Oral Health Sciences BSc

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 3 years
  • School: School of Dentistry

The BSc in Oral Health Sciences is a three year programme which will enable you to work primarily as a dental therapist, but also as a dental hygienist.

This is the first university dental hygiene and dental therapy qualification to be offered in Scotland, and the course has full approval from the General Dental Council.

Why study Oral Health Sciences at Dundee?

The Dundee Dental Hospital and School has modern clinical, lecture, tutorial and laboratory facilities, including a dedicated computer-aided learning suite. As well as the annual intake of 10 BSc Oral Health Sciences students, there is an annual intake of approximately 60 BDS (dental) students and many of the teaching and learning experiences are shared. The Dental School has a thriving Students' Society, a student-run coffee bar and an excellent programme of student-led social activities.

The Dental School performs consistently well in league tables for both research and teaching.  The University of Dundee Dental School is a top UK dental school as noted in the Guardian University Guide 2011 and The Complete University Guide

Professional Accreditation

This programme has full approval from the professional governing body for dentistry in the UK, the General Dental Council (GDC).

What exactly are oral health sciences?

Dental hygiene and dental therapy are concerned with maintaining and managing aspects of oral and dental health and preventing oral and dental diseases. This requires an understanding of the whole body, knowledge of the mouth and an appreciation of social influences as well as precise manual skills.

Dental hygienists and therapists are part of the dental team, with dentists, dental nurses and dental technicians. The group comprising dental nurses, hygienists, therapists and technicians are known as dental care professionals (DCPs). Dental hygienists and therapists work to a treatment plan provided by a dentist. They help patients develop and maintain good oral health. They do this by restoring teeth (doing fillings) and, for child patients, they can also carry out extractions, pulp therapy and stainless steel crowns. The treatment of periodontal (gum) disease is also a major component of the work. Their preventive role includes giving advice on diet, oral hygiene and smoking cessation. Other care they can provide is the taking and developing of radiographs and the taking of impressions.

Learn more from the British Association of Dental Therapists or the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy.

Related Courses

This course is based in the School of Dentistry.

You will be one of ten students that we take each year. You will get a mix of teaching: in your group of ten and with the BDS (dental) students in groups of up to 70.

Teaching will take place in the Dental School and Hospital which is on campus, at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and in local and regional dental clinics. A variety of teaching methods will be used: lectures, tutorials, practical classes and clinics. Examinations are held throughout the course. A continuous grading scheme is in operation during practical and clinical teaching.

The curriculum for the BSc course follows the curricula frameworks for dental hygienists and dental therapists published by the General Dental Council (GDC) under the title 'Developing the Dental Team'. This document is available on the GDC's website.

The programme consists of a three-year curriculum of 32 weeks at Level 1, 35 weeks at Level 2 and 35 weeks at Level 3. This is longer than normal University semesters owing to the current requirement of the General Dental Council for the course to comprise 102 weeks in total.

Typical degree programme

Level 1

At Level 1 you will study the biomedical sciences (anatomy, physiology, embryology, genetics, pathology, histology and biochemistry) and learn about the oral cavity in oral biology. Manual skills are also developed and you will start to treat patients in the second semester. The types of treatments carried out at this stage will include giving oral health advice, measuring the oral condition and carrying out periodontal (gum) treatment. Modules include:

  • Foundation
  • Biomedical Sciences and Oral Biology
  • Restorative 1
  • Plaque-related Diseases
  • Clinical Practice 1
Level 2

Level 2 sees the introduction of additional clinical skills and you start treating patients for restorative procedures such as dental fillings. Modules include:

  • Human Disease
  • Restorative 2
  • Imaging
  • Behavioural Sciences
  • Clinical Practice 2
Level 3

At Level 3, you continue with clinical work both within the Dental Hospital and in community outreach clinics. The outreach clinics give you exposure to different population groups. Treatment will include the provision of dental care for children and special needs groups. Modules include:

  • Clinical practice 3
  • The Developing Dentition
  • The Therapist and the Community

Examinations are held throughout the course. A continuous grading scheme is in operation during practical and clinical teaching.

There is a current shortage of dental professionals in the UK. Once qualified you may choose to work in general dental practice (NHS and private), the community dental service, hospital practice, the armed services or in industry. Current employment levels are very high (100%) and remuneration is good.

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2015

Level 1 Entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
IB Diploma 30 points (including 5, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Biology (SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level) and Chemistry (Standard Grade, National 5, Intermediate 2, GCSE, ILC Ordinary Level or IB Subsidiary Level).
EU & International Visit our Your Country webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country
Other Qualifications
Scottish Baccalaureate
SWAP Access
Advanced Diploma Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE C
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C
European Baccalaureate 75% overall with 7.5 in Biology and Chemistry

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2015
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year of study. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants."
EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Overseas students (non-EU) Not applicable

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

Do I need any work-related experience?

We expect evidence of your commitment to oral health. You should have visited dental practices or clinics and found out about the provision of oral healthcare. Or you may have worked within dentistry (e.g. as a dental nurse or dental technician).

Do I need to have studied science subjects before?

Yes. The primary component of the entry requirements for the BSc is that you have studied science-related subjects. You should have Higher or A-Level Biology (or equivalent).

Will I have an interview?

All suitable candidates will be interviewed. Interviews are normally held between January and March at the Dental School. The interview will give you the opportunity to tell us about yourself and why you would make a good dental hygienist/therapist and will also give us the opportunity to meet you. You will meet existing students and get a chance to see the facilities in the Dental Hospital and School.

Please apply via UCAS

Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Oral Health Sciences BScB750