General Questions

How much is tuition at HSDM?
Do you offer tours of HSDM?
Is there campus housing for dental students?
Does HSDM offer a dental hygiene program?
Does HSDM accept transfer students?

How much is tuition at HSDM?
The tuition at HSDM is $54,200 for the 2014-15 academic year for both DMD and advanced graduate education (AGE) programs. The total estimated cost for a first-year DMD student, including room and board, health insurance, and other fees, is approximately $80,898 (for 10 months). The total costs for first-year AGE students vary by program. HSDM is a private institution, and tuition and fees are the same for both in-state and out-of-state residents. Please contact the HSDM Director of Financial Aid for specific details.

Do you offer tours of HSDM?
HSDM is unable to accommodate tours due to our small size the overwhelming number of requests. Applicants who are selected for interview will be given a full tour of the school and an opportunity to meet with currently enrolled students.

Is there campus housing for dental students?
Yes. Vanderbilt Hall is the on-campus dormitory in which dental students may live. All rooms are singles, and there are shared bathrooms and kitchens. The building is one block from HSDM. Applications for Vanderbilt Hall are sent to accepted DMD students in April. Housing is guaranteed for first-year dental students provided the appropriate paperwork is completed and   received by the Housing Office by the deadline. A limited number of advanced graduate students may be able to reside in Vanderbilt Hall on a space-available basis.

There is limited Harvard-owned housing for married students in the Longwood Medical Area. Harvard@Trilogy, a apartment facility, opened in 2006 and is located within walking distance of the Medical Area. Trilogy has 154 rental units available to graduate students, faculty,  and staff. In addition, accepted students can contact the Harvard Housing for assistance with housing needs. Th Harvard Housing Office is responsible for the management and rental of Harvard’s affiliated housing (open to students,  faculty, and staff), for new residential development, and for the development of University housing policy. The Harvard Housing Office serves as the Harvard community’s central resource for off-campus housing information and also offers individual real estate counseling to relocating and   current faculty members. The properties are primarily in Cambridge. Frequent shuttle bus service is available between Cambridge and the Longwood Medical Area.

Since there is such high demand for apartments, we recommend that students use a real estate broker to obtain an off-campus apartment in nearby areas such as Brookline, Cambridge, or Jamaica Plain. Vanderbilt Hall also maintains an off-campus housing bulletin board. We strongly advise that you view an apartment before you sign a lease.

There is no parking on campus for students. If you plan to live off-campus, you should contact the town hall in the municipality in which you plan to live to inquire about parking regulations. Maintaining a car in the Boston area can be very costly. HSDM is easily accessible via public transportation and has several bike racks for student use.

Does HSDM offer a dental hygiene program?
No. HSDM does not have a dental hygiene program. Please refer to the American Dental Association website for a list of dental hygiene, dental assisting, and dental laboratory technology education programs.

Does HSDM accept transfer students?
No, HSDM does not accept transfer students.

Admissions FAQ: Canadian and International Applicants

Do you accept Canadian applicants?
Yes. All requirements are the same for Canadian applicants as for US applicants.

Do you accept the Canadian DAT?
Yes.  Official scores from the CDA are required for your application to be considered complete if you are using scores from the CDA.

I went to university in Canada. Do I need to take the SATs if I have not already done so?
The SATs are not required for students who attended college or university in Canada.

Do you accept international students?
Yes.  International students are eligible to apply to HSDM provided that they have completed all of the prerequisite courses in the United States or Canada and have spent at least one year at a US or Canadian university.  International applicants who have received bachelor’s degrees or higher in another country do not need to have a US degree in order to apply.

I already have a dental degree from another country. Can I apply to HSDM?
HSDM does not have an advanced standing program. Internationally trained dentists wishing to obtain a US dental degree may apply to our DMD program, but they must meet all prerequisite requirements, and, if   accepted to HSDM, must complete the full four-year program. All of our postdoctoral programs accept internationally trained dentists. Please see the Advanced Graduate Education Programs page for more information on applications to HSDM’s postdoctoral programs.

Do I have to take the DAT if I already have a dental degree?
All applicants to the DMD program must take the DAT. The School makes no exceptions.

