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Postbaccalaureate Pre-dental Program

Portland State offers a Postbaccalaureate (Postbac) Pre-dental Program for individuals who already have a bachelor's degree but are lacking the specific science prerequisites for dental school. Postbac students who prepare for dental school at PSU apply broadly to dental school and many applicants are accepted to schools across the nation each year; see the "Student Success" link at the left menu for more information on schools accepting PSU students.

Career Changers: It typically takes postbac students who are lacking all of the science prerequisites for dental school at least two years to complete the core coursework. Courses can be planned in a variety of ways. Postbac pre-dental students should bring all previous college transcripts to an appointment with a pre-dental adviser; after reviewing previous transcripts, the adviser will work with the student to develop a plan for completing the pre-dental coursework.

Record Enhancers: Individuals who have completed some or all of the basic prerequisites for dental school but wish to finish them and/or enhance their academic record with additional classes are also welcome to apply to PSU to participate in PSU’s Postbaccalaureate Pre-dental Program. Students should bring previous college transcripts to an appointment with a pre-dental adviser to develop an appropriate course plan. However, before applying to the program and meeting with an adviser, such students should review the available science coursework offered at PSU to get a sense for whether it will meet their needs (for example, individuals who wish to take extra upper division coursework should check to see if PSU offers plenty of courses that they have not yet taken). Course descriptions are available in the Bulletin and the terms when they are typically offered are listed in the Course Planning Guide.

Program Structure

The PSU Postbac Pre-dental Program is loosely structured. Postbac pre-dental students take courses alongside undergraduate students; PSU does not have cohorts of postbac pre-dental students. This is not a certificate program. Instead, many postbac students easily earn a second degree in Science as part of their postbac experience (see "Applying to PSU" below for more information). We expect students to drive their own experience in the program, to work with an adviser to develop an individualized academic plan, and to proactively seek assistance with other preparatory efforts from a pre-dental adviser. To participate in our program is to take pre-dental coursework at PSU, to become engaged in relevant activities, and to take advantage of the well-developed advising services we have in place for pre-dental students. Postbac students also have access to PSU’s Health Sciences Advising Letter Service, provided they fulfill requirements for utilizing the service.


The prerequisite courses for dental school are listed on the PSU Pre-Dentistry Worksheet (available at the Pre-Professional Programs page). Note that at PSU, science sequences only begin in the fall term (or are offered in an accelerated format in the summer term). The only exception is General Chemistry (it has both a fall term start and a winter term start). In addition to the core pre-dental science sequences (General Chemistry, Principles of Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Organic Chemistry, General Physics, and Biochemistry), Portland State offers variety of other relevant upper division courses such as Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Immunology, Neurophysiology, and Quantitative Analysis. In addition, PSU offers an Aspects of Dentistry course, taught by the Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs at OHSU School of Dentistry.

DAT Prep: While PSU offers a four-credit course designed to enhance reading comprehension skills for the DAT and other standardized exams, PSU does not offer a comprehensive DAT prep course. Portland State students either study on their own or take DAT test prep course from a local test prep company.

Volunteering & Shadowing: We provide referrals and spread the word about volunteering, research, and dentistry job opportunities as we hear about them but do not "place" students in such positions. Position openings that we learn about are promoted via the Pre-dentistry Listserv. Students are added to this listerv once they visit for an advising appointment.

Applying to the Postbac Pre-dental Program

Admission to the program is based on admission to the University (there is no separate application for the program). Applicants submit a postbaccalaureate application. After creating a login, select POST-BAC Domestic as your student type from the drop down menu. If you prefer to submit a hard copy of the application instead of submitting the online application linked above, you can find it here.

On the application, in addition to designating that you are pursuing the pre-dental (PDEN) program, it is strongly recommended that you indicate that you are pursuing a second degree in the interdisciplinary major called, “Science,” even though that is not your primary reason for coming to PSU. There are two reasons for this:

1) Most postbaccalaureate pre-dental students end up inadvertently completing a second degree in Science, simply by preparing for dental school. Contact a pre-dental adviser to learn more about how the coursework you take as a postbaccalaureate pre-dental student applies toward the Science major.

2) Most postbaccalaureate pre-dental students are using financial aid and require longer than 12 months to complete the prerequisite coursework for dental school. Postbaccalaureate students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree are eligible to receive aid for longer than 12 months, whereas those who are non-degree seeking are not eligible to receive aid for longer than 12 months. 

If you have already identified another major (such as Biology) that you intend to complete while pursuing pre-dental studies at PSU, you are welcome to list that major instead of the Science major.

If you have questions about financial aid for postbac students, please contact the Financial Aid Office at or 503-725-3461.

You can learn more about the postbaccalaureate admissions process here.

We have rolling admission at PSU, but you can find priority application deadlines here.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are admitted close to the beginning of the term in which you intend to start the program, you may not be able to get into the classes you need, as they tend to fill quickly.

If you have questions about admission, tuition, or residency, please contact the Admissions Office at or 503-725-3511.

Academic Advising for Postbac Pre-dental Students

Prospective postbac pre-dental students are welcome to meet with a pre-dental adviser (Liz Shatzer or Melissa Yates) during drop-in advising or via an advising appointment (appointments are available to prospective students during non-peak periods). Once enrolled, postbac pre-dental students are expected to visit their pre-dental adviser for an appointment regularly and to utilize drop-in advising as needed. Students are encouraged to schedule their appointments with the same adviser each time for relationship development, consistency, and efficiency. To schedule an appointment with a pre-dental adviser, please contact the CLAS Advising Center at 503-725-3822.