Pre-Dental Studies in Biomedical Sciences

Why pre-dental studies in biomedical sciences at Marquette?

  • Medically focused curriculum. The opportunity to study distinctively human medical science courses at the undergraduate level is exceedingly rare. In fact, the Marquette biomedical sciences curriculum, taught by faculty scientists, is unique.
  • Build a strong foundation in human anatomy. Learn the human body through an intensive two-course sequence in human anatomy and human gross anatomy in your sophomore year. This will lay the groundwork for subsequent courses focused on human physiology, cellular and molecular biology that you will encounter in the biomedical sciences major.
  • Develop your critical-thinking capacity. The background provided by your curriculum will allow you to ask key questions and learn to arrive at answers by thinking critically in the context of scientific and clinical problem-solving.
  • Powerful combinations = competitive candidates. Marquette’s biomedical sciences major, together with the university’s core curriculum, produces graduates with a breadth and depth of knowledge uniquely suited for the study of dentistry.
  • Outstanding advising. Our program includes a multitiered system of advising to ensure your greatest success at navigating the application process for medical or dental school. Topics covered include: where to apply, letters of recommendation, the DAT, interviewing techniques and much, much more. You will be fully informed.
  • Learn science from scientists. Our faculty scientists are actively engaged in cutting-edge biomedical research and routinely welcome undergraduates to participate in research. We also offer a 10-week intensive research program in the summer.
  • Dental School connection. Our departmental faculty also teach in the dental school. You will find biomedical sciences courses throughout the dental curriculum. Some of the courses are offered to our undergraduates as well.

Pre-dental Scholars Program

Pre-dent is not a major at Marquette. It is a statement of your intention to go to dental school someday. Students in our accelerated program receive their undergraduate degrees with conditional acceptance into Marquette's School of Dentistry, the only dental school in Wisconsin. Pre-dental scholars complete their undergraduate portion in three years, then take courses that count toward their bachelor's and dental degrees in the fourth year. Pre-dental scholars get both degrees in seven years.

What are the minimal admission requirements of dental schools?

Most dental schools require one year each of general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology and physics. All courses must have laboratory components. At Marquette, these requirements are met by completing:

  • Chemistry 1001, 1002, 2111 and 2112
  • Biology 1001, 1002 and 2001
  • Physics 1001 and 1002 or Physics 1003 and 1004

Other recommendations:

  • Biochemistry (BISC 3213)
  • Anatomy (BISC 2135)

Admission committees of some schools require or recommend additional courses. You should consult admission requirements of U.S. and Canadian dental schools, published by the American Association of Dental Schools, for the specific requirements and recommended courses for each school. Please visit your adviser and ask to view their copy. If you are interested in a particular school, you should learn as much about that school as possible as early as you can.

What factors do dental schools consider when evaluating applicants?

Admission committees consider science grade point average (GPA), overall GPA, Dental Admission Test scores, academic and personal recommendations, personal statements, and sometimes a personal interview. They are interested in candidates who have attained good academic records and who have actively investigated the dental profession.

What is the DAT?

The Dental Admission Test is a combined aptitude and achievement exam prepared by the American Dental Association. Information about the test and application may be obtained in the Office of Pre-professional Studies.

The test is usually taken 16 to 17 months before the student hopes to begin dental school. It should be noted that although physics is required for dental school, physics is not covered on the DAT. Therefore, the test can be taken after the second semester of Organic Chemistry has been completed.

To prepare for the DAT, you should review the topics and skills the test measures. This is also an excellent way to evaluate your undergraduate course choices. The sections of the test include:

  • Survey of the natural sciences: The natural sciences section covers topics addressed in general biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry.
  • Perceptual ability test: The perceptual ability test assesses visual spatial skills.
  • Reading comprehension: This measures the ability to read, organize, analyze and comprehend scientific information.
  • Quantitative reasoning: This covers algebraic equations, fractions, conversions, percentages, exponential notation, probability and statistics, geometry, trigonometry, and applied mathematics problems.

How important are my GPA and DAT scores for admission?

Academic criteria are very important. Most schools will look very closely at the overall GPA, science GPA and DAT scores. These factors, however, are not the only items considered in evaluating the admission potential of a candidate. Integrity, motivation and the candidate's suitability for the study of dentistry are also considered.

Do I need letters of recommendation?

Yes. Letters of recommendation, which indicate personal knowledge of your abilities compared with other students are extremely important. Most dental schools require at least three academic letters (usually one from a science professor, one from a non-science professor and a third from a science or non-science professor).

In addition, some schools also request one or two non-academic letters. The College of Health Sciences Pre-health Professions Office provides a Letters of Recommendation Service.

Are extracurricular activities important?

Dental schools prefer students with interests and experiences beyond academics; however, such activities should not interfere with academic performance.

Is financial aid available?

Amounts and types of financial aid vary widely from school to school. You should investigate the costs of dental school during your undergraduate career, as well as the types of loans and scholarships typically available.

How can I learn more about a career in dentistry?

Observe dentists in your hometown or here in Milwaukee. Join the Pre-dental Student Organization at Marquette. In addition, consider working or volunteering in a dental office.