Peninsula Dental School


UCAS course code A201, institution code P37

The Peninsula Dental School is the first new dental school in 40 years, and represents a partnership between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and the NHS in Devon and Cornwall, and offers a 4 year full time graduate entry programme with early clinical experience. Graduates will be awarded the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree, a joint award of the University of Exeter and University of Plymouth.


Most of the teaching takes place in small groups to prepare students for effective team working which is essential for the efficient delivery of dental care. The timetable also includes time for private study allowing opportunities for students to make use of the wide array of resources and learning support available.

The dental curriculum is based on Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL). Problem-based learning is implemented whereby students develop their knowledge and understanding of oral diseases and their causes by working through various case scenarios. This utilises knowledge, clinical reasoning and analytical skills, and is supported by e-learning, self-directed learning, tutorials, and plenary sessions (formal lectures).

Course topics

Four main teaching themes are vertically integrated across the BDS programme: Life sciences, Dental Sciences, Clinical Dentistry, Personal and Professional Development.

Year one of the programme covers normal body structure, function and behaviour as well as focusing on dental health and prevention of dental disease. In year two, students will revisit the core concepts covered in the first year, and will consider in greater depth common dental problems as well as disease mechanisms.

Year three focuses on human disease. Year four further reinforces the knowledge gained throughout the programme to provide a thorough grounding for dental practice. Learning is supplemented by various educational opportunities in addition to clinical activities. Time each week is devoted to plenaries, seminars, workshops and small group sessions to build on previous learning and thus help integrate the scientific and clinical knowledge.

Clinical experience

From year one, students will receive intensive training on dental simulators to prepare for their first contact with patients, which takes place in term two of year one in community clinics. Here, students have the opportunity to develop both communication and practical skills under the close supervision of dental practitioners.

In year two, clinical skills are further developed and students will gain further experience with increased exposure to patients.

In year three, the amount of time spent in clinics increases, as well as gaining skills in hospital and general medicine. Students will attend hospital wards and accident and emergency clinics as part of the human disease module.

In the final year, students will concentrate on advanced restorative work as well as gaining experience in the full spectrum of dental specialities, including oral medicine and orthodontics. This takes place in both community and hospital-based settings. Students will also gain valuable experience in treatment planning by leading a group of junior students and delegating clinical work, which will also develop both management and team leadership skills. Students will also be given insight into the business aspects of dental practice.


Students are allocated an academic tutor on commencement of the BDS programme at the Peninsula Dental School, who will oversee academic progress as well as personal and professional development. Progress is reviewed every six weeks. A new academic tutor is allocated to students at the start of each academic year.

Methods of assessment include both formative and summative components based on the principles of current best practice in clinical education.

Students are assessed in relation to their knowledge, professional development and clinical work in practice using knowledge-based multiple-choice tests, structured clinical examinations, portfolios, scientific report writing and competency tests.

Progress between modules and years of the course can only be made by students after they demonstrate they have gained requisite knowledge and competencies.

Students will receive continuous feedback and support throughout the programme.

Special features

Students have the opportunity to carry out Special Study Units (SSUs) throughout the programme in chosen area of interest, which aims to develop critical thinking, scientific and analytical skills in a challenging and stimulating way. Students will also carry out critical analysis of literature and undertake detailed case history analysis of patients in four clinical specialities.


Academic entry requirements

Degree: Candidates must have a good honours degree or equivalent in a biomedically related or health care professional subject. Please contact the Admissions Office for advice on which degree subjects may be accepted by the School.

Health care professionals without a degree must provide evidence of past higher education experience, for example to diploma level, in addition to relevant health care work experience. These candidates must also sit the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) to be considered for the BDS programme. Performance in the GAMSAT will be used to assess the academic aptitude of those candidates who do not have a degree qualification. Please see for more details.

General entry requirements

Work experience: All applicants should have undertaken extensive work experience and have gained an insight into what a career in dentistry entails.

Personal qualities: The Peninsula Dental School will be looking for certain personal qualities through the UCAS statement, reference and at interview. Candidates should possess integrity, honesty, flexibility, motivation and commitment, pro-social attitudes i.e. show empathy and non-judgmental, leadership skills, problem solving skills, and team player skills. Students should also have an insight into a career in dentistry, the ability to deal with stress appropriately, and demonstrate a suitable approach to life and people. Candidates should also know their limitations, strengths and weaknesses and be able to reflect.

Manual dexterity: Candidates should have a natural ability to work with their hands and are encouraged to show evidence of this either through the personal statement or at interview.

Health screening: All students must provide evidence of non-infectivity to Hepatitis C, HIV and Hepatitis B. The School will make arrangements for these mandatory blood tests to be taken for all students in receipt of a conditional offer for place on the BDS programme to screen for freedom from infection from Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. On enrolment on the BDS programme, screening for tuberculosis will be undertaken. It is also essential for all students on BDS programme to be immunised against Hepatitis B prior to commencing clinical work with patients; students will not progress to clinical work on patients until the Hepatitis B immunisation programme has been completed.

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) enhanced disclosure: Candidates who are invited to interview will be asked to complete an occupational health questionnaire. Candidates are also required to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check at enhanced level. All offers made by Peninsula Dental School for the BDS programme are conditional upon students satisfying these criteria.


Only applications from graduates will be considered. Although there is no upper age limit, the length of study and therefore the potential time for active dental practice will be taken into consideration.

There are 62 places available for students from the UK and European Union. Applications from international students outside the European Union will be considered, however competition is very high with only 2 available places for international students for each year of entry.

All applications to Peninsula Dental School for the BDS degree must be made through UCAS by 15 October. Applicants may apply to up to four dental or medical schools. The remaining choice may be used for any additional non-clinical course.

Applicants may defer entry for one year; however this must be indicated at the time of application and be agreed with the Undergraduate Student Manager.

Strong candidates will be invited to interview, which will include an introductory talk about the interview selection process. Candidates will be asked to complete a written questionnaire that aims to investigate your commitment and motivation to study dentistry. Candidates will be given three alternative scenarios to consider, each of which centres upon a contemporary ethical issue related to dentistry, one of which will be selected as the basis for the interview.

The formal interview usually lasts 20 minutes and is structured to ensure every candidate is asked the same questions and receives the same prompts. The aim of the interview is not to test candidates’ scientific knowledge but to explore candidates’ attitudes, outlook and way of thinking.

Unsuccessful applicants for the BDS programme at the Peninsula Dental School may be contacted and offered an alternative programme of study by either the University of Exeter or the University of Plymouth.


Peninsula Dental School
The John Bull Building
Tamar Science Park
Research Way
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 437333
Fax: +44 (0)1752 517842


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