D.D.S. Program

Pre-Requisites for Admission

Required Courses

The minimum academic requirement for admission to the College of Dentistry is the completion of 90 semester hours of study at an accredited college. However, most students complete a bachelor’s degree before entering dental school.

Undergraduate students do not have to declare a science major. We encourage you to pursue a major that you find interesting and be successful at. However, students enrolled in pre-professional undergraduate programs usually do well when admitted to a dental program.

Take your studies seriously as grades are an important criteria for admission. The mean college grade-point average for entering dental students at Iowa is above 3.70 (on a 4.00 scale).

Implications of COVID-19 on Grades

  • The University of Iowa College of Dentistry expects that pre-requisite courses are taken for a grade.
  • If you attend an institution that has mandated that all coursework change to Pass/Fail during the spring or summer 2020 sessions due to COVID-19, the University of Iowa College of Dentistry expects that your institution annotates this mandate on your transcripts.
pre-requisite courses

Prerequisite Course

Semester Hours

One-fourth in laboratory work
General Chemistry
One-fourth in laboratory work
Organic Chemistry
One-fourth in laboratory work
One course that covers basic concepts in modern biochemistry and molecular biology
Must include some laboratory work. Upper-level courses in gross anatomy, cell biology, or physiology are beneficial


Composition, rhetoric, speech courses required for bachelor’s degree
A well rounded background in the social sciences, philosophy, history, foreign languages, business and accounting, and mathematics.


Applicants are encouraged to receive a grade of C or higher in each of these prerequisite courses for optimal consideration during the admissions process.

Letters of Recommendation (or Evaluation)

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry requires 3 letters of evaluation. We do not specify who your letters need to be from. Instead, ask sources who can speak to your character and life experience.

Before asking someone to write on your behalf:

  • Consider who can best speak to your character and experiences.
  • Choose authors with strong written communication skills who will submit letters in a timely fashion.
  • What parts of your story have not yet been conveyed in other portions of your application that you would like to include or enunciate?

When asking:

  • Request to meet in person, taking a copy of your personal statement.
  • Request that letters are signed, dated, and composed on letterhead.
  • Provide a deadline of when the letter needs to be submitted to AADSAS. Ensure they can accommodate your deadline.
  • Be prepared to speak to why you have asked them specifically to write on your behalf.
  • Communicate why you are applying to dental school.

Dental Admissions Test (DAT)

Completion of the DAT is a requirement for admission. The test is approximately 4.5 hours and has four sections

  • Survey of the Natural Sciences
  • Perceptual Ability (PAT)
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Reasoning

The DAT is scored from 1-30, with 18 being the national average. The average score of accepted dental students to Iowa was 20.5 academic average and 21 Perceptual Ability. For more information about the test, visit the ADA Guide to the DAT.

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry will only accept DAT scores within 3 years of the application cycle. It is recommended that you complete the DAT prior to submitting your AADSAS application. Submitted AADSAS applications will not be reviewed until official DAT scores are received. If you wish to retake the DAT, you must wait 90 days after your previous attempt.

The application is available online at: http://www.ada.org.

Job Shadowing

The University of Iowa College of Dentistry does not have a minimum shadowing requirement. We want to see evidence of diverse shadowing experiences. The more practitioners you are able to observe, the more exposure you will have to a variety of philosophies on running a business, patient interaction, specialty arenas, etc