Why study this course
At the end of this five-year programme you will have the 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 join the professional world of dentistry.
Studying at the only Dental Hospital in Wales you will have the opportunity to serve and manage a diverse group of patients with a wide range of dental diseases.
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 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. You will be taught by a dedicated team of academic clinical staff and consultants within the dental hospital and 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. This is where the majority of clinical teaching takes place. 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.
Our students have one of the best employability records amongst the UK dental schools, in 2017, 100% of our undergraduate students secured a UK Dental Foundation Training (DFT) placement.
Offers made to the School’s capped number programmes are made in good faith on the information provided as part of the application process. If an applicant’s fee status changes following a review of the submitted information, the School will where possible honour the offer. However, due to the restrictions on quota numbers enforced by Welsh Government, the School may only be in a position to defer the offer for the following academic year / intake period.
*Students benefit from early clinical exposure in year one
*Integrated learning alongside other dental students
*The BDS course is delivered in the only Dental hospital in Wales
*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.
AAA including Biology and Chemistry. A pass in the practical element of the science A Level is normally required. Please note, General Studies and Critical Thinking will not be accepted.
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.
Not accepted for this course.
IB Diploma with 36 points including 6 in HL Biology and Chemistry or 666 in 3 HL subjects including Biology and Chemistry.
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.
Applicants with grade B/6 in English Language will be considered, but preference will be given to applicants who hold a grade A.
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.
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.
GCSE grades must include grade A/7 in the single sciences or a minimum of grade AA or grade 7 in the Double Award. Applicants with grade B/6 in English Language will be considered, but preference will be given to applicants who hold a grade A.
As part of the admissions process applicants are required to sit the UCAT test and, if they meet the academic and non-academic requirements of the programme, participate in an MMI (Multiple Mini Interview).
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 will be required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check if your application is successful. If you are applying from certain countries overseas, a Certificate of Good Conduct may be required. If you have a relevant criminal conviction, this will be stated in the check and may affect your ability to enrol on the course. Applicants who are on the barred list should be aware that applying to this course is likely to be considered a criminal offence.
UK and EU students (2021/22)
We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year. Fees for the previous year were £9,000.
Students from outside the EU (2021/22)
We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year.
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.
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 year one you will spend one day a week at the Dental School, with the remainder of teaching at the School of Biosciences situated on the Cathays Park campus.
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 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
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.
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.
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.
In year four the 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.
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.
Learning and assessment
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 year one and in Dentistry at all times. 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.
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.
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.
Careers and placements
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 2017 100% 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.
- Specialist Dental Practice
- Community Dental Practice
- Medical Research Posts
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.