Preparing to Apply

Deciding to purse a DDS degree is exciting, but it can be a stressful and complicated process, with lots of moving parts and deadlines. With so many details, it's easy to get overwhelmed.

To keep you organized, we've put together this DDS Admissions Checklist. Follow along to track your application tasks and deadlines with the simplified PDF version of this checklist. Save it to your phone or print it out for easy reference. 

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DDS Admissions Checklist

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Admissions Requirements

Students applying to the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics DDS program must mee the following minimal requirements.

Applications must be submitted online through the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). The deadline for receipt of the AADSAS is September 15. All applications must be verified by AADSAS for consideration. Applications that are incomplete cannot be acted upon.

  • May 14, 2024: 2024-25 ADEA AADSAS application and the ADEA AADSAS Fee Assistance Program (FAP) paperless opens. 
  • June 4, 2024: First date to submit your 2024-25 ADEA AADSAS application.
  • Advantageous to Apply Early
    • We have a rolling admissions process. This means the earlier we receive your completed, verified application, the earlier our committee conducts a wholistic review of your application and you can be considered for an interview.

Your AADSAS application must be submitted and completed by September 15.

  • Iowa does not have a supplemental application.

  • Applicants must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of study at an accredited college or university prior to enrollment in the DDS program.
    • Most applicants complete a bachelor's degree.
  • Applicants who have 60 credit hours from community college(s) must complete any additional course work at a four-year accredited college or university.

Required Courses

All applicants must complete the following prerequisite courses at an accredited college or university with a grade of C or higher no later than June 30 of the intended entering year. 

Grades of C- or lower and courses taken pass/fail or credit/no credit will not be considered as meeting the prerequisite requirement.

  • 8 hours of Physics: 1/4 lab work
  • 8 hours of General Chemistry: 1/4 lab work
  • 8 hours of Organic Chemistry: 1/4 lab work
  • 3 hours of Biochemistry (does not require lab work)
  • 8 hours of Biology: some lab work
  • English including composition, rhetoric, speech courses required for bachelor's degree

Courses Effected by COVID-19

  • If you attended an institution that mandated coursework change to Pass/Fail during the spring or summer 2021 sessions due to COVID-19, the University of Iowa College of Dentistry expects your institution to annotate this mandate on your transcripts.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 (as calculated by ADEA AADSAS).

Transcripts must be sent to ADEA AADSAS from all institutions you listed in the Colleges Attended section of your application, even if the courses later transferred to another institution or you were dismissed from the institution for any reason.

ADEA AADSAS cannot process your application without receiving all of your transcripts.

Visit the ADEA AADSAS Applicant Help Center for instructions on how to send official US or English-Canadian transcripts to ADEA AADSAS.

Official scores must be received by September 15.
Applications without official DAT scores by September 15 will be regarded as incomplete and will not be considered.

  • DAT (or CDAT) scores are required for admission consideration.
  • Applications will not be considered before official DAT or CDAT scores are submitted to AADSAS.
  • When more than one DAT or CDAT score is reported, the most recent set of scores is considered to meet our admissions requirements.
  • DAT (or CDAT) must have been taken within 3 years of the year in which admission is sought.
  • Minimum DAT or CDAT Scores for Admission Consideration
    • DAT Academic Average: 15 minimum score on most recent test date.

The UI College of Dentistry requires applicants to submit either a minimum of one [1] committee letter/packet or three [3] individual letters of evaluation.

ADEA AADSAS allows applicants to submit one committee letter and one individual letter, or four individual letters.

  • Letters do not need to be written by specific professors or professionals.
  • Letters must be submitted to AADSAS through the AADSAS Portal.
  • Visit the ADEA website for a description of letter types.


The personal statement provides you the opportunity to provide a clear picture of who you are and, most importantly, why you want to pursue a career in dentistry; and how the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics can help candidates achieve their goals.

Shadowing a dentist or dental specialist to observe procedures, learn terminology and techniques, observe different practice environments and ask the dental professional questions about their journey to practicing dentistry.

Shadowing a dentist will give you the opportunity to confirm and demonstrate your desire to pursue dentistry and also help you picture yourself as a practicing dental professional.

  • A minimum of 40 hours of dental shadowing is recommended.
  • Shadowing under a variety of general dentists and dental specialists is desirable.

Report your experiences (dental-related or otherwise) on your ADEA AADSAS application.

  • Experiences could include (but are not limited to) academic enrichment, employment, extracurricular activities, leadership, volunteer/community enrichment, research, and dental experience.
  • Applicants who show a commitment to addressing health disparities and caring for underserved communities are given strong consideration.

All offers of acceptance and admission are conditional pending completion, at the applicant's expense, of acceptable Background Checks. Once accepted, applicants will receive instructions on how to apply for the Background Checks. 

We are unable to offer interviews to all applicants. The Admissions Committee will contact those who are selected for an interview via email.

  • If you are selected for an interview, we require a processing fee of $60 for US residents, $100 for international students.
  • Interviews are conducted on weekdays from August through November.
  • It is in the applicant's best interest to schedule their interview as soon as possible after the invitation is received.
  • Applicants who sign up for an interview date and do not show will have their application cancelled immediately.

For additional information about our program, please visit our DDS Program FAQ page.

Helpful Resources