UNC Adams School of Dentistry: Application and Program Overview

Are you passionate about oral health and looking to apply to the UNC Adams School of Dentistry? Explore the application, admissions process, and DDS program in our article.

Posted March 14, 2024

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As a consistently top-ranking dental school, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry is a leader in oral health education, patient care, and research. With an emphasis on educating Advocate-Clinician-Thinkers, the UNC Adams School of Dentistry is one of the best dental schools in the nation, producing graduates who go on to teach, conduct research, and practice dentistry in communities across the country. Explore the admissions process and DDS program at this prestigious dental school below.

UNC Adams School DDS Class Profile (Class of 2026)

  • Acceptance Rate: 5.9%
  • Class Size: 82
  • Applicants: 1,382
  • Average Overall GPA: 3.65
  • Average Science GPA: 3.59
  • Average DAT (AA): 22.5
  • Average DAT (PAT): 21.5
  • Average DAT (Science): 22
  • NC Residents: 62

UNC Adams School of Dentistry DDS Application Overview

Application Deadlines (2023-2024)

First DayLast Day
AADSAS ApplicationMay 30, 2023October 2, 2023
UNC Supplemental ApplicationMid-June 2023October 9, 2023
InterviewsSeptember 2023January 2024
Admission OffersDecember 15, 2023Until the class is filled

Academic Prerequisites

All applicants must have completed at least 96 semester hours or 144 quarter hours and the following courses before applying:

  • General Biology & Zoology: 8 semester hours/12 quarter hours, with lab
    • Two lecture courses of at least 4 semester hours each. One course must be general biology with lab, the other must be human anatomy and physiology or general zoology
    • Both courses’ labs must include vertebrate dissection
    • If your undergraduate institution offers a two-part sequence in human anatomy and physiology, you must have both courses to meet the human anatomy requirement
  • General Chemistry: 8 semester hours/12 quarter hours, with lab
    • Two lecture courses of at least 4 semester hours each
  • Organic Chemistry: 6 semester hours/10 quarter hours
    • Two lecture courses of at least 3 semester hours each
  • Biochemistry: 3 semester hours/5 quarter hours
    • One upper-level course of at least 3 semester hours
  • Physics: 6 semester hours/10 quarter hours
    • Two college-level courses covering basic principles of physics relevant to living things
  • English: 6 semester hours/10 quarter hours
    • Two semesters including knowledge ordinarily required of candidates for a degree in an approved college

You may use up to 64 credit hours from a community college towards these prerequisites. You do not need to complete a bachelor’s degree to apply, but it is highly recommended.

DAT Scores

You’ll need to submit DAT scores from the last three years in your AADSAS application. Your application will still be processed with unofficial or pending scores, but you’ll need to submit official scores if you are extended an offer of admission. The UNC dental admissions committee does not have a minimum DAT score requirement, but the past few entering classes have averaged around 20.

Letters of Evaluation

You’ll also need to submit three individual letters of evaluation, with one from a science professor, one from a professor of your major, and one from a dental practitioner. You may substitute one or both letters from professors with a committee evaluation letter.

Adams School of Dentistry Supplemental Application

After submitting your AADSAS application, you’ll receive an email inviting you to fill out the supplemental application, which includes a $84 application fee. You’ll also need to submit a 2x2 passport-style photograph of yourself, and if you are an international applicant, you’ll also need to submit a TOEFL score.

Required for all applicants:

Please describe your interest in choosing University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry for your dental education. (1500 characters) We all have unique values, aspirations, and a sense of purpose that define who we are and how we live. What is your personal mission? Describe how your personal mission and professional goals align. (250 words) Comment on your ability to work with a team, both as a leader and as a productive team member. (250 words) The dental patient population is becoming more diverse with time. Share your experiences working with diverse groups of people. (250 words) Communication is key in modern healthcare. Share your skill set, experiences, and strengths/weaknesses in communication. This may include experiences in expository writing, public speaking, drama/acting, debate, etc. (250 words) Comment on your college course performance. (250 words) Comment on your DAT performance. (250 words) What have you done to explore dentistry as a career? (no character/word limit)

Applicant’s choice, choose one out of the two:

Accessing dental care, for a variety of reasons, is a challenge for many Americans. In your opinion, what role should dentists play in addressing this issue? (250 words) Describe an ethical dilemma you have faced. How was it resolved and how might this experience influence your future career or your time as a dental student? (250 words)

Applicant’s choice, choose one out of the two:

Describe a meaningful experience you have had either in a clinical encounter or with a dental role model. What did you learn and how will this influence the type of clinician you will become? (250 words) Describe a time when you have faced conflict. How did you work to resolve it? (250 words)

Applicant’s choice, choose one out of the two:

Describe a time when you experienced failure. How did this change you? (250 words) Describe a time when you worked on a team to solve a problem or develop a project. What did you learn about the challenges faced by teams? (250 words)

Adams School of Dentistry Interview

After completing the supplemental application, you may be invited to interview on campus in Chapel Hill from September to January. You’ll most likely be interviewed by a current dental student, a faculty member, and an alumnus. In addition to the interview, you’ll also attend a student panel and financial aid session. You may also participate in a student-led tour of the dental school and the broader Chapel Hill campus. The questions are behavioral and intended to get to know you better beyond your application, so it’s important that you practice, such as with an admissions coach.

