May 30, 2024  
2019-2020 Academic Bulletin (July 2019 Ed) 
2019-2020 Academic Bulletin (July 2019 Ed) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Surgery, DDS

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Admission and Selection

The Associate Dean for Student and Faculty Affairs, the Director of Admissions Administration and Advising, along with the UTHSC College of Dentistry DDS Admissions Committee, review applications for admission to the entry level professional degree program in dentistry (the Doctor of Dental Surgery; DDS). Admissions information is described in detail below. Prospective students should carefully review all admissions requirements, technical standards and application procedures before applying to DDS degree program in the College of Dentistry. This information may also be found at

Admission to the various advanced education programs (Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Periodontology, Pediatric Dentistry, and Prosthodontics) is made either directly to the program or through a centralized service such as PASS or MATCH. Please contact the program directly for details.

The DDS Admissions Committee formulates and recommends policies and procedures for admission to the College of Dentistry. The committee establishes criteria, procedures, and data used in appraising and selecting applicants for admission. This committee evaluates qualifications of applicants and submits names of selected candidates for admission to the dean. Information related to applicants such as personal credentials, information gained through interviews, acceptance or denials, and related matters are considered confidential remaining “in committee,” except as reported through appropriate channels.

The College of Dentistry admits one class for the DDS degree program per year beginning in July. The DDS program lasts 4 years with graduation usually occuring in May.

Much of the first two years is devoted to the biomedical sciences of anatomy, biochemistry, histology, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and physiology. Preclinical technical courses are also taught to achieve a close correlation of the basic sciences with the clinical disciplines.

As the state’s flagship health science center, UTHSC aims to improve human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service. A variety of professional programs are offered through the six colleges that comprise the health science center. These programs prepare skilled health care professionals to meet the health care needs of the state of Tennessee and surrounding communities. To this end the campus welcomes applications from women and men of all races, creeds, and cultures who can pursue their studies in an environment that values intellectual curiosity, the pursuit of knowledge, excellence, compassion, and integrity. The College of Dentistry DDS Admissions Committee selects highly qualified applicants, seeking to enroll students from all regions and from a variety of backgrounds so as to provide access to a broad range of students and to serve the needs of the state’s diverse communities for skilled health care providers.

Fulfillment of the basic requirements does not guarantee admission. The College of Dentistry DDS Admissions Committee selects the applicants it considers best qualified for the study and practice of dentistry from the pool of applicants who meet the basic requirements.

The Admissions Committee reviews the cumulative grade point average, science grade point average, DAT score, performance during the interview, Pre-Professional Evaluation, and letters of recommendation. The years in school, any trend in grades, degrees attained, awards, and such personality characteristics as motivation and social awareness are also considered.

Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application.

The College of Dentistry does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, creed, or handicapping condition.

DDS Admission Requirements

  • English Composition: 6 semester credit hours
  • Biology (General): 8 semester credit hours
  • Chemistry (General: Lecture and Lab): 8 semester credit hours
  • Chemistry (Organic: Lecture and Lab): 8 semester credit hours
  • Physics (Lecture and Lab): 8 semester credit hours
  • Biochemistry (Lecture): 3 semester credit hours

Other Biology (Applicants must take ONE of the following):

  1. Histology: 4 semester credit hours
  2. Microbiology: 4 semester credit hours
  3. Comparative Anatomy: 4 semester credit hours
  4. Total: 97

In addition to the required courses, elective courses can be chosen from the following: genetics, comparative anatomy, developmental biology, cell biology, histology, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, and neurobiology. Non-science elective courses may be chosen from: philosophy, business administration, economics, public speaking, computer science and courses in the social sciences.

All accepted students are expected to arrive on campus with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Exceptions to this rule are possible, but they must be initiated by the candidate. A candidate who is granted a waiver to this rule is notified in writing.

Grade Point Averages

A minimum grade point average of 2.75 is expected in all required subjects attempted and in cumulative course work. Due to the competition among applicants, classes are filled with those who have higher academic averages. Prospective applicants should strive to maintain a prescribed and cumulative grade point average well above a 3.00 (on a 4.0 scale).

Personal Interview

A personal interview at the College of Dentistry, by invitation of the DDS Admissions Committee, is necessary prior to acceptance. The interview will include a tour of the school, the receipt of information about financial aid, and the opportunity to talk with faculty and students. During the interview, the committee looks for evidence of such personal qualities as integrity, motivation, and maturity. The committee also expects applicants to have been exposed to the delivery of dental care as properly licensed participants (dental assistant or dental hygienist, for example) or as observers.

Advanced Placement Credit

We accept all CLEP and advanced placement credits provided the awarding institution is regionally accredited and provides sufficient and official documentation.


  1. Applicants who have made grades of less than “C” in required courses are required to repeat those courses. (Both grades are utilized in computing grade point averages.)
  2. All science courses must include the complete laboratory requirement concurrent to those courses.
  3. Correspondence/ online courses are not accepted for required course work. Credit for elective courses from correspondence/ online sources is limited to 6 semester credit hours (9 quarter hours) and should be approved by the Office of Admissions prior to scheduling.
  4. Each applicant is expected to comply with the general requirements of the college attended, including the non-academic requirements.
  5. The DDS Admissions Committee reserves the right to require any candidate to complete additional course work irrespective of his or her academic average at the time of evaluation.
  6. Hours and grades on activity courses (such as physical education, band, ROTC, etc.) are not included in grade point average calculations.
  7. Questions concerning course work and assistance in selecting specific courses may be answered by contacting the pre-health science advisor and/or the Office of Admissions in the College of Dentistry.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are not mandatory but are accepted through the AADSAS application ONLY. Please do not send additional letters of recommendation to the College of Dentistry.