Does HSDM accept students for externships/electives/study-abroad periods?
At   this time, the facilities at HSDM can only accommodate current HSDM   students, so we are not able to offer positions for elective,  externship, or exchange periods of study to students outside of the University.

Will HSDM grant me a visa?
Upon   acceptance to an HSDM program, an applicant who indicated on his/her application that s/he is neither a US citizen nor a permanent resident of the United States will receive materials related to obtaining an F-1 or J-1 visa. A completed data sheet along with proof of adequate   financial resources in the student’s name or that of his/her sponsor must be presented before HSDM will begin processing a visa application.  Funds must be in US dollars and the student’s (or sponsor’s) account must be in a US bank.

Please note that since 9/11/01, the process of obtaining a student visa has become more time-consuming. The most up-to-date information regarding any changes can be found on the Harvard International Office website.


May I retake the DAT? Will my application be reviewed a second time?
We are only able to review each application once. Applicants denied admission may apply during the following admissions cycle. If you plan  on retaking the DAT, please notify the Office of Admissions by e-mail and let us know that you would like your application placed on hold until you retake the exam; please indicate the approximate date you will retake the test. We will send you a response e-mail letting you know that your file is on hold. If a hold has been placed on your file, it is your obligation to e-mail the Office of Admissions to let us to when your application is ready to be viewed. Otherwise, your file may not be reviewed.

Should I complete certain courses before taking the DAT?
Yes.  The DAT contains sections on biology, general chemistry, and organic   chemistry that require a substantial knowledge base. Therefore, we recommend that you take those courses before the exam. Physics and calculus are not required for the DAT, although both are required for admission to HSDM’s DMD program.

How long does HSDM keep DAT scores?
HSDM  will retain your scores for two years. For the 2014–2015 application cycle, the Office of Admissions will accept DATs taken no earlier than the 2012-2013 academic year.

How many times may I retake the DAT?
HSDM recommends no more than three attempts. An applicant who does not achieve acceptable scores in three attempts should seriously consider his/her suitability for a career in dentistry.

May I take another exam instead of the DAT?
No.  The DAT is a required part of your application, and we will consider your application incomplete until we receive official DAT scores from the ADA. Please click here for information on the DAT.

Curriculum Overview and Organization

The HSDM curriculum in Years 1 and 2 departs from standard curricular formats. The courses are interdisciplinary in nature and are presented one at a time in block form, permitting students to learn, synthesize, and apply essential scientific knowledge. This style marks a departure from the memorization that characterizes college-level learning. Faculty-led small-group tutorials in each course permit students to apply the knowledge they have gained in lecture and laboratory to real-patient cases, which in turn reinforces the learning process.

Each basic science course taken with Harvard Medical School (HMS) colleagues is paired with an analogous HSDM dental basic science course—for example, Human Anatomy is paired with Craniofacial and Neck Anatomy, Human Genetics with Craniofacial Genetics, Physiology with Oral Physiology. The sequence of learning progresses from the study of full-body systems to the specifics of the head and neck/oral cavity. See Curriculum Map.

Academic Societies

The curriculum is anchored in a commitment to a mentored relationship between students and faculty, which occurs in all aspects of the curriculum—lecture, laboratory, and especially tutorial. The Patient-Doctor course sequence brings the study of science in lecture and case-based tutorial to mentored patient interactions.

The academic societies, headed by faculty at both HSDM and HMS, play a pivotal role, guiding students in navigating the curriculum and the professional-school environment. A mix of medical and dental students (approximately 50) is randomly assigned to one of four academic societies, which serves as a home base for students throughout their education at HSDM. Significant coordination between society faculty from HSDM and HMS assures dental students comprehensive guidance during the “dual-citizenship” phase of Years One and Two. The HMS societies are located around an atrium in the Tosteson Medical Education Center, the main building for the first two years of study, permitting interaction with classmates from across campus.

Tutorial Groups

Each academic society forms faculty-led tutorial groups made up of 8 to 10 dental and medical students together. Tutorial groups work on a series of cases for the duration of a course. With the tutor as a guide, students set the learning agenda, work in a team, and actively learn from each other, paving the way for the eventual responsibility of patient care. Each course brings a new mix of colleagues in the tutorials. Each academic society houses a skills area, as well as tutorial and lecture rooms.

