COVID-19 Admissions Update
We know that COVID has changed the landscape of education in almost every way, from how we teach and learn, how we communicate, and certainly how we plan our educations in times when what seems certain one day is up for change the next. To that end, several of the more predictable aspects of applying to dental schools have changed and created some questions from our applicants and advisors that are somewhat universal and we address here.
Applicants must apply with a minimum of 64 semester credit hours complete at the time of application. Of those 64 credit hours, 32 credit hours must be composed of basic sciences and mathematics prerequisite courses. Ninety-six credit hours, which includes all prerequisite courses, must be complete in order to successfully matriculate for any applicant admitted to Penn Dental Medicine’s DMD program.
Penn Dental Medicine seeks DMD applicants with a broad and strong educational background. A four-year bachelor’s degree is preferred at the time of matriculation but is not required. While a foundation in science is desirable preparation for dental school, well-prepared candidates also possess course work in humanities, social science, and the arts. Non-science majors are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to those who have completed upper division science courses beyond the minimum requirements.
It is highly recommended that nonscience majors and those applicants planning to matriculate without a bachelor’s degree take as many upper division basic science courses as possible in an effort to prepare for the challenges of a rigorous professional school curriculum.
Please note that applicants who matriculate without a bachelor’s degree may not be eligible for UPenn dual degree programs, and in some cases may limit an applicant’s ability to apply to some advanced education programs and other advanced degree programs.
AP/IB Credit: Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) course work can be credited towards predental requirements as long as the credit appears on an official college transcript.
PASS/FAIL: All prerequisite courses must be completed for a letter grade with the following exception. Penn Dental Medicine will accept P/F grades for prerequisite courses completed during the spring, summer, and fall 2020 and 2021 terms to fulfill admissions requirements as a result of the COVID Pandemic.
ONLINE COURSES: Penn Dental Medicine prefers that prerequisite coursework be completed in a traditional classroom setting. Prerequisite courses completed online will be evaluated in the context of your entire academic record. Penn Dental Medicine will accept online prerequisite courses completed during the spring, summer, and fall 2020 and 2021 terms to fulfill admissions requirements as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
PREREQUISITE COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Prerequisite courses must be completed for a letter grade with limited exceptions and must be completed for a grade of C or higher. Applicants may apply to our program prior to the completion of predental requirements or other course work. All prerequisite courses should be completed by the spring term, prior to matriculation to dental school. Although there is no expiration date for prerequisite courses, applicants should consider new additional course work to reinforce any knowledge gained previously.
- General Biology – Two semesters /three quarters of general biology with corresponding lab. Additional advanced courses in anatomy, microbiology, and physiology are highly recommended.
- Chemistry – Three semesters/five quarters with corresponding lab in either combination of: two semesters/three quarters of general/inorganic chemistry and one semester/two quarters of organic chemistry or two semesters/three quarters of organic chemistry and one semester/two quarters of general/inorganic chemistry. Additional work in physical chemistry is recommended.
- Biochemistry – One semester/one quarter; no lab is required.
- Physics – Two semesters/three quarters with corresponding lab, covering the basic principles of classical physics.
- Mathematics – One semester/two quarters. Acceptable courses: calculus (preferred), statistics or any college-level math course.
- English – two semesters /three quarters. Acceptable courses: speech, composition, literature, humanities courses, freshman writing seminars, technical and business writing, and other writing intensive courses used to meet your school’s writing requirement. Courses may be taken outside of the English department.
Penn Dental Medicine is currently accepting both the ADA and Canadian versions of the DAT. DAT scores from test dates starting January 2021 and later are required for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. Unofficial DAT scores will not be considered.
Applicants submitting the ADA version of the DAT must submit official DAT scores through ADEA AADSAS. Applicants submitting the Canadian DAT must make arrangements though the CDA to have official DAT scores sent to Penn Dental Medicine.
At Penn, we have always encouraged our applicants to pursue a varied course in their observation and shadowing endeavors. Focused exposure in general dentistry is expected prior to submission of your AADSAS application. This may occur in one or more general dental practices. In order to explore the breadth of the dental profession, further exploration in the dental specialties, while not required, is recommended. The majority of these experiences must occur in the U.S. or Canada.
Penn Dental Medicine seeks students who will advance the profession and gives preference to those who demonstrate a commitment to any of the following: excellence and leadership as demonstrated among others through extracurricular activities, community service; exposure to the dental profession through activities including but not limited to in-person observation, review of dental procedures online or attending dental related informational programs through pre-dental organizations; research experience as well as academic preparation.
Although there is no minimum grade-point average or Dental Admission Test (DAT) score requirement, special consideration will be given to candidates with overall and science grade point averages of 3.2 or higher. We seek students who will be successful in our demanding curriculum due to solid academic preparation, the flexibility to adapt to changing technologies, and the interpersonal skills to interact with diverse populations. Grades and DAT scores are only part of the review process and viewed in the context of the entire application.
The Office of Student Admissions at Penn Dental Medicine is excited to recruit the most motivated, engaged, diverse, and compassionate individuals to our program. Our students advance the profession through leadership, academic achievements, community and campus involvement, participation in research, participation in the arts or in sports, and pre-dental activities among their many qualities and accomplishments that they bring to our School.
Penn Dental Medicine students are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their interests. As a private school we seek to enroll individual from all 50 states and many countries and our student body reflects that. Through our many student organizations such as SNDA, HSDA, ISDA, Penn Pride, Penn Firsts, all students find homes within our Penn Dental Medicine community in which they prosper. Penn Dental Medicine feels strongly about the need for the most diverse health care teams and through its enrollment of an enriched student body advances that objective directly.