The DDS Admissions Committee values letters of recommendation from the applicant’s college professors or pre-professional committee (if one exists) above all others.

Dental Admissions Test

All applicants to the DDS program must take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) that is administered by the American Dental Association ( The test should be taken before applying. Dental Aptitude Text Examinees will be limited to three (3) opportunities to participate in the testing program. The DDS Admissions Committee uses the DAT as a very important marker of applicant performance.

The DAT examines applicants in six (6) general areas: Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Reasoning and Perceptual Ability. Scores received in these areas will also be averaged resulting in two additional scores for Science and Academics for a total of eight scores. Scores in each area may range from 1-30 points for a maximum of 240 possible points. An applicant with a DAT score of 140 points or better will be considered for an interview.

Scores that are generally competitive are an Academic Average of 19 (or better) and no scores of 17 or below.

Communication with Applicants

It is the policy of the College of Dentistry that in matters of admission, the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs communicates only with the applicant.

Candidate Review Factors Used by the DDS Admissions Committee

When considering candidates for possible admission, the DDS Admissions Committee reviews the entire scope of information that is available on each applicant. For each candidate this includes the academic record (i.e., overall GPA, science GPA and last 30 semester credit hours GPA), Dental Admissions Test scores, responses to items on the Application Survey, interview assessment, and any other information provided by the candidate (e.g., personal statement, letters of recommendation, etc.). In addition, the committee will expect evidence of the following factors in making the difficult choices among candidates.

  • Demonstrated exploration of the profession of dentistry
  • Demonstrated commitment to community service
  • Evidence of critical thinking and problem solving ability (e.g., performance in courses requiring this skill, such as laboratory segments or formal logic or research experiences)
  • Full academic loads with evidence of a broad liberal arts and sciences education (i.e., fine arts, business, mathematics, humanities, computer science, etc.)
  • A range of extracurricular activities, especially those demanding a significant leadership role
  • Demonstrated ability to balance full academic schedules with extracurricular involvement and/or employment (i.e., effective and efficient management of time)

Application to the DDS Program

All applications to the DDS degree program must be submitted through AADSAS:

Timeline for Applying to the DDS Degree Program

  • June 1, 2020: Admissions Cycle Begins
    Admission cycle begins through AADSAS. No materials should be sent to the College of Dentistry unless specifically requested by the Admissions Committee.
  • September 30, 2020: Application Deadline
    Note: Pre-professional evaluations can be submitted through AADSAS after this deadline but must be in before November 30, 2016.
  • July, 2020 - December, 2020: Notification of Interviews
    Applicants granted an interview are notified in writing (based on DAT, GPA, PGPA & non-academic factors that indicate success). Applicants are interviewed only once.
  • December 1, 2020: Admissions Committee Decisions
    Notification of acceptances begins and may continue into January, 2017. The Office of Admissions does not respond to unsolicited inquiries concerning admissions status.
  • January, 2021: Alternate lists established
    There are three discrete alternate lists: Tennessee, Arkansas (due to an admission contract) and out-of-state.
  • January, 2021 - March, 2021: Unsuccessful Applicants
    Unsuccessful applicants not receiving an invitation to join the class are notified in writing.
  • End of February, 2021: Financial Aid Priority Deadline

Submit Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), available at:

Technical Standards: DDS Degree Program

As a health care specialty, primarily defined by anatomical boundaries, the practice of dentistry has unique requirements in that the accumulation of scientific knowledge must be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of essential diagnostic and clinical skills, management functions, and professional attitudes, ethics and behaviors. Such requirements are requisite to the provision of safe and effective management of the hard and soft tissue of the oral cavity and adjacent anatomical areas, including the teeth, jaws, and surrounding soft tissues.

The faculty of the College of Dentistry has a responsibility to graduate the best possible dental practitioners, residents, and graduate students; thus admission to educational programs in the College of Dentistry is offered only to those who present the highest qualifications for education and training in the art and science of dentistry. Applicants to the DDS program must possess the following general qualities: critical thinking, sound judgment, emotional stability and maturity, empathy, physical and mental stamina. Applicant must possess the ability to acquire knowledge, surgical skills and technical functions and use such knowledge, skills, and functions in a wide variety of didactic, laboratory, and clinical settings at a minimum level of competency, as defined by the college.

The faculty of the College of Dentistry has a responsibility for the welfare of the patients treated under the aegis of the college and the educational welfare of its students relative to the educational programs of the college. The DDS Admissions Committee maintains that certain minimal technical standards must be present in applicants to the DDS program. A candidate for the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, as well as dentists in the various advanced education programs of the college, must have the following essentials: motor skills; sensory/observational skills; communication skills; intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities; and behavioral/social skills and professionalism.

Motor Skills
Candidates for admission to the DDS program must have sufficient motor function to perform and participate in didactic, pre-clinical technique, laboratory, and clinical procedures and exercises at a minimal level of competency, as defined by the college. At a minimum, this includes coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and touch. Candidates for admission to the DDS program must have manual dexterity, including full functioning wrists, hands, fingers, and arms.