HSDM course tutorials include only HSDM students. As students transition to clinical training in the third and fourth year, these society colleagues form a treatment team in the Harvard Dental Center Teaching Practice. The HSDM society faculty member (called a senior tutor) serves as the head of the treatment team and the primary mentor in clinical education. The Senior Tutors’ Office is part of the Office of Dental Education.

Virtual Tour

HSDM virtual video.

2015-2016 Academic Year

DMD Cost of Attendance


Year 5: Costs to be determined by program director and Office of the Registrar.
*Living expenses are based on the length of your academic program in a given year as follows:

Year 1 = 12 months

Year 2 = 11 months

Year 3 = 12 months

Year 4 = 10 months.

Mandatory for all students
Family coverage available; please link to the University Health Service for further information.

HUSHP Supplemental 
BC/BS Ins / Medco Prescription
May be waived; please link to the University Health Service for further information.

Adjustments for students with nonemployed minor dependents:
To be determined on a case-by-case basis after consultation with the Office of Financial Aid.



Vanderbilt Hall is the residence hall for students at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). “Vandy” also houses students from the Division of Medical Sciences (DMS) and the School of Public Health (HSPH), as well as visiting students and scholars from all over the nation and the world. Additional housing information is available on the HMS website.

Financial Aid

The Harvard School of Dental Medicine is committed to helping students identify the resources they need to obtain a Harvard Dental education. The School considers the financing of a student’s education to be a commitment involving the student, his or her family—including parents and spouse—and the School. Financial aid at HSDM is awarded on the basis of determined financial need and the availability of funds. Typically, more than 75 percent of HSDM students obtain financial assistance through federal, private, and school resources. Aid may be in the form of a scholarship or grant, loans, and/or student employment. The Office of Financial Aid is available to assist you and your family as you proceed through the admissions process and continuing through your graduation.

To help in your planning, you may wish to review the following:

Cost of the DMD program

Financial Aid Manual
This document provides an in-depth description of HSDM’s financial aid policies and procedures. In addition, it describes various aid programs and lists a number of resources available to dental students.

The Harvard School of Dental Medicine offers several scholarships for DMD students. Please check the list to see if you are eligible.

Required Research Project

HSDM considers the generation of new knowledge to be an integral part of the education of future leaders in the field of dentistry. In recognition of this goal, predoctoral students are required to explore and develop interest in a special field, resulting in the completion of a research project and defense of a thesis prior to the awarding of the DMD degree.

Students are introduced to the research program during the Introduction to Research Methods course in Year 1 and receive guidance from the Office of Research in the selection of a research mentor and the identification of a project of manageable scope. More specific information about the research program can be found in the Student Research Handbook.


Admissions FAQ: Application Process

What is the application process?
How will I know if I am missing anything from my application?
How soon after I apply can I expect to hear from HSDM?
How do I schedule an interview?
Does HSDM have a secondary/supplemental application?
What subject should I major in?
What is the cutoff for DAT scores? GPAs?
Will AP courses or IB credits fulfill the HSDM prerequisite courses? What if I am exempted from a course based on other criteria?
Will Harvard accept a statistics course or computer programming course in place of calculus?
How do you calculate GPA? What if I have a bad grade?
Do I have to complete all of the prerequisite courses in order to apply?
How many applications do you receive for the DMD program?
When is an application considered complete?
Who should write my letters of recommendation? How many letters do I need?
How do I pay the application fee? When should I send it?
May I send my application directly to HSDM?
Do I need to reapply to HSDM if I have applied in the past?
I have been out of school for several years; am I still eligible to apply?
May I speak with an admissions counselor at HSDM? May I receive feedback about my application?
Will you send me admissions information?
What is the average GPA and DAT of students who are accepted?

What is the application process?
HSDM uses the AADSAS application. The AADSAS application, DAT scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation will be submitted to AASDAS, which will verify this information and notify HSDM when it has been verified. Please click here for the application and for more information on AADSAS.

Applicants may track the status of their application through AADSAS. You can expect to receive a one-time automated e-mail indicating items missing from your file. Once all items have been received you will receive an e-mail indicating that your application file is complete. Your application is then forwarded to the Screening Committee for review. The screening process can take up to six weeks, depending on the number of applications under review at that time.

