Doctor of Dental Surgery

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) | Graduate

The Howard University College of Dentistry offers a four-year program that leads to a doctor of dental surgery degree (DDS)

The dental curriculum consists of courses in clinical and basic sciences, practice management, ethics, and clinical experience.  The program offers a comprehensive dental education that prepares graduates to enter the workforce as competent, professional and culturally sensitive clinicians.

Why Howard?

For a Transformative Education, we welcome you to the Howard Family!  The Howard University College of Dentistry (HUCD) offers programs that prepare students to become leaders in dental education and deliver for the local and global communities.  

The Howard University College of Dentistry is a teaching and patient care institution and is the fifth oldest dental school in the nation. Our dental clinics, since 1881, have provided quality patient care and service to the community. The mission of the College of Dentistry includes the education of dental practitioners and dental hygienists, research, and service to the community. Through our clinical modules, students work with faculty on a 1:5 ration and are paired with peers in your clinical level to ensure a team based approach to learning.

As part of our unique initiative to increase interprofessional education and collaboration, our students collaborate with their peers in other health sciences programs at Howard such as pharmacy, medicine, and nursing. Our students gain competency in various clinical techniques through rotations in our postdoctoral programs (Orthodontics, Pediatrics, and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery) and learn valuable skills through their direct involvement with experiential services by joining with our faculty in opportunities through international missions in Jamaica, Haiti, Guatemala, Sudan, and Tanzania to name a few.  Out students are volunteering at locally in Community Health Centers, with Mission of Mercy, and Remote Area Medical (RAM) throughout the DC Metropolitan area.  We take great pride in our students who participate in student table clinics, conduct research at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and organize our local health fair.  The Howard student is dedicated to making a difference in Truth and Service. To learn more about our student programs:

We emphasize evidence-based dentistry, take great pride in providing care for the underserved, and promote the highest form ethical decision making and execution of dental care.  The appreciation and cultivation of service are essential to the Howard dental education.  Our Alumni are exemplars, mentors, and leaders in dental education, in research, in their practices, and in their communities.

Program Details

  • Degree Classification: Professional
  • Related Degree: Doctor of Dental Surgery 
  • Format: In Person
  • Length: 4 Years
  • Class Size: 75-80

Program Details

  • Degree Classification: Graduate
  • Related Degrees: D.D.S.
  • Program Frequency: Full-Time
  • Format: In Person

Admission Requirements

Application Guidelines

All prospective applicants must apply through the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). The application cycle opens in May and the deadline for submitting applications is February 1st of the year you expect to enter dental school. All accepted students must earn a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or Canada prior to enrollment. Also, accepted students must complete any degree program in which they are currently enrolled prior to enrollment into the College of Dentistry.

Admissions Requirements

All applicants must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The Canadian Dental Aptitude Test is acceptable for admission of Canadian applicants. DAT scores may not be more than two years old. Applications are not considered without DAT scores, and only the most recent score is considered. Unofficial DAT scores may be sent via email to 

Competitive Scores:

  • 18-Total Science
  • 20 Reading Comprehension
  • 18 Academic Average    

Degree Requirements


All matriculants must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
Online and introductory courses are not acceptable for the required course work. **   
Advanced placement and/or college level entrance program credits are not acceptable for required courses.

Required for Admission to HUCD: 

  • English Composition and Literature
    • Semester - 6
    • Quarter - 9
  • Inorganic Chemistry with Lab
    • Semester - 8
    • Quarter - 12
  • Organic Chemistry with Lab 
    • Semester - 8
    • Quarter - 12
  • Biochemistry
    • Semester - 3
    • Quarter - 5
  • Human Anatomy with lab
    • Semester - 4
    • Quarter - 6
  • Physics 
    • Semester - 8
    • Quarter - 12
  • Electives 
    • Semester - 22
    • Quarter - 33

Recommended Coursework:

  • Physiology (unless taken with Human Anatomy) 
    • Semester - 4 
    • Quarter - 6
  • Microbiology   
    • Semester - 4
    • Quarter - 6

"CR", "S", and/or "P" grades are unacceptable for required courses. 

COVID19 Update for Grades

Pass/Fail will be accepted for the Summer and fall 2021 semesters. However, we strongly encourage that you receive the letter grade when possible.


Criminal Background Checks

Accepted students must complete a background check through Certiphi Screening Incorporated via email after receiving an offer of admission. Results must be viewed as favorable by the Admissions Committee.

Technical Standards for the College of Dentistry, Howard University

Technical Standards

Upon recommendation of the Dean and faculty of the College of Dentistry, a student will be granted the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree which signifies that the recipient has demonstrated the knowledge, social and behavioral bearings, and skills deemed necessary to become a competent and compassionate healthcare provider. 