Sensory/Observational Skills
Candidates for admission to the DDS program must have sufficient sensory/observational skills to perform and participate in didactic, preclinical technique, laboratory, and clinical procedures and exercises at a minimal level of competency, as defined by the college. At a minimum, this includes the ability to participate in didactic, preclinical technique and laboratory exercises and interact with patients in terms of observation and data gathering. Candidates for admission to the DDS program must have the functional use of visual and other sensory modalities.

Communication Skills
Candidates for admission to the DDS program must have sufficient communication skills to perform and participate in didactic, pre-clinical technique, laboratory, and clinical procedures at a minimal level of competency, as defined by the college. At a minimum, this includes the ability to communicate effectively in written and spoken English in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.

Intellectual/Conceptual, Integrative, and Qualitative Skills
Candidates for admission to the DDS program must have sufficient intellectual/conceptual, integrative, and qualitative skills to perform didactic, pre-clinical technique, laboratory, and clinical procedures and exercises at a minimal level of competency, as defined by the college. At a minimum, this includes the ability to manage data, solve problems, and make rational decisions regarding patient care in a timely manner.

Behavioral/Social Skills and Professionalism
Candidates for admission to the DDS program must have sufficient behavioral/social skills and professionalism to perform didactic, preclinical technique, laboratory, and clinical procedures at a minimal level of competency, as defined by the college. At a minimum, this includes the attributes of integrity, empathy, communication, and motivation, in addition to emotional maturity and stability, sound judgment, punctuality, and interpersonal skills. For this reason, candidates for admission to the DDS program must be adaptable, able to cope with stress, assertive, able to delegate responsibilities, meet deadlines and manage time, and function as part of a dental health care team.


In summary, the faculty of the College of Dentistry prepares students for the comprehensive practice of dentistry. The Committee on Admissions for the DDS program, in accordance with Section 504 of the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (PL101-336), has established the aforementioned essential functions of students in the DDS program offered by the College of Dentistry.

The DDS Admissions Committee will consider for admission applicants who demonstrate the ability to perform, or to learn to perform, the essential skills listed in this document. The college will strive to see that students or dentists with impaired intellectual, physical, or emotional functions do not place patients in jeopardy. Students will be judged not only on their scholastic accomplishments, but also on their physical and emotional capacities to meet the full requirements of the college’s curriculum and to graduate as skilled and effective dental practitioners.

Upon admission, a student who discloses a properly certified disability will receive reasonable accommodation but must be able to perform the essential functions of the curriculum, as described in this document, either with or without reasonable accommodation.  Applicants verify in writing that they are able to meet these technical and performance standards with or without accommodation and are instructed to contact the Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion Office, GEB, room BB9, for questions and assistance. Determination of eligibility and recommendations of accommodations must be made by Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion

Admission to Advanced Standing

Application to the Second Year Class (Advanced Standing - for graduates of foreign dental schools) ( Not currenlty taking applications for this program)

Graduates who have received a doctoral degree in dentistry from an institution not accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association or by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada may apply for admission to the DDS degree program on an advanced standing basis. Advanced standing students begin only in the second year (D-2). As a result the advanced standing students will take the same curriculum as the other second year students and continue to complete the third and fourth years. Consideration of an advanced standing student depends on space being available in the second year class through a student being dismissed or otherwise not enrolling in the second year. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the United States (“Green Card” holder) or have a visa status that permits university study. Applicants must have passed Part I and Part II of the National Board Exam and completed TOEFL with a total score of 80 at the time of application. In addition, candidates must submit an evaluation of their academic credentials via the World Education Service. During the month of March each year the link will direct prospective applicants to the application process, which has a fee of $75. Applications will be accepted during this month only. In April of each year the applications are reviewed resulting in some students being invited to campus for a three day Skills Test in which a candidate’s dental hand skills will be tested. The fee for this testing is $2500. Applicants passing the hand skills testing may then be invited to join the class which is expected to begin in early July. A decision on all applicants will be made by June 1.

Applicants for Transfer with Advanced Standing

The College of Dentistry considers applications for transfer into the DDS program from students in good academic and professional standing while enrolled in a DDS program from other dental education institutions accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Due to the nature of each college’s curriculum, few requests for transfer can be accommodated. Additional information regarding application for advanced standing may be obtained from the College of Dentistry Office of Admissions. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application.

Special Student Program - DDS/PhD

The College of Dentistry, in cooperation with the College of Graduate Health Sciences, offers the opportunity for well-qualified students to pursue both the DDS and PhD degrees. However, applicants must meet the admission criteria of both colleges and be accepted for study by both. Once the student has identified a major course of graduate study, a curriculum plan is jointly developed by the Academic Dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences, the student’s major Professor, and the Academic Dean of the College of Dentistry. Students electing this program are classified as special students in the College of Dentistry with their course of study individualized. Stipends for graduate study must be arranged through the Academic Dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences. The course of study leading to both degrees may vary from six to eight or more years.

