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Graduate Program: Frequently Asked Questions

For International Applicants:

I am an international applicant. Am I eligible to apply to this program?
Yes, as an international student, you are eligible to apply if you have a dental degree from your home country. We do give preference to U.S. citizens/permanent residents, but we have had many international students and typically accept 1-3 international students each year.
As an international applicant, what examinations do I need to take? Do I need to take the National Board of Dental Examiners (NBDE) exam?
We require scores for the TOEFL exam as well as the GRE exam. We do not consider the NBDE exam scores in our admissions process, so there is no need to take that exam.
What are the minimum scores that I need for the TOEFL and GRE exams?
Admission to the Graduate Program in Dental Public Health has higher requirements for the TOEFL and GRE test scores than does the University of Iowa in general. The program also requires evidence of strong English writing skills prior to admission. Because our program requires a great deal of reading and writing, we do strongly consider the TOEFL total score and TOEFL writing score in our admissions decisions. Successful applicants generally have TOEFL total scores of 100 or higher in the IBT, and writing scores in the mid-20s. GRE Verbal scores are also important in our admissions decisions. In general, successful applicants have GRE Verbal scores of 150 or higher on the GRE Revised General Test or 450 or higher on the GRE General Test (taken prior to August 1, 2011).
Information regarding the University of Iowa requirements can be found here: http://grad.admissions.uiowa.edu/graduate-programs/english-requirements-admission-graduate-college.  Newly admitted graduate students who present TOEFL scores below 600 on the PBT or below 100 on the IBT are required to complete an English Proficiency Evaluation on campus before their first registration for classes. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) results may be used to satisfy the English-language requirement (in place of the TOEFL exam).
What are the costs of attending the program? What are the financial requirements?
International students are charged tuition as non-residents. That is, international students are not considered as residents of the state of Iowa, and thus do not qualify to receive resident tuition unless they have a formal assistantship. For the 2013-14 academic year, non-resident tuition and fees for full-time graduate students is about $26,000. Living expenses and other costs are approximately $1,300 per month, so that the total cost of attendance is $40,000- $45,000 per academic year (fall and spring semesters). More information about the cost of attendance can be found here: http://grad.admissions.uiowa.edu/dental-public-health-estimated-costs
International students are required to provide evidence of adequate support to cover the costs of one full year of study at The University of Iowa. This must be done before a certificate of Eligibility (I‐20 or DS‐2019) can be issued. More information about this requirement can be found here: http://grad.admissions.uiowa.edu/dental-public-health-estimated-costs
Are international students eligible for graduate assistantships or internships?
We do not have regular assistantships available for international students. However, international students are eligible for assistantships, and we do sometimes have research grants that can offer assistantships to international students. These opportunities are unpredictable and thus, applicants should not count on receiving any support once enrolled in our program.
Does the Dental Public Health Program at the University of Iowa have a separate residency program?
We do not have a separate residency program meant to follow an MPH degree; rather, ours is a two-year MS degree program that includes a residency component. Specifically, our program is a two-year program that includes formal coursework in biostatistics, epidemiology, health care policy and management, environmental health and behavioral sciences, as well as a field experience component. This course of study fulfills the requirements set forth by the American Board of Dental Public Health for certification. Thus, upon completion of our program, graduates are educationally qualified to take the ABDPH exam and become board-certified in Dental Public Health, with no need to complete a separate residency. Our program also requires completion of a thesis project that requires the student to complete a significant research project and complete a written thesis describing the research.
Does the Dental Public Health Program at the University of Iowa have a certificate program?
No. The program leads to a Master of Science (MS) in Dental Public Health, and does not offer a certificate or have a certificate-only option.
What are the minimum requirements to complete the MS degree in Dental Public Health? How long does the program take to complete?
The program requires completion of a minimum of 40 semester hours of academic credit, as well as completion of a thesis based on original research.  The program also requires successful completion of a comprehensive examination after completing the first year of the program.  The program is designed be completed in about 22 months (e.g., begin July 1, 2014 and graduate in early May, 2016), but most students require an additional summer session to complete the thesis, so that typical time to complete the program is 25 months.   A complete description of the program, including course requirements is available. 
Are there opportunities to take additional or elective courses?
Yes, some travel is required as part of the field experience component of the program.  Students are responsible for their own travel to the various field experience sites and will need to arrange individual or commercial transportation.  It should be noted that individual students can choose from a variety of field experience sites, so that consideration can be given to students’ transportation options when choosing a specific site.
Is there any travel required as part of the Dental Public Health program?
Yes, some travel is required as part of the field experience component of the program.  Students are responsible for their own travel to the various field experience sites and will need to arrange individual or commercial transportation.  It should be noted that individual students can choose from a variety of field experience sites, so that consideration can be given to students’ transportation options when choosing a specific site.
I have a dental degree from a non-U.S. institution. Will I be able to practice dentistry in Iowa or be able have some clinical experiences? Are there any clinical requirements for the program?
Without a U.S. dental degree, you are not eligible for licensure in the state of Iowa, or in most U.S. states. Completion of the M.S. program in Dental Public Health also will not enable you to obtain a license in Iowa or most other states in the U.S.

