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Dental Therapy and Dental Hygiene (BSc)

  • UCAS code: B752
  • Next intake: September 2020
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Full time

Entry Year

Why study this course

Dental hygienists and therapists work closely with other members of the dental team. A dental hygienist can carry out treatments such as scaling and polishing, oral health promotion and preventative fissure sealants for both adults and children, therapists, in addition are able to carry out a variety of restorative treatments (fillings) on patients. They may also extract deciduous (baby) teeth, undertake pulpotomies (nerve treatments) and place preformed crowns on badly decayed children’s teeth. 

Studying at the only dental hospital in Wales you will have the opportunity to serve and manage a diverse group of patients of with a wide range of dental disease. You will train alongside undergraduate dental hygienists and dentists learning the same skills.  In years two and three you will attend clinical placements at local outreach dental clinics, providing treatment in situations closely allied to the general practice arena. This will support your understanding of how your role fits the dental team environment in preparation for when you qualify.  

Clinical skills are developed in the School’s state of the art clinical skills laboratory, a facility that closely simulates the real clinical experience, allowing you to prepare and practice for patient care. You will be taught by a dedicated team of academic clinical staff and consultants within the dental hospital as well as clinical staff working in the primary care environment. 

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. We facilitate a friendly and supportive sense of community that helps ensure that our students succeed. As evidence of such the NSS 2017 found that 95% of our students agreed that staff were good at explaining things. 

Our students have one the best employability records amongst UK dental schools. In 2016/17 100% of our undergraduate students were in employment or further study 6-months post qualification*. Key destinations include primary dental practice, hospital dental practice, academic or research posts. You will be equipped with all the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to prepare you for the working environment of dental hygiene and therapy. On graduation, you will be registered with the General Dental Council. 

*Unistats Source: Destinations of leavers from HE record 

This course does not currently accept students from outside the UK/EU.


Distinctive features

*You will benefit from early clinical exposure

*We offer integrated theoretical and practical components of learning, teaching and assessment.

*You will spend time in local outreach facilities in year two and three

*Integrated learning alongside other dental students

*We are the only dental school in Wales


Where you'll study

School of Dentistry

We are the only dental school in Wales, providing unique and important leadership in dental research, teaching and patient care.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2074 2468
  • MarkerHeath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY

Entry requirements

BBB-BBC including Biology or Human Biology. A pass in the practical element of the A Level is normally required. Please note, General Studies or Critical Thinking will not be accepted.  Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM in BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science (Medical) to include Biology or Human Biology.

IB Diploma with 31-30 points with 6 in HL Biology or Human Biology or 665 in 3 Higher Level subjects including Biology or Human Biology.

Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.

Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.

Find out about our Schools' admissions criteria, offer guarantee scheme, changes to programmes and translating your documents.


Grade B or grade 6 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 7.0 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in speaking and a minimum of 6.5 in all other subskills.


At least 100 overall with a minimum of 25 in speaking and 22 in all other subskills.

PTE Academic

At least 70 overall with a minimum of 70 in speaking and a minimum of 62 in all other communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

III: at least a Merit in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require a minimum of five GCSEs with four at grade C/4 and English Language or Welsh (First) Language at a minimum of grade B/6.

As part of the admissions process applicants are required to participate in an MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) if they meet the academic and non-academic requirements of the programme.
Your eligibility to enrol onto the course will be dependent upon a satisfactory Enhanced DBS Check or a Certificate of Good Conduct (if appropriate) and completion of an Occupational Health check (which may include vaccinations). 

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

A full NHS bursary, including tuition fees and a non-repayable bursary for living costs, is available to applicants from the UK. Full details, including information for applicants from the EU, are available on our NHS funding pages.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

An NHS placement is a required part of this course. The NHS only makes placements available to students who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

You do not need any specific equipment.


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

We offer two closely allied programmes: a Diploma in Dental Hygiene (two year programme) and a BSc in Dental Hygiene and Therapy (three year programme), both of which are modular, running in parallel for their first two years.

