Doctor of Dental Surgery Program


Minimum Academic Requirements

While enrolled in a regular bachelor’s degree program whose sole entrance requirement is Nova Scotia grade 12 or its equivalent, completion of the following by the end of the Spring Session of the year of expected entry to the Faculty of Dentistry is required: a minimum of 10 full-year academic classes* including the following university classes: Introductory Biology (at least six credit hours with lab); Introductory Chemistry (at least six credit hours with lab); Introductory Physics (at least six credit hours with lab); Organic Chemistry (at least six credit hours with lab); Vertebrate Physiology (Human); Introductory Microbiology; Introductory Biochemistry; Writing class (at least six credit hours); Humanities and/or Social Science (at least 12 credit hours).  A listing of some approved courses to fulfill admission requirements can be found on the Faculty of Dentistry website: Courses must have been completed within a reasonable time period prior to admission. Credit will be given for correspondence or distance education courses that are offered by a university as credit courses. Such courses must have their content, sequence, format and testing well defined. Applicants who have demonstrated strong academic standing in a full course load of five courses each semester in a degree program, in an in-course university setting will generally be considered to be the most competitive applicants.

*a combination of two one-term academic courses in the same discipline is considered equivalent to one full-year academic courses.

The Faculty of Dentistry considers it desirable that all students intending to proceed to the study of dentistry should acquire a broad academic background and attain facility in the use of written and spoken English. Therefore, while minimum entrance requirements are established, students are encouraged to proceed to a Bachelor’s degree before seeking admission to the Faculty of Dentistry, particularly if there is any intention or likelihood of proceeding to graduate programs in dentistry or associated sciences. This statement is not to be interpreted to mean that any penalty will be imposed upon those who do not have more than the stated minimum requirements and truly outstanding candidates may be admitted after completion of the minimum entrance requirements.

Prior to or after making application to the first year of the DDS program, applicants are strongly encouraged to spend time in the office of a dentist to learn about the dental profession.

Because of the difficulty in comparing marks and grades from the various universities from which dentistry students are drawn, it is not possible to state a minimum standard that ensures serious consideration for admission. Completion of advanced level courses with grades which are better than average is an indication of ability to succeed academically as a dentistry student. An academic record which shows failed or repeated courses, courses passed with low grades or supplementary examinations, particularly in the two years prior to anticipated entry to dental school, makes the prospect of admission unlikely.

Applicants with the best academic record have the greatest chance of admission. Nonetheless, the Admissions Committee can and does make significant use of non-academic factors in deciding which applicants are admitted (e.g. Dental Aptitude Test, interviews, references).

For the information of potential applicants, the following is provided showing the characteristics of the applicants and entering class of 2021/2022.

  • Number of applicants: approximately 500
  • Number enrolled: 42 (23 males, 19 females)
  • Age of Students: Range: 20 - 51, Mean 24
  • Residence: Atlantic Provinces - 23; Other Canadian Provinces - 3; International - 16;
  • Mean DAT, reading comprehension - 19; Mean DAT, PAT - 20; Mean DAT, science average - 19; Mean DAT, manual dexterity test - n/a, Mean University final two year - 4.0; Mean University higher sciences average - 4.0.

Affirmative Action Policy

The Faculty of Dentistry is committed to increasing the number of qualified dentists who belong to African Nova Scotian or aboriginal peoples of the Atlantic region. Applicants from these groups who have completed the entrance requirements by May 1 of the year of expected entry, have achieved an B+ grade in the academic factors considered by the Admissions Committee, and a passing score on other admissions criteria considered by the Admissions Committee, will be admitted to the DDS program.

Application Procedure

The Faculty of Dentistry application form must be submitted to the Registrar's Office by December 1. Applications from all students, including those who have attended Dalhousie or King's must be accompanied by a $70 application fee, which is not refundable and is not applicable to tuition fees. A new application form must be submitted in each year in which application is made.

Applications must be submitted through the Dalhousie on-line application process, at or   Dentistry applicants must download, print and submit supplemental application documents.

