Advanced Graduate Education Program in Geriatric Dentistry

Program director: Lisa Thompson, DMD

The Harvard School of Dental Medicine has offered a geriatric dentistry program since 1986. The program offers a certificate in geriatric dentistry (two years in length), a Master of Medical Sciences degree (MMSc—three years, or two years if the candidate holds a prior MPH or equivalent degree), and a Doctor of Medical Sciences degree (DMSc—four years). Students may also earn a combined degree with the Harvard School of Public Health, which requires a separate application.

Program Overview

The HSDM Advanced Graduated Education Program in Geriatric Dentistry supports a Multidisciplinary Geriatric Fellowship in Dentistry, Medicine, and Mental/Behavioral Health, funded by HRSA, to train a dental fellow for two years in the care of older adults, with a focus on underserved populations. The interdisciplinary program consists of four main components: coursework, clinical training, teaching/administrative training, and research. This program will prepare a specialist in geriatric dentistry to acquire the skills, experience, and knowledge to both treat patients in an institutional, community, and private setting and contribute to the academic and professional development of geriatrics.


Students will develop the working knowledge of biostatistics and epidemiology necessary for clinical research and may take courses in aging-related issues offered at any Harvard campus and seminars offered by the multidisciplinary fellowship team.


Training involves rotations at the Cambridge Health Alliance, the Elder Service Plan of the North Shore, Harvard-affiliated nursing homes, and rotations with the multidisciplinary geriatric fellows.


Lectures are given by fellows to pre-doctoral dental students, residents, and geriatric fellows, in addition to oral health education to senior centers and nursing home staff.


Research is led by faculty mentors, who are assigned according to field. For trainees with appropriate research topics and educational background, the Harvard Medical School faculty are also available to guide research.

Nondegree Resources

  • Professional continuing education courses
  • Noncredit workshops
  • Technical assistance, consultations, and training for community organizations
  • Research opportunities
  • Courses specifically designed for older individuals
  • Distance-learning courses

Fellowship Requirements

  • DDS or equivalent degree
  • Previous postdoctoral training or clinical practice experience
  • Licensed or eligible to pursue licensure to practice dentistry in Massachusetts
  • US citizen or permanent resident status

The educational stipend is based on the number of years of postdoctoral training/experience and is subject to annual review. No tuition is required for this fellowship if fellowship requirements are met.


For more information on program specifics, please contact:

Dr. Lisa Thompson
Program Director, Geriatric Dental Fellowship Office of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology Harvard School of Dental Medicine
188 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02115

For more information regarding admissions and the application process, please click here.