The program does not have any clinical requirements, but students in the program may be able to have some clinical experiences in the College of Dentistry or through College of Dentistry-affiliated programs. To do so, the student must obtain a Resident’s License from the Iowa Board of Dental Examiners, and make special arrangements with the program director and director of clinics at the College of Dentistry.

I already have an American MPH degree – can any of my credits transfer and be counted towards the requirements for the Dental Public Health program?
Yes, it is possible for a limited number of credits to transfer and be accepted by the program. However, we encourage students to re-take certain core public health courses (e.g., epidemiology, biostatistics) at the University of Iowa, particularly if some time has passed since the earlier coursework was completed, in order to be sure that students have a solid foundation in these areas.
Does the University of Iowa offer a PhD in Dental Public Health?
The University of Iowa College of Dentistry houses an Oral Sciences PhD program, where there are both “basic science” and “Dental Public Health” emphases. Thus, it is possible to pursue a PhD with a Dental Public Health emphasis at the University of Iowa.
What are my chances of being admitted- how many people does the program accept?
We typically accept 3-4 new students each year and that we usually have 10-15 applicants. We have had many international students, and typically 1-3 of our new students each year are international students.
How and when can I apply to the program?
The application deadline is November 1 each year to allow the student to begin the program in late June of the following year. This early deadline is to allow time for an interview (which is usually done via telephone), and obtaining a visa to allow international students to come to the United States.

The application can be made on-line or using paper forms that can be downloaded. Note that GRE and TOEFL exam scores along with academic transcripts should be sent to the University of Iowa Admissions Office, while letters of recommendation and a second copy of academic transcripts should be sent to the Department of Preventive & Community Dentistry. Information about the application process, including links to the on-line application system and downloadable applications, can be found here: http://grad.admissions.uiowa.edu/academics/dental-public-health-ms

Who do I contact if I have more questions about the graduate program in Dental Public Health?
Please contact the program director, Dr. John Warren, if you have additional questions. His e-mail address is john-warren@uiowa.edu.

 

For Applicants with U.S. Dental or Dental Hygiene Degrees:

I am a dental hygienist with a Bachelor’s degree. Am I eligible to apply to this program?
Yes, dental hygienists with Bachelor’s degrees are eligible to be admitted to the program. We do give some preference to dentists, but we have had several dental hygienists complete the program and have current students who are dental hygienists. It should be noted that dental hygienists completing the program are not eligible for certification by the American Board of Dental Public Health.
Do I need to take any entrance examinations? If so, what examinations do I need to take?
We require scores for the GRE exam, but for dentists we can accept scores from the DAT exam as a substitute for GRE scores.
Is it possible to be a part-time student in the program? If so, how is a part-time program structured?
Yes, it is possible to be a part-time student, and the program does allow a small number of part-time students. There is no specific “part-time track”; rather, the program director will develop a plan of study for individual part-time students based on their needs and course offerings.
What are the costs of attending the program? What are the financial requirements?
The University of Iowa has two tiers of tuition – one for residents of the state of Iowa and one for non-residents, with non-residents paying a higher rate. For the 2013-14 academic year, non-resident tuition and fees for full-time graduate students is about $26,000. Living expenses and other costs are approximately $1,300 per month, so that the total cost of attendance is $40,000- $45,000 per academic year (fall and spring semesters). More information about the cost of attendance can be found here: http://grad.admissions.uiowa.edu/dental-public-health-estimated-costs

For residents of the state of Iowa, the corresponding tuition and fees for 2013-14 are about $10,000 for the academic year (fall and spring semesters). Students who have assistantships or fellowships, such as the Horowitz Graduate Fellowship, qualify to receive resident tuition.

