Admission requirements

The VCU School of Dentistry does not have any changes to current prerequisites, class start date, or DDS interview processes at this time. However, the Admissions committee will be flexible in reviewing grades from the spring/summer 2020 semesters. As many prospective students will be affected differently during this crisis, we will leave it to the discretion of the student to determine the recording of their spring coursework. Credits earned for prerequisite courses completed during spring/summer 2020 will be accepted whether a letter grade, credit or a pass equivalent is issued. Continuation of tracking strong academic performance through letter grades is still encouraged, where available. Further, the Admissions committee will be sensitive when reviewing the 2020 spring/summer coursework grade evaluations and other activities, such as the completion of dental shadowing and volunteerism within this semester, since both are likely to be drastically curtailed during this time.

DDS students in sim lab

A minimum of 90 semester credit hours (or 145 quarter credit hours) from a United States or Canadian accredited institution is required by the date of application and demonstration that the candidate is on track to receive a qualifying bachelor's degree by the administrative deadline, generally one month prior to the date of matriculation.  

Candidates may attend an accredited community college for a maximum of two years (60 semester hours or equivalent) followed by a minimum of two years (60 semester hours or equivalent) at an accredited four-year degree-granting institution.  Generally, we expect most prerequisite courses completed at the time of application with at most one or two planned between applying and the date of matriculation.  All courses listed as planned on a candidate's application, or equivalent courses to the satisfaction of the School of Dentistry, must be completed prior to matriculation.  

It is preferred that prerequisite courses be completed no more than five years prior to applying and all other courses be completed no more than 10 years before applying.  All prerequisite courses must be passed with a grade of "C" or better.  We cannot accept prerequisites that are graded pass/fail without a letter grade. There is no GPA minimum requirement, however, admitted candidates have an average GPA of 3.7.

Prerequisite coursesSemester hoursQuarter hours
General biology
including lab and lecture
8 12
General chemistry
including lab and lecture
8 12
Organic chemistry
including lab and lecture
8 12
College or university level physics
including lab and lecture
8 12
Biochemistry 3 4 or 5
Math/Stats 3 4 or 5
English 3 4 or 5

Strongly Recommended Courses

  • 300/3000 level and above biology courses
  • Behavioral science courses
  • Courses involving the use of psychomotor skills

Technical skills

In order to successfully complete the dental curriculum at VCU, students must meet nonacademic criteria for motor, sensory/observation, communication, cognitive and behavioral abilities, as listed in the School of Dentistry Technical Standards. Accordingly, applicants may be required to prove their proficiency in American English via standardized tests and interviews. An applicant may consider the option of postponing matriculation until such time that he/she can meet these requirements.

Dental Admission Test

Conducted by the American Dental Association, the Dental Admission Test (DAT) has been in operation on a national basis since 1950. It is administered electronically through private testing centers located in almost every major city and college town throughout the U.S. and can be taken most anytime throughout the year. While candidates can retake the test with a minimum of 90 days between tests, they can attempt the test only three times. The scores can NOT be more than 3 years old.

Participation in the Dental Admission Test of the American Dental Association is required for admission to the VCU School of Dentistry. We recommend that this test be taken the year before the intended matriculation year. There are no DAT minimum score requirements, however, admitted candidates have a DAT Academic Average score of 21.

Canadian Dental Aptitude Test (CDAT) scores will be accepted only if they include the Manual Dexterity Test.

More information on the DAT can be found on the American Dental Association website.

Background checks

An offer of acceptance to the VCU School of Dentistry is contingent upon the successful completion of a criminal background check (CBC) and is required prior to matriculation into our D.D.S. professional dental program. The criminal background report will serve to verify and supplement information provided in the application.  The VCU School of Dentistry requires this criminal background screening process following conditional acceptance and prior to enrollment. The rationale for extending these requirements to incoming dental students is the concept of due diligence and completion of degree requirements.