Penn Dental Medicine participates in the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS), a centralized application service sponsored by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). The AADSAS application must be completed via the ADEA web site, www.adea.org. For more information regarding this application, contact: ADEA / AADSAS, P.O. Box 9110, Watertown, MA 02471, e-mail: email@example.com, or phone: 617-612-2045 (applicant inquiries only).
Application Deadline: December 1, 2023
Note: Due to the large number of applicants (2,542 for the class entering August 2023), it is highly recommended that candidates apply well in advance of the December 1 deadline date. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Although the majority of the PDM applicant pool submit applications by September 1, all applications completed by the deadline date will be reviewed for interview consideration. Decisions to review late applications are at the discretion of the Admissions Selection Committee. All application materials and documents become the property of Penn Dental Medicine and will not be returned to the applicant.
The following documents must be submitted along with the AADSAS application to the application service:
- Dental Admission Test (DAT) Scores — Applicants must submit DAT scores by the December 1 deadline. Scores reported through ADEA AADSAS are considered official. DAT scores from test dates starting January 2021 and later are required for admission. The Admissions Committee may invite applicants to interview based upon academic preparation, pre-dental experience, extracurricular activities, work experience and/or research prior to the receipt of official DAT scores.
- Letters of Evaluation — A minimum of two letters from professors (preferably from your major course of study) or a committee letter prepared by the school’s prehealth advisor and/or a committee familiar with the applicant’s academic abilities is required. Penn Dental Medicine does not require letters from science faculty, unless you are a science major. Letters must be on letterhead and include an original signature and title. Please refer to the AADSAS application instructions for submitting letters of evaluation.
- Official Transcripts — All applicants must submit official transcripts to the AADSAS application service for verification. AADSAS applications will not be processed and sent to the individual schools until transcripts are received and verified. The Penn Dental Medicine Admissions Office requires official transcripts only from candidates who have been accepted for admission. Please do not forward transcripts to Penn Dental Medicine’s Office of Student Admissions until notified to do so.
It is recommended that applicants submit the Penn Dental Supplemental Application and application fee as soon as possible after submitting the AADSAS Application. In addition to the AADSAS application, applicants are required to complete and submit the following documents to Penn Dental Medicine for interview consideration.
- Supplemental Application for Admission – Upon submission and verification of the AADSAS application applicants will be invited to complete our Supplemental Application via the Penn Dental Medicine applicant portal.
- Application Fee – A $60 non-refundable application fee is required. You may pay the application fee electronically via the Penn Dental Medicine applicant portal. No application fee waivers are available.
Only complete applications will receive consideration.
Although the U.S. DAT is preferred, Canadian citizens and residents may submit Canadian DAT scores. There are no additional application requirements for Canadian applicants to our program.
Course work from students who complete their degrees in countries other than the U.S. and Canada will be considered provided they include the foreign course work on their AADSAS applications. In addition, translated transcripts from ECE transcript service must be submitted to the Penn Dental Medicine Admissions Office in order to review the student’s academic performance. Although international students are not required to meet their minimum course prerequisites at a U.S. educational institution, preference will be given to those who have taken some course work in the U.S. TOEFL scores are not required for admission to the four-year predoctoral program.
Currently, Penn Dental Medicine is not considering transfer applications into the DMD program.
The Admissions Selection Committee begins reviewing applications in July. Selected applicants will be invited for an interview day based upon information from the AADSAS application, the Penn Dental Medicine Supplemental Application for Admission, and letters of evaluation. Interviews (by invitation only) are held weekly from September through March. In accordance with ADEA notification guidelines, the Admissions Selection Committee will issue acceptances on a rolling basis beginning December 15, until the class reaches capacity. Accepted candidates are obliged to make a deposit of $1,000 to an offer of admission within the following schedule:
- 30 days after notification if received on or after 12/15
- 15 days after notification if received on or after 2/1
- At the discretion of PDM if received on or after 5/15*
An additional deposit of $1,000 is due on March 1 to continue to reserve a place in the class entering in August. Both deposits are non-refundable and are credited toward the first semester tuition payment.
*Candidates accepted on or after March 1 are obligated to make one deposit totaling $2,000.
Applicants will be notified of status changes via email and the Penn Dental Medicine applicant portal. Interview invitations will be emailed beginning in August and will continue through February on a rolling basis. Acceptance notification will begin December 15 on a rolling basis until the class reaches capacity. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified beginning October until completion of the admissions cycle. It is highly recommended that applicants update the ADEA AADSAS web portal with changes to their contact information as soon as they occur. Currently, the Office of Student Admissions does not update the ADEA AADSAS web portal with status changes.
Criminal Background Checks – All matriculating students are required to complete a criminal background check prior to matriculation. It is possible that infractions as a result of a background check could prevent an accepted applicant from matriculating at Penn Dental Medicine. Please note that professional licensure requirements may prohibit individuals with criminal convictions from ultimately obtaining a professional license. Licensure requirements vary by state. Prospective students are encouraged to consult state licensing agencies for more information.
Health and Immunization Requirements – All admitted students must meet The University of Pennsylvania and Penn Dental Medicine’s health and immunization requirements prior to matriculation. Matriculating students will be asked to provide Student Health Services and Penn Dental Medicine with proof of immunizations prior to matriculation. Students must remain in compliance for the duration of their enrollment at the University of Pennsylvania.