Nov 27, 2020  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog (Jan 2016) 
    
2015-2016 Academic Catalog (Jan 2016) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Science, MDS


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Program Description

Dental postgraduate programs in the UTHSC College of Dentistry offer residents the opportunity to pursue study in the UTHSC College of Graduate Heath Sciences (CGHS) leading to a Master of Dental Science (MDS) degree. Postgraduate programs in Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontology and Prosthodontics require residents to complete the MDS program in order to attain a dental specialty certificate and successfully complete residency training. Postgraduate residents in Endodontics enter the MDS program during their clinical training, but may leave the MDS program prior to completion of degree requirements. Postgraduate residents in Oral Surgery do not participate in the MDS program.

The purpose of the MDS programs is to provide a contemporary research experience in an area of dental-related sciences to postdoctoral residents pursuing clinical specialty training in the College of Dentistry. The course of study and research requirements of the MDS program provides both traditional and contemporary knowledge of the role of research in clinical management of dental-facial abnormalities and diseases. The goal of the program is to prepare dental specialists to pursue several career opportunities, including specialty practice, academics, and/or research, with sound understanding of the important interrelationships between clinical dentistry, basic science, and scientific investigation.

The final MDS research report is a publishable manuscript formatted as required by a selected professional peer-reviewed journal in the subject areas of interest. Only high quality, professionally respected journals may be considered when identifying a publication source.

Point of clarification: Postgraduates participating in dental residency training in the College of Dentistry are designated “residents” by the University. Postgraduates pursuing a MDS degree in the College of Graduate Health Sciences are considered “students” by the University. Postgraduates involved in both dental residency training and MDS degree activities are considered to be both residents and students. These designations are important to appreciate during various aspect of postgraduate education at UTHSC.

Admission and Selection

Only individuals accepted to postgraduate certificate programs in the UTHSC College of Dentistry that offer a MDS degree option can apply for the MDS Program in the CGHS. Once officially accepted to a dental postgraduate certificate program, residents apply to the MDS Program in the CGHS, indicating a concentration in Endodontics, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontology, or Prosthodontics. The appropriate application is found on the CGHS Office of Admissions website and is completed electronically. Applicants must hold a DDS or DMD degree with a grade-point average of at least 3.0 from an accredited college or university. Applicants generally must have a combined score (verbal and quantitative) of at least 300 on the revised Graduate Record Examination, a score of at least 213/79 on the computer-based/Internet-based TOEFL or 6.5 on the IELTS or evidence of proficiency in English for students whose native language is not English, and three letters of recommendation. Selection is based upon academic and research potential.

Technical Standards and Accommodations

The minimum abilities for eligibility to participate successfully in educational programs and activities by students enrolled in the College of Graduate Health Sciences are listed below. All persons who wish to enter one of the programs in the College should be aware of the minimum abilities required for success. Admission decisions for the College programs do not take disabilities into consideration; students may disclose their disabilities after admission and seek support through the UTHSC Office of Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) https://www.uthsc.edu/sassi/.

Minimum abilities are as follows:

  1. To make proper assessments and ethical judgments regarding research and professional decisions.
  2. To communicate effectively with colleagues and professional staff.
  3. To acquire necessary information developed through classroom instruction, laboratory experience, independent learning, and consultation.
  4. To search and evaluate articles in the scientific literature.
  5. To obtain, interpret, and accurately document research data.
  6. To complete computer-based assignments and use computers.
  7. To understand and carry out safety rules and precautions in the laboratory.
  8. To handle emergencies in the laboratory, including fire, exposure to dangerous agents, and explosions.

These abilities may be accomplished through direct student response, use of prosthetic devices, or personal assistance (e.g., readers, signers, and note takers). Purchase of prosthetic devices to aid the student in meeting these requirements is the responsibility of the student. On a case-by-case basis and upon written request of the student, the College may assist in providing attending services.

Additional information regarding this program is available at http://grad.uthsc.edu/Programs/index.php?page=Programs.

Curriculum Summary and (Typical) Sequence


for Students Matriculating Academic Year 2015-16

Note: The appropriate alpha-numeric course designation for MDS Research & Manuscript is based on declared concentration; Endodontics = PEND 800 , Orthodontics = PORT 800 , Pediatric Dentistry = PPED 800 , Periodontics = PPER 800  , and Prosthodontics = PPRO 800 

Fall 1


Total: 11 credit hours


Spring 1


Total: 10 credit hours


Fall 2


  • MDS Research & Manuscript Cr Hrs: 4
  • Clinical Specialty-Specific Courses Cr Hrs: 5

Total: 9 credit hours


Spring 2


  • MDS Research & Manuscript Cr Hrs: 4
  • Clinical Specialty-Specific Courses Cr Hrs: 5

Total: 9 credit hours


Fall 3


  • MDS Research & Manuscript Cr Hrs: 4
  • Clinical Specialty-Specific Courses Cr Hrs: 5

Total: 9 credit hours


Spring 3


  • MDS Research & Manuscript Cr Hrs: 4
  • Clinical Specialty-Specific Courses Cr Hrs: 5

Total: 9 credit hours


Total for the Degree (Approximate Cr Hrs): 57 credit hours


Promotion and Graduation


Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average or greater throughout the program.