International applicants may apply through the American Association of Dental Schools Application Services (AADSAS) and such applications must be submitted by November 1st.

Applications must be complete before they will be considered by the Admissions Committee. Applications submitted by the deadline may be completed at any time up to May 1, however, applicants are encouraged to submit supporting documents by February 1. Applications completed after February 1 are considered when completed if unfilled places remain in the entering class. The following documentation must be submitted in support of the application:

1. Faculty of Dentistry application form and application fee.
2. Applicants must submit results from an approved Dental Aptitude Testing Program. Canadian citizens must complete the Canadian Dental Aptitude Test unless they are not living in Canada. Applicants must complete the Dental Aptitude Test no later than February to be considered for admission to the following August. Information regarding the Canadian Dental Aptitude Testing Program can be obtained from Dental Aptitude Test Program, Canadian Dental Association, 1815 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, ON K1G 3Y6. You can also register online by accessing the Canadian Dental Association web page - Information about the American Dental Aptitude Test can be obtained from
3. Official transcripts in support of the applicant's academic record must be forwarded to the Faculty of Dentistry by the institution or institutions at which the applicant completed his/her pre-professional studies. If the applicant is still engaged in university studies, applicants must submit an interim transcript and a final transcript must be forwarded on completion of these credits. Dalhousie University regards an applicant's failure to disclose all his/her previous academic experiences to be an academic offence which could lead to subsequent dismissal from the University. Applicants must ensure that all successful or unsuccessful university attendance is indicated on the application form.
4. A supplemental information form (forms available for download at providing information on employment, awards and volunteer activities, must be submitted directly to the Faculty of Dentistry.
5.    Competitive applicants will be required to participate in an admissions interview.

Applicants invited for an interview will be asked to submit three completed confidential evaluation forms (available for download at in regard to the applicant’s character, forwarded directly to:

Faculty of Dentistry
Dalhousie University Admissions Office
5981 University Ave.
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

One of these forms must be from a university faculty member who has taught the applicant recently or from a recent employer if the applicant is employed. The remaining forms should be from someone (not a relative) known to the applicant. 

An application will not be considered if the applicant has been required to withdraw from studies at any other university dental or medical program at the request of the Faculty of that Institution, unless the application is supported by a recommendation from the Dean of that program.

Transfer students are not normally admitted to the DDS program. All such applications must be accompanied by a recommendation from the Dean of the program. All transfer applicants must meet the admission requirements for the DDS program.

On notice of acceptance to the Faculty of Dentistry, applicants must deposit with the Registrar a tuition deposit before a specified date. This amount is credited toward tuition fees if the student registers, but is not refundable if the student withdraws. All accepted applicants must comply with Faculty of Dentistry immunization and CPR regulations as a condition of acceptance.

The nature of the programs in the Faculty of Dentistry involve students interacting with patients in a health care environment, and places students in a position of special trust with patients. Therefore, certain Faculty regulations must be adhered to by all students, including but not limited to: requirements for TB testing, immunization and CPR, criminal records and child abuse registry checks, clinic attire and clinical asepsis protocols. All requirements are outlined in the student Clinical Policy and Academic Policy manuals, provided to students at the beginning of each academic year.

Immunization and CPR Requirements:

Acceptance into the Faculty of Dentistry clinical programs is conditional upon receipt of evidence of complete immunization as follows: Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, (Rubeola), Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B (including post-immunization antibody titres), Varicella and completed 2-step Mantoux tests. It is recommended that student applicants also have an annual Influenza vaccine. Applicants are required to complete the Infectious Diseases and Dalhousie University, Faculty of Dentistry Immunization/CPR record as a condition of acceptance to the program. If Post-HB vaccination antibody test results have not been completed at the time of acceptance, at a minimum, the applicant must provide blood test results for the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen for acceptance into the program.

Applicants whose immunization results indicate that they are HBsAg positive or who have a viral load >103 IU/mL (5 x 103 GE/mL) will not be accepted into any of the clinical programs. Dalhousie University will reassess eligibility for admission should the applicant’s status change.

