The highly respected research environment at Penn Dental Medicine and throughout the University of Pennsylvania enables students applying to the School’s graduate dental education programs to combine their specialty training with advanced research and academic opportunities through a Doctor of Science in Dentistry (DScD) degree. 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.
Both rigorous clinical and research experiences are central to the DScD program and students devote from 40% to 80% of their time in each year of the program to research; clinical training also occurs in each year of the program to ensure maintenance of clinical skills throughout.
The DScD program is open to students with a DMD/DDS degree or equivalent who are pursuing advanced training in the School’s Periodontics, Endodontics, Orthodontics, Periodontic/Prosthesis, Oral Medicine, or Pediatric Dentistry postgraduate programs.
Candidates concurrently complete their clinical specialty training and DScD degree, engaging in an intensive research program that culminates in a thesis and oral defense.
The DScD program is tailored for each specialty 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 1-2, 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 2-4. 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.
Year 3-Year 5
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; and 6 years for Periodontics/Prosthesis
Number of students accepted: 3 to 5 each year