The training that leads to a D.D.S. degree is a combination of didactic (theoretical) and applied coursework together with a progressive experience in patient treatment in a clinical environment. The early curriculum focuses on developing a solid foundation in the biomedical sciences and commences preparation in the clinical sciences with introduction to the various disciplines in dentistry. As the student rises through the curriculum, the instruction shifts more and more to hands-on, pre-clinical exercises, in which students learn how to perform procedures in a laboratory or simulated patient environment. By the third year, the student is schooled in more sophisticated aspects of dental care and spends substantially more time treating patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist. In the fourth year, the emphasis is on comprehensive management and treatment of patients. While the student gradually acquires more expertise and assumes a growing responsibility for delivery of patient care as he/she advances through training, it should be noted that the opportunity to interact with patients and provide appropriate limited care is presented within the first year. This is a hallmark of the educational experience at The University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and is consistent with our reputation for providing an excellent clinical education with a strong patient contact component.
In addition to technical competency and clinical proficiency, the curriculum addresses knowledge and development in other key areas necessary to prepare our graduates for their roles as responsible health care professionals. The curriculum provides students with direct experiences in service outreach and in research and scholarly activity. Courses are offered in practice management. The program integrates learning opportunities that promote critical thinking and social and ethical development.
Dentistry Catalog/Course Descriptions
Students learn under the watchful eye of faculty who are educators and experienced dentists. Many are specialists in the disciplines they teach. All are committed to the highest educational ideals. Our faculty also engages in research and scholarly activity, but first and foremost they teach, and in many respects, serve as mentors to our students. Their ability to educate students and prepare dentists is their primary role and a responsibility they take very seriously.
The dental program is intense and demanding. There is an extensive body of information and a host of new skills to master in a relatively short time. An average course load is about 25 credit-hours per semester and all courses must be completed with a “C” or higher in order to advance to next succeeding level. The learning experience is formatted around a cohort model, in which a class of 56 entering students progresses through the entire program together. The cohort approach promotes positive peer interaction and camaraderie and enhances the learning environment.