Dental Surgery with a Preliminary Year (BDS)

Our 6 year BDS programme includes a foundation year and is an opportunity for you if you haven’t chosen the science subjects required for the five-year programme.

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The 6 year BDS programme includes a preliminary foundation year which gives students who haven’t studied the science subjects required for the five year course the opportunity to progress to the full BDS course.

At the end of the full programme you will have knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to register with the General Dental Council (GDC). This will allow you to complete your Dental Foundation Training (DFT) year, and ultimately join the professional world of dentistry.

The School of Dentistry is located in the University Dental Hospital on Cardiff University’s Heath Park campus, a 53-acre site shared with the University Hospital of Wales. This is where the majority of clinical teaching takes place on our three undergraduate programmes. With around 100 undergraduate students per year, we are still a relatively small dental school. We believe that this helps facilitate a friendly and supportive sense of community ensuring that our students succeed. In the NSS 2015, 97% of our students agreed that staff were good at explaining things.

Studying at the only Dental Hospital in Wales you will have the opportunity to serve and manage patients of diverse ages and backgrounds with a wide range of dental diseases including some of the more unusual oral cancers. 

Clinical skills are developed in the School’s recently refurbished £2.2M clinical skills laboratory, a facility that closely simulates the real clinical experience, allowing you to prepare and practice for patient care. You will have the opportunity to train alongside Dental Therapists, Dental Hygienists and Dentists learning the same skills. This will support your understanding of how your role fits into the dental team environment in preparation for when you qualify and commence practice.

The dedicated Dental Library houses an extensive collection of books and journals to aid your learning. You will also have access to an undergraduate IT suite and to a new £1.5M redevelopment of lecture theatres and student social spaces on the Heath Park campus.

You will be taught by a dedicated team of academic clinical staff and consultants within the dental hospital and in the latter years of the course clinical staff working in the primary care environment. The quality of the teaching you will receive has recently been ranked the best in the UK for dentistry (Guardian’s University Guide 2016). The School's courses were given a maximum 100 out of 100 score.

Our students have one of the best employability records amongst the UK dental schools, in 2015, 99% of our undergraduate students secured a UK Dental Foundation Training (DFT) placement. 

Distinctive features

  • Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry was ranked 1st in the Guardian University Guide 2016 and the Times Good University Guide 2016, making it the best place to study dentistry in the UK.
  • The BDS course is delivered in the only Dental hospital in Wales.
  • Students benefit from early clinical exposure in year one.
  • The course offers extensive clinical training in the University Dental Hospital clinics in addition to outreach clinical teaching facilities in purpose built education units, community dental service clinics and district general hospitals.

What attracted me to Cardiff Dental School was the uniqueness of the course it offers. Firstly, it offers the BDS degree as an Hons degree, something that no other school offers. Secondly, the entire last year is completely practical based - something which all the other dental schools envy.

Greg Coffey, Undergraduate student

Key facts

UCAS CodeA204
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration6 years
ModeFull time
AccreditationsGeneral Dental Council (GDC)
Typical places availablePlease contact the school for more information.
Typical applications receivedPlease contact the school for more information.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

For detailed entry requirements see the School of Dentistry admissions criteria pages.

Typical A level offerAAA, including no more than one of Chemistry, Biology or Physics. For 2015 entry: AAA, including no more than one of Chemistry or Biology.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above), excluding the required Science A-levels.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer36 points, with a minimum score of 6 at Higher Level in ONE of Chemistry, Biology or Physics. For 2015 entry: 36 points, with a minimum score of 6 at Higher Level in ONE of Chemistry or Biology.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

Teaching on the BDS programme is integrated, so you will learn the scientific and pathological processes underlying oral and dental disease at the same time as you acquire the necessary skills to manage patients effectively.  In the Preliminary year you will be based in the School of Biosciences on the Cathays Park campus.  In year one you will spend one day a week at the Dental School, with the remainder of teaching at the School of Biosciences.

