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Pre-Dentistry Courses

Commonly Required and Recommended Courses for Dental Schools

Be sure to read the section on Choosing Courses for a comprehensive understanding of the introductory coursework that will likely be required as you prepare for the DAT and for dental school. Note that dental schools typically require a minimum grade of C (2.0) in the pre-req courses.

Upper Level Biology

Beyond introductory biology there is some freedom to choose upper level coursework.  We strongly encourage you to consider the following when making your choices:


Physiology is typically tested to some degree in the Biological Sciences section of the DAT.  There are several lecture courses that work well

  • BIOLOGY 225: Principles of Animal Physiology and Neurobiology
  • PHYSIOL 201: Introduction to Human Physiology
  • PHYSIOL 301, 302: Human Physiology I & II
  • PHYSIOL 502: Human Physiology
  • BIOMEDE 419: Quantitative Physiology


Anatomy is not tested on the DAT.  Human anatomy, however, is required by a few dental schools in the United States.  It is also among the first topics taught in the first year of dental school, so a course in anatomy can be helpful.

  • ANATOMY 403: Human Anatomy: Structure and Function


Microbiology is required by a significant subset of dental schools in the United States, including the University of Michigan Dental School.

  • BIOLOGY 207: Microbiology lecture with  lab included
  • MICRBIOL 405/350:  Microbiology lecture and Microbiology lab

Additional upper level biology courses

Additional courses labeled BIOL, EEB, MCDB, MICRBIOL and PHYSIOL will typically be included as biology courses.  Note that some dental schools may require a specific number of biology credits or courses taken at the 300 level or higher.  Some examples:

  • CDB 450: Introduction to Histology
  • EEB 341: Parasitology lecture with lab included
  • PHYSIOL 541 / ANATOMY 541 / PSYCH 532: Mammalian Reproductive Endocrinology   
  • MCDB 427/429: Molecular Biology lecture & Lab
  • MCDB 428/429: Cell Biology lecture and Lab

Biology laboratory courses

Dental schools typically  require two laboratory courses in Biology. Independent research courses, in which you earn credit for working on a particular research project, may not be considered sufficient.  It is safest to either take two regular methods lab classes or to carefully check the requirements of each of your target dental schools. As an LSA student, you will typically begin with BIOLOGY 173 (Introductory Biology Laboratory), and then take another methods lab associated with a regular biology lecture.   Microbiology lab (including the lab component built into BIOLOGY 207) will likely also count as your second methods lab.

If you plan to take CHEM 352 lab (Introduction to Biochemical Research Techniques), as a requirement for your major or for interest, note that this lab will typically count as a Biology lab for the purposes of dental school admissions.  


Dental schools typically require one year of inorganic chemistry and one year of organic chemistry (with labs). Refer to Choosing Courses.

If you place directly into organic chemistry (with no AP credit for General Chemistry), you are entitled to a Chemistry Exemption Letter, issued by a pre-health advisor. Request this letter at the time of application to dental programs. Some dental schools may not accept this letter and instead will insist on courses taken on a college campus.  It is also the case that some dental schools will not accept AP credit for chemistry. If you need or wish to take additional coursework in general chemistry, consider CHEM 245/246/247 (Biomedical Analytical Chemistry). 


Although the DAT does NOT include physics, most dental schools require two semesters of Physics with lab. Refer to Choosing Courses to find out more about which Physics courses work best for you.

Behavioral Sciences

It is not unusual for dental schools to list specific requirements in the behavioral and/or social sciences.  The University of Michigan School of Dentistry requires a lecture in both psychology and sociology (must be taken for a grade).  As always, check your target programs for their specific requirements.

Math and Statistics

Many dental schools require a introductory level Statistics course (STATS 250 will suffice, along with other introductory Statistics courses taught on campus).  Calculus is not typically required, but you should check directly with the schools to be sure. The DAT tests pre-calculus content (MATH 105), as well as some aspects of probability and statisics