Are there any graduate assistantships or fellowships?
Yes. U.S. trained dentists and dental hygienists are eligible for support from Alice M. Horowitz Graduate Fellowship in Dental Public Health. This fellowship supports U.S. students’ tuition and provides a small stipend, and other benefits up to $40,000 total per year. The actual amount of support is dependent on whether we continue to receive this funding and how many other students we have who qualify, but this support does qualify students to receive in-state tuition.
Does the Dental Public Health Program at the University of Iowa have a separate residency program?
We do not have a separate residency program meant to follow an MPH degree; rather, ours is a two-year MS degree program that includes a residency component. Specifically, our program is a two-year program that includes formal coursework in biostatistics, epidemiology, health care policy and management, environmental health and behavioral sciences, as well as a field experience component. This course of study fulfills the requirements set forth by the American Board of Dental Public Health for certification. Thus, upon completion of our program, graduates are educationally qualified to take the ABDPH exam and become board-certified in Dental Public Health, with no need to complete a separate residency. Our program also requires completion of a thesis project that requires the student to complete a significant research project and complete a written thesis describing the research.
Does the Dental Public Health Program at the University of Iowa have a certificate program?
No. The program leads to a Master of Science (MS) in Dental Public Health, and does not offer a certificate or have a certificate-only option.
What are the minimum requirements to complete the MS degree in Dental Public Health? How long does the program take to complete?
The program requires completion of a minimum of 40 semester hours of academic credit, as well as completion of a thesis based on original research. The program also requires successful completion of a comprehensive examination after completing the first year of the program. The program is designed be completed in about 22 months (e.g., begin July 1, 2014 and graduate in early May, 2016), but most students require an additional summer session to complete the thesis, so that typical time to complete the program is 25 months. A complete description of the program, including course requirements can be found here: A complete description of the program, including course requirements is available.
Are there opportunities to take additional or elective courses?
Yes. Students may take elective courses from several of the colleges within the University of Iowa according to their individual needs and interests. Previous students have taken courses from the Colleges of Public Health, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Tippie College of Business.
Is there any travel required as part of the Dental Public Health program?
Yes, some travel is required as part of the field experience component of the program. Students are responsible for their own travel to the various field experience sites and will need to arrange individual or commercial transportation. It should be noted that individual students can choose from a variety of field experience sites, so that consideration can be given to students’ transportation options when choosing a specific site.
Will I be able to practice dentistry in Iowa or to be able have some clinical experiences? Are there any clinical requirements for the program?
As a graduate of a U.S. dental school you may be eligible for regular licensure in the state of Iowa, depending on the successful completion of certain regional dental board examinations. Currently, the Iowa Board of Dental Examiners accepts the results of the CRDTS, WREB and ADEX exams. If you already are licensed in another state for a period of three years, The State of Iowa also does allow licensure by credential. Information about licensure in the state of Iowa can be found at the Iowa Board of Dental Examiners website: http://www.state.ia.us/dentalboard/index.html

Alternatively, as a U.S. dental graduate, you can obtain a Resident’s License from the Iowa Board of Dental Examiners, which would allow you to practice in the College of Dentistry or at College of Dentistry-affiliated programs. To do this, the student needs to make special arrangements with the program director and director of clinics at the College of Dentistry.

It should be stated that, in general, residents and graduate students enrolled in graduate programs at the College of Dentistry are not permitted to practice outside of the College (i.e., engage in “moonlighting”); however, exceptions to this policy are sometimes made for part-time students.

I already have a MPH degree – can any of my credits transfer and be counted towards the requirements for the Dental Public Health program?
Yes, it is possible for a limited number of credits to transfer and be accepted by the program. However, we encourage students to re-take certain core public health courses (e.g., epidemiology, biostatistics) at the University of Iowa, particularly if some time has passed since the earlier coursework was completed, in order to be sure that students have a solid foundation in these areas.
Does the University of Iowa offer a PhD in Dental Public Health?
The University of Iowa College of Dentistry houses an Oral Sciences PhD program, where there are both “basic science” and “Dental Public Health” emphases. Thus, it is possible to pursue a PhD with a Dental Public Health emphasis at the University of Iowa. Information about the Oral Sciences PhD program can be found here.
What are my chances of being admitted- how many people does the program accept?
We typically accept 3-4 new students each year and that we usually have 10-15 applicants. We give strong preference to U.S. dental graduates, and our student body is a balanced mix of U.S. and international students.
How and when can I apply to the program?
The application deadline is March 1 each year to allow the student to begin the program in late June of that year. Because we do also accept international students whose application deadline is earlier, we strongly encourage U.S. applicants to apply well before the deadline.

The application can be made on-line or using paper forms that can be downloaded. Note that GRE/DAT exam scores along with academic transcripts should be sent to the University of Iowa Admissions Office, while letters of recommendation and a second copy of academic transcripts should be sent to the Department of Preventive & Community Dentistry. Information about the application process, including links to the on-line application system and downloadable applications, can be found here: http://grad.admissions.uiowa.edu/academics/dental-public-health-ms

Who do I contact if I have more questions about the graduate program in Dental Public Health?
Please contact the program director, Dr. John Warren, if you have additional questions. His e-mail address is john-warren@uiowa.edu.