Preparing to Apply

Information Sessions

It is highly recommended that interested students attend a DDS Information Session to learn more about becoming a qualified candidate. Tours of the dental school are also provided to prospective students. RSVP is required.

2023-24 DDS Information Sessions & Tours

Preparing to apply

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Application Requirements

Course credits

A minimum of 87 semester credits or 130 quarter credits of courses from an officially accredited U.S. or Canadian college or university is required. A maximum of 64 semester credits from community or junior colleges will be applied to the 87 semester credits. (One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.) While acceptance is based primarily on performance quality, applicants are encouraged to have a broad liberal education.

Average DATs and GPAs for the 2023 entering class (DDS Class of 2027)

 Average GPA (Median GPA)GPA Ranges
BBCP (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics)3.63 (3.63)3.00-4.00
Science3.66 (3.68)3.08-4.00
Total3.73 (3.74)3.13-4.00
 Average DAT (Median DAT)DAT Ranges
Academic Average20.90 (21)17-28
Reading Comprehension21.89 (22)16-28
Perceptual Ability20.81 (21)16-28
Total Science20.44 (20)16-30
  • GPA (overall and science) is viewed in terms of consistency and improvement. But the quality of coursework and challenge per term are also considered. Applicants are required to provide written documentation of academic difficulties (e.g., “I,” “W,” “D” and “F” grades).

Satisfactory/No Credit, Incomplete and Withdrawal Grades

Only under unusual circumstances will credits graded on a satisfactory/no credit evaluation system be accepted for required courses. We will accept S/N courses and online labs for spring and summer 2020 semesters for prerequisite courses due to COVID-19. Applicants may submit a maximum of the following percentage of "S" credits in elective courses: 10 percent of the minimum total credits for 3-year students, and 15 percent of the minimum total credits for 4-year students. Incomplete grades are looked upon with disfavor by the Admissions Committee. 

Letters of recommendation - Three (3) letters of evaluation are required.

  • 3 letters of evaluation are required and must be received no later than January 10, 2024. Two letters must be from science or math faculty (who taught you in a lecture or lab course), with a third letter being submitted from a professional of your choice. We do recommend the third letter be from an employer or supervisor (from a volunteer, work, or research position). Letters of evaluation should be sent via ADEA AADSAS. You may submit additional letters beyond the three required letters through ADEA AADSAS or directly to the U of MN School of Dentistry ([email protected]) by the letter writer (we do not accept letters submitted by applicants).


The U of M School of Dentistry requires 40 hours of in-person exposure to dentistry by the time of matriculation. Shadowing, paid work, or volunteer experience in dentistry as a dental assistant, dental hygienist, or dental therapist will count towards this requirement. Virtual shadowing hours will not be counted. It is recommended that at least half of the 40 hours be completed in general dentistry. Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete more than 40 hours, observe with more than one dentist, and gain exposure to different practice settings (community health center, group practice, private practice, etc.). Hours completed with a relative will not be counted.

Personal statement

As part of the AADSAS application, all DDS applicants must submit an essay describing their interest in dentistry as well as other interests and special achievements. The U of M Pre-Health Student Resource Center offers workshops on interviewing skills and writing personal statements that may be very helpful to you as a DDS applicant. 

Official transcripts

Upon acceptance and prior to matriculation, official transcripts must be sent directly to the School of Dentistry from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended, and must verify sufficient credits and correct courses. Basic science coursework that is older than five years may be considered obsolete.

Dental Admission Test (DAT)

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is administered by computer and is available for testing on just about any business day. Students must register by mail or online. Upon receiving confirmation that their registration fee and application have been received, the candidate will be instructed to call the Prometric Testing Center to set up a testing time. The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry prefers the DAT, and will also accept the Canadian Dental Admission Test. Applicants applying with CDAT scores need to have their official scores sent to the Universtity of Minnesota School of Dentistry.

Register for the DAT

The DAT is scored on a 1-30 basis and tests knowledge in biology, general and organic chemistry, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and perceptual ability. Students should consider taking this exam when they have completed basic course requirements in biology, general and organic chemistry, and math.

While we expect that competitive applicants will score at or above the national average of 18-19, students accepted to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry usually score higher. Students should refer to the information supplied with their official score report to determine the average scores nationally.

If applicants do not achieve desired scores on their first test, they may take the DAT again after a 60-day waiting period. We will look at all sets of scores and we look for general improvement across all test areas. Official score reports sent to the school by the American Dental Association (ADA) will show up to four sets of scores.

Deadlines for DAT

For students entering fall 2024, the date of the oldest DAT for consideration for application is June 1, 2020. For students entering fall 2025, the date of the oldest DAT for consideration for application is June 1, 2021.

Applicants to the University of Minnesota should not delay submitting their AADSAS application until they receive DAT results. This can jeopardize their chance for admission. Rather, applicants should submit the AADSAS application with a projected test date (before January 10, 2024) - or a projected retest date. Then, applicants should follow up to be sure that official score reports have been received after the exam has been taken.