Dentistry is one of the most competitive study fields to enter at the UK universities. Students willing to pursue a degree in a dental school are expected to have superior academic grades, serious commitment, and the required mental skills to complete the course.
In UK there are many dental schools that offer high-quality dentistry courses. This is to say, students will likely find one course that covers all topics similarly to their career orientation.
A dentistry course in the UK usually lasts for 5 years. The first academic year mainly focuses on core concepts in medical and clinical knowledge. You will be introduced to the basics of anatomy, physiology, oral biology and chemistry. By the end of the first year, the course will include practical sessions under higher supervision.
In the second year, your study will narrow around topics that form the basis of clinical knowledge in dentistry like the operative dentistry, Prosthodontics and periodontics. As part of the operative dentistry, you will start to carry a simulated dental caries treatment.
In your third year, you will study in depth about dentistry-related topics and you will start getting independent on your practical work. In the fourth year, you’ll have even greater opportunity to enhance your dentistry skills since you will be working in a real dental setting in your dental school and in the community. In your senior year, you will probably spend half the year in your dental school and the other half serving in a community outreach. When you complete the whole course, you’ll receive the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree.
Top Dental Schools in UK
In general, most UK dental schools in the UK are of a high quality, hardly comparable with others elsewhere. So if you want to get the best out of a dental degree in the UK then you must make a careful selection of your dental schools. Below are given ten most renowned universities whose dental courses are highly demanded by students.
- University of Dundee
- Queen Mary, University of London
- University of Manchester
- Plymouth University
- University of Aberdeen
- Queen’s University of Belfast
- University of Birmingham
- University of Glasgow
- University of Liverpool
- King’s College London
- University of Cardiff
- University of Bristol
- University of Central Lancashire
- University of Leeds
- University of Sheffield
- University of Newcastle
University of Dundee
The Dental School of the University of Dundee has a fantastic academic staff that will ensure you get the best theoretical and practical knowledge of dentistry. The Guardian ranked this university at the top of its Guardian University Guide 2018.
The Dundee dental undergraduate programs are divided into two sections, each leading to a different degree: Bachelor of Dental Surgery and BSc in Oral Health Sciences. Basically, a BDS program lasts for 5 years as opposed to 3 years of a BSc in Oral Health Sciences. The latter program mainly focuses on practical work and aims to prepare its candidates to work as a dental therapist or a dental hygienist. This medical school also offers postgraduate programs in dentistry.
Queen’s Mary, University of London
The University of Queen’s, University of London, the dental school offers a wide range of courses at all academic levels: Undergraduate, Postgraduate and PhD. Besides these courses, the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry runs a variety of short CPD courses for Dentists, Dental Care Professionals and Dental Nurses.
School of Dentistry – University of Manchester
The School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester is a perfect place for those aiming to attend an excellent education both in theory and practice. As a research-oriented dental school, and as a close partner of the NHS, its students will have the opportunity to practice their knowledge in a real-life environment. There are dental course programs at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level.
Peninsula Dental School at the University of Plymouth guarantees to offer its students the best learning experiences. In addition to its various study programs, the school has many facilities to conduct research and carry on practical sessions. Dental undergraduate students can take a BDS degree or a BSc in Dental Therapy & Hygiene at the end of their Bachelor course. Whereas in Postgraduate studies, they can choose among different taught and research Master’s programs. Peninsula Dental Postgraduate Taught programs are MSc Minor Oral Surgery, MSc Periodontology, MSc. Restorative Dentistry.
University of Aberdeen
The Dental School at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland is the only dental school in the UK that admits only graduate students. With this in mind, its dental study programs aim to widen and strengthen its students’ prior knowledge of their previous degree. A Bachelor dental course in this university lasts for 4 years and its curriculum it is mainly focused on becoming a professional rather than just “a graduate”. Only 20 students are admitted each year in the Dental School at the University of Aberdeen. Additionally, there are also study programs at higher academic levels.
Queen’s University of Belfast
The Dentistry study program at the Queen’s University of Belfast is one of the highest rated dental schools in the UK. It has been delivering dental education in Northern Ireland since 1920. The BDS degree program takes 5 years to complete, including one year in a clinical placement. Queen’s Dentistry school was ranked 1 in Guardian University Guide 2017.
