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 goals and objectives

The didactic requirements of the Master of Science in Dentistry are combined with the goals of the M.S.D. program to provide the student with a strong clinical background that is supported by a strong background in research methodology.

Program goals

  1. To provide an academic environment for inquiry in which expertise and knowledge in basic sciences and clinical pediatric dentistry can be achieved
  2. To provide a sound background in medicine as it applies to the pediatric/adolescent patient and to patients with special health care needs
  3. To provide a sound background in oral pathology
  4. To be able to interpret, critique and apply literature associated with the field of pediatric dentistry
  5. To develop sound diagnostic, clinical, nonsurgical and surgical skills in the clinic and in the operating room
  6. To provide didactic instruction and clinical training in the area of nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic behavior management
  7. To provide instruction and training in growth and development to include clinical interceptive orthodontic care
  8. To provide methods of pain and anxiety control, including nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation
  9. To provide an environment for the interpretation and implementation of research
  10. Enable successful completion of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry exam
  11. To develop sound lifelong didactic and clinical learning skills
  12. To provide specialists in pediatric dentistry for community health care, professional service and dental education

Program objectives

  1. To be exposed to the basic sciences and be able to apply concepts to clinical pediatric dentistry
  2. To be able to critically critique and interpret the old and new literature
  3. To have an understanding of oral pathology and medicine as it applies to management of the pediatric/adolescent patient and patients with special health care needs
  4. To have residents become exposed to and proficient in multiple nonsurgical and surgical treatment modalities to include treatment of patients under general anesthesia
  5. To become competent in diagnosis and treatment planning
  6. To obtain competency and certification in moderate conscious sedation
  7. To complete research, M.S.D. and prepare a paper for presentation and publication
  8. To prepare the student to successfully complete Part I and II of the ABPD examination
  9. To develop communication and presentation skills and lifelong learners

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 pediatric care including
    1. Knowledge – concepts, facts and information
      1. Knowledge and skills in the areas of pediatric medicine and oral medicine, as well as the delivery of dental care and oral surgery for compromised children and adolescents
      2. In-depth knowledge and skills in the use of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic behavior management techniques
      3. Knowledge of hospital protocol, policies, rules, regulations and the ability to treat pediatric dental patients in the hospital environment
      4. Knowledge of preventive and corrective dental procedures relating to general and oral health and to growth and development of the stomatognathic system
      5. Knowledge and skill in oral and maxillofacial radiology specific to the needs of the child and adolescent
      6. Preparation for managing a contemporary pediatric dental practice relative to practice administration, efficient auxiliary utilization and marketing
      7. Understanding of the biomedical sciences related to the practice of contemporary pediatric dentistry: biostatistics/epidemiology, pharmacology, microbiology, embryology, genetics, anatomy and oral and medical pathology
      8. In-depth knowledge of the physical, psychological and social development of children
      9. In-depth knowledge of oral and perioral lesions and anomalies in the pediatric dental patient
      10. In-depth knowledge of the management of dental and medical emergencies in the dental setting
      11. Understanding of normal and abnormal language development
      12. Understanding of jurisprudence, risk management and biomedical ethics
      13. Understanding of office and practice management including the use of contemporary technologies
    2. Clinical competency
      1. Ability to appropriately manage and guide the behavior of the child patient to accept needed treatment and to provide advice or guidance to the parent to enhance the child’s acceptance
      2. Expertise in managing and rendering optimal dental care for the medically, emotionally or physically challenged pediatric dental patient
      3. Ability to perform evaluations of the physical status of children and adolescents
      4. Ability to transform didactic/learned information into appropriate clinical situations
      5. Skill in the use of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic methods for the comprehensive control of pain and anxiety
      6. Ability to recognize, refer and treat children who have sustained abuse and neglect
      7. Expertise in dental surgical procedures for the restoration of the dentition
      8. Skill/dexterity in performing procedures of periodontal, mucocutaneous and associated hard tissues of the oral-maxillofacial region, including in-depth knowledge of biopsy and adjunctive diagnostic tests
      9. Appropriate management of orofacial injuries
    3. Diagnostic skills
      1. Ability to recognize the early signs of child abuse and neglect
      2. Ability to diagnose dental trauma
      3. Skill in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment planning of pediatric disease in the primary and permanent dentition and periodontal, mucocutaneous and associated hard tissues of the oral-maxillofacial region
      4. Application and understanding of patient monitoring
      5. Competence in the skills required to instruct and motivate children and their caretakers in methods of achieving and maintaining optimum oral health
      6. Ability to prepare patients and caretakers for procedures
    4. Organizational skills and documentation
      1. Coordination of tasks such that diagnosis, case analysis, treatment planning and clinical management of oral-facial health problems of the pediatric dental patient occur in a logical, efficient manner
      2. Ability to present an organized treatment plan to the patient, parent, attending and front desk
      3. Ability to manage time and tasks and to work effectively with people

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.