Pre-Dentistry (Pre-DENTAL) Program


PATHOBIOLOGY has eight Pre-DENTAL Faculty Advisors:

Dr. Antonio Garmendia Dr. Steve Szczepanek
Dr. Kirklyn Kerr Prof. Edan Tulman
Dr. Neha Mishra Dr. Paulo Verardi
Dr. Emily Reinhardt Dr. Elsio Wunder
Dr. Steve Szczepanek is the Pre-DENTAL advising coordinator.
Together, they will guide you on your PATH to becoming a DENTIST.

Dental School Requirements


Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) programs expect students to have a strong foundation in the natural sciences (chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology).  While Dental School admission requirements vary from school to school, they tend to be relatively uniform, and most dental schools require the following:

One year of General Chemistry with lab:

  • CHEM 1127Q/1128Q series or
  • CHEM 1147Q/1148Q Honors series or
  • CHEM 1124Q/1125Q/1126Q series
    • CHEM 1121 does not fulfill this requirement

One year of Organic Chemistry with lab:

CHEM 2243/2244/2245 series

  • CHEM 2241/2242 series does not fulfill this requirement

One year of Mathematics (Calculus)/Statistics:

  • MATH 1131Q (Calculus I) and STAT 1100Q or
  • MATH 1151Q (Honors Calculus I) and STAT 1100Q
    • Calculus II (MATH 1132Q or MATH 1152Q) recommended but typically not required.

One year of Physics with lab:

  • PHYS 1201Q/1202Q series or
  • PHYS 1401Q/1402Q series

One year of English:

  • ENGL 1007 (or ENGL 1010 or ENGL 1011) and
  • An additional writing intensive/composition “ENGL” or equivalent course

General and Advanced Biology courses:

  • General Biology: BIOL 1107/1108 series
  • Biochemistry: MCB 2000 (or MCB 3010)
  • Genetics: MCB 2400 or MCB 2410
  • Medical Microbiology: PATH 2710/2720 series
  • Medical Cell Biology: PATH 2800
  • Anatomy and Physiology: PATH 2100 or PNB 2264–2265 or PNB 2774–2775–2776
  • Systems Pathophysiology: PATH 3810/3820 series

Psychology / Sociology courses:

  • Psychology: PSYC 1100 and PSYC 1101 (or PSYC 1103)
  • Sociology: SOCI 1100 or SOCI 1100W

Additional recommended courses (examples):

  • Human Nutrition: NUSC 1165
  • Patient and the Healer: PNB 3278
  • Public Health: PUBH 1001
  • Epidemiology: PUBH 3001
  • Business Management or Accounting: ACCT 2001 or BADM 2234, etc.
  • Humanities/Social Sciences classes such as:
    • ANTH 1006 - Introduction to Anthropology
    • PP 1001 - Introduction to Public Policy
    • PSYC 3105 - Health Psychology
    • SOCI 2260 or 2260W - Sociology of Health

PATHOBIOLOGY majors fulfill these requirements by taking the courses above, and additional courses under the guidance of one of our faculty pre-MED academic advisors.  See the PATHOBIOLOGY Pre-Medical Sample Course Sequence for an example.

Consult the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) site within the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and look at the specific and detailed admission requirements for each Medical School that you may apply to.  The AAMC/MSAR 2024 Premed Course Requirements Report is summarizes the requirements.

Note that D.O. (Osteopathic Medical School) program information does not appear in MSAR (see D.O. Admissions Requirements instead).

Advanced Placement (AP) Test Credits and Early College Experience (ECE) Credits:

  • AP and ECE credits accepted by UConn (i.e., credits listed on your UConn transcript) can be generally used to fulfill pre-requisites of most Medical Schools (but not all).  You will need to check on policies at the specific schools to which you plan to apply to (also check the MSAR Report).
  • To be safe, if you plan to use AP credit for pre-requisite courses other than General Biology, it is advisable to take higher level courses in the same field to have a college course grade for that pre-requisite.  
  • If you use AP credit for General Biology, the advanced Biology courses you will take in the PATHOBIOLOGY major (Biochemistry, Genetics, Medical Microbiology, Medical Cell Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Systems Pathophysiology, etc.) will fulfill the General Biology requirement.

