Geriatrics & Special Needs

The graduate certification in Geriatric and Special Needs Dentistry prepares dentists to be leaders and teachers in geriatric and special needs dentistry. After successful completion of this one-year program, graduate students receive a certificate in Geriatric and Special Needs Dentistry.


In collaboration with disciplines in medicine and psychiatry, the program blends clinical and didactic experiences across the continuum of care for older adults, in settings such as acute care, palliative care, rehabilitative care, and long-term care, with experiences in the Geriatric and Special Needs Clinics, the Geriatric Mobile Dental Unit, St. Luke’s Hospital, and the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.

Graduate students collaborate with medical residents and other allied health care professionals while providing holistic care for patients who have complex dental, medical, or behavior conditions. In tandem with the Geriatric Mobile Dental Unit, students travel to nursing homes in and around Iowa City to provide onsite dental care with state of the art mobile and portable dental equipment.

Students also work as part of a team with medically compromised patients who need to be treated in the operating room under general anesthesia. These experiences help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for providing patient-centered, fundamentally sound and realistic treatment plans for patients with complex needs.

Application Process

Apply online—from the application sign-in page, go to the section under Graduate/Professional Applications and choose the Nondegree application.  Indicate Geriatrics & Special Needs Certificate as the Purpose for Attending.


Applicants are required meet the minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate College at the University of Iowa and the requirements of the Geriatric and Special Needs Dentistry program. Those requirements include:

  • D.D.S. or D.M.D. from an accredited dental school;
  • International students with proper documentation, and a minimum of 3 years experience and/or a Prosthodontics Certificate.

Application Procedures

Applicants are to submit materials to both the Geriatric and Special Needs Dentistry program and the University of Iowa Office of Admissions.

Materials Sent to Geriatric and Special Needs Dentistry Program

  • A set of your unofficial academic records/transcripts uploaded on your Admissions Profile. If you are admitted, official transcripts will be required before your enrollment.
  • A copy of your Supplemental Application
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • A curriculum vitae
  • Your National Board scores
  • Photograph
  • Personal statement
  • Official copy of dental diploma
  • Official copy of dental license

Materials Sent to the University of Iowa Office of Admissions

  • A second set of your official academic records/transcripts (current and former UI students do not need to provide UI transcripts)
  • International students may also be required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores to comply with the university's English Language Proficiency Requirements.
  • Once recommended for admission, international students must send a Financial Statement.

Program Information, Stipend, and Costs

Contact Information

Department of Preventive & Community Dentistry
The University of Iowa
Dental Science Building
Iowa City, IA 52242

Enrollment Management
The University of Iowa
2900 UCC
Iowa City, IA 52242