Students who do not acquire immunity from the HB vaccination series or who refuse the HB vaccine are susceptible to acquiring hepatitis B. Applicants in this category will not be denied admission based on these criteria. However, after admission, any student becoming HBsAg positive or whose viral load exceeds 103 IU/mL (5 x 103 GE/mL) during the course of their studies will be removed from patient care activities. Such modification of the clinical program may prevent a student from meeting graduation requirements.

Students whose viral load is greater than 103 IU/mL (5 x 103 GE/mL), have an ethical obligation to report their status to the Assistant Dean, Clinics, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or Assistant Dean, Academic of the Faculty of Dentistry. The student will then be referred to the ad-hoc Committee on Bloodborne Pathogens.

The cost of all immunizations and blood tests are the responsibility of the student/applicant.

Annual influenza immunization is required for all students during each year of study.

Students accepted to the program must have a current CPR – HCP (Health Care Provider) or equivalent course.

A full explanation of the Faculty of Dentistry policy related to immunizations may be found on the Faculty of Dentistry website:

The admissions procedures may be amended without notice by the Faculty of Dentistry.

Criminal Records Check and Other Screening Documentation

The Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University does not require a Criminal Records Check or other screening procedure (e.g. Child Abuse Registry Check, Vulnerable Sector Screen) as a condition of admission into its programs. However, students should be aware that such record checks or other screening procedures may be required by facilities (schools, community clinics, armed forces, etc.) outside the University used for clinical placements, or experiences related to an academic class assignment, which, in some instances, may be a requirement for graduation. It is the student’s responsibility to have such procedures completed. The cost of the documentation completion is the responsibility of the student.

Such facilities may refuse to accept students on the basis of information contained in the record check or other screening procedure. If the student is unable to complete a clinical requirement due to a failure to meet the record check or screening requirements of the facility; or, if the student is refused access to the facility on the basis of the information provided, such a student may fail the class, and as a result, in some instances, may not be eligible for progression or graduation.

Note that facility requirements may change from time to time and are beyond the control of the University.

Details on the requirements for such documentation and the deadlines for submission of documentation in a timely manner are provided to students by the Faculty of Dentistry after registration in the program.

Students should also be aware that some professional regulatory bodies may require a satisfactory records check/screening procedure as a condition of professional licensure.

Place of Residence of Students

The number of students admitted in any one year is limited by the availability of physical facilities.

Preference is given to residents of the Atlantic Provinces but applications from well qualified applicants from other provinces and countries may be considered. To qualify as a permanent resident of any province, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  1. his/her parent(s), guardian, or spouse must reside in that province on a permanent basis; or
  2. if the applicant is independent of his/her parent(s) or guardian, he/she must have lived and worked on a full-time basis in that province (not attending school on a full-time basis) for a minimum of one full year at the time of the application deadline (December 1); or
  3. an applicant whose parent(s), guardian, or spouse do not meet the residency requirements as a direct result of a recent employment transfer, either into or out of a particular province would be given the choice (either the province of immediate former or future residency) of his/her province of residence.

Assessment of Applicants with an International Educational Background

The Faculty of Dentistry will consider applications to the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree program from individuals who have received their former education outside the Canadian educational system. Such applicants will be assessed on an individual basis and may be required to fulfil specific criteria, such as, but not confined to those outlined below.

  1. If the applicant's first language is not English, he/she must complete an English language proficiency test such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) with a minimum score of 580 or computer-based score of 237; or IBT of 90 (students must achieve 4.0 on the essay or TOEFL writing test); or IELTS score of 6.5 (no lower than 6.0 in each band); or MELAB score of 81; or CAEL score of 70; or Can Test score of 4.5.
  2. Complete an approved Dental Aptitude Test.
  3. Meet all admission requirments and must provide a course-by course World Education Services (WES) evaluation report (document-by-document evaluation will not be considered).  
  4. Completion of the prerequisite university study in North America.