Pre-dentistry

You notice smiles. Teeth, straight or crooked, have always caught your eye ... and now dental school is calling to you. Saint Mary’s can help you get there!

Program Details

There is not a required major for dental school, but there are highly recommended and required prerequisite classes. Dental school requires a strong preparation in the sciences. Most students wanting to attend dental school will select either biology or chemistry as their major. If you choose to major in something other than biology or chemistry, you should take courses in biology and chemistry, specifically, Advanced Anatomy and Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Zoology, and Microbiology.

It is recommended that students consult with their adviser during their first year on campus to make sure they get started on the right track with the necessary classes and labs. Adequate undergraduate preparation affords the student a significant advantage when applying to dental school. Your résumé will be stronger and you will be more successful while taking your Dental Admissions Tests (DAT).

High School Preparation

You should take a high school curriculum that will prepare you for your college course work. If your high school offers AP, IB, or honors classes, take as many sciences as you can. This preparation will help you as you enter the higher-level classes at Saint Mary’s.

Because dental school is very competitive, everything on your résumé will matter. Another way to prepare, and to prove your interest in dental medicine, is to add volunteering to your résumé. Volunteer as many hours as you can in a clinic, or shadow a DMD or DDS. Observe a hospital oral surgery operating room. To “walk the talk” will add to the sincerity of your voice on your résumé.

Degree Requirements

A. Minimum science/mathematics courses:

B110 Botany and Zoology I (3 cr.)

Emphasis is placed upon photosynthesis and respiration,and physiological processes including nutrition, gas exchange, transportation and regulation of body fluids. It is an investigation of the structure and function of both plants and animals and intended as an introductory overview.

B111 Botany and Zoology I Laboratory (1 cr.)

These laboratory studies complement the concepts presented in B110. Investigations including physiological and molecular relationships and interactions are the basis for the course.

B120 Botany and Zoology II (3 cr.)

Emphasis is placed on plant and animal phyla, organs and organ systems of both plants and animals.

B121 Botany and Zoology II Laboratory (1 cr.)

Laboratory studies complementing B120 include plant and animal hormones and reproduction, bacterial techniques, and phylogenetic investigations.

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

C133 General Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C142 General Chemistry II (3 cr.)

This course includes the study of the chemistry of molecular forces, redox reactions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium theory, electrochemistry, chemical dynamics, organic chemistry, phase behavior and solution chemistry.

C144 General Chemistry II Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C321 Organic Chemistry I (3 cr.)

Organized by chemical functional groups and reaction mechanisms, this course presents both classical and modern theories of organic chemistry while rigorously exploring chemical structure reactivity relationships. The fundamentals of nomenclature, physical properties, chemical structure, stereochemistry, organic-reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, purification, and compound characterization are emphasized. Biological, medical, and familiar real-world examples are discussed in the context of organic chemistry.

C322 Organic Chemistry II with Laboratory (4 cr.)

A continuation of C321/C323, this course builds upon the fundamentals presented in C321/C323. It is organized by functional groups and reaction mechanisms, while integrating this knowledge into chemical synthesis. Additional topics include aromaticity, NMR and IR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, carbonyl chemistry, synthetic strategy, and advanced C–C bond forming reactions.

C323 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory complements the lecture segment of the course by demonstrating and utilizing the concepts learned in the classroom to acquire, isolate, and characterize desired organic reaction products. In this laboratory, students become familiar with the equipment, glassware, techniques, and expertise required to implement the chemistry proposed on paper, to optimize it, and to communicate it to the chemical community. A practical context for the developed chemical intuition is provided.

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

P202 Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

P211 Introductory Physics II (3 cr.)

This course is the second half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of waves, physical and geometrical optics, and electricity and magnetism.

P212 Introductory Physics II Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

B. Required philosophy/theology courses

(Either PH343 or TH350):

PH343 Contemporary Ethical Issues (3 cr.)

The course examines critically the foundations of ethical or moral judgments on vital issues such as abortion, birth control, capital punishment, civil disobedience, divorce, drug-use, ecology, euthanasia, homosexuality, marriage, pre-marital sex, suicide, segregation, stealing, truth: acquiring-revealing concealing, technology, war, and work.

PH346 Ethical Issues in the Sciences (3 cr.)

This course provides non-science as well as science majors the opportunity to examine key issues in the sciences in the light of major ethical theories. Among the issues to be examined are: abuses and uses of nuclear energy, behavior control and psychosurgery, chemical wastes and the environment, computerized files of personal information, computerization and depersonalization, experimentation with human subjects and animals, genetic engineering and screening, reproductive techniques, organ transplants, physician-patient relationships, and euthanasia.

TH350 Introduction to Catholic Moral Theology (3 cr.)

As the foundational class in moral theology, this course addresses the different moral theologies in the Catholic tradition, from Scriptural ethics to natural law. Contemporary issues are addressed as a means of explicating schools of ethical method and applying moral reasoning.

Please Note:

Members of the medical professions committee, the professional school advisor, the vice president for academic affairs, and academic advisors have copies of possible paradigms (including these requirements) for your use. It must be emphasized that each professional school may have additional course requirements. A catalog containing the requirements is available in the office of the chair of the medical professions committee. It is imperative that students consult frequently with their academic advisors.