Tuition, Fees and Expenses

Official information regarding tuition and fees for the College of Dentistry is available at Cost of attendance estimates and information about loan applications are available at:

Textbooks, Instruments and Materials

The textbooks, instruments, and materials, that must be utilized in the DDS educational program and furnished by the student, are stipulated by the faculty annually following a comprehensive needs analysis. Designated dental materials and supplies are purchased from an outside vendor arranged by the classes. At the beginning of each academic year, instrument kits for the DDS program are rented from the College of Dentistry. Additionally, each course director may designate required textbooks. The Curriculum Committee reviews all textbook requests. Required textbooks (including digital texts)  are available in the UTHSC bookstore but may be procured from any legitimate source. Supplementary textbooks are included on the textbook list; however, they are optional and not required for the course. The estimated expense for textbooks, instruments, and materials may be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs, 875 Union Avenue, S-102 Dunn Building, Memphis, TN 38163, (901) 448-6200 or at Students may access the required books for any and all the courses in the DDS program by going to the following link to the Bookstore on the UTHSC website:

Newly entering students must arrange to acquire a laptop computer that meets the specifications provided by the College (see below).

Students are expected to comply with the requirements concerning equipment and textbook purchases as a condition for admission and continued enrollment.

Computer Requirement

Students enrolling in the first-year class of the DDS program will be required to arrive with a laptop computer. This computer must be purchased before matriculation into the first year and can be acquired from any reputable source. The College of Dentistry has no provisions for providing a laptop to students whose own laptop proves to be inoperable upon arriving at UT. In addition, the College cannot assist students whose laptop does not meet the specifications and proves to be inadequate for the student to perform their required lessons. The laptop must meet the following specifications:


  • Processor:
    • Intel: Core i5 minimum, i7 preferred
    • AMD: Ryzen 5 Quad Core Minimum, Ryzen 7 preferred
  • Memory: 8 GB minimum (16 GB preferred)
  • Storage Capacity: 500 GB minimum
    • Solid State Drives are much faster and are preferred over SATA type drives.
  • Wireless card: 802.11n minimum (802.11ac preferred)
  • Operating System:
    • Microsoft Windows 10 - The system must have the latest security updates installed and anti-Virus/Malware software installed.
    • Macintosh macOS 10.13.1 or newer
  • Webcam (many laptops come with an integrated webcam and will not require an external device)
  • USB headset or headphones with microphone
  • Built-in RJ-45 Ethernet port OR an external jack for Ethernet RJ-45 connection
  • Students are also required to have a standard 6 ft. long Ethernet cable

* Please note that the MacBook Air does not have an internal optical drive or built-in Ethernet and therefore does not meet the laptop requirements.

Questions regarding these requirements may be answered by contacting the UTHSC IT Help Desk at 901- 448-2222 or

Scholarships and Funding for Students in the DDS Program

Students may access information regarding Financial Aid, including information on applying for financial aid, available scholarships, financial literacy counseling, and general student loan information at For specific information regarding additional loans available to students in the DDS program see

The College awards the following scholarship to students in the DDS program on a competitive basis. Awards may vary each year depending upon the endowed account interest earned.

Kenneth L. Frame Award. Awarded to two deserving students. A criterion for this award is demonstrated excellence in the restorative area.

James T. Andrews Scholarships. Awarded to four deserving students annually. Eligibility for this award is demonstrated outstanding ability in restorative dentistry and financial need.

Cecily W. Tipton Memorial Scholarships. Currently, seven awards are given to Second, Third and Fourth year dental students. Students receiving these scholarships must have demonstrated academic excellence and financial need.

Hinman Scholarships. Awarded to two deserving students each year. In addition, trip expenses to attend Hinman meeting in Atlanta are paid. Eligibility for this award is based upon outstanding academic performance and financial need.

Andy Holt Scholarship. University of Tennessee Alumni Association awards an Andy Holt Scholarship to an incoming dental student. This award is a four-year award for each year in dental school.

R. Malcolm Overbey Student Leadership Award. Awarded to two deserving students in recognition of exceptional leadership potential, scholastic achievement and personal and professional integrity.

Robert N. Wilson, D.D.S Scholarship. Awarded to three deserving students who are married with at least one child and in the top 1/3 of the class.

Winfield C. Dunn, D.D.S. Scholarship. Awarded to two deserving students. Eligibility is scholastic, leadership and community involvement.

Doris Costello Bowyer Memorial Scholarship. The ASDA President receives an award for leadership and participation in campus activities

Weems Scholarship. Awarded to two deserving students each for academic accomplishments.

Russell O. and Fannie B. Ford Scholarship Award. Awarded to one deserving incoming D-1 student for academic accomplishment and leadership.

F. Payne Hardison, D.D.S. and Mark F. Hardison, D.D.S., Scholarship Award. Awarded to one deserving student for scholastic and leadership ability.

Gerald R. Karr, D.D.S. Family Scholarship Award. Awarded to one deserving student for academic accomplishment.

Lowell Dale Blevins Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving married student whose spouse is employed and demonstrates financial need and scholastic ability.

Delta Dental of Tennessee Scholarship. Awarded to three deserving Tennessee students on the basis of scholastic ability and dedication to dentistry.

Delta Dental of Arkansas Scholarship. Awarded to three deserving Arkansas students on the basis of scholastic ability and dedication to dentistry.

Dental Endowment Fund Scholarship. Awarded to ten deserving students based upon financial need and dedication to dentistry.

Joseph W. Graham, Sr. Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student based upon scholastic ability, financial need and dedication to dentistry with emphasis on excellence in the restorative dentistry area.

