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Entry Requirements - Dentistry

Minimum Entry Requirements

All applicants must satisfy the current GCSE requirement. We expect grade As in English Language, Mathematics, Science, Additional Science (including the Double Award), PLUS one of the following:


Five Year course: Our current entry requirements (2012 entry) is AAA grades to be achieved from three A-levels, with A grades in Chemistry and Biology.

We do not give preference to an applicant whose third A-level is in a science subject.

Six Year course: the six year course is designed for students who either take no science subjects at A-level or who take a maximum of one of Chemistry, Biology or Physics. Entry requirements will be three A-levels at AAA.

IB Diploma

Five Year course: To obtain the IB Diploma with an overall score of 36 points, with a minimum score of 6 at Higher Level in Chemistry and Biology.

Six Year course: To obtain the IB Diploma with an overall score of 36 points, with a minimum score of 6 at Higher Level in ONE of Chemistry, Biology or Physics.


We do consider UCAS applications from students who have undertaken a first degree, but do not offer an abbreviated course for graduates. Our standard requirement is for an Upper Second Class (2:1) Honours degree to be achieved and, in addition, we would give preference to a graduate with a minimum of three B grades at A-Level.

Irish Qualifications

Applicants with the ILC are considered for entry to the six year A204 course. Our standard requirements are for AAAAAA grades to be achieved at the first attempt which must include at least two of Chemistry, Biology or Physics plus English Language. All grades must be at Highers/Hons level. Grades are always required as we do not work on a points score total.

Scottish Qualifications

Five Year Course: For the five year BDS course we require at least two subjects at Advanced Highers. These must include Chemistry and Biology. We specify AA grades. We also expect applicants to have achieved five A grades in Scottish Highers.

Six Year Course: An applicant with Scottish Highers can ONLY apply for entry to the six year course. We currently ask for AAAAA grades which must include at least two of Chemistry, Biology or Physics, plus English Language.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Five Year Course: Pass in the Advanced Diploma (Core Plus Options) to include AA at A Level Biology and Chemistry or Pass in the Advanced Diploma (Graded 1st Award 2015, Core Plus Options) with Grade A in the Core plus AA at A Level Biology and Chemistry.

Six Year Course: Pass in the Advanced Diploma (Core Plus Options) to include AA at A Level with no more than one of Biology or Chemistry or Pass in the Advanced Diploma (Graded 1st Award 2015, Core Plus Options) with Grade A in the Core plus AA at A Level with no more than one of Biology or Chemistry.

Access Courses

Applicants who have taken, or are taking a QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for HE) approved Access to Science course can be considered for entry to the six year BDS course. All credits must be at level 3, and must include both Biology and Chemistry components. We would expect the equivalent of a score of 80% to be achieved overall.

If you are taking any qualification not detailed above, please contact the Admissions Officer for further advice.

UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT)

All applicants are required to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test in the year of application. The UKCAT is taken in addition to A-Levels (or alternative academic qualifications) and is intended to be an additional selection tool for screening UCAS applicants.

The test needs to be booked at one of the many testing centres throughout the UK and is usually taken during July/August/ September prior to the following September's entry.

Full information, including test centres and sample questions can be found on the UKCAT website.

Unacceptable Qualifications

  • Most University Foundation Programmes.
  • Access to Health Studies.
  • PCD – Therapy/Hygiene Diplomas.
  • BTEC (other than Medical Lab Science or Science).
  • General Studies and Critical Thinking at either A level or AS level.
  • A General rather than an Honours Degree.
  • Premedical Foundation courses.

Students with other qualifications or experience

The School of Dentistry welcomes applications from mature students. These students would normally have met the standard requirements. Graduate applicants are expected to have achieved a minimum of three B grades at A-level. Whilst the School does not reserve a set number of places for mature students, the School is restricted in having a maximum of five places in each intake for graduate applicants. Each case is considered on its individual merits.

Students who are pursuing a Level 3 Science Access Course or the Access to Medical, Dentistry and Pharmacy course will be considered on an individual basis for entry only to the Preliminary Programme (A204). A small number of places are available and selected applicants may be interviewed towards the end of the decision period when these students have had an opportunity to adjust to the demands of the Access Course. The School’s standard offer is for the equivalent of 80% to be achieved overall in an Access Course.

All applicants will need to assess their financial situation very carefully. Further information can be found on our mature students' pages.

Overseas Applicants

Applications through UCAS from overseas applicants are welcomed. Whilst the majority of applicants offer A-levels, other international qualifications are acceptable. Overseas applicants who are not offering GCSE English Language grade B are required to satisfy the University’s English Language requirement. Acceptable qualifications are detailed below.

There are a limited number of places available for overseas students (maximum four) and preference is, therefore, given to applicants from countries which do not have their own Schools of Dentistry. All applicants who are considered for the BDS programmes including overseas applicants are required to attend for interview. However, it may be possible to arrange an interview by telephone/video conference for those applicants unable to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) in certain circumstances at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor. Overseas applicants are strongly advised to take the necessary steps to ensure that all fees can be met. Further information regarding this can be found at:

Following Graduation, overseas students are not eligible to undertake Vocational Training in the UK.

