This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. We may add courses that expose our students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning. We may also add content to the general education program that focuses on racial literacy and a racial literacy graduation requirement, and may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program goal

The Department of Orthodontics offers a 24-month advanced education Master of Science in Dentistry program. The program teaches the latest in clinical care in an environment modeled after private orthodontic practice. The curriculum is composed of seminars and small-group instruction with emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving. Contemporary concepts of orthodontic treatment are reviewed for substantive and scientific content. Also included are regularly scheduled orthognathic surgery conferences and seminars with other dental and medical specialists.

The postgraduate program is designed to develop skilled practitioners who are prepared to grow with the future and manage busy orthodontic practices. Our goal is not only to familiarize future orthodontists with contemporary techniques but also to teach them how to interpret cutting-edge scientific information and use it to approach clinical challenges logically and practically.

The program's clinical experience consists of a wide variety of orthodontic patients, including complex cases requiring orthognathic surgery and patients with facial clefts and other craniofacial abnormalities. An original research experience is an integral part of our program with each project intended to produce results suitable for publication in a nationally circulated orthodontic journal. The successful completion of a research project is required. All senior residents present their research at the Virginia Association of Orthodontists’ meeting. The program makes students educationally qualified to take the written portion of the American Board of Orthodontics examination in the senior year. Residents are required to pass the written portion of the examination prior to graduation and are encouraged to continue and complete the board certification process. This exam is given prior to the American Association of Orthodontists’ meeting.

Students completing the program earn a specialty Certificate in Orthodontics and Master of Science in Dentistry degree. Students must complete the requirements for the master’s degree prior to being awarded the specialty certificate.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Student learning outcomes

Graduates of this program will:

  1. Be able to formulate and conduct a research project relevant to their discipline
  2. Practice evidence-based advanced level dentistry
  3. Demonstrate the ability to communicate with patients, colleagues in general dentistry, dental specialties, medicine and other health care practitioners
  4. Demonstrate advanced clinical skills in the provision of ethical and informed patient care
  5. Be proficient in the delivery of state-of-the-art orthodontic care including:
    1. Diagnosis, treatment planning, treatment, retention and prognosis of dental malocclusions and dento-facial disharmony
    2. Outcome assessment
    3. Diagnostic imaging technologies
    4. Management of patients with craniofacial deformities
    5. Management of combined orthodontic and surgical cases
    6. Use of various fixed and removable appliances, aligner technology
    7. Use of temporary anchorage devices and soft tissue laser
    8. Use of digital technology for records taking and treatments with aligners

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.