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8 Top UK Universities to Study Dentistry

By Olivia Haywood
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The Dentistry course available at UK universities, also known as the Bachelor in Dentistry (BDS), usually lasts five years. It is said to be a rewarding yet physically and mentally demanding programme, involving detailed and delicate work under difficult conditions. According to the Complete University Guide, the latest reports on the top UK universities to […]

The Dentistry course available at UK universities, also known as the Bachelor in Dentistry (BDS), usually lasts five years. It is said to be a rewarding yet physically and mentally demanding programme, involving detailed and delicate work under difficult conditions.

According to the Complete University Guide, the latest reports on the top UK universities to study dentistry are as follows:

  1. University of Glasgow
  2. University of Dundee
  3. Cardiff University
  4. University of Manchester
  5. Newcastle University
  6. Queen’s University, Belfast
  7. King’s College London
  8. Queen Mary, University of London

We will take a look at the BDS course offered at each of these universities, considering the unique opportunities that each involves, along with the differences which applicants may want to take into consideration when selecting a university to attend.

 

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 University of Glasgow

Entrance requirements
For entry in 2020, students need AAA at A-Level including both A-Level Biology/Human Biology and A-Level Chemistry. 36 at IB including both Chemistry and Biology at Higher Level, as well as either Mathematics or Physics at Higher Level.
Additionally, applicants are required to submit their UCAT results and will also be interviewed. Further, students are expected to have had some degree of relevant work experience (at least three days).

Overview of the course
Throughout the first two years, you are taught at the university and assessed via coursework, exams and laboratory assessment. As well as being taught in lectures, your next three years involve external outreach placements, usually within community outreach centres.

Why I should study here
The Glasgow Dental Hospital & School, which is conveniently located in the centre of Glasgow, has up-to-date facilities including well equipped laboratories for patient care, student clinical practice and training centres, and provides education and research training in dental and oral diseases and disorders. The Dental School also has its own library, the James Ireland Memorial Library, which has a commendable selection of books, journals, and papers. For 2018, Dentistry at Glasgow was ranked first in the UK by The Times and Sunday Times University League Table. The School is continuously advancing in new and interesting research.

 

  University of Dundee

Entrance requirements
Students will need AAA at A-Level including both A-Level Chemistry and A-Level Biology. 37 at IB with 666 at Higher Level, to include both Chemistry and Biology, plus three subjects at Standard Level with an average of Grade 6. Successful applicants are also expected to undertake the UCAT test and attend an interview.

Overview of the course
A wide variety of teaching methods are employed in the dental curriculum; this reflects the breadth of knowledge and the skills which you are expected to develop as a dental student. These methods include lectures, tutorials, practicals, classes, and clinical skills classes. From the third year onwards, students begin clinical care of patients, with a significant proportion of their timetable being dedicated to clinical sessions across the full range of dental disciplines and get involved at Outreach Centres across Scotland. Each year, assessment of the curriculum combines continuous assessment as well as an end-of-year examination.

Why I should study here
The Dental School at the University of Dundee is said to be a small and friendly community. Studying dentistry will allow you to develop clinical and interpersonal skills across the full range of dental disciplines, as well as allow you to grow as a professional alongside other members of the dental team. There is a diverse range of wider opportunities open to you, such as participating in research alongside internationally known researchers as well as the School’s summer internship programmes. The Dental Hospital and School, based on the university’s main campus, boasts a range of state-of-the-art teaching and clinical facilities.

 

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    Cardiff University


Entrance requirements
A typical offer requires AAA at A-Level, including A-Levels in both Biology and Chemistry. 36 at IB with a minimum of 19 at Higher Level including Grade 6 in Biology. In addition, applicants are required to sit the UCAT as part of the admissions process. If an applicant is successful in both academic and non-academic assessment, they will be invited to attend a multiple mini interview (MMI).

Overview of the course
The university uses a variety of teaching methods designed to enrich students’ learning experience, including lectures, small-group seminars and tutorials, individual teaching on clinics, and e-learning resources and tools. Additionally, students are involved in project work, working in groups or individually, researching topics and presenting their work to their peers. Other teaching methods used include problem solving exercises and practical classes. Students are assessed via written examinations and assignments, case reports, practical skills tests, projects, portfolios, online assessments, oral presentations and clinical oral examinations.

Why I should study here
You’ll get to study at the only Dental Hospital in Wales, giving you the opportunity to serve and manage a diverse group of patients with a wide range of dental diseases. With roughly 100 undergraduate students per year at the School of Dentistry, a friendly and supportive sense of community is facilitated, geared towards ensuring students receive adequate personal attention to succeed. Another distinctive feature of studying Dentistry at Cardiff University is that students benefit from early clinical exposure from their first year.

 

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    University of Manchester


Entrance requirements
A typical offer includes AAA at A-Level, with A-Levels in both Biology and Chemistry. 37 at IB, with at least 766 at Higher Level and major subjects must include Chemistry and Biology, plus one further subject at Higher Level. Relevant work experience is required prior to application. Sitting the UCAT and attending an MMI-type interview are also compulsory components for successful applications.

Overview of the course
The university uses a combination of teaching methods including lectures and symposia, technical and laboratory learning, project work and clinical experience. Students are assessed via written examinations, projects, presentations of completed cases with companion oral examinations (known as ‘vivas’), peer assessment, and reflective journal writing.

