at an academic institution either in the UK or internationally. A report must be submitted at the end of the research project, which may be put forward for various prestigious prizes.


Academic entry requirements

GCSEs: Minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade A/A* which must include English Language, Mathematics, and two Science subjects.

A levels: AAB with A grades in both Chemistry and one other lab-based science subject

AS levels: Biology is required to have been achieved at A grade at AS level if not offered at A2 level. (Biology is the preferred second subject at A-level).

International Baccalaureate Diploma: A minimum overall score of 35 points, with a minimum of 6,6,6 at Higher Level including Chemistry and Biology.

Degree: Graduates should have an Upper Second Class (2:1) Honours degree in a science subject; in addition graduates should also offer a minimum of BBB grades at A level.

Scottish Qualifications: AAAAB at Higher Level. AB in Chemistry and Biology at Advanced Higher Level.

Welsh Baccalaureate diploma: Pass Advanced Diploma with two A grades achieved in both Chemistry and Biology.

For other accepted entry qualifications and access to higher education applications, please see the institution website or refer to UCAS:

UKCAT: All applicants must successfully sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) in the year of application. This test is taken in additional to A Levels and is an additional selection tool for screening UCAS applicants.

English Language: International English Language Testing (IELTS) score with a minimum overall grade of 7.0 with minimum of 6.5 in each part.

General entry requirements

Work experience:

Health screening: All successful candidates will required to complete a health assessment questions and undergo pre-course screening for blood-borne viruses (BBVs) in order to identify any students whose health status potentially place themselves, colleagues and / or future patients at risk.

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) enhanced disclosure: In accordance with the General Dental Council (GDC) guidelines on Fitness to Practice, all dental students are required to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check at enhanced level and register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).


There are 75 places available on the Bachelor of Dental Surgery BDS (Hons) 5 year programme.

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.


Dental Admissions Advisor
University of Bristol
Undergraduate Admissions Office
Senate House
Tyndall Avenue
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)117 928 9000
Fax: +44 (0)117 925 1424


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