Chalkboard with chemical molecules

If you’re a current student at Cornell, schedule your appointment with the Dimensions Coordinator to get started planning your future career in dentistry.

Prepare for dental school

Choose a major

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry and molecular biology

These majors are good choices and are our most popular for pre-dentistry since they help satisfy most prerequisites for dentistry school. However, you may consider another major instead. You strengthen your application if you double major in biochemistry and molecular biology with another major outside of the natural sciences because it sets you apart from other applicants.

After receiving your degree from Cornell, you will enter a doctorate in dental surgery (DDS) program. Depending on your interests, you can seek advanced certification in:

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • Endodontics
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • Operative dentistry

Complete your prerequisite coursework

Typical prerequisites include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Physics

Not all dental programs require the same prerequisites, so in your first or second year, you should meet with the Associate Director of Dimensions, who can help you research the specific prerequisites needed for your desired programs.

Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT)

Dimensions provides resources when you are preparing for the DAT, which is required by all dental schools, and administered by the American Dental Association.

Apply to dental schools

Before you begin to apply to dental schools, meet with the Associate Director of Dimensions to plan out the steps necessary for applying.

You will also meet with Cornell’s Health Professions Committee. Cornell’s Health Professions Committee will review your application in its entirety and author a committee letter of recommendation.

If you’re interested in learning more about Cornell’s pre-dentistry program, let us know.

University of Iowa Deferred Admit Program

Cornell has an agreement with the College of Dentistry at the University of Iowa enabling Cornell students to apply for early acceptance to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry program leading to the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS).

Eligibility and program requirements

  • Resident of the state of Iowa
  • Maintain a 3.6 overall Grade Point Average (GPA) and a 3.5 science GPA
  • Complete the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) by August prior to the year of enrollment
  • DAT scores on the individual sections must be at the national average (17) or above

Prepare with Cornell courses

Essential Cornell courses

  • BIO 141-Foundations: Cellular Biology
  • BIO 142-Foundations: Organismal Biology
  • BIO 205-Cell and Molecular Biology
  • CHE 121 and 122-Chemical Principles I and II or 161-Accelerated General Chemistry
  • CHE 225, 326, and 327-Organic Chemistry I, II, and Laboratory
  • PHY 101, 102, and 114-Physics I, II, and Laboratory or PHY 111, 112, and 114-General Physics I, II, and Laboratory

Iowa's Biochemistry prerequisite

You can get an exemption from Iowa’s biochemistry course by passing a biochemistry competency exam (college-administered).

Relevant Cornell courses

  • BIO 313-Developmental Biology
  • BIO 315-Genetics
  • BIO 326-Microbiology
  • BIO 327-Immunology
  • BIO 328-Neurobiology
  • BIO 329 and 330-Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II

Additional areas of study to consider

Set yourself apart from other applicants by taking courses that give you a well-rounded liberal arts education in subjects such as:

  • Social sciences
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • History
  • Foreign languages
  • Business and accounting
  • Mathematics

Additional resources