About the Profession

Dentists diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of the teeth and mouth.  They can perform surgical procedures such as implants, tissue grafts, extractions, and can improve the patient's appearance by using a variety of cosmetic dental procedures.  Dentists educate patients on how to better care for their teeth and prevent oral disease.  Some dentists also teach dental students and dental hygienists or perform research directed to improving oral health.  While approximately 80% of dentists are general dentists, with additional education, experience, and/or training beyond the DDS or DMD, general dentists can specialize in:

  • Endodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics
Preparation Starts Now

From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete dossier with which to apply to dental schools.  Applicants are expected to have:

  • Completed a bachelor's degree in any major, though many of SUNY Geneseo dental school applicants complete a major in Biology, Chemistry, Anthropology, or Psychology
  • Completed dental school course requirements
  • Achieve excellent grades; overall and science GPAs should, at a minimum, be at a 3.5 for both DDS and DMD programs
  • Earn a good score on the DAT; ideally scores should be in the 19-20 range
  • PreMed Committee Letter; Letters of Recommendation in Interfolio are required for the PreMed Committee Letter (two science faculty, one non-science faculty, and one clinical)
  • Involve yourself in sincere, sustained dental shadowing and volunteer experience.  It is suggested that you have a wide variety of experience (i.e. General Dentistry, Pediatric, Ortho, etc.)
Course Requirements

Start planning as a first year student to meet the following course requirements for dental schools.  Below are the courses at SUNY Geneseo that are recommended you complete to prepare for the DAT and meet dental school requirements (please note, there may be some variation in course requirements for dental schools, so be sure to check the requirements of the schools you plan on applying to):

Course Requirements
SUNY Geneseo
One year of Biology BIOL 117, 119, and 116 (lab)

Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)

One lecture with the lab can count as an N/ General Education requirement

One year of General Chemistry CHEM 116, 118, and 119 (lab)

Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)

One lecture with the lab can count as an N/ General Education requirement

One year of Organic Chemistry CHEM 211, 213, and 216 (lab)

Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)

One year of Physics

General Physics:

PHYS 113, 114 (lab), 115, and 116 (lab)


Analytical Physics:

PHYS 123, 124 (lab), 125, and 126 (lab)

Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)

One lecture with the lab can count as an N/ General Education requirement

One year of English INTD 105 and one ENGL course INTD 105 is the Basic Communication General Education requirement
One semester of Math*  

Some schools specifically require statistics and/or calculus

This could count toward the R/ General Education course requirement


One semester of Biochemistry* BIOL 335 or CHEM 300

If not a BIOL major, you will need special permission.

Offered in the fall.

Prereq: BIOL 300, which also has a prereq of BIOL 222, so plan accordingly.

One semester of Microbiology* BIOL 349 (previously BIOL 230) Prereq: BIOL 222 or BIOL 271
One semester of Human Physiology*

Anatomy and Physiology I & II:

BIOL 365 and 366

Pay attention to course offering schedule (i.e. Fall/Spring)

*Courses generally not required, but highly recommended.

It is recommended that course requirements are completed at SUNY Geneseo, but there are instances where a student would need to complete one or two courses elsewhere.  If that is the case, it is suggested that coursework be completed at a four-year higher education institution.  All course requirements must be taken for a grade and demonstrate mastery, no lower than a C, for most professional schools.

It is suggested that PreDental students work on fine-more skills.  Consider areas of interest that would enhance these skills (i.e. arts and crafts, etc.)

Some dental schools may have additional or required courses.  Review the Admission Requirements of US and Canadian Dental Schools: American Dental Education Association (ADEA).