If selected for an interview, you will be contacted by phone to schedule an interview at your convenience. Additional material regarding the interview will be sent to you once the interview is scheduled. Students not invited for an interview will be notified of their status by mail only. All mail will be directed to the preferred address you indicate in your AADSAS application.

How will I know if I am missing anything from my application?
Applicants may track the progress of their application through AADSAS via the Applicant Portal. The Office of Admissions will email candidates when their application has been received and when it is complete.

How soon after I apply can I expect to hear from HSDM?
We make every effort to review complete applications on a timely basis. As noted above, a complete application includes an AADSAS report, all anticipated recommendation letters, official DAT scores, and the HSDM application fee. Since various components of the application arrive in the admissions office at different times, there may be a delay between the time you submit your AADSAS application and the time your file is actually complete and ready for review. Please be patient; the Office of Admissions does review all complete applications, and you will hear from us.

How do I schedule an interview?
Appointments for interviews are made by invitation only. Members of the HSDM Admissions Committee review all completed applicant files, and based on that review, we select candidates to invite to the School for an interview. We will telephone students who are invited for an interview and will schedule an interview at the students’ convenience. If we cannot reach a student by phone, we will pursue other methods of contact.

Does HSDM have a secondary/supplemental application?
A Supplemental Questionnaire will be sent only to individuals who have been invited for an interview.

What subject should I major in?
Applicants are encouraged to major in a field of their interest during college so long as they complete the required pre-requisite science courses.  While many students major in the sciences, HSDM has accepted students with degrees in non-science fields who have shown that they are competent in the required sciences. With an incoming class of only 35 students, the Admissions Committee seeks to accept students with a variety of interests, talents, skills, and knowledge who will be an active and involved part of the class.  The Admissions Committee believes that a diverse student body will contribute to a well-rounded class and a vibrant learning environment.

What is the cutoff for DAT scores? GPAs?
HSDM does not have a cutoff for DAT scores or GPAs. HSDM reviews each completed application in its entirety, regardless of scores, and make admissions decisions based this comprehensive review.

Will AP courses or IB credits fulfill the HSDM prerequisite courses? What if I am exempted from a course based on other criteria?
HSDM will accept AP credits and IB credits for the prerequisite courses provided that your undergraduate university accepts these courses for credit and they appear on your transcript. Keep in mind that one AP course is equal to one semester of a college-level course. Placing out of a course through a university-administered test will NOT grant you credit at HSDM; all prerequisite courses must be taken at the college level and must appear on your transcript for credit.

Will Harvard accept a statistics course or computer programming course in place of calculus?
Mathematical Skills/Computational Science literacy is essential for a career in the health sciences. One semester of calculus is required. This requirement may be fulfilled by one or two semesters of calculus or one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics (preferably biostatistics). HSDM will not accept a computer programming course in lieu of calculus or statistics.

How do you calculate GPA? What if I have a bad grade?
Your GPA is calculated by AADSAS using all undergraduate courses and grades. The Admissions Committee at HSDM looks at your transcript and at individual grades. The AADSAS application has a specific section that asks about inconsistent grades; this would be an appropriate place to acknowledge poor grades if you feel the need to do so.

Do I have to complete all of the prerequisite courses in order to apply?
No, but it is recommended that you take the majority of the courses in order to prepare for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). The AADSAS application will ask you to list future courses you intend to take. Any offer of interview or admission to HSDM will be contingent on the completion of any outstanding pre-requisite courses before enrollment. HSDM reserves the right to rescind admission to any student who has not completed the courses required for admission when students arrive for matriculation in the fall. The most frequent missing prerequisite courses are one semester of Biochemistry, English or Calculus

How many applications do you receive for the DMD program?
In the 2014–2015 admissions cycle, HSDM received more than 1,000 applications. We interview approximately 120 applicants for each entering class of 35 students.

When is an application considered complete?
HSDM received approximately 1,000 applications for the 2014-15 admissions cycle. Each year approximately 115-125 applicants are interviewed for the entering class of 35 students.

