Skip to content
Search Icon

Pre-Dentistry Coursework

Dentistry is the science and art of preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth, jaws and mouth.

SMSU provides the required pre-professional coursework for students who intend to enroll in a D.D.S. program. The minimum academic requirement for admission to the College of Dentistry is the completion of 90 semester hours of study at an accredited college. However, most students complete a bachelor’s degree before entering dental school. Undergraduate students do not have to major in one of the sciences. However, much of the pre-professional coursework is science focused and so most students major in one of the science areas. We encourage students to pursue a major that they find interesting so they will be successful.

In addition to academic course work, students must take the Dental admissions test (DAT). This test includes sections on natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. Information regarding the DAT may be found at


Acceptance to dental school is highly competitive. High GPA, high DAT scores, an impressive personal statement, and good recommendations are critical. Good applicants also have research experience, have clinical experience through job shadowing or internships, and participate in university/community service.

Science Department Office

SM 178
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State St.
Marshall, MN 56258

Course Guidelines

Due to variation in each school’s curriculum, the following is merely a guideline of typical requirements. To determine the exact requirements for each program, the student should work with their academic advisor to review each school to which he/she is applying.

Typical Course Requirements
SMSU Course Number Pre-Requisite courses for Program Semester Credit Hours
Biol 200 Introduction to cellular biology with lab 4
Biol 201

Introduction to Biodiversity and Evolution

Biol XXX Competitive students will take some combination of the following courses: anatomy and physiology I and II, microbiology, genetics, or other upper level biology courses Variable
Chem 231/232 General Chemistry I and II with lab 10
Chem 351/352 Organic Chemistry I and II with lab 10
Chem 473 Biochemistry 3
Phys 141/142 College Physics I and II 8
Psyc 101 General Psychology (some may recommend additional psych courses) 3
Psyc XXX One additional applied psychology course such as development or abnormal psychology may be recommended 3
Math XXX College algebra, calculus, or Statistics 3-5
Eng 151 Academic Writing 4
Eng 251 Writing in the Professions 3
Liberal Arts Electives Elective courses should be selected to achieve as broad and liberal an education as possible. Additional electives can be chosen from among the following subjects: accounting, anthropology, business (practical courses), classics, economics, history, humanities, higher mathematics, logic, microscopic anatomy, political science, sociology, and a foreign language. Variable

Courses in biology, chemistry, and physics may be considered outdated if taken more than five years before the time of application.


  • Complete Application
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript(s)
  • ACT or SAT Test Scores

Schedule Your Visit Today!


  • Rank in the upper half of graduating class
  • or
  • Score a composite of 21 or above on the ACT or 990 on the SAT

visit icon

Apply Now

catalog icon

Academic Catalog

department icon

Department Website

Last Modified: 8/21/23 4:35 PM | Website Feedback