Preparing to Apply

Dental School Preparation Course

The Dental School Preparation Course is a 20-hour intensive program designed to prepare students for the field of dentistry. It consists of a series of hands-on preclinical exercises and laboratory procedures as well as lectures given by university faculty members.

Dental School Preparation Course

Information Sessions

It is highly recommended that interested students attend a DDS Information Session to learn more about becoming a qualified candidate. These sessions are held regularly at the School of Dentistry. Space is limited for each session, so be sure to sign-up early!

2022 DDS Information Sessions

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 2022 entering class (DDS Class of 2026)

   Average GPA (Median GPA) GPA Ranges
BBCP (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics) 3.52 (3.52) 2.67-4.0
Science 3.54 (3.56) 2.79-4.0
Total 3.62 (3.63) 2.85-4.0
   Average DAT (Median DAT)  DAT Ranges
Academic Average 20.71 (21) 16-28
Reading Comprehension 22.14 (22) 15-30
Perceptual Ability 20.90 (21) 16-27
Total Science 20.19 (20) 15-27
  • 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. Any incomplete and withdrawal grades must be explained in the application.

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

  • Two from science or math professors (who taught you in a lecture or lab course). Letters from teaching assistants are also acceptable.
  • One from an employer or supervisor (from a volunteer, work, or research position) must be received no later than February 9, 2023. Letters from a research faculty will be counted as a supervisor letter, even if academic credit was earned. Shadowing letters typically are not counted as supervisor letters, unless you also worked or volunteered in the office.
  • 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).
  • Letters of recommendation need to be up to date for the current cycle. The date on the letter needs to be current (e.g. June 1, 2022 for the 2022-23 cycle). Outdated letters of recommendation will not be accepted. All three (3) letters of recommendation must be submitted before your application is fully reviewed.  


The U of M School of Dentistry requires a minimum of 30 hours of in-person, general dentistry shadowing (or work experience in general dentistry as a dental assistant, dental hygienist, or dental therapist) at the time of application. Virtual shadowing hours will not be counted towards this requirement). 50 hours of in-person, general dentistry shadowing (or work experience in general dentistry as a dental assistant, dental hygienist, or dental therapist) is required by the time of matriculation. Applicants are highly encouraged to complete more than 50 hours, shadow more than one dentist, and shadow in different practice settings (community health center, group practice, private practice, etc.). Shadowing hours completed with a relative will not be counted. Additional observation in specialty practice is welcome, however, it is recommended that at least half of your shadowing hours are dedicated to general dentistry. If you have shadowed virtually, you must provide the link/resource you used as well as contact information.

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.

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 90-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 2023, the date of the oldest DAT for consideration for application is June 1, 2019. For students entering fall 2024, the date of the oldest DAT for consideration for application is June 1, 2020.

For students entering fall 2023, DAT scores must be received by the Office of Admissions and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion no later than February 9, 2023. If it becomes necessary to retake the DAT, new scores must be received by the Office of Admissions and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion no later than February 9, 2023. Applicants must keep in mind that they will not be allowed to register for a subsequent test date for 90 days after the last exam date. These deadlines also apply to those taking the Canadian DAT so please be aware of this when you sign up for a February or November examination.

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 February 9) - 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.