W.C. ‘Dub’ Lady Scholarship. Awarded to two deserving students demonstrating scholastic ability, financial need, dedication to dentistry, and from the eastern part of the state of Tennessee.

O.D. and Ruth McKee Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student based upon scholastic ability, financial need, and dedication to dentistry. The recipient should be from Bradley County, Tennessee, or Benton County, Arkansas.

The Xi Psi Phi Fraternity Scholarship Award. Awarded to one deserving graduating or third-year student based on scholastic ability and service to the ZIP fraternity.

Joe and Chris Miller Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student based upon scholastic ability and dedication to dentistry.

Joe and Pat Mosier Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student based upon financial need and dedication to dentistry with special consideration of those students that rank in the middle third of their class.

Dr. John T. (Jack) Camp Scholarship. Awarded to six deserving students. The criterion for this award is having been an athlete in college and upon the ‘need’ of each individual student.

Harold Cloogman, D.D.S. Scholarship. Awarded to eighteen deserving students each based upon successful academic performance, financial need and residency in East Tennessee.

Helen Flanagan Fry Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving female student upon scholastic ability with financial need a consideration and residency in the eastern part of the state of Tennessee.

Dr. Buford and Lynda Suffridge Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student, primarily on the basis of financial need and ranking in the middle third of their dental class.

Elizabeth Club Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving female student based on demonstrated financial need and residency in the state of Tennessee.

Dr. Maurice E. Petrovsky Scholarship. Awarded to an outstanding fourth-year student who has demonstrated ‘the pursuit of perfection in the field of Fixed Prosthodontics.

Dr. Roy Smith Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student based on academic performance and residency in West Tennessee.

Redwine-Mitchell Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student based on academic performance, financial need and residency in East Tennessee.

Dr. and Mrs. Noah David Britton III Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student based on academic ability, financial need and dedication to dentistry.

Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Onstott Scholarship. Awarded to one deserving student based upon financial need and scholastic ability.

Second District Dental Society Award. Awarded to two deserving students given to any D-2, D-3 or D-4 student based upon scholastic ability, and dedication to dentistry as a career and profession with preference to students from the Second Dental District.

Dr. Earl Henry Scholarship Award. Awarded to one deserving student given to a D-4 student who is going into US armed forces (Navy preferred) from Second District, with financial need.

Dr. Norris Howell Scholarship Award. Awarded to one deserving student given to any dental student based upon scholastic ability, financial need and dedication to dentistry as a career and profession.

E. Mac Eddington and Linda Kay Eddington Scholarship Award. Given to a Tennessean who is married with at least one child who also has successful academic performance.

William J. Eells, DDS Scholarship Award. Given to a student (or students) who have demonstrated scholastic ability and remaining financial need.

Dean James T. Ginn Scholarship Award. Given to a student in the top one third of his/her class.

Dr. and Mrs. David Libby Scholarship Award. Given to a third year student for recognized leadership and professional integrity.

Shannon Slagle Scholarship Award. Given to a dental student who demonstrated successful academic performance and has financial need.

University of Tennessee Alumni Association’s Legacy Scholarship Award. Given to a first year student who has the highest academic credentials among those who are also a child of a College of Dentistry graduate.

Information regarding the availability and process for securing an emergency loan is available at

DDS-Specific Policies

Students are responsible for reviewing and adhering to all college-wide policies outlined previously. The policy outlined below is specific to the DDS program and in addition to the college-wide policies.

Policy Regarding Integrated Examinations for Dental and Dental Hygiene Students

Integrated examinations are given at periodic intervals (every 2, 3 or 4 weeks) during the D-1 and D-2 years. The content of each courses’ contribution to the examination is established by the course director and covers the information taught since the last examination. The questions are generally multiple choice and the examination will be of approximately 2 hours duration and taken on a computer. A cumulative final examination will be given at the end of each term and will consist of questions from the entire course. Examinations for D-3, D-4 and Dental Hygiene students are also given on computer, but on a different time interval and as separate subject exams. It is the responsibility of each course director to establish the criteria for the awarding of course grades, the role of examinations in the determination of those grades and communicating this information to the student on the first day of each course or via the course’s Blackboard website. Any concerns relative to individual examination questions, criteria for course evaluation or final grades should be directed to the appropriate course director. Students are expected to take examinations as scheduled. Students unable to take an examination as scheduled because of an emergency situation (hospitalization or death in the immediate family) must notify the Office of Academic Affairs prior to the examination. Excused absences from integrated exams will only be provided for emergency situations as described above.

Progress, Promotion and Graduation for the DDS Program

Students must achieve satisfactory academic progress in order to receive federal financial aid. The Financial Aid Department’s satisfactory academic progress standards mirror the academic progress policies of each individual college. A student who is found to not be making academic progress by their college is not eligible for federal financial aid. This rule may also apply to state, institutional, and private funds. For more information refer to CenterScope, Satisfactory Academic Progress.