A vital component of the dental education is the requirement of students to provide healthcare education and treatment for patients in the Howard University community and Washinton D.C. metropolitan area. Therefore,  it is the responsibility of the College of Dentistry’s faculty to ensure an environment of safety and respect for our patients.

It is our mission to admit students who will support this endeavor by: exhibiting a mastery of knowledge in scientific and health care areas; demonstrating hobbies that require a minimal level of technical abilities; possessing communication and interpersonal skills as demonstrated in extra-curricular activities and letters of support; and at all times, displaying professional attitudes and behaviors that personify and are expected of a dental professional.

It is the responsibility of the candidate for admission to review the technical standards for admissions. Accommodations for students with special academic needs are provided through  Office of Academic Affairs upon completing the appropriate processes for accommodations.

Critical Thinking

As mandated by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, we expect admitted students to show competency in developing their critical thinking by being able to:

  • Identify problems and formulate questions clearly and precisely; 
  • Gather and assess relevant information, weighing it against extant knowledge and ideas, to interpret information accurately and arrive at well-reasoned conclusions; 
  • Test emerging hypotheses against evidence, criteria, and standards; 
  • Show intellectual breadth by thinking with an open mind, recognizing and evaluating assumptions, implications, and consequences; 
  • Communicate effectively with others while reasoning through problems.

Motor skills

Successful students of dentistry should demonstrate competence and control in motor function to carry out various diagnostic and treatment procedures while manipulating a multitude of dental instruments and handpieces. Coordination of sight, touch, and manual dexterity with full functionality of the student’s wrists, hands, fingers and arms are essential to these requirements.

Students must be certified in basic life support emergency procedures, CPR, demonstrate proper ergonomics while rendering dental care sitting or standing;  operate and maneuver  dental equipment including carts, stools and dental chair, hand or foot controls, high- and slow-speed dental handpieces during dental treatment requiring controlled movements of less than 1-2 millimeter; perform dental procedures utilizing hand instruments on hard and soft tissues; and perform all necessary procedures in required educational exercises including activities in the preclinical laboratories prior to meeting the standards to render patient care in our clinics.

Sensory skills

Candidates must have functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, touch, and smell in order to observe and learn effectively in the classroom, laboratory and clinical settings and, ultimately, to provide oral health care in a practice setting. These sensory skills must be sufficient to allow the student to acquire information through physical, laboratory and clinical means; to visualize intraoral and extraoral structures; to observe a patient accurately both close at hand and at a distance; and to obtain information from written documents, films, slides and video, as well as to perform educational exercises, dental examinations, and treatment utilizing functions of touch (tactile sense using direct and indirect palpation); vision (acuity, accommodation and adequate color differentiation),  hearing (distinguishing sounds of auscultation and percussion, and discerning audible signs of distress from a patient); and smell (enabling observation and discernment of normal and abnormal odoriferous conditions related to either the patient or environment) to aid in the recognition of abnormal conditions of tissue during examination, diagnosis, and treatment.

Admission to Candidacy

Selection Criteria

Admission to HUCD is highly competitive. Applicant's latest academic record, scores on the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and letters of recommendation are significant credentials in the selection process. Factors in evaluating candidates include working or volunteering with underserved communities, work experience in dental settings, leadership, community service and personal interview.  Good grades are important especially in the science courses. Applicants should meet a minimum Science GPA of at least 2.8 to be considered eligible for application screening.

Selection Process

The Office of Admissions conducts a preliminary screening and holistic review of each application. Applications of qualified candidates are then reviewed by faculty reviewers and the most qualified applicants are invited via email to interview beginning in August and continuing until the class is full. Be sure to check your e-mail spam folders. Our incoming predoctoral class size is 75-80 students.


Interviews are by invitation only. Interviewees have a 25-30-minutes interview with an interviewing panel.  The panel will often consist of: faculty, a student representative, and Alumni; or two faculty members.  Each student will have a second interview with the Director of Admissions.

Acceptance of an Offer for Admission

Acceptances must be in writing and a deposit of $1,000 must accompany the applicant's acceptance of the offer of admission.  

Important Admissions Processing Dates


  • May-July prior to graduation year- Recommend taking DAT
  • August prior to graduation year- Recommend Submitting Application
  • August - January: Application Review is conducted by faculty and staff
  • August - January: Interviews are scheduled. HUCD interviews 200-250 candidates per year.
  • December 1st - First round acceptances are emailed.
  • January- Interim Notification email is sent to applicants who will not be invited to interview.
  • February 1st - The application cycle closes.
  • April 1st - Notification email to candidates accepting offers of admission at more than one dental school.
  • April 15th - Notification email sent to applicants who are on waitlist.
  • Third week of August is designated for new student orientation week.  All sessions are mandatory for the new student to begin the Fall semester.  The entering classes all begin in the Fall and are pre-requisites to register for Spring class.  There are no entering class during the Spring and Summer sessions.

Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."