Dental Hygiene (Diploma)

At Cardiff you can study for an HE Diploma in Dental Hygiene at the only School of Dentistry in Wales.

Our School has been ranked 1st in the Guardian University Guide 2016 and the Times Good University Guide 2016, making it one of the best places to study as a dental care professional in the UK!

The School is based in the Dental Hospital at the University Hospital of Wales, which houses state of the art training facilities. This programme focuses on training ‘dental care professionals’ (DCPs) in providing dental care for patients as a member of a team directed by a dentist.

Key facts

UCAS CodeB750
Duration2 years
AccreditationsGeneral Dental Council (GDC)
Typical places availablePlease contact the school for more information
Typical applications receivedPlease contact the school for more information
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerTwo A-levels at grade C or above, including at least one biology based subject (Biology, Human Biology or Human Physiology and Health etc). or A nationally recognised dental nursing qualification Level 3 (or equivalent), plus one A-level at grade C in a biological based subject.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerPlease contact the School of Dentistry for detailed information.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerPlease contact the School of Dentistry for detailed information.
Other qualificationsAll applicants must have a minimum of five GCSEs (or their equivalent). These qualifications must include: English or Welsh Language at grade B or above Four other GCSEs in any subjects at grade C or above

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark


Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Robert Mcandrew , Admissions Tutor

    The Diploma in Dental Hygiene is a full-time programme of study lasting two academic years (90 weeks of study). The programme starts in September and eleven students are admitted each year. This programme is validated by the General Dental Council. The aim of the programme of study is to educate you to become competent Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists capable of unsupervised practise within dental teams, working to the prescription of dentists.

    Year one

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Biomedical SciencesDE710220 credits
    Oral Diseases and Their PreventionDE710420 credits
    Dental Radiography (Year 1)DE710510 credits
    Clinical Practice Year 1 DipDHDE710930 credits
    Introduction to Clinical Dentistry (DipDH)DE710820 credits
    Human DiseasesDE710320 credits

    Year two

    Module titleModule codeCredits
    Clinical Practice 2 DipDHDE720740 credits
    Preparation for PracticeDE720820 credits
    Dental Public HealthDE720910 credits
    Patient ManagementDE720420 credits
    Dental Radiography and Radiology 2DE720110 credits
    Oral Medicine & Oral PathologyDE721020 credits
    The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

    The School of Dentistry provides a high-quality, evidence-based, research-led, innovative and student-centred educational experience. The School aims to deliver modern, efficient and effective programmes that produce high calibre graduates who can make a positive impact on society by enhancing patient care and advancing dental science.

    Many, but not all, dental hygienists first qualify as dental nurses, acquiring a good understanding of dentistry and care for patients, before taking the additional training required for dental hygiene.

    In 2015, 100% of the School’s graduates were in employment within six months of graduation. Employers included a variety of NHS Trusts and higher education institutions.


    • Specialist dental practice
    • Community dental practice
    • Medical research posts


    2 Year(s)

    Next intake

    September 2016

    Places available

    Typical places available


    Applications received

    Typical applications received

    Contact the School for detailed information


    QAA subject benchmark

    QAA subject benchmark


    What are the aims of this Programme?

    Dental Care Professionals (DCP) are defined as those persons who are involved in the practice of dentistry in its widest forms but who are not qualified with a degree in Dentistry, e.g. BDS. Using appropriately trained Dental Hygienists has been shown to improve dental treatment standards, productivity and efficiency, reduce the clinical workload for the dentist, reduce costs in training the team and improve the distribution of the workforce. Dental Hygienists are trained and competent members of the dental team providing complementary dental treatment for patients. On qualification, individuals are registered with the GDC and are able to work in the primary care General Dental Service, district general hospitals and teaching hospital environments as well as in the community – based dental services, including Dental Access Centres.

    This degree programme is designed to produce graduates with a sound understanding of basic sciences, human diseases and patient care, and with the clinical competence to undertake a wide range of appropriate and agreed dental treatments to a high standard. The Hygienist is increasingly sought after by the dental profession to enhance the provision of dental care for the population and by academic institutions for research and teaching

    What is expected of me?

    ·         Attendance is expected for all aspects of the programme, including lectures and seminars. Students will be required to complete either a self-certificate or provide a signed medical certificate in respect of any sickness during the programme. Any unauthorised absence may be viewed as failure to engage with the programme and could constitute grounds for exclusion from study.