The criminal background check will not be a component of the application, interview, or selection process but will be a mandatory component of the pre-matriculation process.  It is anticipated that background reports will be honored for the duration of the student’s enrollment in the program if the student has not had a break in the enrollment.  Students are required to complete this process upon re-entry in the program subsequent to a leave of absence, program separation or program withdrawal greater than thirty consecutive days. The final decision regarding matriculation of an applicant will be based on the self-reported information in the candidate’s application and information in the CBC report.   

Factors involved in the final decision may include, but are not limited to: 

  • The nature, circumstances, and frequency of any reported offense(s)
  • Length of time since the offense(s)
  • Available information that addresses efforts at rehabilitation
  • The accuracy of the information provided by the applicant

The information obtained through a criminal background report will not become part of a student’s academic file and will remain confidential unless the findings result in an institutional action by the School of Dentistry. 

Only candidates offered class positions will be asked to provide a criminal background check prior to matriculation.   

Individuals who do not give permission to the conduct of the criminal background check or who fail to provide the report as required will not be allowed to matriculate into the educational program. 

An independent vendor has been identified by AADSAS and accepted by the VCU School of Dentistry to provide the criminal background screening. Conditionally accepted individuals will be responsible for requesting the report and submitting payment for the report. Copies of the report shall go to VCU School of Dentistry admissions office. The individual has the opportunity to challenge the accuracy or completeness of the report through the independent vendor.  The independent vendor has no involvement in any decision that may adversely affect the individual. 

All information will be separately maintained in a secure confidential file. The background report will be destroyed upon graduation or separation from the institution. The criminal background report shall span the prior seven year period, and shall include all convictions and deferred adjudications of a felony or misdemeanor level.  

Validated background reports found to be in conflict with responses on the application may be grounds for withdrawal of an offer of enrollment based upon submission of false or misleading information on the application.  

The existence of a conviction will not necessarily result in a denial of admission to our dental institution, its programs or its housing.  Instead each case will be reviewed by a committee other than the admissions committee and evaluated on its facts. 

This review committee shall include but is not limited to the: admissions administrator, dean for academic affairs (or other administrative dean), two faculty members and if necessary, the university attorney to clarify legal processes. 

All students must also report any felony or misdemeanor convictions which occur during or after matriculation within ten business days of the conviction to the senior associate dean for academic affairs or the senior associate dean for student services. Conviction of or failure to report a disqualifying criminal offense may prevent a student from completing required clinical training experiences and/or result in dismissal or suspension from the program.  It is the responsibility of the student to provide documentation of the final adjudication to the aforementioned administrators.

Drug Screening

Drug screening is currently required by our extramural affiliates.  The School of Dentistry may require drug screening to matriculated students; however, at this time drug screening of DH3, DH4 and D3, D4 students is necessary to participate in required off-campus rotations. 

In the event of an adverse drug screening report, the student will be barred from clinical participation and as a consequence, could be at risk for not fulfilling degree program requirements.  Identification of such students will enable appropriate assessment, indicated treatment and follow-up retesting. 

In all instances, students are responsible for the cost of the screening and retesting.   

Notice of nondiscrimination

Virginia Commonwealth University does not discriminate in admission, treatment, employment or access to its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or disability, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Governor’s Executive Order Number One (2014); and other applicable statutes and university policies. VCU prohibits sexual and sex/gender-based misconduct, discrimination, harassment and interpersonal violence, including sexual assault. 

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the American with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and related statutes and regulations: Paula McMahon, ADA coordinator, Equity and Access Services, Moseley House, 1001 Grove Ave., Box 842549, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. 23284-2549, (804) 828-8532,

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and to serve as the overall coordinator for purposes of Title IX compliance: Laura Walsh Rugless, director of equity and access services and Title IX coordinator, Moseley House, 1001 Grove Ave., Box 842549, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. 23284-2549, (804) 8286404,

Complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation may be directed to Equity and Access Services and by email to or Complaints also may be made through the university’s website for online reporting, the Helpline, which allows for anonymous reporting.   

External complaints may be filed with the Department of Education Office for Civil RightsEqual Employment Opportunity CommissionCommonwealth of Virginia Division of Human Rights and Department of Human Resource Management.