Admissions criteria - Dentistry
This is a summary of the information contained in the School of Dentistry’s Admissions Policy for Undergraduate Programmes. Please refer to the full document for the comprehensive criteria.
This policy provides information on admissions requirements, selection policies and procedures for undergraduate dental programmes at Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry.
The admissions policy of the School of Dentistry intends to ensure that the process of student selection is objective, transparent, open, fair and free from discrimination. At the beginning of each admissions cycle, the Admissions and Monitoring Group reviews the previous cycle and recommends to the Board of Studies any changes in policy or the selection criteria. This policy and the selection criteria will not normally be changed during an admissions cycle. All applications must be made through UCAS.
Applications can be made either in English or Welsh languages, and applicants can elect in which of these languages they wish to receive correspondence.
Applicants are advised that no more than four choices from the possible five can be used for dental programmes. Cardiff University is not made aware of applicants' other chosen universities, but is aware of an individual's application for other programmes at Cardiff University. Applications for other programmes at Cardiff University will not affect the manner in which an application for Dentistry is considered. All applications are subjected to verification procedures for fraud and plagiarism.
Information relating to the closing date for applications are detailed in the sections relating to each programme. Applications received after the specified closing dates will not usually be considered.
Details of the minimum academic requirements for consideration for entry into all dental programmes can be found in the School of Dentistry’s Admissions Policy for Undergraduate Programmes.
A level, Welsh Baccalaureate and International Baccalaureate
Typical A level, Welsh Baccalaureate and International Baccalaureate entry requirements can be found in Course Finder.
Applicants under the age of 18
The School of Dentistry is committed to safeguarding both its students and the patients with whom they come into contact as part of our dental programmes. Cardiff University’s Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy (2010), and the Children Act (1989) legally defines a child as a person under the age of 18. As part of the existing curriculum early clinical experience occurs with potential of “Children being exposed to the Clinical Environment”. Therefore Cardiff Dental School requires all applicants to be 18 years or older by the beginning of the academic year, which is normally around 20 September each year.
Cardiff University's School of Dentistry is committed to ensuring that applicants are admitted on the basis of fair admissions practices. Applications that are suspected to contain false, plagiarised, incorrect, or misleading information will be investigated. The University reserves the right to cancel an application and withdraw any offer if it is found that the application contains false or misleading information.
English language requirements
All applicants must have an acceptable English language qualification and these are detailed in each programme's entry requirements within the School of Dentistry’s Admissions Policy for Undergraduate Programmes.
Applicants who have been dismissed or suspended from another University will not be considered.
It is expected that exceptional extenuating circumstances relating to performance in examinations will already have been raised with the relevant Examinations Board, and that the classification of the relevant award will already have been moderated accordingly. Therefore details of exceptional extenuating circumstances need not be documented nor submitted at the time of applying via UCAS.
Extenuating circumstances will only be considered by the School if there was a direct impact on examination results affecting a successful applicant failing to meet the terms of their offer.
Applicants with disability
Applications from individuals with a disability are welcome but such individuals are strongly advised to contact the School for guidance prior to submitting an application if they believe their disability could affect the ability to practise safely. Please refer to the School of Dentistry’s Admissions Policy for Undergraduate Programmes for full details and information for applicants with disability.
Mature applicants, graduates and access qualifications
Applications from mature students through UCAS are welcome. The attention of mature applicants is drawn to the duration of training programmes. All applicants will need to assess their financial situation very carefully, and mature applicants are advised to seek guidance from their Local Education Authority. A Financial Guarantee Form will be sent to graduate applicants at the time that an offer is given.
Graduate applicants are welcome to apply for admission to either the 5-year (A200) or the 6-year (A204) Bachelor of Dental Surgery programmes, according to their previous academic experience in the sciences. Applicants must have completed their degree or must be in the final year of their current degree programme in order for their application to be considered. They will be expected to have, or to achieve, at least an Upper Second class Honours classification in the first degree that they have taken. Academic qualifications obtained before entering university will also be taken into account. Graduate applicants will need to meet the minimum entry requirements.
All graduate applicants for the BDS programmes will be required to sit the UCAT examination prior to applying, in order for their application to be considered.