In the DDS and BSDH Programs, good academic standing leading to promotion requires that each student must earn a passing grade for each course and demonstrate competence in specific clinical activities required in each year of the curriculum. In addition, students are expected to achieve and maintain a cumulative grade point average of no less than 2.0 while enrolled with a minimum number of grades of ‘D’. A grade point average of 2.0 is expected in laboratory technique courses by the end of the second year. Furthermore, students are required to pass Part I of the National Board Dental Examinations to meet the criteria for promotion to the third year. Student promotion is determined by the evaluation of academic progress by the Student Status Committee through recommendations to the Dean. Other factors considered in the promotion decision are the personal and professional qualities of the dental student. The National Board Dental Examinations, developed and administered by the American Dental Association’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations, are given in two parts. Part I is normally administered to all DDS students during the spring term of the second year. Part II of the examination, covering clinical subjects, is administered to fourth year students prior to graduation.

DDS Students must pass Part I and II in order to be eligible for licensure in any state or territory of the United States. Guidelines specific to the Dental Hygiene Program are listed under that program description in this bulletin.

Appeal Process

The recommendation regarding academic status, promotion, and graduation of a student is the responsibility of the Student Status Committee. The committee meets each term to evaluate student progress and make appropriate recommendations to the Dean of the College of Dentistry for a decision regarding academic status, promotion, and graduation. The decision of the Dean is sent to the student’s official UT e-mail address by the Academic Dean.

A student has the right to appeal an adverse decision when the student can produce evidence or information that (1) circumstances existed at the time of the Committee’s deliberations that were not known by the Student Status Committee and that evidence or information, if known by the Committee, would have influenced the Committee’s recommendation regarding the student’s academic and professional performance; (2) an error existed in the student’s record that was used in reaching the adverse recommendation; or (3) the recommendation created unequal treatment for the student compared to the same or similar circumstances among the student’s peers. Adverse decisions resulting from failure to pass Part I of the National Board Dental Examination (DDS program) may not be appealed.

An appeal for an evaluation of the Student Status Committee’s recommendation by the Student Appeals Committee must be requested by the student, in writing, to the Dean of the College of Dentistry within five (5) working days of receipt of the original decision. The request must include the basis for requesting the appeal for reconsideration and include any supporting documentation. The Dean will evaluate the validity of the request. Failure to provide a concrete basis for the appeal, which must contain information not previously considered by the Student Status Committee, will result in rejection of the appeal request. In general, explanations of circumstances that led to poor academic performance will not constitute sufficient grounds for an appeals hearing unless such explanations put in question the validity of the original decision.

The Dean, or the Dean’s designee, will notify the student of the appeal decision within five (5) working days of or as soon as feasible after, the Student Appeals Committee meeting. The decision of the dean in such cases is final.

In the event that a student’s appeal within the College of Dentistry regarding an adverse decision is denied, the student retains the right to appeal to the Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center for readmission to the program as described in the UTHSC Academic Appeal Policy at

Course-specific appeals procedures will be handled in a similar manner beginning with a letter to the Chair of the department in which the course belongs within (5) working days of the given grade. If the appeal cannot be resolved at the Chair level, the student must request, in writing, an appeal to the dean within five working days of the Chair’s decision. If the chair is the instructor for the course, the initial appeal letter should be sent to the Dean. The remainder of the Appeals process will then follow the same procedures as described above for an appeal of Student Status Committee decision.

Requirements for Graduation

To qualify for the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree, the student:

  1. Must have satisfactorily completed all required courses of the curriculum, including the didactic, laboratory, clinical and practical courses, to the satisfaction of the faculty;
  2. Must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 (on a scale of 4.00);
  3. Must have satisfactorily completed all required comprehensive and clinical examinations.
  4. Must have acted in a reasonable, ethical and professional manner.
  5. Must have been enrolled in the College of Dentistry for all of the senior year.
  6. Must have discharged all financial and administrative obligations to the University.
  7. All previous requirements must be COMPLETED one week prior to the May graduation date.

Attendance at commencement is mandatory for students completing degrees. Those students unable to attend commencement must file a written request with the Dean to receive a degree in absentia. Permission for receiving a degree in absentia can only be granted by the Dean.

Graduation with Honors (DDS program)

The College confers to the graduates of the DDS program with the cumulative grade point average (GPA) that ranks in the top 4% of the class the distinction of graduating with “highest honors.” Students with cumulative grade point averages that rank in the next highest 5% qualify for the designation of graduating with “high honors.” Graduates who attain a cumulative grade point average that ranks in the next highest 6% qualify for the designation of graduating with “honors.” Honors will only apply to the primary cohort of the graduating class with the following exception: students on an approved Withdrawal will have their final GPA compared to their original cohort and honors will be bestowed as applicable.  Honors are not applicable to students repeating an academic year or to out-of-cycle graduations that are not associated with an approved Withdrawal. When a GPA percentage partially captures a student, the student will be considered fully captured. Students who enter the DDS program with “advanced standing” and are permitted to enter in the second year are eligible for the honors designation; however, they will not supplant a student who has been enrolled in all 4 years of the curriculum.

Special Awards, Honors and Discipline-Specific Activities for the DDS Program

Research Symposia

The Hinman Student Research Symposium is held annually which features oral and poster presentations of research findings by dental students and postgraduate trainees from the University of Tennessee and from dental students across the United States and Canada. The Symposium is co-sponsored by the College of Dentistry and the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Society. The objectives include the recognition of student achievements in dental research and the encouragement of dental research careers and education.