Years two and three offer opportunities for you to attend clinical placements at local outreach dental clinics, providing treatment to the public in situations closely allied to the general practice arena. In some of these areas you will work alongside dental students utilising a teamwork approach to patient care.

Throughout the programmes the teaching and implementation of professionalism is critical. You will be taught aspects of law and ethics in dentistry as well as the practicalities of dental treatments, and to recognise the importance and necessity of your lifelong and professional development.

Your opportunity to engage and motivate patients and provide contemporary clinical treatments make dental hygiene and therapy a stimulating career.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

During your first year you will study biomedical sciences, human disease subjects and oral disease and its prevention. An introductory module to clinical practice takes place in term two with the aim of preparing you for your first patient contact in term three.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Biomedical SciencesDE710220 credits
Human DiseasesDE710320 credits
Oral Diseases and their PreventionDE710420 credits
Dental Radiography (Year 1)DE710510 credits
Introduction to Clinical Dentistry BScDE710630 credits
Clinical Practice Year 1 (BSc)DE710720 credits

Year two

During year two your course subjects will include dental radiology, oral medicine, and dental public health. The focus will then turn to periodontology (gum disease) and its clinical treatment. During this year you will also be managing your own patients under supervision.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Dental Radiography and Radiology 2DE720110 credits
Patient ManagementDE720420 credits
Dental Public HealthDE720910 credits
Oral Medicine and Oral PathologyDE721020 credits
Periodontology Clinical PracticeDE721140 credits
Adult Restorative Clinical PracticeDE721220 credits

Year three

Emphasis continues with both paediatric and adult clinical practice as well as a year-end research project.

Years two and three offer opportunities for you to attend clinical placements at local ‘outreach’ dental clinics, providing treatment to the dental public in situations closely allied to the general practice arena. In some of these areas you will work alongside dental students in a teamwork approach to patient care.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Research ProjectDE730130 credits
Paediatric Clinical PracticeDE730430 credits
Preparation for PracticeDE730520 credits
Adult Clinical PracticeDE730640 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.

Learning and assessment

Teaching on the 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 clinical skills to manage patients appropriately. We use a variety of methods to enrich your learning experience. These include lectures, small-group seminars and tutorials, direct clinical teaching and e-learning packages. You will be encouraged to research topics and on occasions to present work to your peers.

Knowledge, skills and professional attitudes are assessed both formatively and summatively throughout the course, using a range of assessment tools. Assessment tasks include written examinations and assignments, clinical case reports, practical skills tests, projects, portfolios, competency assessments, online assessments, oral presentations and clinical examinations.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




How will I be supported?

You will receive the support of personal tutors based at the School of Dentistry. When on placements, you will be supported by an experienced clinical lead.

General communication will be delivered via 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 Student Support. 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.


Formative feedback is provided following assessment tasks and during clinical encounters both verbally and as digitally recorded written feedback. 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.

Year 1

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 2

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 3

Written exams


Practical exams




What skills will I practise and develop?

  • Clinical Skills. You will develop the clinical skills required to graduate as an independent practising dental therapist/hygienist.
  • 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.

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

  • fulfil the requirements and curriculum presented by the General Dental Council;
  • understand the main disciplines relevant to the role of dental hygienists and dental therapists;
  • promote team working skills with an appreciation of working in a multi-cultural environment;
  • deal with clinical situations and the management of patients;
  • contribute 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.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Our students have one the best employability records amongst the UK dental schools, in 2017 100% of our undergraduate students were in employment 6-months post qualification Source: Unistats Destinations of leavers from HE record.

On qualification, clinicians register with the General Dental Council and are able to work in various areas of the dental sector: general dental practice; community dental clinics; teaching hospitals and dental schools as well as opportunities in the armed forces.

Graduate careers

  • Specialist Dental Practice
  • Community Dental Practice
  • Medical Research


Years two and three offer opportunities for you to attend clinical placements at local outreach dental clinics, providing treatment to the dental public in situations closely allied to the general practice arena. In some of these areas you will work alongside dental students in a teamwork approach to patient care.

Next steps


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