Penn Dental Medicine

Academic Programs & Admissions

Graduate Dental Education Programs » Doctor of Science in Dentistry

Program Director: Dr. Dana Graves, contact

Program Overview

The DScD will prepare students to successfully enter the field of academic dentistry for careers as clinical or basic science researchers. The program combines the research and clinical strengths of the School, drawing faculty mentors from throughout the clinical and basic science departments. With the goal of providing the opportunity to pursue research across disciplines, students have the option to not only work with researchers from Penn Dental Medicine, but also with faculty from Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Veterinary Medicine

DScD with Postgraduate Certificate Program: The Doctor of Science in Dentistry (DScD) program is tailored for each specialty. For Endodontics, Orthodontics, Oral Medicine, and Pediatric Dentistry postgraduate programs it is 5 years, for Periodontics 5.5 years and for Periodontic/Prosthesis years. The program is tailored to meet the CODA requirements for each clinical specialty. Clinical, didactic, and research aspects of the program are integrated so that in all years students experience both clinical and research training. In years one and two, there is greater focus on clinical training, while in later years there is greater focus on research training with clinical activities continuing in all years. All courses taken as part of clinical training are credited toward the DScD degree. In addition, three didactic courses from Penn’s Biomedical Graduate Studies program related to the research topic are required and typically taken in years two through four. Each student will write a K08 or K23 grant award; the application becomes the basis of a qualifying exam for the program. Only US citizens/green card holders will actually submit their K08 or K23 proposal to the NIH. This represents important training in grant writing as well as training in writing a scientific paper for publication, both of which are important aspects of academic success.

DScD without Postgraduate Certificate Program: Students who have completed clinical specialty training at an accredited institution are eligible to apply for the Doctor of Science in Dentistry (DScD) program without certificate. This program is 4 years in length. Students in this program are associated with a clinical specialty and will take all didactic courses in the specialty as well as a dissertation project but will not receive clinical training. In addition, the student will take three didactic courses from Penn’s Biomedical Graduate Studies program related to the research topic, typically taken in years 2-4. The didactic, research and dissertation components for this program are the same as those for the combined DScD/Certificate program.

Research Timeline

Year 1

  • First Summer – students will complete two lab rotations for 3-4 weeks
  • August 31 – summary report of rotations due
  • October 1 – student will select his/her thesis advisor and start research
  • October 15 – one-page written proposal due
  • April – Thesis Committee established
  • May 1 – two-page summary of research performed due to research mentor
  • June 1 – final research report due to Thesis Committee identifying K08/K23 application topics
  • End of Summer – performance in course work and recommendation for promotion to the next year determined by each student’s Thesis Committee and sent to the DSc Promotions Committee

Year 2

  • August – student will meet with thesis committee to discuss research progress
  • August 1 –first draft of the K08/K23 will be submitted to the mentor
  • September 1 –final draft of K08/K23 due to the thesis committee
  • October 5 – student will submit the grant application
  • Fall Semester – qualifying exam
  • February or June – it is expected that most students will need to resubmit their grant proposals
  • End of Summer – performance in course work and recommendation for promotion to the next year determined by each student’s Thesis Committee and sent to the DSc Promotions Committe

Year 3-Year 5

  • The student and mentor will meet yearly with the Thesis Committee
  • Students will give a 30-minute presentation of their work each summer as part of the Student Research Seminar series in Penn Dental Medicine and at the Penn Dental Medicine annual research retreat
  • Presentation of research at a national meeting
  • End of Summer in 3rd and 4th years – performance in course work and recommendation for promotion to the next year determined by each student’s Thesis Committee and sent to the DSc Promotions Committee
  • Spring of 5th year – submission of thesis
  • Spring/summer of 5th year – thesis defense

Total length of program: 5 years when combined with a specialty certificate program in Endodontics, Orthodontics, Oral Medicine and Pediatric Dentistry; 5.5 years for Periodontics; 6 years for Periodontics/Prosthesis; 4 years for DScD only without specialty certificate
Number of students accepted: 3 to 5 each year

Penn
The Robert Schattner Center
University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030