The early part of the programme lays the foundation for clinical practice. A range of biological science modules provide a systems-based approach to understanding the human body and incorporate a range of different subjects. These are delivered by the Medical School and they provide an important foundation for the Basic and Applied Systemic Human Diseases module later in the programme. Alongside these modules, you will have early contact with patients, observing and reflecting on treatment sessions in the dental hospital. You will also start to develop an understanding of being a professional and of patients’ perspectives through a series of modules taught at the School of Dentistry.
A wide range of teaching methods are used, but the emphasis is on enquiry-based learning. You are also expected to become an independent learner and will be supported in this by our in-house virtual learning environment, the e-course.
The second year of the programme builds on the first, with an increased amount of time being spent at the School of Dentistry. Biological science modules focus on the head and oral cavity and other modules enable you to understand the wider context of dentistry and influences of patient behaviour on their oral health. You will undertake further sessions with senior students, assisting them during their patient care. These modules are assessed at the end of the spring term.
The summer term of second year is devoted to developing a range of practical skills and understanding about practical aspects of patient care. You will work in the clinical skills laboratory on phantom heads preparing and restoring teeth. You will also work with your peers, taking medical histories, carrying out dental examinations and also learning how to administer local anaesthetics. You will also gain understanding of a research project in the periodontology teaching area and other academic work will focus on dental pathology, radiography and restorative dentistry.
At the start of the third year you begin treating your own patients under supervision within the dental hospital and start to put into practice the skills and knowledge that you have developed in the early years. This core of Clinical Practice, where you have your own small list of patients, continues through until final year and enables you to understand the importance of continuing care and integrated clinical practice and working with a dental team.
At the beginning of the spring term, you will be introduced to other clinical speciality teaching areas which provide a basis for understanding different aspects of patient treatment and will contribute to whole patient care in Clinical Practice.
In parallel with the clinical work on patients, you will undertake other academic subjects including the Basic and Applied Systemic Human Diseases (BASHD) module. This comprises Medicine, Surgery, Infection, Pathology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics and builds on your solid biological science foundation. This area of teaching is particularly important in helping you to understand the links between general and oral health and the impact of medical treatment on patient care. Dental Public Health and Behavioural Science is also a strand module which starts in this year and enables you to put clinical dentistry into a wider context of population health and dental service provision.
You will be introduced to two new speciality teaching areas this year, paediatric dentistry and oral medicine. In paediatric dentistry you will learn how to adapt the clinical and patient management skills you have already gained to children within the Dental Hospital and later in the year, in an outreach clinic. This will help you to understand the environment which children are growing up in and give you the opportunity to work in your own surgery with a qualified dental nurse, thus further appreciating the importance of team working. Oral Medicine gives you the opportunity to hone your diagnostic skills, further appreciate the link between oral disease and general disease and build on the knowledge and understanding you have been gained from the BASHD module.
Outreach placements for adult primary dental care start in the summer term and continue through until Easter of final year. These take place in community clinics and provide you with experience to support your transition into Dental Foundation Training after graduation.
There is also an opportunity for you to undertake an individually tailored module, either an elective project on a subject of your choice, dental or non-dental, at home or abroad. If you prefer, you may remain on clinic to extend your range of experience or consolidate your learning.
In this final year of your BDS programme, whole patient care is the focus of your clinical work and a programme of tutorials and lectures prepares you for practising once you have qualified. You will continue with some speciality teaching, for example oral surgery, and you will also undertake a block of dental sedation teaching to help you manage extremely anxious patients.
There will also be an opportunity to choose a special study module which will allow you to expand your knowledge, skills and experience in a clinical area of your choice.
You will be taught by nationally and internationally renowned researchers and teachers throughout the course. They will support you in becoming an independent thinker with the ability to critically appraise the evidence-base for clinical dentistry.
There is a strong emphasis on developing your communication skills and professionalism and on working as part of a dental team.
Our outreach teaching programme provides a supportive environment to begin the transition from university to dental foundation training and the elective and special study modules give you an opportunity to pursue individual interests within dentistry and beyond.
We have a recently refurbished clinical skills laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment and our in-house virtual learning environment (the ecourse) complements a range of other teaching methods in supporting your learning throughout the course.
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAA and AS level at grade B/A
Required subjects and grades: Three A levels at grade A, must include Chemistry and Biology plus an A/S level at grade B – these must be obtained in one sitting; Human Biology may be offered, but not in addition to Biology.
GCSE requirements: Candidates must have GCSE Chemistry & Biology at grade A* (or Double Science award at grade A*A*) plus Mathematics and English Language at grade A.
Scottish applicants: Candidates will need to offer 3 Advanced Highers with grades AAA.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 36 points including Chemistry and Biology at Higher Level.
Graduates: Must have achieved (or be predicted to achieve) a First Class honours degree in medical science or related degree with A levels of B.
Learn more about entry requirements
1. Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate competence in English by passing IELTS with a score of 7.0 or higher in all section.
2. Work experience (approximately 14 days or equivalent) in a general dental practice is required before completing the UCAS form. You will be required to declare your commitment, involvement and understanding of the need to be working for the benefit of others. You must also demonstrate an understanding of the empathy needed when dealing with different members of society, something that gives you an insight into working with people from a different background to your own.
3. Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the programme.
4. All students will be required to sign the subject-specific Fitness to Practise Code of Conduct on entry, details of which will be forwarded with an offer letter.
5. The School of Dentistry has an overriding duty of care to the public with whom students come into close contact. In accordance with current Department of Health Guidelines (March 2007) all applicants who are made an offer of a place on the course will be required to complete a screening process for Blood Borne Viruses as a condition of their offer.
6. The nature of undergraduate dental training precludes entry of those who may pose a risk of blood-borne virus (BBV) infection to patients. Therefore all potential undergraduate dental students must undergo additional health clearance before acceptance onto the programme. You are required to be screened for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, to include HBV, HCV and HIV infectivity as part of the offer.
7. All successful applicants must produce satisfactory evidence of immunisation against Hepatitis B (and evidence of non-infectivity) evidence of non-infectivity for HIV and Hepatitis C virus prior to confirmation of a place and becoming registered as a dental student.
8. You must provide either evidence of having received two immunisations against Measles, Mumps and Rubella, or arrange for blood tests to be undertaken to determine your immune status to these viruses.
9. You should also provide evidence of either having received BCG immunisation against TB or a Heaf test grade 2-3 / Mantoux test 6 – 14mm and evidence of immunity to Varicella (Chickenpox) either by positive history of having the virus or by blood test.
Selection of Students
Dentistry is an extremely popular subject at Birmingham. During our selection process academic excellence is only one criterion; it is vital to be able to show that you are highly motivated towards a career in dentistry and possess other qualities required of a dentist. You will be required to declare your commitment, involvement and understanding of the need to be working for the benefit of others in the wider community. You must also demonstrate an understanding of the empathy needed when dealing with different members of our society.
Our system is designed to find students keen to acquire the knowledge to carry out clinical treatments demanding a high degree of skill and precision. We look carefully, therefore, not only at your academic record and potential, but consider fully your confidential report and non-academic interests and achievements.
We stress that you must, before applying, have had some work experience in a general dental practice so that you are fully aware of the opportunities, changes and demands of the profession. We interview prospective students in an informal, friendly manner for about 15 minutes and give you a chance to tour the Dental Hospital and talk to some of our current students.
Please note: this course is open to home/EU students only
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
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