University of Dundee Dental School

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


UCAS course code A200, institution code D65

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


Various teaching methods are used in the BDS curriculum to develop the necessary breadth of knowledge and skills required of a dental student. Lectures, tutorials, practical classes and clinical skills classes are employed as teaching methods, as well as the increasing use of the University of Dundee’s virtual learning environment, “My Dundee”, to support teaching.

Course topics

The early years of the BDS programme focus on the pre- and para-clinical sciences to develop an understanding and necessary knowledge required to provide whole patient care.

In year one, the basic biomedical sciences of anatomy, physiology and biochemistry with be studied alongside the para-clinical sciences of oral biology, cell biology, microbiology, pathology and dental materials science. Integrated Clinically Relevant Activities (ICRAs) will help bring together these study topics with their clinical relevance. Students will also undertake a basic emergency care module and basic clinical infection control measures to prepare for clinical work as part of the Cleanliness Champion programme.

Year two is a continuous of the study topics from year one, with emphasis on the dental and para-clinical sciences.

In year three, students will study the theoretical background of the range of dental disciplines. The Human Diseases module will also be undertaken which will help students appreciate the impact of a patient’s general health on dental treatment; the teaching for this module takes place at Ninewells Hospital with a separate degree examination in this topic.

In years four and five, students will continue to build on their knowledge.

Clinical experience

Students will begin to develop clinical skills in year two with introductory skills courses in periodontology
and the management of dental caries. Students will learn a range of basic clinical skills with the commencement of the Clinical Skills course at the end of year two will prepare students for the clinical phase of the BDS programme. These skills will be assessed in a degree examination to ensure students are ready to provide dental care for patients in year three.

From year three onwards, clinical attachments will commence with students providing clinical care for patients in various dental disciplines within the Dental Hospital; a large proportion of the timetable is dedicated to these clinical sessions supported by theoretical teaching.

In year four, additional dental disciplines such as orthodontics, oral medicine and treatment of dentally-anxious patients will be undertaken, supported by advanced clinical skills courses.

At the end of year four, students will begin their outreach clinical attachments at centres both local and distant from Dundee. Students will also undertake a period of elective study.

In year five, emphasis is placed on whole patient care. Students will have timetabled sessions in the Integrated Oral Care clinic within the Dental Hospital, providing total dental care for patients. Clinical attachments at a range of specialist consultant clinics will also be undertaken. Much time will be spent in both local outreach clinics and in week-long attachments at outreach centres in Aberdeen and Iverness.


Students are continually assessed throughout each year of the curriculum and will also sit an end-of-year examination will which allow progression onto the next academic year.

In years one and two, the continuous assessment grade is derived from integrated class examinations at the end of each semester and will contribute to 30% and 32% respectively to the overall grade for the year. The end-of-year examination is integrated with both written and practical elements, contributing towards 70% of the overall grade in year one grade and 68% in year two.

From year three, both academic and clinical components contribute to the continuous assessment grade; academic examinations continue to take place with clinical activity being graded at each clinical session. Professionalism will also be assessed at each clinical session. Continuous assessment makes up 25% of the overall grade in year three, and 20% of the overall grade in year four.

In year five, students must obtain a satisfactory continuous assessment grade in order to sit the final end-of-year BDS examination, but does not contribute to the final grade achieved.

Special features

Selected students may be offered the opportunity to take an extra year study at the end of year 2 of the BDS programme to undertake an Intercalated Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) degree, which will allow for in-depth study of one of a range of disciplines as well as develop useful study and research skills.

Students will have the opportunity for a period of elective study between years 4 and 5 of the BDS programme, in which a project in an area of dentistry of choice is undertaken. Many students choose to carry out this project outside of the UK to gain experience of dentistry in a different environment. Students may choose to extend their experience and experience dental education as well as cultural and social experiences by spending the first semester of year 5 on an Erasmus exchange programme; Dundee Dental School has strong links with dental schools in France, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

A six-year pre-dental programme (A204) is available 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 five year programme. Please see the following link for details or refer to UCAS:


Academic entry requirements

A levels: AAA grades in Biology is essential and normally two from Chemistry, Physics, or Mathematics. AAA Grades must be achieved at the first attempt (2 years after GCSE). Retakes are not normally considered. General Studies is not accepted.

GCSEs: Of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, the subject not offered at A level grade must have been passed at GCSE (a pass in Combined or Dual Science at GCSE may be acceptable instead of a single GCSE pass in Physics). A pass in GCSE Mathematics is also normally required.

Scottish Qualifications: AAAAA at Higher Level in Biology and normally two from Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics. All Higher grades must be obtained at the first attempt in S5 (one year after Standard Grades). An Advanced Level in Physical Science will satisfy the requirements of both Chemistry and Physics but will only count as one pass.

Of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, the subject not offered at Higher level must have passed at Standard Grade. Exceptionally, for first year entry, a non-science subject may be accepted as the third subject along with Biology and Chemistry. General studies is not accepted. A pass at Standard Grade Mathematics is also normally required.

Please note: Exceptional applications with AAAAB at Higher from S5 may be considered and any offer made would be based on subjects taken in S6.

Degree: Preference is given to school leavers however there are a few places available to well qualified graduates who must have a first class Honours degree, preferably a Life Science subject.

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.

For more details and other accepted entry qualifications, please see the institution website or refer to UCAS:

General entry requirements

Work experience: Candidates need to have undertaken some work shadowing either with a General Dental Practitioner or Community Dentist. There is no minimum time period required for this, however candidates must be able to talk about their experiences in the personal statement.

Personal qualities: Dentistry requires empathy and a desire to help people and communities. It is a demanding course and students will need to be conscientious and work hard to acquire the necessary depth of knowledge and be able to apply this throughout the long course. Excellent communication skills are necessary as is the ability to work well in a team.

Manual dexterity: Students will need to work with their hands and will be required to show a high degree of manual dexterity. Students must also be reasonably fit as a degree of mental and physical stamina is required to complete the course.

Non-academic interests: The personal statement should show some evidence of non-academic interests such as a sporting, musical or community involvement

Health screening: All potential dental students must undergo screening for blood borne viruses (BBVs) in particular Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV) prior to confirmation of their place at the Dental School. A full course of immunisation against Hepatitis B is required.

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. Applications will not be processed further in the event that students choose not to give permission for this disclosure.


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.

Selection is based on academic qualifications, the personal statement, referee’s report and interview. Excellent performance in Higher or A-Levels, and at interview, are the key factors used in the admissions process at University of Dundee Dental School.


Admissions & Student Recruitment
University of Dundee
Dundee DD1 4HN
United Kingdom


Telephone: +44 (0)1382 384 697


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