In years two to five you will be based in the School of Dentistry. As you become more experienced in your fourth and fifth year, you will spend time away from the Dental School in primary care settings for a period of around five weeks.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Preliminary year

During the preliminary year you will study 120 credits alongside students from other science disciplines. Your combination of modules will depend on your prior qualifications, but this usually includes modules on biological and chemical sciences, mathematics and optional modules in subjects such as psychology and languages. A 10 credit module has been developed to allow early integration with clinical practice, where you will shadow year four and five students at St David's Hospital in Cardiff.

Provided you satisfactorily complete the preliminary year, you will progress onto year one of the five year BDS course.

Year one

During year one, you will spend much of your time pursuing your studies in the School of Biosciences. Here you will learn about the human body in health and disease as well as disease of the teeth and the supporting tissues. You will spend every Friday in the School of Dentistry, where you will be introduced to aspects of clinical dentistry. As you progress through the course, you’ll learn more advanced skills in patient management, the importance of whole patient care, and their long-term management – just as if you were a qualified dental surgeon.

Year two

In year two onwards you will be based in the School of Dentistry. Initially in year two you will develop your clinical skills and knowledge through a variety of lectures, seminars and simulated clinical activities. Under close supervision you will see your first patient and from then on you will have patients allocated to you to manage and treat.

To underpin this you will need to understand the basics of disease including those that affect the dento-facial area, their management and prevention along with the diagnostic tools required for clinical practice. Fundamental to clinical practice is the requirement to work professionally and ethically and be able to communicate effectively to patients and staff. These essential skills are explored in detail at many points during the course through innovative and exciting interactive sessions.

Year three

In year three you will continue to develop your clinical skills and knowledge through a variety of lectures, seminars and simulated clinical activities. In addition, you will further enhance your ability to manage and treat patients.

You will continue to understand the basics of disease including those that affect the dento-facial area, their management and prevention along with the diagnostic tools required for clinical practice.

The requirement to work professionally and ethically and be able to communicate effectively to patients and staff will remain important elements of your teaching. These essential skills are explored in detail at many points during the course through innovative and exciting interactive sessions.

Year four

In year four emphasis is on developing clinical skills in a variety of environments including the School of Dentistry, community dental clinics, district general hospitals and dedicated outreach teaching facilities in and around Cardiff. A deeper understanding of the treatment planning process, the management options, including preventive orientated patient care, are developed giving our students a very broad based education to prepare them for their exciting careers.

Year five

In year five there is continued emphasis on developing clinical skills in a variety of environments including the School of Dentistry, community dental clinics, district general hospitals and dedicated outreach teaching facilities in and around Cardiff. A deeper understanding of the treatment planning process, the management options, including preventive orientated patient care, are developed giving our students a very broad based education to prepare them for their exciting careers.

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.

How will I be taught?

We use a variety of methods to enrich your learning experience. These include lectures, small-group seminars and tutorials, individual teaching on clinics and e-learning. Project work allows you to work in groups or individually and you will be encouraged to research topics and present work to your peers. Other methods include problem solving exercises and practical classes. Simulation is used to deliver and develop key skills such as managing medical emergencies.

How will I be supported?

You will receive the support of personal tutors when based in the School of Biosciences in your preliminary and first years and then in the School of Dentistry from year two onward. When on placements, you will be supported by an experienced clinical lead.

General communication will typically be delivered using Learning Central, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, to which all students have access. Notes from lectures and other course material, as well as online assessments, will be available on Learning Central. Our SMS Service also allows important information to be sent directly to mobile phones.

The School of Dentistry operates an inclusive curriculum policy. This means that, for most academic assessments, reasonable adjustments can be made in line with recommendations from the Student Support Unit. High professional standards are expected, and although reasonable adjustments will be met as far as possible, the School will need to consider the requirements of the General Dental Council. If you have concerns regarding adjustments you may need, we are happy to discuss the nature, implications and potential solutions as part of the pre-application process.