Fellowships, Honorariums, Associations, and Awards

Alumni Dental Student Research Fellowship
The award supported by the UT Dental Alumni Association enables dental students, selected on a competitive basis, to engage in individualized research projects during the summer period. The maximum stipend is $2,500. Funds may also be available to defray the cost of travel for scientific presentations at national meetings.

Richard L. Sullivan Award for Dental Research
Completed projects of students receiving Summer Research Fellowships are judged at the end of the summer. The winner of this competition is awarded the Richard Sullivan Award and receives $400 and a plaque.

Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society
Membership in this national honor fraternity reflects recognition of high scholastic standing and consistent, earnest study throughout the curriculum. To be eligible for election a student must rank in the upper twenty percent of his/her class scholastically, be of high moral character, and show promise of making significant contributions to his/her profession after graduation.

The Richard Doggett Dean and Marguerite Taylor Dean Honorary Odontological Society
This honor society, dedicated to promoting high standards in the profession, was founded in 1948 in recognition of Dr. Richard Doggett Dean and his wife, Dr. Marguerite Taylor Dean, for long and faithful service to the University and dental education.

Dean’s List for Scholastic Achievement
Each academic year, students who rank in the top 25% of their class are placed on the “Dean’s List.”

College of Dentistry DDS Student Awards

  • Academy of Dental Materials Award
  • Academy of General Dentistry Award
  • Academy of Operative Dentistry Award
  • Academy of Osseointegration-Outstanding Student in Implant Dentistry Award
  • American Academy of Oral Medicine Award
  • American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Award
  • American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Award
  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Award
  • American Academy of Periodontology Award
  • American Association of Endodontists Award
  • American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Award
  • American Association of Oral Biologists Award
  • American Association of Orthodontists Award
  • American Association of Women Dentists Award
  • American College of Dentists Outstanding Leader Award
  • American College of Prosthodontics Award
  • American Student Dental Association’s Award
  • Certificate of Merit Awards
  • Dean’s Award for Clinical Excellence
  • Dean’s Leadership Award
  • Dean’s Odontological Society Dental Faculty Award
  • Dentsply Merit Award in Removable Prosthodontics
  • Dr. Maurice Petrovsky Excellence in Fixed Prosthodontics Award
  • Imhotep Society
  • International College of Dentists Achievement Award
  • Omicron Kappa Upsilon Awards
  • Pediatric Dentistry Alumni Association Award
  • Pierre Fauchard Academy Award
  • R. Malcolm Overby Student Leadership Award
  • Sidney S. Friedman, Sr. Periodontology Award
  • Southeastern Academy of Prosthodontics Award
  • Student National Dental Association’s Leadership Award
  • Tennessee Society of Pediatric Dentistry Award
  • The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Student Service Award
  • Whip Mix-Hanau ‘Best of the Best’ Prosthodontic

Student Organizations and Activities

A complete list of student organizations and activities can be found in the Student Handbook, CenterScope.

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) Curriculum Summary

The Board of Trustees of The University of Tennessee has approved a four-year academic program to prepare dental professionals for the practice of general dentistry (Doctor of Dental Surgery; DDS). Class enrollment is presently limited to a maximum of 100 students who matriculate in early July (first business day after observation of the July 4th holiday) of each year.

Early in the curriculum, students are introduced to basic sciences and preclinical dental sciences that provide an understanding of the human organism in health and disease. These courses offer the foundation for advancement into patient care, which is achieved largely in the last two years of the curriculum. Basic science instruction is offered by faculty from the College of Medicine and College of Dentistry, while dental course instruction is offered by faculty of the College of Dentistry with assistance from faculty of other colleges of the Health Science Center Memphis campus.

The professional dental curriculum is designed to offer those entering the general practice of dentistry a sound foundation of preparation. Those completing the course of study and receiving the DDS degree are qualified to apply for dental specialty programs or positions in governmental agencies that require these credentials.

Program Description

Entering students (clinical) are expected to demonstrate a high level of interest and commitment to learning. This is evidenced by a professional attitude toward assigned tasks, concern for the patient’s interest and well-being, time commitment to clinical care of patients, receptivity to instruction, professional interactions with fellow students, faculty and staff of the College, and willingness to do more than just the minimum. All clinical performance related to patient care must be rated clinically acceptable (C or better grade).

Students should realize the need to seek advice or help in situations where they do not have sufficient knowledge or experience. Faculty have the responsibility to be aware of students’ progress in knowledge and skills as well as students’ needs and to intervene in patient care when appropriate Student progress in the development of diagnostic, treatment planning and treatment skills are based upon a demonstrated effectiveness in the successful management and treatment of assigned clinical patients and the successful completion of clinical competency assessments. These assessments require the students to demonstrate independent diagnostic problem solving, appropriate clinical judgment, and application of clinical skills in an appropriate manner.

Based upon their level of training, students must demonstrate successful and adequate progress in the various areas of clinical practice to be recommended for promotion/graduation. These areas include the demonstrated management of a comprehensive care program for a portfolio of patients who are selected and assigned based upon diversity of their clinical care needs. The student must effectively use available clinical time to achieve a record of clinical productivity, a high patient acceptance rating, and demonstrated ability to professionally manage the diagnostic treatment planning and treatment needs of his/her assigned patients. The student must be conversant on the clinical subjects relevant to his/her practice and capable of defending his/her diagnostic and treatment decisions. Demonstration of professional behavior consistent with good ethical conduct is expected and a must.

