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Honors Degree Program
Those Penn Dental Medicine students with the interest, motivation, and required academic achievement can earn a DMD degree with honors. The competitive honors program is designed to cultivate a leadership outlook in a select group of exceptional students and enable them to develop the skills to leverage their leadership potential in five honors areas — research, clinical dentistry, community health, oral medicine, and radiological sciences.
The application cycle and requirements within each area complement the dental curriculum and the stages of students’ dental education. Students can earn a DMD with honors in all four disciplines if they choose to and meet the requirements for each individually. They can apply to each area at different points in their dental education.
- Research honors — Students can apply to research honors at the time of admission to Penn Dental Medicine or the midpoint of their first or second years. Students must have a 3.5 science GPA to apply prior to matriculation as a first year student. Within the research honors program, students must identify a faculty mentor and plan, implement, and execute a hypothesis-driven research project over a one- or two-year period. In addition to their individually developed projects, all honors scholars participate in a seminar series, presented by Penn Dental Medicine faculty and outside speakers, as well as a Student Research Day, during which they must present a poster.
- Community health honors — Students can pursue community health honors during their second, third, or fourth years. For community health honors, students plan and carry out an in-depth community health experience of at least 120 hours over a one-year period at an approved program site. Among the options are projects focused on oral health education, screening, and referral programs at local Philadelphia sites, including the interdisciplinary health care clinics of the Homeless Health Initiative, Puentes, United Communitiy Clinics and University City Hospitality Coalition. Honors students can also choose to provide clinical care at the dental clinic within Sayre Health Center in West Philadelphia and can petition to complete the honors requirements at community sites of their choice.
- Clinical honors program — Open to fourth-year students, with applications submitted at the end of students’ third year. In the clinical program, students complete the honors requirements completing advanced procedures within the William W.M. Cheung Advanced Dental Care Clinic.
- Dentistry for the Medically Complex (Oral Medicine) — Students can apply for the oral medicine honors program at the end of their third year. Honors in Dentistry for the Medically Complex is designed to provide overall patient care in a delivery system that includes all dental services, including emergency care, treatment planning, general dentistry, specialty care, and maintenance programs for those medically complex patients. Patients will include those with immunodeficiencies, hemophilia, transplants, complex cardiac conditions many of whom are traditionally not admitted for routine care in the main clinic.
- Honors in Dentistry for Radiological Sciences — Junior students can apply for this highly competitive Radiology Honors program toward the end of their third year. HDRS is designed to provide an overall in-depth knowledge of all aspects of imaging in dentistry above and beyond what is traditionally taught at the DMD level. The participants acquire firsthand knowledge of both 2D and 3D imaging, the intricacies of acquisition and interpretation including digital intraoral, digital panoramic, and cone beam CT imaging. The honors students routinely help the rising juniors and juniors with their clinical skills in radiology by acting as teaching assistants under the guidance of the Director of the program as well as radiology technical staff. They will assist the Director in running the Radiology boot camps and pre-clinical DXTTR training programs for the freshman class as well as the sophomore class. The honors students work closely with the Director and interpret multiple cone beam CT cases and will be able to discuss complicated maxillofacial diagnostics using MDCT or MRI during their rotations. They are also given an opportunity to conduct research related to Radiology and present their research at the annual Penn Dental Research Day and compete for many school-wide research travel grants and awards.
Students must maintain a 3.25 GPA in all their coursework to apply to an honors degree program and are selected by a committee of faculty in each area based upon their application proposals, which must outline the scope, goals, and objectives of their honors program plan or project. Students should be aware that the honors degree program is competitive and there is no guaranteed acceptance. In addition to their individually developed projects, all honors scholars participate in a seminar series, presented by Penn Dental Medicine faculty as well as outside speakers.
Honors Program Application (PDF)
Honors Oversight Committee
- Dr. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia,Professor of Biochemistry
- Dr. Joan Gluch, Director of Community Health and Associate Dean for Academic Policies
- Dr. Najeed Saleh, Clinical Professor of Preventive and Restorative Sciences
- Dr. Arthur Kuperstein, Assistant Professor of Oral Medicine