Why I should study here
You will have access to a diverse range of clinical facilities along with the School’s dedicated learning resource centre which includes a multimedia centre. Once you have mastered basic competencies within the university’s skills facilities, you’ll have the opportunity to treat patients in both the University Dental Hospital of Manchester and local outreach clinics from early on in your studies. Other special features of the course include intercalation opportunities where you can study another subject to achieve a BSc award over one year between Years 2 and 3 of the BDS course.

 

  Newcastle University


Entrance requirements
A typical offer requires AAA at A-Level, including A-Levels in both Biology and Chemistry. 37 at IB, with Chemistry and Biology at Grade 6 or above at Higher Level. In addition, applicants are required to sit the UCAT as part of the admissions process as well as having undertaken a period of relevant work experience. Attending an interview is also a compulsory component of the application.

Overview of the course
The university uses a range of teaching methods including lectures and seminars, laboratory demonstrations (including close-circuit TV), practical work, and clinical demonstrations. Assessment methods include end of semester examinations, continuous assessment in the form of essays and projects, as well as assessment of clinical skills which is carried out on a continuous basis.

Why I should study here
Intercalated study is available for BDS students after completion of the second academic year. By the end of the fourth academic year, half your time is spent on patient care and clinical dental practice, with supporting clinical-related teaching. An optional elective period at the end of fourth year gives students the opportunity to study dentistry outside of Newcastle for several weeks; in recent years, this has allowed students to study all around the globe.

 

  Queen’s University, Belfast


Entrance requirements
For entry in 2020, a typical offer requires AAA at A-Level, including A-Levels in both Biology/Human Biology and Chemistry. In addition, applicants must demonstrate motivation for and commitment to studying Dentistry, such as relevant work experience. All offers are made on the basis of interviews and applicants are also required to sit the UCAT, the results of which are used as part of the selection process prior to interview.

Overview of the course
Students are exposed to a variety of teaching methods including lectures, personal tutors, seminars/tutorials, practicals, clinical teaching and clinical operative treatment in a clinical environment, clinical teaching in a simulated environment, and teaching via e-learning technologies. Assessment methods vary according to the learning outcome for each module but may include written examinations, case studies, group projects, and clinical procedures with patients.

Why I should study here
The Dental School at Queen’s has been responsible for delivering dental education in Northern Ireland since 1920 and Dentistry was ranked 1st in the UK for 2017, 5th in the UK for 2018, and more recently, 2nd in the UK for 2019 (all by The Guardian University Guide). The School boasts a range of modern clinical facilities such as clinics which have been redeveloped to a high specification, as well as a new state-of-the-art clinical techniques laboratory, which BDS students can make use of throughout their studies.

 

    King’s College London


Entrance requirements
To receive an offer, applicants are expected to achieve A*AA at A-Level, including A-Levels in Biology or Chemistry, and one of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Psychology. 35 at IB, with 766 at Higher Level, to include Chemistry or Biology, and one of Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Mathematics or Psychology. Further, all applicants must take the UCAT. Applicants are normally expected to have undertaken relevant work experience in a caring/health environment and/or observation in a dental clinical setting. Applicant interviews take the form of MMIs.

Overview of the course
Students are exposed to a variety of teaching methods with the course emphasising whole patient care, which requires consideration of the patients’ total dental and medical needs rather than just the provision of individual items of treatment. Students are assessed through written and practical examinations at the end of each year of the course and are also required to submit in-course assessments such as poster presentations, online tests, and special projects and reports.

Why I should study here
King’s College London boasts the largest dental school in the UK, graduating more than 150 dentists every year. It was ranked both 1st in the UK and 2nd in the world for Dentistry by QS World University Rankings for 2019. The School includes state-of-the-art clinical and technical facilities allowing students exposure to evidence-based and research-led clinical experience. It also maintains partnerships with world-famous hospitals such as Guy’s, King’s College and St Thomas’. Further, the BDS course provides students with the opportunity to intercalate a BSc degree.

 

Queen Mary campus

   Queen Mary, University of London


Entrance requirements
To receive an offer, applicants are expected to achieve A*AA at A-Level, including A-Levels in Biology or Chemistry, along with a second science. 38 at IB, with 666 at Higher Level, to include Chemistry or Biology, as well as an additional science or Mathematics. Further, all applicants must take the UCAT, attend an interview, and are normally expected to have completed relevant work experience.

Overview of the course
Teaching methods include lectures, seminars and symposia, outreach clinical teaching, practical sessions in the School’s laboratories, IT labs and clinical skills labs and clinics, training in interview techniques and special sessions specifically devoted to communication between dentists and patients. Assessment methods include continuous assessment such as in-course examinations, independent projects and in student-selected components, examinations, formative assessments, as well as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) which are designed to assess students’ clinical and communication skills.

Why I should study here
The Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary, University of London is the first new dental school to be built in the UK for over 40 years. It houses state-of-the-art facilities such as a clinical skills laboratory, newly refurbished treatment areas, several library facilities and the ‘Blizzard Building’ which includes open-plan research laboratories. With about 70 students per year, the Dental School is relatively small with a strong sense of community.