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Your Dental Academic Experience

Make the Most of Your Time

  • Determine your top dental school choices.

    Each dental school will have specific course requirements you need to take as an undergraduate. Once you know those, it’ll be easier to plan your Illinois State academic schedule.

  • Take any prerequisites.

    Illinois State offers the classes you need to apply for dental school. Before you get to that level, you might have to take a handful of other classes to get ready.

  • Talk to us.

    There’s a lot of coordination and planning that needs to happen to make sure you do everything you need before dental school. You don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help.


Your dental school will have specific course requirements, but here are some common ones.

Typical Dental School Requirements

  • General Chemistry - 2 semesters

  • Organic Chemistry - 2 semesters

  • Biochemistry - 1 semester

  • Biology - 2 semesters

  • Microbiology - 2 semesters

  • Physics - 2 semesters

  • Anatomy and Physiology - 2 semesters

  • Math - 2 semesters

  • English - 2 semesters

  • Psychology - 2 semesters

What to Take at Illinois State

Some classes require prerequisites.

  • General Chemistry CHE 140 and then 141

  • Organic Chemistry CHE 230/231 and CHE 232/233

  • Biochemistry CHE 342

  • Biology BSC 196 and BSC 197

  • Microbiology BSC 260

  • Physics PHY 108 and PHY 109

  • Math Talk to your advisor for the best options.

  • English ENG 101 and then ENG 145

  • Psychology PSY 110

Our recommendations for classes

  • Chemistry: It takes four semesters to complete the chemistry sequence for dental school. Complete at least one year of college-level courses in biology, and general and organic chemistry before you take your dental school exam (DAT).

  • Biology: Take more than the minimum required Biology courses. Dental schools value this. Genetics, Cell Biology, Immunology, and Microbiology are good additional courses to take.

  • Math: Calculus is highly recommended. Several schools require Statistics. Basic statistics knowledge will also be helpful for the MCAT. We recommend PSY 138 or MAT 150.

Course Finder gives you descriptions for all your classes and any prerequisites you need.

Launch Course Finder

A Little Advice

  • Work hard. Dental programs are competitive. Keep your GPA at 3.5 and even higher for science and math grades. This helps you compete for your top choice with the best of them.

  • Check your Advanced Placement (AP) credit. Some schools don’t accept AP credit for any prerequisite course. Others limit the number of courses earned via AP credit. Explore your dental school’s specific policies.

Applying to Dental School

Students apply to dental school one year before they hope to begin in a program. The earliest students can apply to dental school is the summer after their junior year. Your courses at Illinois State will help prepare you to take the DAT with confidence.

Learn more about the DAT from the American Dental Association (ADA)