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Study dentistry abroad

An in-depth guide to studying dentistry as an international student.

Explore dentistry programs abroad

See other programs in dentistry

Dentistry degrees abroad

A degree in dentistry, also referred to as dental medicine, is the first step toward becoming a professional dentist. Programs in dentistry will teach you all about oral health, and you can also learn surgical techniques as well as people skills.

Choosing to study abroad means you’ll have a huge range of top dentistry schools to choose from. Not only that but going to university in another country is one of the best ways to experience a new culture and expand your personal horizons.

Dentistry program structure

Dentistry is typically taught over four or five years. In some countries you need to have a bachelor’s degree before you can study at dentistry school, however in the UK, for example, you can study dentistry over five years as an undergraduate.

The first year or two of the course will usually cover the foundations of dentistry and also cover some general medical and healthcare areas. Modules in the first two years can include:

  • Dental biology
  • Craniofacial biology
  • Human health and diseases
  • Patient assessment
  • Health sciences
  • Dental skills
  • Primary care/patient management
  • Pediatric dentistry

Most programs will include clinical experience and contact with patients from the second year onwards. The final years of the course will include research and supervised clinical activity, as well as continuing your skills and academic learning. Modules in the final years can include:

  • Clinical practice
  • Dental pathology
  • Radiography
  • Advanced dental skills

You’ll be assessed throughout the program through written exams, projects, presentations, essays and clinical assessments. Teaching and learning will take place through lectures, tutorials, skills classes and practical clinical sessions.

Why study dentistry abroad

Dentistry is a popular and competitive subject to study abroad. It’s a vocational program that’s essential if you dream of becoming a dentist, and choosing to study abroad comes with several advantages.

Firstly, it means you’ll have a much larger pool of dentistry schools to choose from when deciding where to study. Places at the top dentistry programs are hard to get, so it’s worth applying to several universities and schools to improve your chances.

It also means you’ll be able to gain your qualification while experiencing and learning about a new country and culture. Learn more about the benefits of studying abroad here.

Where to study dentistry abroad

There are many factors to consider when deciding where you want to study dentistry. You should think about:

  • How quickly you want to qualify

    The length of your studies can vary depending on the country you study in. For example, as an undergraduate it could take eight or more years to become a dentist in the US, but you could qualify in five years in the UK.

  • Where you want to work

    If you want to work in a country other than the one you studied in, you may need to take additional tests or do further studies before you can work as a licenced dentist.

  • The countries you want to live in

    Away from the program and career opportunities, think about the location you’d be happy living in for several years. Consider things like the climate, culture and politics of each destination when making your decision.

Best countries to study dentistry

If you’re looking for the best dentistry schools, then you should consider studying in Europe or the US. Europe is home to many of the most respected schools in the world, with top universities in the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and Switzerland.

If Asia is your preferred destination, Hong Kong, Japan and China all offer well respected dentistry programs. If you want a lucrative career after you graduate, Spain and the US tend to pay dentists the highest salaries but remember you’ll need to have the correct work visa before you can start working abroad.

Best universities to study dentistry

When deciding which university is the best for you to study dentistry, it’s worth looking closely at the curriculum and course structure. Although most programs will broadly cover the same material, some dentistry schools and programs put more focus on certain areas, for example some may dedicate more time to patient care, and others may focus more on surgical skills.

Professional programs are usually approved by the country’s dental governing body, for example the General Dental Council (GDC) in the UK, or the American Dental Association (ADA) in the USA. Check the program is approved before you apply, as the degree may not allow you to practice if it’s not.

See all universities offering dentistry programs

How to study dentistry abroad

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Dentistry study abroad programs

Dentistry degree programs vary depending on the country you choose to study in. In the US and some other countries you can study a Doctor of Dental Science (DDS), which is a four year postgraduate program.

In the UK, it’s possible to study a five year Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS), which is equivalent to a DDS, but can be studied as an undergraduate. Other degrees available include:

  • DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine)
  • BDent (Bachelor of Dentistry)
  • MSD (Master of Science in Dentistry)
  • MDent (Master of Dentistry) - this is recognised in Australia and New Zealand

Postgraduate options can be taken once you’ve graduated from dental school to increase your expertise. Some countries also require you to have at least one year of experience in a work placement before you can practice dentistry.

Dentistry undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in dentistry

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    Pre-Dentistry - BSc University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    27,000 USD
    Start date
    January, June, August
    Show more details about Pre-Dentistry
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    Pre-Dentistry - BA/BSc University of Kentucky, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    29,050 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show more details about Pre-Dentistry
  • false

    Dentistry - BDentTech University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    5 years
    Tuition fees per year
    33,985 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show more details about Dentistry
  • false

    Pre-Dentistry - BA/BSc Baylor University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    44,544 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show more details about Pre-Dentistry
  • false

    Pre-Dentistry - BA/BSc Lipscomb University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,860 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show more details about Pre-Dentistry
See all bachelor's degrees in dentistry

Dentistry graduate programs

Master's in dentistry

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    Aesthetic Dentistry - MHS Altinbas University, Turkey

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    16,200 USD
    Start date
    February, September
    Show more details about Aesthetic Dentistry
  • false

    Forensic Dentistry - MSc University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    21,950 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show more details about Forensic Dentistry
See all master's degrees in dentistry

Entry requirements to study dentistry abroad

To study at a dentistry school in another country, you'll need to meet the university’s entry requirements. What you’ll need will depend on the country you choose to study in, and the requirements of the university you’re applying to. As a guide, you’ll usually need:

  • To have completed secondary education with strong grades in chemistry and biology
  • A bachelor’s degree qualification in a relevant area (for study in the US)
  • Completion of the Dental Admissions Test (for study in the US)
  • Good English language proficiency test scores
  • Relevant academic references
  • Personal interview
  • Some relevant work experience is sometimes required

Find out more about how to study abroad here.

Future dentistry careers

As a vocational subject, most students looking to study dentistry abroad do so with the aim of becoming a practicing dentist. However, there are other fields that dentistry, or one of its related subjects, could open up, including:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental technician
  • Orthodontist
  • Medical lecturer
  • Dental surgeon
  • Research

If there is a specific area of dentistry you want to work in, look into what qualifications you’ll need. You may need to gain further postgraduate qualifications to work in your preferred field.