Skip to main content

Dental Surgery with a Preliminary Year (BDS)

  • UCAS code: A204
  • Next intake: September 2021
  • Duration: 6 years
  • Mode: Full time

Entry Year

Why study this course

We are ranked in the Top 3 for dentistry in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2020) and Top 50 globally for dentistry in the 2020 QS World Rankings.

Dentists work with patients and the general public to prevent and treat dental and oral disease, correcting dental irregularities and treating dental and facial injuries. Dentists lead the dental team and have the skills and confidence to diagnose and treat problems and provide good advice to patients. They have high levels of manual dexterity to carry out intricate surgical and dental procedures and have excellent knowledge of human anatomy and oral diseases, as well as first-class clinical skills.

Our 6 year 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 join the professional world of dentistry. 

Our programme offers an exciting blend of teaching so you will learn the scientific and pathological processes underlying oral and dental disease at the same time as you acquire the clinical and practical skills to manage patients appropriately.

You will be taught by a dedicated team of dental, therapy and hygiene staff with further interactions under the supervision and support from consultants and primary care supervisors. Many are internationally renowned in their areas of expertise, as reflected in the School’s recent performance in the Research Excellence Framework, ranking first in the UK in its Unit of Assessment. This means that you know you are being taught essential skills that will directly benefit you when you are working in practice.

You will be studying at the University Dental Hospital based at The University Hospital of Wales which is the largest teaching hospital in the country. Because we are based in a working hospital you are instantly surrounded by both public, professionals and researchers. 100,000 patient contacts per year – 75% of them directly related to clinical training of our students.

State-of-the-art dental clinics are available throughout our School which facilitate chair-side teaching in a professional and caring environment. Our clinical laboratories feature the latest CAD-CAM technology and three-dimensional printing facilities for intra-oral prostheses. You will also benefit from a £2.2M refurbishment of our pre-clinical (phantom head) teaching facilities.

On qualification, clinicians who register with the General Dental Council and are able to work in various areas of the dental sector; general dental care, community dental care, dental public health, hospital dental care​ and within the armed forces. Every dentist needs to undergo a period of foundation training whatever branch of dentistry you initially take up.

Our students have one of the best employability records amongst the UK dental schools, in 2019, 100% of our undergraduate students secured a UK Dental Foundation Training (DFT) placement.  

briefcase

High employment

We have high employment rates with 100% of our undergraduate students secured a UK Dental Foundation Training (DFT) placement.

rosette

Top 3

The only Dental School in Wales and Top 3 for dentistry in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2020).

academic-school

2.2million simulation suite

The refurnished 2.2 million simulation suite in the Dental School is state-of-the-art and your learning experience gained there will prepare you perfectly for delivery of dental care to patients in the modern clinics. The recently refurbished dental library is also in our building along with laboratory-based research facilities.

calendar

Early clinical exposure

You will benefit from early clinical exposure working in a range of scenarios with experienced and supportive staff.

tick

Firm choice

As part of our offer to you, if you choose us as your firm university choice we promise to save your place for the following year’s entry if you miss your offer grades to allow you to resit your exams.

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

AAA including either no science subjects or a maximum of one science subject from Biology or Chemistry. You will need to pass the science practical element of the A-level if this is part of your programme of study. If you’re a graduate applicant, you must have completed your degree or be in the final year of your current degree. You’ll be expected to have, or achieve, at least a 2:1 and meet the minimum entry requirements for Level 2 and 3 (GCSE and A-level or equivalent).   

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.

DDD in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science or Medical Laboratory Science. If you’re a graduate applicant, you must have completed your degree or be in the final year of your current degree. You’ll be expected to have, or achieve, at least a 2:1 and meet the minimum entry requirements for Level 2 and 3 (GCSE and A-level or equivalent). 

36 overall or 666 in 3 HL subjects. You should either be taking no HL science subjects or a maximum of one HL science subject (Biology or Chemistry). If you’re a graduate applicant, you must have completed your degree or be in the final year of your current degree. You’ll be expected to have, or achieve, at least a 2:1 and meet the minimum entry requirements for Level 2 and 3 (GCSE and A-level or equivalent). 

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.

GCSE

Applicants with grade B/6 in English Language will be considered, but preference will be given to applicants who hold a grade A.

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.

TOEFL iBT

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 must have:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade B/6 or an equivalent. If you require a Tier 4 visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements. Preference will be given to applicants who hold a grade A/7 at GCSE or equivalent.
- six GCSEs including grade A/7 in the single sciences or a minimum of grade AA or grade 7 in the Double Award, or equivalent qualifications (level, subjects and grade).
- sat the UCAT prior to submitting your application.

We won’t consider applicants who’ve had to resit their A-levels.
We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.

ENROLMENT CONDITIONS
Before you start your course, you will need to undergo a health check—including screening for blood-borne viruses—by our Occupational Health Service. If you are non-immune to Hepatitis B, you will need to complete a full immunisation programme before taking part in clinical procedures.

You will also need to have had a Tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years.
Having a blood-borne virus or other infectious diseases won’t prevent you from completing this course and obtaining General Dental Council registration, but some specialties won’t be open to you during training or in your career.

If you have a health issue that you think might have an impact on your ability to study or practice, please contact us before submitting an application. 

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.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Interview or selection process

We won’t make an offer without an interview.

All applicants must meet the minimum requirements at Level 2 (typically GCSE) and Level 3 (typically A-level) in order to be eligible for consideration for interview. When selecting applicants for interview, preference will be given to applicants that have a grade B/6 in GCSE English language (or equivalent).

Our interview process
We use the multiple mini interview (MMI) format, which is a series of short, carefully timed interview stations that you will rotate around in turn.

The MMIs help us to determine if you:
- can think on your feet
- have thought about some of the issues that are important to the profession
- can critically appraise information
- can communicate ideas effectively.

They also focus on exploring the personal qualities and attributes that are important to your future career development.

These interviews allow us to meet you in person and assess information that isn’t always readily forthcoming in the application process—they aren’t intended to test the amount of prior knowledge you have about the subject or the profession.

Tuition fees

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.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

You do not need any specific equipment.

Accommodation

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

Course structure

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 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

Year preliminary

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.

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 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.

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

Career prospects

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 dental schools in the UK.

Graduate careers

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

Placements

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.

Next steps

icon-academic

Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2020 dates
icon-international

International

Learn more about our truly global university.
icon-contact

Get in touch

Contact us for help with any questions you have
icon-pen

How to apply

Find out how to apply for this course

Discover more