Graduate applicants for B750 and B752 (Dental Hygiene/Dental Therapy and Hygiene programmes) please refer to Sections 3B and 4B of the Admissions Policy for further information.
Mature students who are pursuing an Access to Science Diploma or Access to Medicine / Dentistry Diploma that is recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education will be considered on an individual basis for entry to the Preliminary Year (six year) Bachelor of Dental Surgery scheme of study (A204). This entry qualification is considered acceptable for those applicants who were unable to continue their formal education at school or college post-16 (eg for personal reasons). Preference is given to applicants who have been out of full-time education for at least four years before their Access course. It is not an acceptable qualification for applicants who have sat, but failed to achieve, the necessary grades at GCE A2 Level, degrees, etc.
For Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy and Hygiene please refer to Sections 3B and 4B of the Admissions Policy.
International Applicants (BDS only)
Applications through UCAS from international students are also welcome to the Bachelor of Dental Surgery programmes (A200 and A204). In common with all UK dental schools, the number of places available for international (non-EC) students is limited.
While the majority of international applicants offer International Baccalaureate or GCE A2 Level subjects, some other international qualifications are acceptable. Please refer to the School of Dentistry’s Admissions Policy for Undergraduate Programmes for detailed entry requirements.
International applicants are required to offer a recognised English Language qualification which must include reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Acceptable qualifications are detailed in the School of Dentistry’s Admissions Policy for Undergraduate Programmes
All international category applicants who are being considered for programmes of study leading to the BDS degree will be required to complete a telephone interview.
International applicants should ensure they have adequate financial resources to support them throughout their programme. The University will require a financial guarantee that all fees can be met. It is unable to offer any scholarship to help students meet these costs.
As part of the admissions process, a survey is sent to all applicants with a Fees status of "O” for Overseas. The purpose of this survey is to ensure all overseas applicants are fully aware of their funding arrangements, and to draw attention to the potential consequences related to funding that may arise if the course is failed or if the individual must leave the course for any reason. If an individual receives the survey; completion is mandatory. Completion of this survey will not affect an application. Applicants from non-European Union (non EU) or European Economic Areas EEA must satisfy the requirements of Tier 4 of the Points-based Immigration System of the UK Border Agency.
Successful applicants will be required to undergo a health check which is carried out independently by the University’s Occupational Health Service. Health questionnaires will be sent to successful applicants with offer packs which must be completed and returned fully and honestly. A history of serious ill-health will not preclude a career in dentistry unless the condition impinges on professional fitness to practise, in which case it will be considered in accordance with the University's Policy for Determining Applicants’ Fitness to Practise and Eligibility to Pursue Regulated Programmes of Study. Students with long term health problems should contact the School of Dentistry for advice prior to submitting an application. If appropriate, an informal (and confidential) discussion with an Occupational Health Physician can be arranged.
Enrolment on to the course cannot take place until the Occupational Health Service has received and approved an applicant's health questionnaire. Delay in returning the questionnaire may also compromise an applicant's university accommodation options.
If an applicant has a health issue that they are not sure may impact on their ability to study or practise they are strongly advised to seek advice.
Successful applicants who accept an offer for entry must ensure that they have an up-to-date Tetanus vaccination (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 and other infectious diseases
Infection with a transmissible blood-borne virus (eg Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV) is not a contra-indication to admission provided there are no other significant health problems. Students carrying an infection will be able to complete the course and obtain General Dental Council registration, but some specialties may not be open to them during training or in their subsequent career. National guidance that is current at the time of admission will be followed. Detailed information may be obtained from the University’s Occupational Health Service.
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.
All students will undergo screening for blood-borne viruses shortly after enrolment and those that are non-immune to Hepatitis B will be required to complete a full immunisation programme before becoming involved in clinical procedures. This can be administered by the University’s Occupational Health Service.
Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS)
Admission to the undergraduate dental programmes includes special provisions for the protection of the public and for ensuring a dental professionals’ honesty, integrity and probity. It is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) Section 4 (2) (Exemption) Order 1975, DHSS Circular HC (88) 9 Guidelines regarding Child Protection and Police Checks.