    ·         Students must comply with all local policies and procedures when undertaking clinical placements within the University Dental Hospital, and similarly when attending placements in the community. Students should be dressed smartly when engaged in clinical activity, and should behave in a professional manner at all times.

    ·         In addition to timetabled sessions, students are expected to undertake a substantial amount of self directed study.

    ·         Students are expected to be aware of the Cardiff University policy on ‘Plagiarism and Unfair Practice'.

    ·         Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on ‘Dignity at Work and Study’.

    Students are expected to aware of the Cardiff University policy on ‘Fitness to Practice.

    How is this Programme Structured?

    Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

    No specific equipment required


    What skills will I practise and develop?

    ·      graduates will have acquired intellectual knowledge and practical skills combined with a desire for further learning that will enhance their dental career

    ·      developed an attitude of enquiry and interest centred on the acquisition of knowledge

    ·      the promotion of inter-professional education and development

    ·      a comprehensive academic background for those who intend to undertake further study and research

    ·      hygienists who question scientific knowledge and adopt a self-critical approach to the practice of dentistry

    ·      the intellectual skills required for future personal and professional development 

    How will I be taught?

    The BSc (Hons) programme is a modular programme and delivered by the School Dentistry. Students will be exposed to, and participate in a wide range of teaching and learning activities including, lectures, seminars, group work, practical laboratory sessions, and clinical training. There is a substantial element of directed and self-directed learning as well as enquiry-based learning that allows students to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and professional values and behaviours for safe and successful completion of the programme. The distinctive features of the programme include:

    ·       Integrated theoretical and practical components of learning, teaching and assessment;

    ·       Early clinical exposure in Year 1;

    ·       Extensive clinical training in modern clinics and primary dental care education units;

    ·       Excellent learning environment with support from personal tutors and the Student Services;

    How will I be assessed?

    The assessment schedule is designed to demonstrate that students:

    ·         have attained the standards required by Cardiff University for the award of Diploma of Higher Education, and

    ·         have achieved the required level of competency to become an independent practising dental surgeon having achieved the standards expected by the General Dental Council (GDC) for registration.

    This will be measured across four domains identified by the GDC namely: clinical, communication, professionalism, management and leadership (Preparing for Practise 2012). Knowledge, skills and professional attitudes are assessed both formatively and summatively throughout the programme to enhance and support the learning experience, using a range of assessment tools. These assessment tasks include unseen examinations, written assignments, case reports, practical skills tests, projects, portfolios, on-line assessments, oral presentations and clinical examinations.

    Formative feedback is provided at all stages of the programme and students are encouraged to use their personalised feedback to inform their future learning. Assessments at each level are scheduled at appropriate stages throughout the programme to meet the assessment needs of the students, and are identifiable within an assessment blueprint.

    How will I be supported?

    At all times, students will receive the support of personal tutors based in the School; while on placements they will be supported by an experienced clinical education team.

    Much of the general communication will take place using Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, to which all students will have access. Notes from lectures and other course material, as well as online assessments, will be available on Learning Central. Communication will also take place using our SMS Service, which allows important information to be sent to students directly to their mobile phones. Students will also have access to the Cardiff Portal which provides a single point of access to online information and resources.  This includes email, network filespace, library resources such as the library catalogue, e-journals and online databases, and also Learning Central. These resources are also available via the Cardiff University mobile apps. Students will also receive information skills training throughout their five years on the course including: information research skills and using a reference managing tool.

    The School of Dentistry operates an inclusive curriculum policy for all its programmes. For most academic assessments reasonable adjustments can be made in line with recommendations from the Student Support Unit. High levels of professional standards are expected of students at all times, and although reasonable adjustments will be met as far as possible, the School will need to consider the requirements of the General Dental Council in their deliberations. If a student has concerns regarding the adjustments they may require, the School would be very happy to discuss the nature, implications and potential solutions as part of the pre-application process.

    What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

    Graduates from this programme will be able to:

    • to fulfil the relevant requirements and curriculum laid down by the General Dental Council
    • understand the main disciplines relevant to the role of dental hygienists within the healthcare field
    • promote team working skills with an appreciation of working in a multi-cultural environment
    • be able and confident in dealing with clinical situations and the management of patients
    • contribute immediately to the dental workforce
    • demonstrate critical independence, intellectual integrity and practical skills in the context of safe clinical practice.
    • Demonstrate competency at the range of procedures identified by the GDC

    Other information


    Admissions tutors

    Dr Robert Mcandrew , Admissions Tutor

      Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.