University of Birmingham
The Dentistry School at the University of Birmingham provides its students with a program built upon a theoretical foundation and a real-life clinical experience. Its rich course portfolio includes undergraduate, postgraduate and research degree programs. Aside from traditional dental courses, there are also courses offered in Biomedical Materials Science. Their purpose is to offer students a background knowledge in the medical sciences and medical engineering so they’ll be able to replace or repair damaged body tissues. On the other hand, its research programs include three main fields: Biomaterials, Primary Dental Care and Tissue Injury and Repair.
University of Glasgow
Located in the center of the Scottish capital, the Glasgow Dental Hospital & School is one of the most reputed dental schools in the UK. It has all up-to-date facilities and a brilliant study curriculum to ensure its students a world-class education and a professional preparation to deal with clinical problems. Currently, it offers only Bachelor Dental Surgery courses. The BDS degree in this university lasts for 5 years. In your senior year at this university, you will spend half of the year in a community outreach as part of your professional education.
University of Liverpool
The Dentistry School at the University of Liverpool is committed to offering you a proper dental education upon which you will build a successful career as a dentist. Its undergraduate and postgraduate programs are practical-based courses, which means you’ll get the best preparation to deal with real-life clinical problems afterwards. In addition to these programs, the school has a number of short CPD programs for those who are willing to work in a less professional dental job like a dental hygienist or dental therapist.
King’s College London
The Dentistry program at the King’s College London, it is built upon three components. The first one contains core subjects of medicine and dentistry, preceding with biomedical sciences, behavioural sciences, epidemiology, pathology and microbiology and human diseases. In the second component, students are mostly taught about dental and oral aspects of biological sciences so they get to know more about diagnosis and treatments of dental illnesses and disorders. In the final component, the course will be covering the practical side of a dental professional.
Dental School Entry Requirements
As mentioned earlier, the dental schools in the UK are some of the highest competitive programs in British higher education. In other words, this means, you must have higher grades in order to enter such study programs.
Particularly, you must have done well in some specific subjects related to the dentistry known as the A-level subjects. In dentistry study programs these A-level subjects include mainly Chemistry and Biology. This criterion may also involve GCSE subjects, a set of compulsory exams British students take when they’re 15 or 16 years old, or when younger if their teachers think that the person is able to pass it.
The entry requirements in dental schools in UK are not the same in each of them, depending on different factors like whether it’s a Bachelor or Master’s degree or what is your country of residence. If you’re an international student, you will be required to prove your English proficiency, and additionally university may require to home students have a minimum grade in English.
Because of that, it is highly suggested to personally check their website and read carefully the entry requirements section. At a certain degree, universities will require you the following documents (one is already mentioned: grades)
- Your grades (For international baccalaureates usually 37 points at minimum)
- Language proficiency
- Health requirements
- Admissions test
Note that since as a student, you will often be in a close contact with patients during practical sessions, the university may require an evidence of immunization against hepatitis B and non-infectivity for Hepatitis B and C. Also, you may be required to undertake the admission test of UKCAT which aims to measure your level of cognitive abilities.
After you have decided which program to attend and you’ve fulfilled all requirements, you can start the application. Similarly to requirements, the procedures of carrying an application may differ from a university to university, so you must always check the university’s website.
The application process in a dental school in UK can be carried online through the UCAS platform. However, some universities may also accept applications that are sent online or in person to them.
Check carefully university’s application deadlines because late submissions are rejected.
What can I do with a dental degree in UK?
As long as the dental health is an issue through our lives, the dental care professional we’ll always be in need. When you add to this an unlimited number of settings where a dental professional can work, you’ll realize that a degree in dentistry is worth getting.
The British dental schools are some of the best worldwide and their graduates carry a high reputation on their CVs. Knowing this, employability will never be an issue for them. As for their salary, dental professionals are some of the most respected and high earning medical professionals. So you’ll earn enough money and have a good reputation in the community as a dental professional.
Usually, dental school graduates in UK attend a foundation course in their first post-university year. During this time you’ll earn somewhere around £31,355. But, dentists are often self-employed besides their regular job. In this way, your earnings can easily exceed the amount of £100,000 per year.
In community dental services managed by the NHS you can earn a salary between £38,861 to £83,118, while at NHS’ hospitals, specialized dental consultants earn from £76,761 to £103,490 per year depending on how many years they’ve been working there.
Below are just some of the jobs you can seek with a dental degree in UK.
- General Dentist
- Health promotion specialist
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
- Health service manager
- Medical sales representatives
- Primary school teacher
- Dental Hygienist
- Dental Therapist
- Military dental professional
- Science writer
- Teaching Laboratory technician