Dental Admission Test (DAT):

  • The DAT exam is required for admission to all U.S. Dental Schools.
  • It is typically taken in the spring semester of your Junior Year (or immediately after) so that if needed, it can be retaken in the summer (you must wait 60 days between testing attempts).
  • For additional details visit the DAT site and download the DAT Guide.

The DAT exam has four multiple-choice test sections:

Section 1: Survey of the Natural Sciences (100 Items)

Recommended UConn preparation (before taking test):

  • General Chemistry: CHEM 1127Q/1128Q series or CHEM 1147Q/1148Q Honors series or CHEM 1124Q/1125Q/1126Q series
  • Organic Chemistry: CHEM 2243/2244/2245 series
  • General Biology: BIOL 1107/1108 series
  • Cell and Molecular Biology: PATH 2800 (Medical Cell Biology) and MCB 2000 or 3010 (Biochemistry)
  • Diversity of Life: PATH 2710/2720 series - Medical Microbiology
  • Structure and Function of Systems: PATH 2100 - Anatomy & Physiology (or PNB 2264–2265 or PNB 2774–2775–2776)
  • Genetics: MCB 2400 or 2410
  • Ecology: EEB 2244E or 2244WE (General Ecology)
  • Evolution: EEB 2245 or 2245W (Evolutionary Biology)
  • Physics: PHYS 1201Q/1202Q series or PHYS 1401Q/1402Q series
  • Statistics: STAT 1100Q

Section 2: Perceptual Ability (90 Items)

This section assesses two- and three-dimensional problem solving. It tests your ability to accurately perceive object dimensions and mentally manipulate objects in space (e.g., the ability to differentiate among angles, or imagine how three-dimensional objects appear when viewed from different angles). You will excel in this section by practicing extensively and taking multiple practice tests.This section assesses two- and three-dimensional problem solving. It tests your ability to accurately perceive object dimensions and mentally manipulate objects in space (e.g., the ability to differentiate among angles, or imagine how three-dimensional objects appear when viewed from different angles). You will excel in this section by practicing extensively and taking multiple practice tests.

Section 3: Reading Comprehension (50 items)

Recommended UConn preparation (before taking test):

  • Psychology: PSYC 1100 and PSYC 1101 (or PSYC 1103)
  • Sociology: SOCI 1100 or SOCI 1100W

Section 4: Quantitative Reasoning (40 items)

Recommended UConn preparation (before taking test):

  • Participation in a variety of courses (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) to familiarize yourself with critical thinking, analytical, and reasoning skills.

DAT Scores:

  • Six individual and two composite average scores are reported immediately after the exam on a 1-30 scale: 17-18 tends to be the 50th percentile (varies).
  • DAT scores are important factors determining acceptance to a dental school, and also to which dental school will accept you.
  • Aim for a high score in each section (above average!) to be competitive for admission:
    • To be considered for admission to “a” dental school, you should aim to score at least around the 50th percentile (17-18).
    • You should aim even higher to be competitive for admission (19-20) or to be considered for "top" dental schools (21 and above).
      • According to the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools, the average scores for the Fall 2022 entering class (not test takers) were around 20.5-20.8 (5th–95th percentiles of 17-25).

Bottom Line:  Get familiar with the DAT test now and  PRACTICE!  PRACTICE!  PRACTICE!

Extracurricular Activities Related to Dentistry:

Pre-DENTAL students should get a broad and deep exposure to dentistry and medicine to demonstrate their potential to be succeed as dentists.  This can be achieved by:

  • Pursuing experience in health care settings:
    • Volunteering at community shelters, clinics, nursing homes, social service agencies
    • Volunteering at a local hospital or dental clinic
    • Pursuing certification and working as an emergency medical technician (EMT)
    • Shadowing dentists, and other health care professionals
  • Pursuing other extracurricular activities and work experiences, even if unrelated to dentistry or medicine:
    • Biomedical research (e.g., pursuing Independent Study or Research)
    • Leadership activities
    • Community service

The breadth and depth of the experiences are important.  A one-time activity is less relevant than a semester or year-long one.  In addition, passive participation is less relevant than active engagement and participation.

