Doctor of Dental Surgery: general information

Approximately 100 students may be admitted to entering classes of the Dental School at San Antonio. The curriculum of the Doctor of Dental Surgery program is structured to present basic science courses during the first two years, with some clinical experience beginning in the first year and increasing each year until it predominates in the junior and senior years.

Admission to the Dental School is highly competitive. Successful applicants are those who show evidence of consistently performing well academically and having extracurricular interests and achievements.

Applicants are considered on a competitive basis with attention given to the undergraduate grade point average, DAT scores, evaluation by preprofessional advisors or professors, extramural achievements and interviews conducted by members of the Admissions Committee. Preference is given to legal residents of Texas. Only outstanding nonresidents will be considered or accepted.

An applicant who has earned a baccalaureate degree under the "academic fresh start" statute, Texas education Code, Section 51.929, will be evaluated on the grade point average of the coursework completed only for that baccalaureate degree and the other criteria stated herein.


All dental students at the UTHSCSA Dental School must perform certain essential functions in order to successfully complete the curriculum. Those functions are described below. All individuals must be able to perform the essential functions of a dental student with or without a reasonable accommodation.

  • Cognitive functions: Dental students must be able to solve problems, using the ability to understand and retain knowledge derived from readings, lectures, and demonstrations. Students must be able to use reasoning, to analyze, and to integrate learned material and apply principles to new problems.
  • Sensory and motor skills: Students must be able to observe patients and simulations and gain patient information to be used in diagnosis. They must possess sufficient vision, hearing, and physical abilities in order to obtain a patient history, perform a physical examination, and provide patient care. Additionally, students must have adequate stamina to manipulate dental equipment appropriately and to perform in class, clinic and laboratory settings during long hours.
  • Communication skills: Students must be able to effectively communicate with patients, peers, staff and faculty. Students must be able to demonstrate respect and understanding of emotional, social and cultural issues.
  • Professional and behavioral skills: Students must demonstrate the capacity for sustained function under stress and to respond appropriately to unpredictable circumstances. Further, students must demonstrate high ethical standards and professional behavior when interacting with patients, fellow students, faculty, staff, and the public.


Since the entering Class in 2000, all 1st year dental students at UTHSCSA purchase a specially-configured laptop computer with searchable software. This technology essentially eliminates the need for buying textbooks and course manuals. The cost of the electronic curriculum support materials is part of the advertised required fees.

Admissions consideration:

Management Model Score: (total points possible = 1000)

[science GPA x DAT-A Score/30 x 4 + Overall GPA] x 50 = Overall Score

All applications are reviewed and considered for an invitation to interview. All applicants are considered for interview on a competitive basis, using the objective component of the Management Model Score derived from the overall GPA, the science GPA, academic average score from the DAT, and based on consideration of the following factors:

    1. Breakdown scores on DAT, especially the science scores for Biology, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry sections.
    2. Course loads, upper division science preparation, university/college attended and timeframe.
    3. Academic and personal background, including high school, parents education, extenuating circumstances affecting academic qualifications.
    4. Socioeconomic situation and barriers to achievement.
    5. Work experience, campus/community involvements and personal accomplishments.
    6. Geographic issues, including South Texas and home in rural or underserved area
    7. Letters of evaluation/recommendation.
    8. Personal essay in application and evidence of commitment to dentistry.

Applicants who are granted an interview then compete for a place in the first year class based on the following process. The Admissions Selection Subcommittee consisting of six faculty members, reviews and evaluates each applicant. The Admissions Selection Subcommittee are faculty members with diverse backgrounds and roles within the school, and all have experience with admissions matters. Evaluation is based on consideration of a number of academic and subjective criteria that may include the following, not listed in any preference:

• personal interview conducted by members of the Admissions Committee and additional trained volunteers
• bilingual language ability
• educational attainment of the applicant's family
• hometown or county of residence that has been designated a medically underserved and/or health professions shortage area, with particular emphasis on South Texas
• employment history, especially as it occurred simultaneously with undergraduate academic preparation
• socioeconomic history (educationally and/or economically disadvantaged)
• positions of leadership held
• race/ethnicity
• public/community service "volunteer"-related activities
• "volunteer" activities in health care-related areas
• awards and honors of distinction for humanitarian service
• awards and honors for public speaking
• prior experience in providing health care-related services
• extracurricular activities
• awards and honors for academic achievement
• prior military service with training and experience in a health care related area
• success in overcoming adverse personal, family, or "life" conditions/ experiences
• graduation from another accredited health care-related curriculum
• verbal communication skills-as demonstrated in a personal interview
• commitment/desire to serve in a medically underserved region of the state following graduation [written personal statement, or at interview]
• reference letters or recommendations
• research accomplishments
• applicant's future goals [written personal statement or at interview]
• knowledge of, and preparation to enter, the profession of dentistry gained through observing or volunteering in a dental practice
• Texas resident status, or permanent Texas resident alien

Residency Information

Under Texas state law, an applicant is classified either as a resident of Texas, a nonresident, or a foreign student. TMDSAS makes this determination at the time of application in order to place the applicant in the appropriate applicant pool - resident vs. non-resident. Determining residency for the applicant pool is different than determining residency for tuition purposes. Residency for admission and tuition purposes at a public college or university in Texas is different from residency for voting or taxing purposes.

Texas Residency Regulations

For detailed information about regulations relating to residency in the State of Texas, visit the College for All Texans Residency Information page.