Interested in Studying Dentistry?

Empower others. Earn Respect. Find fulfillment in your calling.

Students interested in a career in healthcare can choose from a range of pre-professional pathways offered by Gardner-Webb. Whether your interests lie in helping people get back on their feet, providing care and attention to animals, or another area of healthcare, Gardner-Webb provides the first step.

Dentistry is one of the ten most trusted and ethical professions in the United States. As a combination of art and science, it is a personally rewarding profession that offers a much sought-after balance between professional and personal life. And, with the opportunity to be your own boss and own a dental practice, it promises tremendous flexibility.


What will I study?

The Pre-Healthcare Pathway is not a major; rather, it is a carefully designed plan intended to prepare you to achieve your unique academic and career goals.

Professional program requirements vary widely, especially with regard to advanced biology courses and English requirements. Be sure to check all graduate programs you are considering applying to early during your undergraduate studies for specific prerequisites needed to apply to that school’s program.

Within Gardner-Webb’s pre-professional employment track, you will want to review the Biology Biomedical Sciences Concentration, Chemistry Pre-Health Professional Concentration, Biochemistry Major, and the Exercise Science Pre-Professional Concentration four-year plan as a guide to preparing for Dental School.


The most common prerequisite courses include:

  • BIOL 111: General Biology
  • BIOL 203: Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIOL 204: Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BIOL 422: Biochemistry
  • CHEM 111: General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 112: General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 201: Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 202: Organic Chemistry II
  • EXSI 345: Healthcare Ethics
  • PHYS 203: General Physics I (or PHYS 111)
  • PHYS 204: General Physics II (or PHYS 112)

Additional information, including descriptions of specific courses and their corresponding credit hours, is available in the Academic Catalog.

Next Steps

Dental School Admissions

As you complete the Pre-Professional Dentistry track at Gardner-Webb, you will begin to prepare for Dental School.  Here are the important steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Review the ADA pages regarding Dental School admissions guidelines.  Requirements vary between Dental Schools, so be sure to check the specific requirements of the schools to which you plan to apply.
  2. Complete the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) at least one year prior to applying to Dental School.
  3. Admissions committees review credentials such as academic qualifications, the results from the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), grade point average (GPA), letters of recommendation, personal interviews and dental office shadowing experiences.
  4. Register for an ADEA Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (ADEA AADSAS®) account and submit an application. “ADEA AADSAS collects, verifies, and processes or delivers your application information to each of the schools you have chosen to apply to. It is important to note that ADEA AADSAS does not make admissions decisions; it is the responsibility of each individual school to make its own admissions decisions. The ADEA AADSAS opens around the first of the month in June. Individuals should check with each school they are interested in to find out the deadline date for the application. Deadline dates vary by school.”
  5. Submit additional materials requested by specific Dental Schools in the secondary application, and participate in interviews if invited.


What are potential career opportunities?

While it may seem as simple as diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth and mouth, dentistry is a varied and rewarding career. You will find daily opportunities to improve a patient’s appearance, educate patients how to better care for their teeth and prevent oral disease, and empower them to feel positively about their lives. You can even choose to pursue opportunities to perform surgical procedures such as implants, tissue grafts and extractions or to perform research directed to improving oral health and developing new treatment methods. Outside of self-employed dental practices, there are numerous other opportunities for dentists in public health agencies, hospitals, the military and many other clinical or teaching settings.

What will you learn?

The collective experience of your coursework will prepare you to:

  • Serve others by contributing to their oral health, quality of life, and personal appearance
  • Empower your patients with smiles they can be proud to wear
  • Be involved in the scientific advancement of dentistry through technology and research
  • Take on leadership roles as a respected member of your community
  • Use your artistic and scientific talents creatively
  • Educate your patients on the importance of oral health as a factor in disease detection and prevention, including cancer and cardiovascular ailments
  • Create a successful, thriving career for yourself in an industry well positioned for self-employment
  • Take advantage of the rapidly rising demand for services amid an aging population
  • And, eventually train future dentists and dental hygienists on the next generation of treatment methods and technologies

For more information, visit the American Dental Association’s website.

Ready to take the next step?

Apply Now
The department provided me with friends and mentors that, through encouragement and educating, gave me confidence that I could enter the job market or dental school at a competitive level.”
— Dr. Ashley Lowery, B.S. Biology '07
My GWU classes emphasized critical thinking and application, which prepared me for the rigors of dental school. Because most classes at GWU had less than 10 students, I was able to work closely with the other students and professor."
— Dr. Kristin Allison, ’15 B.S. Chemistry, Biology Minor
The faculty in the Natural Sciences department were very helpful and encouraging when it came to helping me meet the requirements for dental school, concerning what classes to take and then with the application process."
— Dr. Jennifer Titus Wiley, B.S. Biology '06


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