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Dental School Prerequisites

Prerequisite requirements vary slightly between schools. It is important to check the requirements of each school you are considering to make sure you complete all requirements. Some schools may have additional requirements and/or recommended courses so it is important to begin your research on the schools sooner than later (preferably by your sophomore year). To find a list of dental programs, go here. You may also want to consider buying an online edition of the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools

In general, you should not plan to use AP credit to satisfy prerequisite coursework for dental schools since many dental schools will not honor AP credits. Even though AP credits can be used towards satisfying your degree requirements at Cal, the way in which you use AP credit in these two cases is completely separate.

The following are some of the most commonly required and recommended prerequisites:


Course subject # semesters UC Berkeley course sequence most students use to fulfill requirements
General (Inorganic) Chemistry & Organic Chemistry

Most schools require 2 semesters of general chemistry with lab, 1-2 semesters of organic chemistry with lab, and 1 semester of biochemistry


Chem 1A/1AL

Chem 1B

Chem 3A/3AL

Chem 3B/3BL

MCB 102 or MCB 100A or Chem C130

Please note: We highly recommend that students take Chem 1B in order to stay eligible for all dental schools. Not ALL dental schools will accept Berkeley's unique four-course chemistry sequence (including many out-of-state programs and notably, USC School of Dentistry in California). Taking Chem 1B equivalent at a community college after graduation (if taking a gap year) is fine. 

Biology Most schools require 2 semesters with lab

Bio 1B

Bio 1A/1AL

Physics Most schools require 2 semesters

Physics 8A

Physics 8B 

English 2 semesters Courses that satisfy the Reading and Composition requirement at Berkeley will fulfill dental school English coursework requirements for most dental schools.
Humanities, Social & Behavioral Science Most schools require at least 1 semester of introductory coursework Psych 1 (for majors) 
Psych 2 (for non-majors) 

Sociology 1

Additional Coursework
*Check individual school websites for specific required/recommended courses
Calculus 1 semester Not many dental schools require calculus at all- always a good practice to research all the schools you may apply to. 
Additional Biology courses

1 semester (with lab in some cases) for the biology courses listed in this section.


Microbiology 1 semester w/ lab

PH 162A/162L   OR   MCB C112/112L

Anatomy 1 semester w/ lab

IB 131/131L

Physiology 1 semester w/ lab

MCB 32/32L,
IB 132/132L, 
MCB 136/133L

Additional Biochemistry For those that have already taken MCB 102 as part of their chemistry sequence, here are some additional options for fulfilling an additional biochemistry requirement.

MCB C100A and MCB 100B
Chem 135,

Statistics 1 semester is strongly recommended by a number of schools

Stat 2
Stat 131A

Stats 20

Basic Business Course A basic business or computer course is recommended due to the fact that many dentists choose to pursue private practice.  
Applied Art Course Sculpture, jewelry-making, or other courses where one’s manual dexterity is used and developed are strongly suggested by dental programs.  
Foreign Language Knowledge and cultural competency in at least one foreign language is recommended  
Speech/Public Speaking 1 semester is recommended Collwrit 10A or 10B

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