D.D.S. Program

Curriculum Overview

Learning occurs along a progression with the goal of becoming a competent, independent dentist ready for practice!!



The D1 year incorporates foundations of biomedical sciences and dental clinical sciences as an introduction to the basic differences between health and disease. Course work includes foundational biomedical sciences in gross anatomy, general histology, oral histology and embryology, physiology, and biochemistry. Students also study topics specific to clinical dentistry, such as the principles of occlusion, anesthesia and pain control, operative dentistry, facial growth and development, cariology, and preventive dentistry. A significant portion of the year is spent in the advanced simulation clinic in which students learn and practice procedures and technical skill on mannequin units. Students provide preventve care to patients in the D1 year. Additionally, education threads begin such as Clinical Practice and Professionalism, Critical Thinking and Evidence-Based Dentistry as well as Interprofessional Practice and Education and are carried through the four-year curriculum.  


The D2 year curriculum continues to build on the previous D1 content to a greater degree by combining didactic and psychomotor learning with clinical experiences. Biomedical science course work during the second year of study continues with microbiology, pathology, and pharmacology. Students start their preclinical courses in oral radiology, endodontics, orthodontics, and pediatrics.  The second-year curriculum includes patient experiences in the Preventive and Operative dental clinics where D2s place sealants, resin-based composite fillings, and amalgam fillings.


The D3 year curriculum is designed as an immersion in discipline-focused learning and the practice of clinical skills through “clerkships,” multidisciplinary rotations scheduled throughout the D3 year. D3 students spend designated time in each of the 7 clinical disciplines: endodontics; prosthodontics; operative dentistry; oral and maxillofacial surgery; oral pathology, radiology and medicine; pediatric dentistry; and periodontics. Students will learn and develop diagnostic and surgical skills and apply foundational knowledge acquired during D1 and D2 courses. Emphasis is placed on reinforcing high ethical standards, developing good surgical practices and learning how to provide compassionate, person-centered care.


The D4 year culminates in a comprehensive oral health care setting, as part of the dental curriculum.  It is a learning environment focused on synthesis and integration of concepts learned during the first three years of education. Students also learn through specialized rotations for additional, focused clinical experiences such as geriatrics & special needs and dental emergencies.  All D4 students participate in a 10-week rotation at extramural sites and are exposed to programs that include community health centers, hospitals, nursing facilities, etc. Practice management courses help students choose where to locate their practices as well as manage the business aspects of a dental office.


Academic Accommodations

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry strives to provide a learning environment in which equal access to education is ensured through reasonable accommodations.  Students with disabilities must notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs of their disability and provide documentation from a healthcare provide with a request for accommodation(s). After collegiate review of the request for reasonable accommodation(s), the Associate Dean will contact the student to outline approved accommodations.

Faculty in the College of Dentistry are required to comply with the University policies and procedures regarding the provisions of academic accommodations to students with disabilities if the accommodations requested are deemed reasonable.

Please contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at 319-335-7151 with any questions.