For further information regarding this please visit the Student Support webpages.

A specific International Foundation Programme is also offered by the University for overseas applicants wishing to apply for programmes at Cardiff University.

Candidates whose first language is not English

The following qualifications satisfy the minimum requirement:

GCE O Level, GCSE or IGSCE: English Language Grade B

IELTS: An average score of 7.0 or above (with a minimum of 7.0 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, 6.5 in reading and 6.5 in writing)

Test in English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): A minimum score of 620 (including tests of spoken and written English)

Internet Based Test (IBT): 120 to be achieved

Certificate of Proficiency in English (AEB; Cambridge): Grade B

Certificate in Attainment in English (ULEAC): Level 6

International Baccalaureate: Syllabus A1 or A2 (Higher or Standard): Grade 6

International Baccalaureate: Syllabus B (Higher): Grade 6

European Baccalaureate: English as First Language: 7.7 out of 10

Test in English for Educational Purposes: Band score of 7.0

Additional Requirements for Admission

Criminal Record Check

Admission to the Dentistry Programmes is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) Section 4 (2) (exemption) Order 1975 and DHSS Circular HC (88) 9 guidelines regarding child protection and police checks. It is also considered important to ensure that applicants attitudes and values are such that they can reasonably be admitted to the Dental Profession. All offers given to applicants will, therefore, include a condition relating to a satisfactory criminal record check. This condition must be satisfied before commencement of the course. Detailed information will be given to successful applicants with letters offering places. Information on the Disclosure process can be found on the Criminal Records Bureau website: All information is treated in absolute confidence and applicants with convictions to declare are assessed individually as to their suitability. Potential applicants are encouraged to let us know if they have a disability including dyslexia. Advice can then be given as to whether the applicant can meet the "fitness to practise" criteria of the General Dental Council. All disclosures will be treated in a positive, sensitive and constructive way.

UK applicants will be required to complete the Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure process at the ‘Enhanced’ level and the University's own Criminal Record Disclaimer form. There will also be a requirement for the applicant to register with the newly established Independent Safeguarding Authority. It is the responsibility of the applicant to pay the fee for an enhanced disclosure certificate, and registration/ charges with the ISA at the current stated rate. The CRB and ISA check will form part of the offer of admission and so will not be required by the University until an applicant has accepted their offer of admission from the University.

Enrolment on to the course cannot take place until clearance from the Criminal Records Bureau has been received. Delay in returning the CRB form may also compromise an applicant's university accommodation options. Those who are known to be travelling overseas at the relevant time should endeavour to authorise another individual to deal with this correspondence on their behalf.

Detailed information will be given to successful applicants with letters offering places. Information on the Disclosure process can be found on the Criminal Records Bureau website.

Further information on Applicants Declaring a Criminal Conviction

Health Check

All offers given by the School of Dentistry will be conditional upon a satisfactory health check. Health questionnaires are sent to applicants when offers are made. Applicants are normally required to return their completed questionnaires to the Occupational Health Department before commencement of the course.

Tetanus Vaccination

Successful applicants who accept an offer for entry to the BDS programmes must ensure that they have an up-to-date Tetanus vaccination (i.e. within the last 10 years). Students who do require a vaccination must ensure that vaccination occurs at least six weeks before commencing the programme.

Blood-Borne Viruses

The UK Health Departments have defined those procedures where the potential exists for an infected healthcare professional to transmit a blood- borne virus to a patient. These procedures have been termed exposure-prone procedures. It is not possible to train in dentistry without performing many exposure-prone procedures. For this reason all dental students must be tested for the blood- borne viruses hepatitis B and hepatitis C in the first 2 weeks of the course. Only blood samples taken in the Occupational Health Department are acceptable. You will be asked to produce photographic proof of identity such as a passport, driver’s licence, or university identity badge when having your blood taken. Infection with blood- borne viruses in the UK is uncommon but is more common in other parts of the world. If you have any reason to think that you may have been exposed to hepatitis in the past you should discuss this with your doctor or contact the Health Centre at Cardiff University for advice (see For further information regarding Health Clearance for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and Tuberculosis please click on the following link:

Please note that this screening forms part of the conditions of entry to the course and there is a possibility that students will not be able to undertake the course depending on the results of the screening.

Other Immunisations and Health Checks.

The UK health departments issue guidance from time to time concerning the health checks the government requires of new recruits to the NHS and healthcare students. Present practice includes checks for rubella, chickenpox and tuberculosis. In certain cases vaccination of non- immune individuals is recommended. Failure to comply with this programme may jeopardise your progress on the dentistry course.

Resit Candidates

The School of Dentistry does not consider applicants re-sitting their A-Levels.

Back to Dentistry Admissions Criteria


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