Feedback

Formative feedback is provided following assessment tasks at all stages and students are encouraged to use personalised feedback to inform their future learning. Assessments at each level are scheduled at appropriate stages, and are identifiable within an assessment blueprint so that students can plan their studies.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment schedule is designed to demonstrate that you have: 

  • attained the standards required by Cardiff University for the award of a Bachelor’s degree. (Students achieving a high standard will be awarded a BDS with honours or commendation)
  • achieved the required level of competency to become an independent practising dental surgeon having met the registration standards expected by the General Dental Council (GDC).

This will be measured across four domains identified by the GDC: clinical, communication, professionalism, management and leadership (GDC-Preparing for Practise 2012).

For further information please visit the GDC’s website:

www.gdc-uk.org

Knowledge, skills and professional attitudes are assessed both formatively and summatively throughout the course, using a range of assessment tools. This will help you to develop as learners by signposting your progress on the course. Assessment tasks include written examinations, written assignments, case reports, practical skills tests, projects, portfolios, online assessments, oral presentations and clinical oral examinations.

What skills will I practise and develop?

  • Clinical skills - You will develop the clinical skills required to graduate as an independent practising dental surgeon.
  • Team-working - You will undertake a variety of group-based activities, working in pairs and alternating between operating and assisting. This develops your ability to work collaboratively. We ensure that you work closely with the wider Dental Team, including; NHS Consultants, Dental Care Professionals, Dental Nurses, Dental Technicians and administrative staff.
  • Communication skills - You will develop the ability to communicate effectively throughout the course, from formal lectures to interaction with individuals from different backgrounds. You are expected to demonstrate this ability through a commitment to a reflective practice ePortfolio.
  • Self-directed learning - You are expected to commit a substantial amount of time to self- directed learning, using the vast information resource provided. Your ability to drive your learning and development will be vital in continued personal and professional development.
  • Information technology. Skills will be developed through Computer Aided Learning, Word Processing, Statistical Packages, Presentation software, information skills and the computer-based patient booking and electronic record system SALUD.
  • Interview skills - You are prepared for interviews by dedicated sessions with actors. This gives valuable practice for scenarios you could face during OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) along with techniques for formal interviews.

Upon graduation, as a result of engaging fully with the course, you will be able to:

  • practise safely and effectively, making the high quality long term care of patients your first concern;
  • recognise the role and responsibility of being a dental practitioner, and demonstrate professionalism through their education, training and practice in accordance with GDC guidance;
  • demonstrate effective clinical decision making;
  • describe principles of good research, how to access research and interpret it as part of an evidence based approach to practice;
  • apply an evidence-based approach to learning, practice, clinical judgment and decision making, using critical thinking and problem solving skills;
  • accurately assess your capabilities and limitations, demonstrating reflective practice in the interest of high quality patient care;
  • recognise the importance of lifelong learning and apply it to practice.

Once you have qualified there are a number of different careers open to you. Everybody needs to undergo a period of vocational training whatever branch of dentistry they initially take up. Advice to help you make the appropriate choice is available from your tutor as well as other members of staff.

In 2015 99% of our BDS students secured a Dental Foundation Training (DFT) placement, ensuring that we have one of the strongest BDS employability records among our competitor dental schools in the UK.

Jobs

  • Specialist Dental Practice
  • Community Dental Practice
  • Medical Research Post

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You do not need any specific equipment.

We have a long tradition of clinical teaching and experience outside the School. These experiences are valued by employers. As you become more experienced in your fourth and fifth year, you will spend time away from the Dental School in primary care settings for a period of around five weeks. These placements give you the opportunity to observe and treat an extended range of patients in community dental practice and district general hospitals throughout Wales and England. In addition, the School has two dedicated outreach centres located in the city centre and surrounding areas where you will regularly manage your own patients in a primary care setting over the last two years of the course.


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.