Who should write my letters of recommendation? How many letters do I need?
HSDM requires three letters of recommendation and will accept up to four. At least three of these letters should be from professors and at least two of these letters must be from professors in the sciences. Alternately, a composite letter of recommendation from a pre-health advising committee will meet the requirement for letters of recommendation; no other letters need to be submitted if a letter is written by a committee on your behalf. All letters should be submitted through AADSAS.

Letters of recommendation should be written by professors who know you in an academic setting: either they have taught a course(s) that you have taken, or they oversee your academic work in some way (e.g., research, thesis mentor, etc.) You should be confident that your professors are able to write a personalized letter on your behalf and are in a position to address your academic abilities. Often, professors and teaching assistants will collaborate in letter writing for larger lecture classes; HSDM will accept coauthored letters.

Professional letters of recommendation—for example, letters from a boss or a dentist you’ve shadowed—may be submitted as a fourth letter of recommendation. We will not accept more than four letters.

How do I pay the application fee? When should I send it?
We recommend that you submit your application fee at the same time as your AADSAS application is completed. Once your application arrives, we will match your fee and your application and deposit your check.

The nonrefundable application fee is $75, payable to Harvard School of Dental Medicine by check or money order. Checks must be in US Funds. Make sure your name and Dentpin are on the check. Fees should be sent to:

Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Admissions: DMD Program
188 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

May I send my application directly to HSDM?
No. You must apply through AADSAS.

Do I need to reapply to HSDM if I have applied in the past?
Yes. Applicants to both the DMD and Advanced Graduate Education programs must reapply, even if they have applied in a previous year. An applicant must send all materials again, even if they were sent previously. These applicants should be sure to mention in their personal statement what they have been doing in the time period since their previous application.

I have been out of school for several years; am I still eligible to apply?
HSDM does accept applicants who have been out of school for some time. We highly recommend, however, that these applicants take or retake some core science classes such as biology or chemistry before applying. Contact the Office of Admissions for specific questions.

May I speak with an admissions counselor at HSDM? May I receive feedback about my application?
As a small admissions office in a small school, we are not able to counsel individual students on their applications to HSDM. For advice on your application, we suggest that you talk to a pre-health or academic adviser at your college or university, who will be able to provide specific guidance for your individual application. Likewise, we are not able to provide feedback for students who applied to HSDM and were not offered admission to the School. Students who are not accepted are welcome to reapply in the following cycle.

Will you send me admissions information?
All HSDM admissions information can be found online. If you have questions that are not addressed on the HSDM website, we will be happy to answer your questions through e-mail.

What is the average GPA and DAT of students who are accepted?
The 2014 entering class had a GPA of 3.87 and DATs 23/21. Higher grades are not a guarantee of admission and lower grades do not necessarily mean rejection. HSDM considers many factors when making admissions decisions.

Additional Curricular Options

In addition to the four-year DMD curriculum, HSDM offers several optional curricula:

Five-Year DMD Program

Designed for individuals who wish to take time to explore individual areas of interest, the Five-Year DMD Program facilitates opportunities for DMD students to conduct in-depth research, pursue other educational degrees, or become involved in international oral health projects.

Health Sciences and Technology (HST) Program

The HST curriculum is oriented toward students with a declared interest in a biomedical research career or a strong interest and background in quantitative or molecular science. It is particularly appropriate for students who are planning interdisciplinary research careers in academic medicine or dentistry. The approach is quantitative and rigorous and emphasizes modern biology, biotechnology, engineering, and physical sciences. Applicants with strong backgrounds in math, physics, or the engineering sciences may be potential candidates for the HST/DMD program. Please contact the HSDM Office of Dental Education for additional information.

DMD/MBA Program

The DMD/MBA Program is designed to enable students to pursue both the DMD degree at the Dental School and the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at Harvard Business School, most often completing requirements for both degrees in five years. Application to and acceptance at both schools is required.

