Entry Requirements - BDS Dental Surgery

Entry requirements

The entry requirements listed on this page are applicable to 2024 entry.

All applicants must:

  • Apply through UCAS
  • Offer acceptable academic qualifications
  • Ideally show evidence of work experience in a Dental Practice setting (ideally 3 days+ in a NHS or mixed NHS/private practice)
  • Show evidence of voluntary work in society
  • Sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) in year of application
  • Attend an interview if invited

A complete application must be submitted to UCAS by the 16th October deadline. We will not consider supplementary information received by the university after this deadline.

As per UCAS guidance, for an applicant holding an offer who meets our academic requirements following the release of A Level results as a result of a re-mark, we will offer a place if one is available. If not, we will amend the offer to deferred entry.

Please note that BDS Dental Surgery is not included in the University's offer calculator.

BDS Dental Surgery FAQ's

A levels

  • You are required to have 3 A levels and the standard offer is AAA.
  • Applicants must be predicted AAA, including Biology/Human Biology and Chemistry.
  • All A2 modules of three subjects must be taken in Year 13.
  • General Studies, Critical Thinking and EPQ are not accepted as a third A level. Other such subjects may not be accepted. Please contact us for advice.
  • For candidates studying 4 A levels:
    • Selection for interview will neither be influenced by taking more than three subjects nor by achieved AS or A level grades.
  • AS grades will not be used for selection.

Please note that that we do not consider resits.


A total of seven GCSEs must be offered. The required subjects are:

  • English Language or Literature at grade A/7 or higher
  • Mathematics (or one, but not both, of Methods in Mathematics and Applications of Mathematics) at grade A/7 or higher
  • Biology and Chemistry or dual award science at grade A*/8 or higher

If you are applying after achieving your A level results (application after Year 13) you may not need to meet the GCSE criteria, providing your A level results meet the criteria.

Please note that that we do not consider resits.

For international applicants, please see the international section for examples of other qualifications we may accept.


The UCAT is required for all applications and must have been completed during the year of application prior to the UCAS deadline of 16th October. The way we take the UCAT into account changes and is under constant review. Currently the process is as follows, however this may change for subsequent admissions cycles: We will look at academic criteria first, and then the total UCAT score will be used in the process to shortlist candidates for interview.  

Please visit the UCAT website where interim scores are released – this will help you see how your score compares to others who have taken the exam this year. We are unable to advise on individual scores and the likelihood of an interview being given for individual cases. No further information on how we use the UCAT will be released if you contact us.

Access Arrangements:

  • A number of amendments to the test format are available for candidates who require adjustments (e.g. 25% extra time)
  • The evidence in support of an adjustment must be supplied to UCAT by the deadline they provide and must be approved by them
  • For all candidates whose evidence to support taking an alternative format is approved, we will not be informed of this by UCAT (i.e. we will not know that you have taken the UCATSEN, for example)
  • If approval is not provided by UCAT, they will advise us of this. We will not accept your result and your medicine application to the University of Birmingham will be cancelled. This is because it is unfair to accept a result where a candidate has received significant, unwarranted advantage over other candidates
  • There are some adjustments that cannot be accommodated by UCAT (e.g. readers or scribes). If UCAT inform you they cannot meet your needs you must contact the University of Birmingham to explain your request and the reasons for making it. We will advise you if we will accept an application without a UCAT result. Please note that you must inform us well in advance of the UCAS application deadline because we will not extend it for any reason
  • For more detailed information regarding thresholds from previous application cycles, please see our application statistics document.

Alternate Academic Qualifications

Cambridge Pre-University Diploma

D3, D3, D3 from three subjects, including Biology and Chemistry

Scottish Certificate of Education

  • Scottish Highers of AAAAA plus advanced Highers at AA in Chemistry and Biology with no need for a third advanced higher

Republic of Ireland. Irish Leaving Certificate

  • Minimum of grade H1 in four subjects including Biology and Chemistry. For the Junior Certificate, Grade A must be achieved in six subjects including Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics.

International Baccalaureate

  • Higher level: 6,6,6 to include Chemistry and Biology
  • Minimum of 32 points must be attained
  • Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. Please note that the university's standard English language requirements are minimum standards. As a minimum, the English language IELTS must be 7.0 in each component


Graduates must have achieved 2:1 in a health science related degree (or 65% average if unclassified degree), and a minimum of ABB at A level to include Chemistry and Biology plus one other. You must also offer a minimum of GCSE grade C in Maths and English.

BTEC, Access Courses and Foundation Programmes

We do not consider any of these qualifications.

International and EU Applicants

The following principles apply to international applicants

All applicants must:

  • Provide a strong personal statement
  • Offer acceptable academic qualifications
  • Sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) in year of application
  • Attend an interview if invited

All applicants must have excellent written and spoken English. The university’s standard English requirements are minimum standards, which may be raised through competition. As a minimum the English language IELTS must be 7.0 in each component.