For up-to-date information about the admissions process, see the official University of North Carolina dental school admissions page.

UNC Adams DDS Program Overview

ACT Curriculum

The predoctoral dental education at the UNC Adams School of Dentistry is structured around the Advocate-Clinician-Thinker framework, preparing graduates to advocate for patients, provide general dentistry care as a clinician, and think critically to determine a course of care. The ACT curriculum is structured as follows:

  • Basecamp: 6 weeks, setting expectations for professional engagement and contextualizing the biomedical and social sciences for clinical practice
  • Foundations of Practice: D1 and D2, developing foundational knowledge and skills with experiential learning and early clinical experiences
    • Starting in D1 spring semester, dental students work alongside upperclassmen in patient care, with their first primary provider-patient assignment by the end of the same year
    • Students learn courses in three main content streams: biomedical sciences, clinical and behavioral sciences, and health systems sciences
    • D2s will learn more about specialties such as endodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and oral radiology
  • Guided Advanced Clinical Practice: Third-year and fourth-year students rotate through specialty-focused rotations and prepare for the INBDE. Rotations take place at UNC’s teaching clinics, except for the extramural rotation, known as the Dentistry in Service to Communities (DISC) program
    • DISC is a five-week rotation at sites across North Carolina communities, providing oral health care at local health departments, hospital-based programs, community health centers, VA facilities, and more
  • Individualization: Students may individualize their education and gain additional training through electives, special shadowing experiences, certificates, and the DDS/MBA dual-degree program
    • The DDS/MBA dual degree program, offered in conjunction with the Kenan-Flagler Business School, prepares graduates to manage a dental practice or take on leadership roles in business and dentistry

Student Life at the Adams School of Dentistry

The DDS program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is known for its diverse and supportive community, with specialty, affinity, and leadership student organizations, such as:

  • American Dental Education Association Student Chapter
  • Spurgeon Student Government
  • American Association of Pediatric Dentistry
  • Endodontic Interest Group
  • LGBdenT

Click here for the full list of student organizations.

Student Research

Students at the Adams School of Dentistry have a variety of research programs and opportunities at Adams with resources from across the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including:

  • DDS Short-Term Research Fellowship: Adams School students submit a proposal for a short-term research project to be completed within one academic year under the guidance of a faculty mentor
  • North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship: This leadership program and community service opportunity supports graduate health professional students committed to addressing health disparities throughout the state through clinical and education projects
  • Student Research Group: The SRG connects students to research opportunities both at and outside the Adams School of Dentistry

Topics include health policy, clinical research, translational research, and basic science research. For more, see the Office of Research Discovery and Innovation.

Community Outreach at UNC Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry

  • Give Kids A Smile: The Adams School of Dentistry hosts this annual event to provide free dental care and oral health education for children in the surrounding community. Students, residents, alumni, and faculty provide dental screenings, dental exams, x-rays, fluoride treatment, sealants, fillings, crowns and extractions
  • Hispanic Dental Association Vidas de Esperanza Clinic: This free student-run clinic serves the local Hispanic community through free oral health services and education
  • Student Health Action Coalition Dental Clinic: These clinics, organized by the Student Health Action Coalition, provide weekly free screenings, diagnostic services, cleanings, fillings, and extractions
  • Student National Dental Association CAARE’s Clinic: The CAARE clinic provides both preventive and urgent oral health care to the Durham community. The weekly services include dental disease prevention, oral hygiene instruction, nutrition counseling, and overall health and wellness screening
  • Samaritan Health Center Clinic: The UNC Chapel Hill Adams School partners with the Samaritan Health Center to provide free oral health services to unhoused community members each week at the Durham Rescue Mission
  • Adams Rural Oral Health and Wellness Scholars: This program starts recruiting in the fall semester of the third year and trains students committed to practicing dentistry in underserved North Carolina communities. AROW Scholars participate in a week-long rural health immersion and provide oral health care to patients in underserved Western North Carolina
  • Global Trips: Students will gain a first-hand understanding of the global challenges of oral health care access and engage in scholarship and service through visits of foreign dental schools and treatment of patients in underserved communities

Cost of Attendance

Resident Tuition$39,409$40,941$41,391$35,609
Non-resident Tuition$77,874$86,264$85,874$62,124
University Fees$5,039$5,339$5,939$5,939
Dental School Fees$5,265$5,077$1,306$353
Other Fees$2,130$1,600

For a detailed breakdown of the cost of attendance, see here.


Q: Can I apply to the DDS program if I graduated from a foreign dental school?

  • A: No, you should apply for the Advanced Standing Program for International Dentists instead. ASPID students complete a six month intensive then merge with D3s in the DDS program. Prospective ASPID students should apply through the ADEA CAAPID and submit additional materials. See more here.

Q: What if one of my prerequisites was taken Pass/Fail?

  • A: Pass/Fail-graded courses will be accepted if they were completed from Spring 2020 to Summer 2021.

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?

  • You’ll need to apply for need-based aid through FAFSA. You may also apply for external scholarships, grants, and loan repayment programs, such as the ones listed here.

For more information to help you on your dental journey, check out these resources:

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