Cardiff University School of Dentistry

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


UCAS course code A200, institution code C15

5 year course (1st year entry) integrating scientific teaching with early clinical experience


Most of the teaching students will receive in the first year will be based at the Cardiff School of Biosciences at the Cathays Park Campus. The foundation theme of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry will be taught via a series of lectures, seminars and practicals.

From year two, students will be based mainly in the School of Dentistry at the Heath Park Campus. During the second year, study will focus on several main themes: the oral ecosystems theme covering topics such as the development, physiology and biochemistry of oral and dental tissues; the human diseases theme covering dentally-related aspects of medicine, pharmacology, and surgery; the clinical dentistry theme covering radiology, dental pathology, periodontology, dental materials, cariology, paediatric dentistry and orthodontics; and dentistry in the wider community theme, which covers behavioural sciences and ethics .

In years three and four, students will continue the clinical dentistry, human diseases and dentistry in the wider community themes and cover topics such as integrated restorative dental care, endodontics, prosthodontics, periodontics, paediatric dentistry, orthodontics, statistics, oral surgery, medicine and pathology, and dental public health.

Final year students are required to undertake a final year project that contributes to their overall degree classification, which will provide valuable experience in research methodology, critical appraisal of literature and scholarship.

Clinical experience

From year one, students will spend up to two afternoons a week at the University Dental Hospital where they will have the opportunity to observe clinic activity, learn about clinical procedures, and professionalism, as well as learning about the role and responsibilities of the dental team.

From year two, students will be introduced to clinical dentistry with the commencement of the pre-operative techniques course in the pre-clinical laboratory, before beginning treatment on patients at the end of the year.

In years three and four, students will greatly increase the amount of time spent in the clinics treating patients to further develop interpersonal and clinical skills. This will be supported by the integrated teaching.

The final year of the BDS program will see students spending a substantial amount of time outside the University Dental School, with students being based at various dental units of district general hospitals, and local and outreach community dental clinics. Students will also have the opportunity to treat patients under the close supervision of a Community Dental Officer in Community Dental Clinics located locally in South Wales, and also at the Dental Clinic in Wrexham in North Wales..


Students are required to keep a reflective portfolio which records procedures observed, assisted with or undertaken. This will also give students the opportunity to reflect on the upon procedures thought to gone well or those that could be improved upon.

Other details

Cardiff School of Dentistry has formal links with various dental institutions across Europe including Sweden, the Netherlands and Italy, and students are encouraged to take part in the SOCRATES-ERASMUS programme. The 3 month exchange programme takes place during the final year of the BDS (Hons) programme.

There is also a six-year programme including a foundation year for those applicants who do not meet the subject entry requirements for the five-year BDS (Hons) programme. For details, please refer to the following link:


Academic entry requirements

GCSEs: Minimum grade B in Biology, Chemistry and Physics (or double award Science), and grade B in English Language.

A levels: AAB grades including AA grades in two of Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Mathematics or Statistics (one being Chemistry or Biology). General Studies is not accepted as the third A level. Preference is not be given to applicants whose third A level subject is a science.

AS levels: Chemistry or Biology are required to be taken at AS level if not offered at A2 level.

Please note, UCAS applications from students who are resitting A levels will be considered, however the places available for these applicants are fairly limited. The standard entry requirement rises to three A grades at A level, and preference is given to students who had originally applied to Cardiff Dental School.

International Baccalaureate Diploma: A minimum overall score of 34 points, with a minimum score of 5 at Higher Level in Chemistry and Biology.

Degree: Upper Second Class (2:1) Honours degree is the standard requirement. A shorted course for graduates is not offered. Candidates with a minimum of three B grades at A Level are preferred.

Scottish Qualifications: A minimum of grade B in both Chemistry and Biology at Advanced Higher level.

Welsh Baccalaureate diploma: A minimum of 360 points with two A grades achieved in both Chemistry and Biology A Levels.

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 6.5 (or equivalent).

General entry requirements

Work experience: All applicants to the BDS course must have undertaken dental work experience at a General Dental Practice prior to submission of their UCAS application.

Health screening: All successful candidates will be sent a Health questionnaire when offers are made, which needs to be returned to Cardiff University Occupational Health Department. All students must provide evidence of non-infectivity for both Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. On registration, students will be required to provide a blood sample for testing.

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) enhanced disclosure: All applicants will be required to complete the University’s own Criminal Record Disclaimer. In addition 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.


There are 64 Home / EU places available on the Bachelor of Dental Surgery BDS (Hons) 5 year programme. International applications are also welcome and there are 4 places available; applicants must satisfy both academic entry requirements and the University’s English Language requirement (detailed above).

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.

All UCAS applications are screened by two members of staff who score against various criteria: Academic background with respect to GCSEs, AS results plus the predicted or actual A level grades; Dental work experience undertaken – all candidates must have spent time observing in General Dental Practice, but may also have arranged additional work placements for example in Hospital, Community of Specialist practices; Supporting referee statement commenting on the candidate’s academic achievements and suitability for a career in dentistry; and non-academic hobbies and interests with evidence of a caring attitude, ability to communicate and willingness to accept responsibility being particularly favourable.

Each criteria caries equal weighting with respect to scoring, and those applicants with the highest overall score will be invited to attend for interview, which are usually held from early November to mid February.


School of Dentistry
Cardiff University
Heath Park
Cardiff CF14 4XY
United Kingdom.

Telephone: +44 (0)2920 745 867 / +44 (0)2920 742 468


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