Students interested in the pre-health major in dental hygiene must complete the two-year program requirements (a total minimum of 60 credits) for application to the Bachelor of Science degree program in dental hygiene offered by the VCU School of Dentistry. Applications to the program are normally submitted in spring of the sophomore year. Students planning to start the program in the fall would begin the admissions process during the fall semester of the preceding year. Students apply to the baccalaureate program through the American Dental Education Association Dental Hygiene Centralized Application Service in the spring of the year preceding entrance. All prerequisite course work should be completed by the spring of the year of desired admission.

Completion of the pre-health major in dental hygiene does not guarantee admission to the junior- and senior-year program for the B.S. in Dental Hygiene nor does it result in a college degree. Students must be admitted to and complete all program requirements to earn a baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene. Admission into the program is based on both academic and nonacademic qualities (work ethic, knowledge of the profession, motivation, compassion, integrity, communication skills, leadership and desire to contribute to society, resiliency, willingness to accept responsibility, and maturity). Students are strongly encouraged to consult with a UAA pre-health major academic adviser to learn about admission requirements that are specific to the program and to speak about alternate/parallel majors. For more information about the admission requirements and application deadlines for the B.S. in Dental Hygiene, visit the program’s website

Requirements for the pre-health major in dental hygiene

Students in the pre-health major in dental hygiene must complete the specific prerequisite courses outlined below, totaling a minimum 60 credit hours. The Dental Hygiene Program does not accept grades of D and all courses taken (repeated) are factored into the GPA. Please note that online math/science course are not acceptable. Science courses must be completed within six years of matriculation. Applicants who are non-native English speakers must have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper), 213 (computer) or 80 (internet-based).

Students interested in the pre-health major in dental hygiene must complete biological concepts and laboratory, human anatomy (laboratory included), human physiology and laboratory, medical microbiology and laboratory, and general chemistry I and laboratory. The non-science prerequisites for the pre-pre-health major are: English composition (UNIV 111, UNIV 112 and UNIV 200), statistics, introduction to psychology, introduction to sociology, effective speech, a visual or performing arts course, humanities elective, and elective courses to complete the 60 credit-hour requirement needed to enroll in the dental hygiene degree program. DENS 101, although not required, is highly recommended.

The remainder of the 60 required credits can be chosen from any of the following areas of study: science, math, computer usage, first aid and CPR, and humanities. Science electives are strongly recommended.

Following a review of admissions credentials, eligible and competitive applicants will require an interview with the admissions committee. The department will contact the student/applicant to schedule the interview. Applicants are notified of committee decisions at the earliest possible date.

Changing to the pre-health major in dental hygiene from another major

Current VCU students who wish to change their major to the pre-health major in dental hygiene must meet the following criteria to be considered for the major:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.8
  • No more than 75 credits completed

Students who do not meet these requirements may see a pre-health adviser, but they will be referred for programming and not assigned to an adviser.

Progression policy

Students interested in pursuing the B.S. in Dental Hygiene are admitted initially into the pre-health major in dental hygiene, which is not a degree-granting major. In order to remain in the pre-dental hygiene program, students must meet the following criteria.

  • Students must maintain a minimum 2.8 VCU cumulative GPA.
    • If a student's VCU cumulative GPA drops below 2.8, they will be placed on pre-health probation and allowed one semester to raise their cumulative GPA to a 2.8 — provided it is mathematically possible to do so. If it is not mathematically possible to do so, or if the student fails to raise their minimum cumulative GPA to 2.8 during their probationary semester, they will be removed from the pre-dental hygiene major and transitioned into their secondary major. If no secondary major exits, students will be moved into the Discovery program (Undeclared major) where they will receive assistance with selecting another major.
    • Pre-health probation students: Students must meet with their pre-health adviser prior to the add/drop deadline of the pursuant semester in order to adjust their class schedule and to create an action plan.
  • By the time a student has attempted1 60 credits, if they have not successfully matriculated to the dental hygiene major, they must declare a secondary major related to their parallel plan.
  • If a student exceeds 75 attempted1 credits and has not successfully matriculated to the dental hygiene major, they will be removed from the pre-dental hygiene major and their secondary major will become their primary major.

Details of special requirements for admission to the dental hygiene program can be found on the degree requirements tab of the dental hygiene program page of this Bulletin.

Transfer students who are admitted to the pre-health major in dental hygiene must apply to the B.S. in Dental Hygiene degree program following the minimum number of semesters needed to complete the prerequisite courses required for admission. Transfer students must adhere to the same guidelines outlined above (re: declaring secondary majors, developing action plans, etc.). 

Students may appeal the removal from the pre-health major in dental hygiene via the director of pre-health advising in University Academic Advising. Students must initiate the appeal with their assigned academic adviser in UAA. The director may, at his or her discretion, extend the time period needed to meet the requirements, generally by only one semester. A student who wishes to appeal must submit his or her appeal at least one week prior to the start of the next semester in which they register for classes.

1

Attempted hours include credit hours from courses in which a W, an F or any other grade has been assigned. This is reported in the transcript as “overall attempted hours.”

Prerequisites for the dental hygiene program

Course Title Hours
VCU courses
BIOL 101
BIOZ 101
Biological Concepts
and Biological Concepts Laboratory
4
BIOL 205Basic Human Anatomy4
BIOL 209
BIOZ 209
Medical Microbiology
and Medical Microbiology Laboratory
4
CHEM 101
CHEZ 101
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry Laboratory I 1
4
PHIS 206
PHIZ 206
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Laboratory
4
PSYC 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to PsychologyIntroduction to Psychology4
SPCH 121Effective Speech3
SOCY 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to SociologyIntroduction to Sociology3
STAT 210Basic Practice of Statistics 23
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Humanities elective3
Visual or performing arts3
Electives to reach 60 credit-hour minimum requirement for entrance into the program12
Total Hours60
1

The prerequisite for CHEM 101 is CHEM 100 with a minimum grade of C or high school chemistry and a satisfactory combination of math SAT score and high school GPA. The math pre- or corequisite is MATH 151 (precalculus). CHEM 100 and MATH 151 can be used to count toward the elective requirements. 

2

The prerequisite for STAT 210 is MATH 131, MATH 141, MATH 151 or satisfactory score on the VCU Mathematics Placement Test within the one-year period immediately preceding the beginning of the course. 

Sample curriculum outline

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
BIOL 101
BIOZ 101
Biological Concepts
and Biological Concepts Laboratory
4
MATH 151 Precalculus Mathematics 4
PSYC 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to Psychology Introduction to Psychology 4
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
BIOL 205 Basic Human Anatomy 4
CHEM 101
CHEZ 101
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry Laboratory I
4
SOCY 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to Sociology Introduction to Sociology 3
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
 Term Hours: 17
Sophomore year
Fall semester
PHIS 206
PHIZ 206
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Laboratory
4
SPCH 121 Effective Speech 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Visual or performing arts 3
 Term Hours: 13
Spring semester
BIOL 209
BIOZ 209
Medical Microbiology
and Medical Microbiology Laboratory
4
Humanities elective 3
Electives 8-9
 Term Hours: 15-16
 Total Hours: 60-61

Total minimum requirement (for admission to dental hygiene program) 60 credits