Interview Process

A personal interview is required for admission and is granted by invitation only. Interviews are considered an essential part of the admissions process and provide potential students the opportunity to flesh out their written applications and to fully articulate their background, experiences, knowledge, and interest in dentistry. All interviews take place in person at Harvard School of Dental Medicine; we do not conduct regional or telephone interviews. Students invited to interview at HSDM should plan on a full day at the School. A general timeline for the interview day is as follows:

  •  8:30 – 9:00      Arrive at HSDM
  •  9:00 - 10:00     Introduction to HSDM
  • 10:00 - Noon   Two one-on-one interviews with members of the Admissions Committee
  • Noon - 12:45    Lunch with HSDM students
  • 12:45 - 1:30     Tour of HSDM
  • 1:30 – 2:00       Financial Aid Discussion

Once you have completed your interview, your application and interview will be presented by both of your interviewers to the Admissions Committee. The committee will then vote on your application. Offers of admission will be based on the committee vote; offers will be made beginning December 1 and then on a rolling basis. Students who interview at HSDM may be offered admission, placed on a waitlist, or denied admission to HSDM.

Selection Factors

HSDM receives some 1,000 applications annually for the 35 places in each incoming DMD class. The selection of students for the DMD program is based on a detailed and comprehensive appraisal of the candidate and his/her potential for success in HSDM’s collaborative, problem-based learning environment. While factors such as academic achievement in high school and college, performance on the Dental Admission Test, and letters of evaluation are important, equally important are the personal qualities of motivation, adaptability in changing or challenging circumstances, integrity, respect, and a passion for patient care—the main reason for entering a health care profession. The Admissions Committee also considers the student’s familiarity with the dental profession, extracurricular interests and activities, leadership potential, and career goals. The committee reads and considers each completed application in its entirety to assess the qualifications of a candidate for the demands of the curriculum and suitability for the School’s unique learning environment.

HSDM does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, financial  resources, age, residence, or disability. Consistent with Harvard’s Affirmative Action Program, women and underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply to the School.

Application Process


HSDM uses the AADSAS application. The AADSAS application, DAT scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation will be submitted to AASDAS, which will verify this information and notify HSDM when it has been verified.For more information on AADSAS, please go to

2016 Admissions Cycle

Please be advised that application processing for 2016 will begin in August 2015. As your application is processed you will receive the following e-mail communications:

  • Acknowledgement of the receipt of your application
  • A one-time e-mail verifying items already received and items still outstanding
  • Notification when your application is complete and forwarded to the Admissions Committee for screening

Application Components

AADSAS application – For more information and to complete the application please click on the link below

Official transcripts (submitted to AADSAS) - Send official transcripts from all schools through which you have taken courses.

Letters of recommendation (submitted to AADSAS) - Three individual letters of recommendation or one committee letter are required. HSDM will accept up to four letters of recommendation, or one committee letter and one supplemental letter. Three letters should be from professors who can speak to your academic abilities (including coursework, lab work, or research) and at least two of these letters must be from professors in the sciences. An additional (fourth) letter may be submitted from a supervisor, dentist, or other professional relation. HSDM does not accept personal references.

Official DAT scores - US or Canadian- submit via AADSAS

$75 Nonrefundable Application Fee* - At the time you submit your application through AADSAS, you must also send a check or money order with your NAME and DENTPIN printed legibly on the face of the check.  We do not accept cash or credit cards. Checks must be in US Funds.

It should be made out to Harvard School of Dental Medicine and mailed to:

Harvard School of Dental Medicine
DMD Program
188 Longwood Avenue
Boston MA 02115

*Students who have received a fee waiver through AADSAS may apply for a fee waiver from HSDM by submitting a copy of the AADSAS fee waiver to the Admissions Office. Email to

The Admissions Committee reads all completed applications in their entirety. This process may take up to eight weeks, depending on the volume of applications to be screened. The greatest volume occurs in August, September, and October. HSDM has no minimum requirement for GPA or DAT scores; the Admissions Committee takes the entire application into consideration when deciding on the candidates to invite for an interview.


Applicants who are invited for an interview will be notified by phone, and we will work with the applicant to set up an interview date. Additional materials will be required of applicants who are invited to interview, including:

  • high school transcript (including SAT scores, if applicable)
  • HSDM Supplemental Questionnaire
  • 2x2 passport photo

This information will be requested of you ONLY if you receive an invitation to an interview at HSDM. For more information about the interview process, click here.

Applicants who are not invited to interview will be notified solely by mail. Notification will be sent to the preferred address the applicant has indicated on the AADSAS application.


For the 2015–2016 admissions cycle, applications must be submitted to AADSAS by December 1, 2015. All applications must be completed within the Admissions Office by January 1, 2016, in order to be considered for this admissions cycle. Applications incomplete as of January 1 will not be reviewed.