Plan your time and summers accordingly

Freshman Year → Summer 1 → Sophomore Year → Summer 2 → Junior  Year → Summer 3 (Applications Due starting in June) → Senior Year

Letters of Evaluation:

Typically you must request 3 (and may be allowed to request a maximum of 6) evaluation letters.  Some schools do not accept Committee or Composite/Packet recommendations.  Check specific requirements for each school you are considering.

Select your recommenders wisely and ask each to focus on a particular part of your academic and clinical experience. For example:

  • One (or two) referee may focus on your overall academic achievements and extracurricular activities (e.g., volunteering) – this could be professors in the sciences with whom you have taken classes (or your PATHOBIOLOGY academic advisor) that knows you well and for a long time (referees have to answer the question of how long and in which capacity they know the applicant).
  • Some Medical Schools suggest that at least one letter be written by a professor who is not in the sciences.
  • One referee may focus on your research experience (e.g., your independent study or research mentor, or thesis advisor).
  • One referee may focus on your clinical experience (e.g., summer internship in a clinic, etc.)  --  this person could be a physician or another health care professional.


    • Try to identify potential referees early on and keep them informed of your academic progress throughout your studies at UConn.  That will help them to get to know you more at the individual/personal level and write engaging and effective letters of evaluation.
    • Allow plenty of time for each referee to write the letters, which may be due in mid August or the busy first month of classes in the Fall semester (i.e., request them online by May or early summer at the latest).
    • In addition, provide each referee with your resume (or CV), transcripts, Personal Comments essay, and any other relevant information.
    • If applicable, ALWAYS waive your right to access the evaluations (recommenders will be aware of your choice).
    • Direct your recommenders to the AAMC Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation for a Medical School Applicant
    • Schools are basically looking for Red Flags since most letters will be complimentary.

    Application Cycle:

    • Around June/NovemberDeadline to apply
      • All application deadlines vary and are are set by individual medical schools.
        • Regular Admission deadlines are between September and December (median around November 1).
        • Early Decision Program (EDP) deadline is always August 1.
        • EARLY Submission of applications is recommended (June-July)
          • You can start the application process as soon as the system opens in early May
      • Complete applications must be submitted (and verified) to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) by the deadline.
        • Transcripts must be received by AMCAS within 14 days of the application deadline
        • Recommendation letters that arrive after application has been submitted will be forwarded to schools on a rolling basis
    • Around July/December – Secondary Applications are received
    • Around September/March – Interviews take place
    • Around October/May – Offer(s) of admissions sent out
    • Around Late April – Deadline to accept offer(s) of admission
    • Early May – Graduate with a degree in PATHOBIOLOGY
    • Around August/September – Begin Medical School!

    Note that while not all pre-requisite courses have to be completed before applying (they can be taken during your senior year), the PATHOBIOLOGY major allows you to complete all pre-requisites by the end of your Junior Year to give you a competitive advantage during the application process.

    6 KEY Elements of Successful Med School Applications:

    #1) Academic Performance

    You want your grades to be on the higher side of A- (3.7 – 4.0 points) and only occasionally on the lower side of B+ (3.0 – 3.3 points).

    #2) DAT Scores


    #3) Relevant Experiences

    Your Record, the breadth & depth of your relevant experiences will be taken into account:

    • Community/Volunteer Service
    • Clinical/Medical experience (EMT, etc.)
    • Physician Shadowing
    • Research (Biomedical) Experience
    • Leadership Activities
    • Extracurricular Activities
    • Something special (in depth) that makes you stand out:  E.g., Additional degree in French, Study Abroad, a Medical Volunteer Abroad Program, Biomedical Research, etc.

    You have to not only perform well academically in the relevant coursework (#1) so that you excel in the DAT after extensive practice (#2), but also build a portfolio of relevant experiences (#3)....

    #4) Letters of Evalution


    #5) Personal Contents Essay


    #6) Personal Interviews


    ...that evaluators can corroborate (#4), that you can write about (#5), and then passionately talk about (#6).