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What A-levels do you need to become a dentist?

Are you planning to study dentistry at university? Make sure your A-level line-up keeps your options open and flexible when it comes to applying to dentistry courses...

If you want to study dentistry, then it’s crucial you pick the right A-levels. Most courses will ask for chemistry or biology or both, but a few will also expect maths or physics at A-level.

A-level subjects for dentistry

What A-levels are needed or essential to become a dentist?

Chemistry, biology and either maths or physics (or both) will keep all dentistry courses open to you.

If you don’t take maths or physics but do take chemistry and biology, most courses will accept you.

If you only take one from chemistry or biology, fewer dentistry courses will accept you.

See where your A-level choices can lead next, try our A-level Explorer tool

What A-levels are useful to have to become a dentist?

  • maths
  • physics

Take a look at individual dentistry courses on The Uni Guide to find out the most popular subjects dental students took before progressing to university. 

Examples of entry requirements to study dentistry

Below are a range of dentistry courses offered by different universities and the A-level entry requirements they ask for their September 2018 intake (as of 25 January 2018).

You should always check the entry requirements yourself before you apply anywhere, but this will give you a good idea of what to expect. Spoiler alert: it’s not easy to get in!

University of Birmingham – BDS Dentistry: ‘Typical offer: AAA. Required subjects and grades: A-levels must include Chemistry and Biology. These must be obtained in one sitting. Human Biology may be offered, but not in addition to Biology. GCSE A* in Biology and Chemistry and A in Mathematics and English Language. You must also sit the UCAT. General Studies won’t be considered. At both A Level and GCSE, resits are not considered.’

University of Cardiff – BDS Dental Surgery: ‘A-levels: AAA, including Biology and Chemistry. General Studies and Critical Thinking won’t be accepted.’ 

Queen Mary University of London – BDS Dentistry: ‘A-levels: AAA - Chemistry or Biology, another Science or Maths (Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Maths). Any A-level except Critical Thinking or General Studies, or Further Maths if Maths is taken too.’

Find entry requirements for a specific course, search for a course now

Do I need to do extra study to do cosmetic dentistry?

You can choose to learn more about aesthetic dentistry, which has become an increasingly popular vocation in dentistry. This is usually offered as a postgraduate course, meaning you’ll have to have done an undergrad course in dentistry first. 

It’s worth asking the universities you’re interested in about options if you know this is something you want to specialise in – this could be something you ask at an open day.


What similar subjects can I study to dentistry?

Not sure if you want to study dentistry specifically? You could study these similar courses instead:
  • oral health science – a holistic approach to oral health, more suitable for dental therapists and dental hygienists
  • dental technology – the creation of custom-made dental appliances

While similar, these subjects may have slightly different A-level requirements to dentistry; so if you want to keep your degree options open, be sure to check the entry requirements of specific courses before you finalise your choices.

Where could your A-levels take you?

Enter your A-level choices below to find out

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