UK applicants will be required to complete the Disclosure and Barring Service process at the ‘Enhanced’ level. International applicants and those from EU countries should provide a Certificate of Good Conduct, in English Language from the police or appropriate legal authority from their country of residence. Those who have been resident in the UK for longer than one year will also be required to complete the Disclosure and Barring Service process. All information provided will be treated in absolute confidence.
Detailed information will be given to successful applicants.
Enrolment onto the course cannot take place until clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service check has been received. Delay in returning the DBS form may also compromise an applicant's university accommodation options.
Applicants are required to disclose all police cautions, reprimands, bind-overs and warnings, in addition to formal offences and convictions. These, and any issues raised by the Disclosure and Barring Service report, will be dealt with according to the University's Policy for Determining Applicants’ Fitness to Practise and Eligibility to Pursue Regulated Programmes of Study. Failure to disclose relevant information may lead to an offer being withdrawn. The School will follow the principles outlined in “Student Professionalism and fitness to practice – Guidance for training providers” published by the GDC. It will consider fitness to practice of a potential dental student in relation to how it may have an impact on patient and public safety and on the public’s trust in the dental profession. Cardiff University School of Dentistry will also consult with the GDC, where necessary.
The selection process
The selection process for prospective students also involves a judgement about the individual’s ability to meet the academic, physical and emotional demands of healthcare training. However, there are generally three stages to the selection process. Members of the Dental School's Admissions and Monitoring Group are involved at all stages.
In order to establish an applicant’s potential to cope with the academic requirements of the programme, the initial assessment consists of screening applications according to whether they meet the specified minimum academic entry requirements shown in the appropriate appendices of the Admissions Policy for Undergraduate Programmes. Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements will be deemed unsuccessful and will be notified of this decision by UCAS.
The remaining applications will be ranked according to their overall prior certificated academic qualifications, usually GCSE and GCE A2 Level grades (or predictions), non-academic criteria according to the information in their personal statement, the referee’s report given on the UCAS Application Form and aptitude tests (UCAT). From this ranking, applicants will be identified for interview. This means that not all applicants who have met the minimum academic requirements will proceed to the next stage of the selection process; it will depend on their ranking, and consequently, the competition.
Applicants with other qualifications, whether from within the UK, the European Community or elsewhere will be considered on an individual basis but will be expected to have achieved a comparable high level of achievement within their own education systems.
In order to achieve the aims of the undergraduate programmes the School of Dentistry seeks to admit students from all backgrounds who can demonstrate the following aptitudes and qualities:
- evidence of potential for high academic achievement
- an understanding of the demands of dental training and practice
- a caring and committed attitude towards people
- the ability to communicate effectively
- a willingness to accept responsibility
- non-academic interests and personal achievements.
All applicants are expected to have an appreciation of the length of the training programme and the career structure, and how this relates to their own situation and circumstances. The selection process for prospective dental students also involves a judgement about the individual’s ability to meet the academic, physical and emotional demands of healthcare training.
The School recognises that opportunities for certain types of work experience and participation in some non-academic activities will vary according to individual circumstances, including an applicant's cultural or socio-economic background, or the activities available in their local area. Therefore, selectors are not prescriptive about the ways in which the non-academic selection criteria may be demonstrated but, where asked for, it is expected to be shown and documented as necessary.
Attitudes and values
The School of Dentistry expects and seeks to admit students who will show exemplary behaviour and courtesy towards patients, teaching staff, other members of the healthcare team and members of the general public. The School of Dentistry also places particular emphasis on the duties and responsibilities students will have as a future dental professional.
See ‘Selection Interviews’ section.
Applicants will be advised of decisions by UCAS, and also in writing by the School Undergraduate Student Centre (Admissions). Decisions reached by the Admissions and Monitoring Group are final.
Confirmation of a place
The examination results of applicants taking standard qualifications, who are holding conditional offers, are transmitted electronically by UCAS to Cardiff University; the School of Dentistry will review grades obtained. Applicants with non-standard qualifications such as graduates and overseas students are responsible for ensuring that the Undergraduate Student Centre (Admissions) is informed of their results immediately after they are published, and must provide copies of relevant certificates.
