Your Education Path ➔ Your Future Career

Dental students at Iowa progress through a four-year curriculum that provides rich experiences to ensure that all graduates possess the necessary skills and knowledge to become competent, independent dentists ready for practice.

At Iowa, we believe dentists are more than technicians and must develop skills in critical thinking, professionalism, health promotion, interpersonal skills, cultural competency, interprofessional practice and practice management to be successful. We take a holistic approach to a student’s development and have created a curriculum that integrates our collegiate competencies and domains through the four years. Additionally, we know how important it is to begin working on clinical skills, so students begin clinical experiences in the D1 year and hone their clinical skill sets through an innovative clerkship and comprehensive care educational model. As a result, our students see more patients throughout their four years than do dental students at other schools. With a curriculum designed to evolve to ensure our students receive the most up-to-date information and skills, students are prepared to practice state-of-the-art dentistry.


D1 Curriculum

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The D1 year focuses on foundations and exposure to dentistry, and patient care begins with routine preventive care. Biomedical sciences and dental clinical sciences are reinforced and introduced, as students learn basic differences between health and disease. A significant portion of the year is spent in the advanced simulation clinic in which students learn and practice procedures and technical skill on mannequin units.


D2 Curriculum

The D2 year curriculum continues to build on the previous D1 content to a greater degree by combining didactic and psychomotor learning with clinical experiences. Biomedical science course work during the second year of study continues with microbiology, pathology, and pharmacology. Students continue with preclinical courses in oral radiology, endodontics, orthodontics, and pediatrics.  The second-year curriculum includes rotations in the Preventive and Operative dental clinics where D2s place sealants, resin-based composite fillings, and amalgam fillings. Students also spend time in radiology and oral diagnosis clinics.

D3 Curriculum

The D3 year curriculum is designed as an immersion in discipline-focused learning and the practice of clinical skills through “clerkships,” multidisciplinary rotations scheduled throughout the year. D3 students spend designated time in each of the 7 clinical disciplines: endodontics; prosthodontics; operative dentistry; oral and maxillofacial surgery; oral pathology, radiology and medicine; pediatric dentistry; and periodontics. Students will learn and develop diagnostic and surgical skills and apply foundational knowledge acquired during D1 and D2 courses. Emphasis is placed on reinforcing high ethical standards, developing good surgical practices, and learning how to provide compassionate, person-centered care.

D4 Class Curriculum

The D4 year culminates in a comprehensive oral health care setting, as part of the dental curriculum.  It is a learning environment focused on synthesis and integration of concepts learned during the first three years of education. Students also learn through specialized rotations for additional, focused clinical experiences such as geriatrics & special needs and dental emergencies.  All D4 students participate in a 5-week rotation at extramural sites and are exposed to programs that include community health centers, hospitals, nursing facilities, etc. Practice management courses help students choose where to locate their practices as well as manage the business aspects of a dental office.

Dental Building

Course Information

White Coat Ceremony Oath

CoD White Coat Ceremony

Sherry Timmons

Sherry Timmons, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Interim Associate Dean for Education & Curriculum



Portrait of Dr. Kolker

Justine Kolker, DDS, MS, PhD

Director, Assessment and Evaluation