Dental students with an interest in academic and research careers are afforded the opportunity to undertake advanced degree training while in dental school. The D.D.S/Ph.D. (combined) program seeks to train students interested in translating oral research to the clinic. These clinician-scientists will help bridge the gap between basic and clinical science in the field of dentistry.

Students will have both a research and a clinical mentor. Students will complete the first two years (preclinical years) of dental school during which time they will select their Ph.D. dissertation laboratory. Following completion of their second year of the dental curriculum, students will focus on the requirements for their Ph.D. The main undertaking at this phase is laboratory research that leads to the Ph.D. dissertation. Students are exempt from certain didactic courses in the Ph.D. program in recognition of the content in the dental curriculum. This will improve time to degree for the combined program. Students will also to take part in weekly clinical sessions to maintain their dental knowledge. After completion of doctoral degree requirements, students re-enter the dental curriculum in the third year.

Prospective students should submit applications to AADAS for admission to dental school. At the same time, they should apply directly to the Ph.D. in Oral Health Research program for admission to the Ph.D. program, stating their interest in the combined program. Those invited to Richmond for interviews will take part in the standard interview for the School of Dentistry and will spend a second day interviewing with members of the D.D.S./Ph.D. steering committee, as well as touring labs of faculty scientists.

School of Dentistry program policies

The School of Dentistry provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on the doctoral program is available elsewhere in this Bulletin. Additional information on dental programs is available on the School of Dentistry website.

The requirements for a combined professional/graduate degree in the School of Dentistry are equivalent to those required of students seeking a graduate degree alone and are determined by the individual program. For additional information, please visit the program website.

Graduate program director
Oonagh Loughran, Ph.D.
Associate professor
Email: oloughran@vcu.edu
Phone: (804) 828-3910