Admission to Candidacy

Postgraduate education requires continuous student evaluation, including periodic objective assessments (e.g., GPA, performance on comprehensive examinations, and acceptance of written reports) and subjective appraisal by the faculty relative to the student progress and potential. Continuation of postgraduate study within the CGHS and admission to MDS degree candidacy results from positive action taken by the student’s Faculty Research Committee and the student’s clinical Program Director. Grades are not the sole criterion used in determining student continuance. Other attributes, primarily those concerned with the level of professionalism expected of a student in a particular discipline, are also considered.

Each postgraduate clinical program within the College of Dentistry has requirements for resident continuation and graduation in addition to requirements set forth by the CGHS. Dental postgraduate residents MUST be familiar with all requirements of the program(s) in which they participate.

Each student enrolled in the MDS Program is responsible for filing an Application for Admission to Candidacy with the CGHS. Application is typically made after two years of postgraduate course work. Only after certification by the student’s Faculty Research Committee and the student’s clinical Program Director will the student be considered for admission to candidacy. Admission to candidacy status for the MDS degree must be granted no later than the end of the second month of the semester in which the final manuscript is to be presented to the College of Dentistry (and subsequently submitted for publication).

Research Activity, Manuscript, and Oral Defense

One of the requirements for the MDS degree is to conduct an approved research project that demonstrates a high level of scholarship and the student’s ability to conduct independent investigation that contributes to the foundation of knowledge in dentistry. The student, in consultation with his or her Faculty Research Committee, will determine the topic and objectives of the research. While the originality and quality of the research should be above reproach, the scope of the project should be in keeping with the MDS degree level and the extraordinary clinical time commitments necessary in training clinical dental residents. At completion of the research project, students are required to present a public oral defense of their research efforts and a written manuscript suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed, professional journal.

Format of the manuscript (i.e., the final MDS written report) will adhere to guidelines established for scientific manuscripts published in the peer-reviewed professional journal targeted for submission. This format generally includes an abstract, an introduction summarizing relevant research in the area culminating with a clearly stated research objective, a materials and methods section describing experimental procedures used, a results section detailing outcomes using appropriate statistical methods, and finally a discussion section that summarizes key findings in light of current knowledge and provides a conclusion. A reference section typically appears at the end of the manuscript to list specific professional literature cited within the body of the text. Tables and/or figures, with associated captions, are typically also included.

It is the responsibility of the student, with oversight by the Faculty Research Advisor and the Faculty Research Committee, to ensure that the scientific content, grammar and manuscript format are accurate. The manuscript must be of sufficiently high quality to warrant submission to a peer-reviewed professional journal of substantial scientific impact in the subject area. The student’s Faculty Research Committee (monitored by the College of Dentistry) will determine which professional journals are suitable. Prior to manuscript submission, the student must:

  1. Receive final approval from his/her Faculty Research Advisor and Faculty Committee.
  2. Have completed the Report of Manuscript Submission form and provide it to the College of Dentistry Associate Dean for Postgraduate Affairs for final approval.
  3. Provide an electronic copy of the final manuscript to the College of Dentistry Associate Dean for Postgraduate Affairs for final approval.

The final oral defense of the MDS research effort will be publicized to the University community (at least 2 weeks in advance of the defense) and will be formally conducted by the student’s Faculty Research Committee. Upon successful completion of the defense, a Report of Final Examination is signed by all Faculty Research Committee members and forwarded to the Dean of the CGHS.

Application for MDS Degree

A candidate for the MDS degree must make application for the degree with the Dean of the CGHS no later than two months before the commencement at which awarding of the degree is expected. Candidates must meet all deadlines and requirements for completion of the MDS degree, as set forth by the College of Graduate Health Sciences, the College of Dentistry, and the applicable dental residency program.

Completion of the MDS Program

Before an MDS degree is awarded the following, without exception, are required:

  1. The academic, clinical, and residency requirements established by the College of Dentistry and the student’s residency program must be satisfied. This includes attainment of a dental specialty certificate granted by the College of Dentistry.
  2. All responsibility for patient care must be discharged according to Departmental policy and the College of Dentistry Office of Clinical Affairs.
  3. The student must be enrolled during the term in which the degree is awarded. Students enrolled in a MDS degree program must be registered for the semester in which the final oral defense is conducted.
  4. Delinquent financial accounts, including tuition payments, fees, library fines, parking tickets, etc., which are due the University must be paid.
  5. Keys and identification cards must be turned in according to University rules.
  6. A formal exit process in the CGHS must be followed (the Graduation Student Clearance Form).
  7. Exit processes in the College of Dentistry are department specific. However, all postgraduate dental residents must be cleared for graduation through the College of Dentistry Office of Clinical Affairs.
  8. The final, approved version of the MDS manuscript must be managed according to rules established by the UTHSC and rules governing publication in the selected professional journal.
  9. Students enrolled in the MDS degree program are required to attend commencement exercises at the conclusion of their program unless formally dismissed from attendance via written requests to the Dean of the CGHS.

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