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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Pre-Dental Advising at Fresno State

Fresno State does not currently offer a specific “pre-dental” major for students planning to enter dental school. Approximately 90% of the applicants admitted into dental schools have completed three or more years of formal pre-professional course work. The U.S. dental schools ( require that their applicants complete a minimum of three academic years (90 semester units) including specific courses in basic sciences and liberal arts prior to admission to their programs.  There usually is a very large number of applicants to dental schools; thus, the competition to obtain admission is stiff.  Therefore, unless you have a very high cumulative GPA (3.7 and above), it would be advisable for you to complete four academic years of study and to graduate with an earned Bachelor’s degree.  Generally, the major courses required for a degree in Biology or Chemistry are more compatible with those required by dental schools.  The Chemistry Department offers two undergraduate degrees, a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA).  Although either of these two degrees is acceptable as a predental major, the Chemistry BA degree is especially designed for pre-professional students such as those planning to apply to dental schools.  It should be mentioned, however, that as long as a predental applicant completes the required pre-professional courses, then any major is acceptable (i.e. History, English, Math, etc.).  Whatever your undergraduate major is, make sure that you consult with one of the two predental advisors in regards to the courses you need to complete before you apply to dental schools.  The following faculty members are the designated predental advisors:  Dr. Saeed Attar, Chemistry Dept.,, 278-2639; Dr. Fred Schrieber, Biology Dept.,, 278-8756.  More information about dental education in the U.S. can be obtained from the American Dental Association (ADA) from their website:

Required & Recommended Courses

All dental schools have specific courses that must be completed before an applicant is admitted.  Consult with a predental advisor in this regard.

In general, the following courses are required (SU = semester units):  Biology, lecture and lab (8 SU); General Chemistry, lecture and lab (8 SU); Organic Chemistry, lecture and lab (5 SU); Physics, lecture and lab (8 SU); English (6 SU); Psychology (8 SU); social science (variable SU); philosophy/history/fine arts ((variable SU); writing or verbal communication (variable SU).

The following science courses are highly recommended:  biochemistry, physiology & anatomy, comparative vertebrate anatomy, microbiology, neuroanatomy, histology, genetics, cell/molecular biology, embryology.

The following non-science courses are also recommended:  jewelry making, sculpting, general business classes (marketing, management, finance, economics), statistics, calculus.

Application Procedure 

  1. You can apply to dental schools as early as the summer between your junior and senior years when you have completed the minimum 90 semester units.
  2. All dental schools require applicants to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT).  This test is designed to measure your general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability.  The DAT is conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA).  This test should be taken when most of the required science courses have been completed, preferably during the Spring semester of the junior year or during the summer before the senior year.  Information concerning this test can be obtained at the following site:
  3. AADSAS (American Association of Dental Schools Application Service) is a centralized application service, which allows applicants to complete only one application form for submission to multiple schools.  After the form is submitted to AADSAS, the information is forwarded to those dental schools requested by the applicant.  AADSAS does not make any appraisals, selections, or recommendations of either applicants or dental schools. More information about AADSAS and the application process can be obtained from:

More Information?

Contact Dr. Saeed Attar, Chemistry Dept.,, 278-2639.