The HSDM Admissions Committee will begin reviewing applications for the 2015–2016 cycle in August. Interviews will begin in September and will continue through February 2016 and possibly March.

On December 1, 2015, HSDM will begin to make offers of admission for the incoming class for fall 2016. After December 1, offers of admission will be made on a rolling-admissions basis.

Interviews will continue through December, January, February, and possibly March until all completed applications are screened and those selected for interview complete the interview process.


Students who are placed on the waitlist will be kept in consideration for the remainder of the interview season and may be called off the waitlist to join the incoming class at any time. HSDM will notify those students who are accepted off the waitlist as soon as any change has been made to their application status. Beyond the interview season, students may be called off the waitlist to join the incoming class if any students drop off the HSDM roster. This can happen any time from early spring to late summer, when the incoming class enrolls at HSDM.

Admissions Requirements

All applicants are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in order to apply for the DMD program. Applications will be considered for students completing their final year of an undergraduate degree. Candidates are required to take the following courses as a prerequisite for admission:




Lab Required

Credit Hours*













Inorganic or
General chemistry






Organic chemistry

















Calculus. I, II**




    1 or 2

Statistics  **




    1 or 0

Cell biology








* Credit hours assume a 4 credit course/semester. Students from universities operating on different credit-hour systems are required to complete the equivalent of two full semesters.

**Mathematical Skills/Computational Science literacy is essential for a career in the health sciences. One semester of calculus is required. This requirement may be fulfilled by one or two semesters of calculus or one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics (preferably biostatistics).

Applicants are encouraged to major in a field of their interest during college so long as they complete the required pre-requisite courses. The Admissions Committee believes that a diverse student body will contribute to a well-rounded class and a vibrant learning environment.

Year 1 — The Basic Sciences

The first and second years of the curriculum focus on the fundamentals of medicine and dentistry. Taught by faculty from both the School of Dental Medicine and the Medical School, basic science courses are paired with parallel dental courses to establish and affirm the nexus of oral to general health, the basic philosophy of the School. All courses are Pass/Fail.

Year 1

Organized as a continuum, the sequence of interdisciplinary courses begins at the cellular level and progresses to a thorough understanding of the Human body, genetics, physiology, microbiology, and immunology. During a one-month semester in January, time is given to the study of epidemiology and population health and a fundamentals-of-research course called Scholarly Inquiry in Medicine. This course serves as a foundation for the research experience required of dental students at HSDM.

Equally important to the development of scientific knowledge in the first and second years is instruction in critical aspects of social and behavioral science.  The first year begins with a two-week course called Introduction to the Profession, designed to introduce students to the demands of professional education, clinical practice, and the development of their professional careers. Time is given to the discussion of the students’ goals and expectations, as well as the School’s expectation of the students in their personal and professional growth.

HSDM takes seriously the transition students make from student learners to professionals in training. The importance of the patient-doctor relationship, professional development, and clinical skills is advanced with an in-depth three-year longitudinal course called Patient-Doctor. In mentored settings, the first- and second-year courses permit students to interview patients and learn the physical examination. Students come to understand the social, behavioral, and emotional expectations that patients bring to the health-care encounter and, most important, the students’ role and responsibility to patients in the health-care setting.

Year 2 — Human Systems / Pathophysiology

Building on the foundation of science of Year 1, the second-year curriculum includes two longitudinal courses: Human Systems, and Oral Pathology and Radiology. Each course provides an understanding of the correlation between structural and functional changes in disease and the manifestation of these changes at the clinical level. Tutorials are included in each course.

The year begins with a two- week introduction to pharmacology. This foundation is reinforced throughout the year as pharmacology is woven through the year-long Human Systems course. With the course organized in modules of varying length, students learn the cause, impact, and the changes disease generate in the body, emphasizing the disruption to different organs and systems. Neurologic, orthopedic, rheumatologic, dermatologic, respiratory, cardiovascular, hematologic, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrine, and reproductive-organ systems are studied. Pharmacology and nutrition content is included in the study of these organ systems, as well as their relationship to topics in the second-year Patient-Doctor II and Psychopathology courses.

