The University of Manchester School of Dentistry

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


UCAS course code A206, institution code M20

5 year full time course (1st year entry) integrating enquiry-based learning (EBL), including problem-based learning (PBL), and early clinical experience


Much of the pre-clinical teaching will be taught at the Stopford Medical Building, with clinical teaching based at the Dental Hospital.

Teaching is based on enquiry-based learning and problem-based learning. Students work together in small supervised groups to cover various case-based topics to indentify the key learning objectives. Through EBL, students undertake self-directed learning to acquire the knowledge necessary to understand a particular clinical case or scenario. This is supplemented with lectures and symposia, small group seminars, as well as interactive learning via the university’s ‘blackboard’ e-learning portal and Computer Assisted Learning (CALnet).

Students receive practical teaching in the anatomy dissection room and histology laboratories to aid knowledge and understanding of the human anatomy and disease.

Students will also undertake research projects, in particular, a Critically Appraised Topic (CAT), in which a clinically relevant question is answered by looking at the existing published literature and available evidence.

Course topics

During the 5 year course, topics covered include human anatomy and physiology; health and disease; clinical competence involving diagnostic skills, manual skills and dexterity, problem solving, patient management; scientific understanding and thought; team working, communication, information and communication technology (ICT), and reflective practice.

Clinical experience

Clinical experience is obtained in the University of Manchester Dental Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary, and in local community outreach clinics.

Undergraduate students are introduced early to the clinical environment; first year students regularly shadow and observe students from older years, and are also taught basic clinical skills such as dental charting.

From year 2, students are introduced to the university’s newly refurbished technical skills laboratory where they will learn key technical skills and manual dexterity practising on phantom heads before treating patients in the restorative clinic within the Dental Hospital. Students are paired up and take it in turns to carry out treatment and nurse for each other, teaching valuable skills in team-working.

From year 3 and 4, students will start clinical placements in local outreach community health centres around Manchester, some of which specialise in paediatric dentistry, in which students will provide continuity of dental care for patients whilst working with trained dental nurses. Students will also have the opportunity to observe and carry out procedures under sedation and general anaesthesia at the Manchester Royal Infirmary Day Case Unit.

Students also gain experience in different aspects of dentistry by completing rotations at the various departments in the University of Manchester Dental Hospital including, but not limited to, the Oral Medicine department, where students will develop their history taking and diagnosis skills; Oral Surgery department carrying out extractions and simple surgical procedures, as well as assisting Senior House Officers (SHOs) and consultants with more complicated surgical procedures; and Radiology department where students are taught by radiologists how to take and develop radiographs as well as integrating the diagnostic skills and theory.

As part of the Medicine and Surgery course in year 4, students will complete a two week attachment the North Manchester General Hospital as well attending symposia and lectures delivered by resident doctors and specialists which will integrate their teaching with clinical experience. On completion on their two week attachment, students must complete a case report which will further integrate their medicine and surgery learning.

Dental students will also have the opportunity to work with other members of the dental team such as qualified and student dental nurses, dental technicians, and student dental hygienists / therapists.


Each student is assigned a personal tutor who they will meet with regularly on a one-to-one basis to monitor progress as well as setting personal targets for the student to achieve. Progress is continuously monitored throughout the course with logbooks, which monitors attendance, manual skill, professionalism, and knowledge, as well as a series of core competencies that the student must have carried out and be deemed competent in, in order to progress through the course.

Students are assessed by projects such as coursework, case reports, and presentations, and by formal examinations such as Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), Short Answer Questions (SAQs), oral examinations (vivas), and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) incorporating clinical competency tests, examination of knowledge and communication.

Other details

Outstanding students also have the opportunity to take an extra year study to undertake an intercalated BSc (Hons) degree.

Students who decide not to continue studying dentistry may exit after year 3 with a Bachelor of Dental Science BMedSci (Dent) degree, providing they have successfully completed assignments and have an acceptable academic performance. After successful completion of the 5 year course, graduates will be awarded a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree.


Academic entry requirements

English language: minimum grade B GCSE English Language or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, or minimum International English Language Testing (IELTS) score of 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any one component.

A levels: AAB including both Chemistry and Biology at grade A and another subject at grade B or above plus a fourth AS subject at grade B or above (excluding general studies). If only one of Biology and Chemistry is studied at A-level, the other must be studied to AS level, and one other Science from Physics, Mathematics or Computer Science must be studied to A2 level.

Students who do not have the required science qualifications for entry into the first year entry BDS programme, but have obtained good A-level grades in other subjects or demonstrate equivalent academic competence or potential may apply for the BDS with Foundation Year (6 year course).

GCSEs: A minimum of five GCSEs at grade A (including integrated double science; or Physics, Chemistry, and Biology). Grade B or above in English Language and Mathematics are also normally required.

International Baccalaureate: a minimum 34 points overall is required: 7, 6, 6 in the higher level subjects (including biology with 7 and chemistry with 6); and 5, 5, 5 in the standard level subjects.

UKCAT: All applicants must sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) prior to application.

For other additional requirements including other international requirements and access to higher education applications, please see the institution website.

General entry requirements

Work experience: a minimum of 2 weeks work experience at a General Dental Practice shadowing a general dental practitioner is required. Candidates do not need to have had experience as a dental nurse.

Team work and leadership skills and experience: Candidates must demonstrate through their UCAS personal statement their team work and leadership experience

Manual dexterity: Candidates must demonstrate through their UCAS personal statement their manual dexterity skills; this could be through the study of art or craft, or a hobby that involves a degree of manual dexterity.

Health screening: All students must produce evidence of non-infectivity to Hepatitis B and C, and immunisation against Hepatitis B.

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check: All potential students must undergo a CRB check at enhanced level.


Candidates must apply via UCAS by 15 October. Applications will not normally be considered after this date. The UCAS application must include a personal statement detailing reasons for choosing dentistry and any supporting information such as team or leadership experience. The application must also include a school or college reference. Candidates that meet the above minimum requirements and those who are considered highly will be invited for an interview. This normally lasts 15 minutes and involves 2 or 3 interviewers, and is usually accompanied by a tour of the dental school.

Students who firmly accept the offer on the Manchester BDS programme but do not meet the necessary grade requirements may be given a resit offer, providing they have valid reasons why they did not meet the original offer, and have achieved a minimum of grade C in each subject at the first sitting. Candidates are usually expected to achieve AAA in the resit examinations.


Teresa Smith, Admissions
School of Dentistry
University of Manchester
Higher Cambridge Street
M15 6FH

Telephone: +44 (0)161 306 0231