Students who do not progress satisfactorily as measured by these criteria may be delayed in their promotion. Failure to make satisfactory progress may require that a remedial program may be designed and implemented at the discretion of the faculty. If offered, this remedial program will be designed to offer specific help in the specific areas of identified deficiency Repetition of a school year may be indicated at the recommendation of the faculty and at the discretion of the Dean.

The graduating senior must have demonstrated that they are competent in performing general dentistry skills and possess an adequate degree of basic science knowledge. The graduate must be capable of applying that knowledge and skill appropriately, and have a proven record of success in the professional and ethical management of his/her dental school practice. Collectively the faculty approves the readiness of the graduate to enter practice

Educational Philosophy and Plan for the Clinical Teaching Program

The purpose of the clinical component of the DDS curriculum is to prepare dental students for the practice of general dentistry. The clinical teaching program prepares graduates to diagnose, treatment plan, ethically manage and treat patients, at first with close faculty assistance and ultimately with an increasing degree of independent initiative and confidence. This involves the acquisition of basic and clinical science knowledge and development of pre-clinical surgical and technique skills, sound clinical judgment, good interpersonal relations, efficient management of time and resources and an acceptable level of technical proficiency. This approach is predicated on the concept that learning accompanies doing and, therefore, applied clinic practice is essential to acquire the various skills that are necessary for a successful general practice. Concurrently, application of knowledge offers opportunities for objective evaluation and assessment of the quality of the care provided to assigned patients.

The clinical patient care program is dedicated to the achievement of clinical competence through two (2) major objectives: the pursuit of a philosophy of comprehensive patient care and the attainment of an optimal level of quantitative and qualitative clinical competence. It is the dual responsibility of the student with faculty supervision to fashion the clinical experience in such a manner that both objectives are met. Each student will be aided by a Clinical Practice leader, the Coordinator of Patient Care and the Clinical Director. The benefits of an applied philosophy of comprehensive patient care are realized concurrently with the attainment of evidence indicating that all College of Dentistry competency statements are met along with adequate clinical experience. It is the policy of the College of Dentistry to provide comprehensive care for its dental patients whenever possible. Comprehensive care is defined as the treatment needed to restore the patient’s stomatognathic system to optimal appearance and function. It is expected that undergraduate dental students provide their portion of a patient’s care in the school’s clinics and arrange the referral(s) of their patients to the school’s graduate clinics as needed. Any treatments that School clinics cannot provide are to be referred to private dental practice and students are expected to track the patient’s treatment progress so any necessary follow-up care by the College may be accomplished in a timely manner. Patients not desiring referral care are to be offered alternative care whenever possible.

Dental (DDS) Curriculum Schedule

The four-year curriculum consists of eight terms. First-year students begin the academic year the first week of August (18-week Fall term). Second-year, third-year and fourth-year students begin the academic year the first week of July (22-week Fall term).

All students have a 19-week Spring term that begins in early January. Second, third and fourth year students have a fall break in early September. All students have a break during the Thanksgiving holidays and a spring break in mid-March. Specific course dates are published annually by the college.

The number of credit hours associated with a course is established by the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, commensurate with the amount of student work required to achieve an intended  learning outcome, and is consistent with the UTHSC Credit Hour Policy described at:

The curriculum as listed below represents the comprehensive format of study leading to the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. However, the Curriculum Committee is constantly reviewing the curriculum to fulfill the academic needs of the profession. Thus, the actual course of study may reflect modifications on a year-to-year basis.

First Year Schedule

Second Year Schedule


***Spring I term ends June 30

Third Year Schedule


***Spring I term ends June 30

Fourth Year Schedule


**Spring Term Ends in mid to late May (Graduation Date may vary)

Elective Program for DDS Students

The Elective Program offers students the opportunity to explore subject areas relative to the practice of dentistry in conjunction with the core curriculum. The program is strictly voluntary, scheduled for term enrollment primarily in the junior and senior years. The listing of elective courses may vary yearly as the result of the students’ participation, introduction of new topics of interest, and the need for review of the dental sciences. The majority of electives available provide a combination of independent study and hands-on facilitated clinical experience. Instructor permission is required to enroll in all Elective courses. Students should ask for permission from the instructor prior to the term in which it is offered to allow time for the steps for enrollment in the program. Once permission has been granted the Elective Instructor will notify the College of Dentistry office of Academic Affairs so that the student can enroll through Banner Self-Service.

Foreign Trained Faculty DDS Program

Admissions to this program are suspended effective February 25, 2019

The Foreign Trained Faculty DDS program offered through the  College of Dentistry is a competency-based program, targeted at full-time (100%) faculty members who have earned a dental degree in a non-ADA accredited dental program. Eligible faculty will typically have completed specialty training in a program accredited by the ADA’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. Also, the applicant must have passed Parts I and II of the Joint Commission’s National Dental Board Examination. 

The current traditional DDS program consists of 204.5 credit hours. For conferral of a professional degree, one third or a minimum of 69 credit hours must be earned at the UTHSC College of Dentistry. Credit hours are granted according to the table and course descriptions below and demonstrated by competencies expected of students who attend the traditional DDS program.


Curriculum Summary

Year I

Year II


**Some courses in program may be waived depending upon prior specialty training. Faculty Candidate must take at least 69 credit hours at UTHSC College of Dentistry.

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