We have up to 3 places available for students who are assessed as international for fee-paying purposes. For more information on fee status, please visit www.ukcisa.org.uk.

Please note that where there is doubt over your fee status (for example, you are a UK national living outside the EU), the university will investigate your fee status before your application for dentistry is considered. If your fee status cannot be defined in time you may lose out on the opportunity for an interview.

The school-leaving qualification must be equivalent to A Levels. We will try to be flexible for those international applicants studying in an educational system with no qualification equivalent to GCSE. But, it must be recognised that it is difficult to make an effective judgment of academic potential based on predicted grades alone. School results must be provided as an absolute minimum.

International Baccalaureate:

  • Higher level: 6,6,6 from Chemistry and Biology and one other approved subject. 
  • Standard level: The subjects must include English and Mathematics if not offered at the higher level (Maths Studies is acceptable)
  • Minimum of 32 points must be attained
  • You must provide results either from the Middle Years' Programme or an acceptable GCSE-equivalent qualification. MYP results will be scored according to the following equivalencies to GCSEs: 7 = A*; 6 = A; 5 = B. A minimum of 5 must have been achieved in Science, English and Mathematics

More information about international entry requirements is provided here. Please be aware that the academic qualifications described within these pages may not be acceptable for dentistry entry. You must contact the Admissions Tutor by email to ask about specific qualifications.

Non-academic offer requirements

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. All successful applicants must produce satisfactory evidence of immunisation against Hepatitis B and evidence of non-infectivity for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus prior to confirmation of a place and becoming registered as a dental student. (The UK Government Department of Health now requires all potential undergraduate dental students to undergo additional health clearance before acceptance onto the course; additional health clearance stipulates that individuals must be non-infectious for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. For further information about these requirements, please see: Medical and Dental Students: Health clearance for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and Tuberculosis).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. You should note that placement providers may require evidence of your Covid-19 vaccination status before permitting you to commence work in the placement setting.
  8. Dentistry is a physical profession and there are certain physical standards which dental students must meet. Please see the standards of medical fitness to train and ensure you are aware of the need to satisfy these criteria. If any of these are a problem, we may not be able to guarantee a place on the BDS course for patient safety reasons.  
  9. Students will be required to complete a successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before admission to the course.

Find out more

Opportunities for candidates with disabilities

We take a positive view of what candidates with disabilities can achieve as future medical professionals and take seriously our obligation to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that all students with disabilities can successfully complete their studies. All applicants will be assessed up to and including the interview on the basis of the criteria outlined here regardless of any disability. We address the issue of disability with all applicants who are invited for interview. You must contact us if you are in doubt about how we will take your disability into account. All students, including those with disabilities, have to be able to meet the outcomes for graduates defined by the GDC. If you declare a disability, we will invite you to work with us to explore how best we can support your studies.

Further information

Minimum Age Requirement

As this programme has a mandatory clinical placement, every applicant for admission to the University must have reached the age of 18 years on 1 October of the year of entry.

Mature Candidates 

The School welcomes applications from mature candidates, but will take account of the length of undergraduate and postgraduate training which has to be undertaken. In addition, we expect that no more than four years has elapsed since the most significant and relevant qualification. 

Extenuating circumstances 

We may be flexible over the route to achieve our academic requirements but we will not reduce the thresholds. We will consider only very serious life events occurring at an important stage in education; such as, absence from education for a significant period of time through illness or unexpected death of a close family member. Following discussion and receipt of independent evidence, we may, for example, consider applicants who study A Levels over 3 years.

Please note that extenuating circumstances affecting examination performance should be presented to the relevant examination board(s) for consideration. We will not consider further mitigation regarding exam results beyond that which the examination board has deemed as suitable. 

Taking a year off 

Approximately 10% of our students have taken a gap year. You will not be at a disadvantage if you apply for deferred entry or after you have completed your school qualifications. If you intend to do this, we expect that the year is used to broaden your experience either by working, travelling, voluntary service or some other activity.

Repeat dentistry application 

We will not consider anyone whose application to Birmingham School of Dentistry has been rejected previously following interview. Otherwise, we will consider those applying for dentistry for a second time (see: Taking a year off). This policy may be waived for those who offer evidence of significant and sustained activity since the last application. This may include completing an undergraduate degree or undertaking two to three years of full-time work.

We do not consider applicants who have studied dentistry previously, in any country, irrespective of if they completed the degree or not.  

Resit grades 

These are not considered (except, see extenuating circumstances). 

Transfer from another degree programme 

We do not consider applicants who are currently studying dentistry or any other degree course. As indicated above, we will consider applicants who wish to study dentistry following graduation.