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Guide to studying Dentistry

With great graduate prospects and starting salaries, Dentistry is a very lucrative field to be in.

Close-up portrait of a female patient at dentist in the clinic


  1. What's Dentistry?

  2. Why study Dentistry?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Dentistry graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Dentistry?

Dentistry is the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and disfigurement in the mouth and oral area.

Serious dentistry requires numerous different roles working together at once. The dentist themselves, but also a number of reinforcements: dental assistants, nurses, hygienists, technicians and therapists.

Similar courses for Dentistry include: 

  • Clinical Dentistry 
  • Clinical Veterinary Medicine & Dentistry 
  • Pre-clinical Dentistry

Why study Dentistry?

Dentistry, like any other medical degree or profession, has the feelgood factor. You're changing lives for the better, learning how to keep people in good health.

Read our five reasons to study Dentistry for more information on why you might choose to study this subject area.

Dentist examining child teeth in dental clinic

What jobs can you get as a Dentistry graduate?

As well as being a dentist, you can have a private practice speciality or choose dental nursing instead. Areas such as research and charity healthcare are also options.

Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Dentistry graduates, such as BUPA and the NHS.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Dentistry have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Dentistry students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need?

Entry requirements vary at each institution, but usually high A Level grades (or equivalent) in Biology and Chemistry are needed.

Other useful subjects are Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics. You may also be required to take a UKCAT or BMAT.

Grades and requirements vary between institutions. Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BDS Dentistry
  • BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy
  • BSc Veterinary Studies (Dentistry)
  • BDS Dentistry with foundation year

How will you be assessed?

If you study Dentistry, you'll need to know complex medical techniques and terminology, so be prepared for a lot of exams.

In support of this, there are practice exams and written coursework essays. The practical community work you do will also be carefully monitored.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include postgraduate diplomas, master's and doctorates in the subject, such as a three-year MSc in Clinical Studies, Endodontics, Primary Dental Care or Aesthetic Dentistry.

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