Applicants who have met the terms of their offer will be notified on results day by UCAS, and later in writing by Cardiff University. Those who have failed narrowly to meet the terms of their offer are referred to the Admissions and Monitoring Group for review. All information available relating to the application, including documented extenuating circumstances if appropriate, will be taken into account before making a decision as to whether the student should be offered a place. UCAS and the Undergraduate Student Centre (Admissions) will notify the applicant of the decision. The decision is final.
Prospective students are encouraged to visit the Dental School during the Cardiff University Open Day.
All applicants for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery programmes (A200 / A204), other than those resident in exempt countries are required to take the national UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). Test results obtained in previous years are not accepted. Comprehensive information on this, including specimen test questions, can be found on the UCAT website.
Cardiff University School of Dentistry does not have a minimum threshold score for the UCAT and utilises all sections of the UCAT examination to rank and select students both for interview and subsequent making of offers.
No offers are made without interview. Interviews are offered to applicants who achieve the highest positions according to their selection process rankings. Interviews take place during set times and no significance should be attached to the day and time allocated. Those who are not invited for interview will be informed, through UCAS, that their application has been unsuccessful.
Cardiff University School of Dentistry generally employs the process of the multiple mini interviews.
Applicants will rotate around 10 stations in turn. The interviews focus on exploring the personal qualities and attributes important in developing good dentists in the future. Invitations to interview will be sent via email with a link to our online booking system. No offers for a place to study an undergraduate programme at the School of Dentistry will be made until all interviews have been completed to ensure all applicants have an equal opportunity.
Interviewers receive specific training and guidance on the form and conduct of the interview, including equal opportunities and diversity training. Individual interviewers assess each applicant’s performance and the interview panel outcome is dependent on the aggregate score.
The multiple mini interviews are conducted in English. It may be possible for some stations to be conducted in Welsh, any applicant wishing to have part of their interview conducted in Welsh must contact Admissions at DentalUGAdmissions@cardiff.ac.uk, who will try to accommodate such requests.
Applicants cannot normally change an interview date or time. However on rare occasions it may be possible to accommodate a request to change an interview date. Admissions at DentalUGAdmissions@cardiff.ac.uk should be contacted at least 2 weeks in advance of the interview dates if an applicant would like to explore such a request.
It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure they are physically and mentally fit for the interview. Retrospective adjustment for a weak interview performance will not be made.
Extenuating circumstances at interview
Any extenuating circumstances that may affect an applicant’s performance at interview must be stated in the interview special requirements form or emailed to Admissions at DentalUGAdmissions@cardiff.ac.uk before the interview. Any aspects of the interview that an applicant feels may have not been fairly or properly applied must be brought to the attention of the Admissions Team on the day of interview and not retrospectively.
Failure to attend an interview
Failure to attend without good cause will be seen as an application being withdrawn.
Cardiff University School of Dentistry is committed to widening access and welcomes applications from students of all backgrounds. The academic and non-academic attainment of a candidate will be reviewed against educational performance data and socio-economic background to provide admissions tutors with a more complete overview of an applicant’s attainment and potential. The School will consider this information when deciding whether to call a candidate for interview.
It will not use this information to make lower or differential offers to any particular group of students. For further information please visit our contextual data webpages.
Applicants for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (A200/A204) who re-sit A levels will not be considered.
Those whose under-achievement was due to exceptional extenuating circumstances should refer to section 1.6 of the Admissions Policy for Undergraduate Programmes.
Cardiff University School of Dentistry will consider applicants seeking deferred entry and this should be stated at the time of application. Applications are made through UCAS in the usual way. The UCAS form should be amended clearly to show the intention to defer at the point of application. The individual’s personal statement should include an indication of the reasons for deferred entry. Deferment of entry for a period longer than 12 months is not permitted.
Applicants accepting deferred places are expected to make arrangements for contact with the Dental School to be maintained if they are travelling overseas. Deferment requests post-application will not normally be considered unless there are significant changes in an applicant’s situation, these must be made at least 2 weeks before any examination results day and are at the sole discretion of the Head of School.
The School of Dentistry does not accept transfers to its undergraduate dental programmes.