Similarly, the dental Oral Pathology and Radiology and Orofacial Pain courses are designed to familiarize students with the etiology, radiology, and pathogenesis of major oral diseases as well as their radiographic manifestations, associated laboratory findings, and microscopic features. In the recognition of these abnormalities, students acquire a working understanding of infectious viral, fungal, and bacterial oral diseases. The etiological factors of caries, pulp, periapical and periodontal disease, neoplasia, hereditary and autoimmune disorders, oral manifestations of systemic disorders, salivary and sinus pathoses, and fibroosseous disease are addressed. This understanding is critical to the development of differential diagnoses and strategies for initial case management.

The year concludes at the end of March and the Principal Clinical Experience begins.


Year 3 — Principal Clinical Experience

The interdisciplinary courses in the Principal Clinical Experience retain the problem-based and tutorial format, providing students continuity in the style of teaching and learning. The true value of the didactic examination of patient cases in tutorial in Years 1 and 2 is realized as the evaluation and treatment of real patients begins. A longitudinal course called Occlusion, Malocclusion, and Treatment forms the didactic base of the clinical courses, which include Introduction to the Dental Patient, Diagnosis, Treatment Planning and Prevention, Treatment of Active Disease, and Final Restorative Treatment, as well as modules on the Treatment of the Child and Adolescent, Advanced Surgical Treatment, and the Advanced Dentistry Module. The progression of these courses follows realistic patient treatment methodology.

Patient-Doctor III, now centered at HSDM, addresses issues specific to dental patient care and management. The valuable patient skills acquired and honed in Patient-Doctor I and II permit a confident and positive transition to patient interaction in the clinical setting. Case presentation to faculty and colleagues is a requirement in this year. A course called Dental Health Care Delivery and Ethics includes topics on dental health care delivery, ethics, and practice management.

Preclinical and Clinical Skills/Comprehensive Care

Small class size and significant faculty interaction facilitate the development of preclinical and clinical skills. Competence is emphasized in mastering skills and the delivery of comprehensive patient care. As students achieve this competence at the preclinical level, they are permitted to commence patient care, treating simple and then more complex patient cases as subsequent skills are acquired. The union of the science learned in the first two years and skills learned in Patient-Doctor with preclinical and clinical competency creates a comprehensive experience for the patient.

As students transition to clinical training, the academic society experience evolves. With eight to nine society classmates, students learn clinical skills in the laboratory, share tutorials, and form a small-group practice when treating patients in the comprehensive care Teaching Practice at the Harvard Dental Center. The role of the senior tutor broadens from adviser to primary clinical mentor and guide. Senior tutors serve as head of the small-group practice, review treatment planning, and monitor the completion of requirements on an ongoing basis.



Year 4 — Advanced Clinical Experiences

The fourth year of the curriculum brings opportunity to apply skills developed and mastered in Year 3 in a variety of settings. Students continue to provide comprehensive care at the Teaching Practice at the Harvard Dental Center and learn advanced techniques such as esthetics, implant therapy, and advanced pain-management techniques. Required clinical rotations, an externship experience, and elective opportunities broaden the clinical experience.

Evaluation of students moves from formative and summative measures to a more comprehensive assessment of student academic, clinical, and professional achievement. Students are assessed on case completion in keeping with the program’s goal of training students to provide comprehensive care. Case presentation to colleagues and faculty is a requirement of this year.

Comprehensive Care Rotation

Dental students continue to provide care to their patients at HSDM in a three-month Comprehensive Care Rotation.  Dental students are able to perform more advanced techniques in prosthetics, esthetic dentistry, and implantology.

General Dentistry Rotation

Students participate in a three-month general dentistry rotation at a Veterans Affairs hospital or an affiliated community health center in the Boston area. Working under the supervision of faculty, students provide care to patients with a wide variety of needs. Students gain perspective on their training and skills with feedback from patients and supervisors in a setting outside of the School’s Teaching Practice.

Oral Surgery Rotation

Students participate in a one-month oral surgery rotation at an affiliated Harvard academic medical center.

Elective Time

Students are free to use elective time as they choose. Students pursuing an honor’s track in research may continue or complete their work. Some opt to use elective time at other dental schools completing electives in a specialty field, while others pursue international community-health experiences.