The Pre-Dentistry program provides guidance on courses, experiential activities, and competencies for students that are preparing to be competitive applicants to Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) after completing their Bachelor's degree at James Madison University. The Pre-Dentistry program is a minor that students complete as part of their baccalaureate degree.

Choosing a Major

Pre-dental students typically obtain a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree while completing the requirements for admission to dental school. Dental schools do not require or prefer a particular undergraduate major, but rather welcome students whose intellectual curiosity leads them to a wide variety of disciplines. Dental schools recognize the importance of a strong foundation in the natural sciences - biology, chemistry, physics - as well as behavioral sciences and statistics. Thus, applicants must complete course requirements and demonstrate proficiency in the sciences as evidenced by the science GPA, overall GPA, and scores on the DAT.

Declaration and Progression Standards

As a Pre-Dentistry student, you will be subect to performance reviews twice a year once you have completed 13 or more credit hours in biology, chemistry, physics, and/or math (BCPM) courses at James Madison University. You must achieve and maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of ≥ 3.00 and BCPM G.P.A. of ≥ 2.90  to retain the Pre-Dentistry declaration. Since dental schools consider all course attempts during the admissions process, the G.P.A. calculations for the Pre-Dentistry Program will include all course attempts. If your academic performance standards fall below a 3.00 overall or 2.90 BCPM G.P.A., you are at very high risk of not being admitted to dental school. Therefore, if you are unable to maintain an overall G.P.A. of 3.00 and BCPM G.P.A. of 2.90 or above, then your Pre-Dentistry Program will be administratively dropped.

Pre-Dentistry Coursework

Pre-Professional Health Advising has developed requirements for the Pre-Dentistry Program based on the the pre-requisite courses of 16 dental schools in the District of Columbia and 10 states (CT, GA, MA, MD, NC, NY, OH, PA, SC, and VA). Review of pre-requisite coursework is completed annually. Students are encouraged to research individual dental schools' list of pre-requisites to assure completion of all pre-requisite coursework. Because these courses are pre-requisites to dental programs, dental school admissions committees will use your academic success in these courses as a metric of your ability to achieve success in dental school.

If you have credit for any of the following courses by earning Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge International Exam (CIE), community college credit, or departmental test credit, please read the Non-JMU Coursework for Pre-Requisite Coursework.

Biology Coursework

  • BIO 140: Foundations of Biology I (4 credits)
  • BIO 150: Foundations of Biology II (4 credits)

At least 16 credits of intermediate (200-level) and advanced (300- and 400-level) Biology coursework is required for the Pre-Dentistry Program. When choosing 16 credit hours of intermediate and advanced Biology coursework, Pre-Professional Health Advising strongly recommends:

  • BIO 245: Microbiology (4 credits)
  • BIO 290: Human Anatomy (4 credits)
  • BIO 370: Animal Physiology (4 credits)

Pre-Professional Health Advising recommends:

  • BIO 240: Genetics (4 credits)
  • BIO 304: Cell & Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  • BIO 482: Human Histology (4 credits)

Chemistry Coursework

  • CHEM 131: General Chemistry I (3 credits)
  • CHEM 131L: General Chemistry Laboratory (1 credit) 
  • CHEM 132: General Chemistry II (3 credits)
  • CHEM 132L: General Chemistry Laboratory (1 credit) 
  • CHEM 241: Organic Chemistry I (3 credits)
  • CHEM 242: Organic Chemistry II (3 credits)
  • CHEM 242L: Organic Chemistry Laboratory (2 credits)
  • CHEM 361: Biochemistry I (3 credits)

Physics Coursework

  • PHYS 140*: College Physics I (3 credits) or PHYS 240: University Physics I (3 credits; Physics majors only)
  • PHYS 140L*: General Physics Laboratory I (1 credit) or PHYS 240L: University Physics I Lab (1 credit; Physics majors only)
  • PHYS 150*: College Physics II (3 credits) or PHYS 250: University Physics II (3 credits; Physics majors only)
  • PHYS 150L*: General Physics Laboratory II (1 credit) or PHYS 250L: University Physics II Lab (1 credit; Physics majors only)

* Pre-Professional Health Advising recommends that you take the PHYS 140-150/140L-150L sequence rather than the 240-250/240L-250L sequence, unless your major requires otherwise. The PHYS 140-150/140L-150L sequence is the non-calculus sequence in general physics. The 240-250/240L-250L sequence is the calculus sequence that requires MATH 235-236 as co-requisites, respectively. Because it is not the calculus sequence of Physics, PHYS 140-150/140L-150L is able to cover more breadth within Physics than the 240-250/240L-250L sequence.

Mathematics Coursework

Calculus: There are four 200-level Calculus options at James Madison University. There are two calculus "pathways"; the 231-232 sequence, 233-234 sequence, and 235 prepare you for more advanced calculus courses. MATH 205 does not prepare you for more advanced calculus courses. Your ALEKS - score may require that you take MATH 155 or 156: College Algebra beforehand, or that you take MATH 199: Algebra/Precalculus Gateway in conjunction with one of the following courses to be successful.

  • MATH 205: Introductory Calculus I (3 credits)
  • MATH 231: Calculus with Functions I (3 credits)
  • MATH 233E: A Modeling Approach to Calculus, Part A (3 credits)
  • MATH 235: Calculus I (4 credits)


  • MATH 220: Elementary Statistics (3 credits)
  • MATH 318: Introduction to Probability and Statistics (4 credits)

Behavioral and Social Science Coursework

Pre-Dentistry students must complete 3 credits of Psychology or Sociology coursework. Students should examine individual dental schools' list of pre-requisites to guide selection of behavioral and social science coursework to assure completion of all pre-requisites.

Students are encouraged to utilize opportunities to take Psychology and Sociology coursework that will also count for General Education's Cluster 4: The Global Experience and General Education's Cluster 5: Sociocultural Domain

  • PSYC 101: General Psychology (3 credits)
  • PSYC 160: Life Span Human Development (3 credits)
  • SOCI 110: Social Issues in a Global Context (3 credits)
  • SOCI 140: Microsociology: Individual in Society (3 credits)

English, Literature, and Writing Coursework

Pre-Dentistry students must complete 6 credits of English, literature, or writing. Typically, students complete this requirement while completing General Education's Cluster 1: Writing and General Education's Cluster 2: Literature requirements. Courses that can fulfill the 6-credit pre-requisite that many dental schools require can include:

  • WRTC 103: (3 credits)
  • any ENG course (3 credits)
  • HUM 200: (3 credits)

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