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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 2022 intake (as of 18 November 2021).

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 Dental Surgery: AAA, including A-levels in chemistry and biology and GCSE A*/8 in biology and chemistry and A/7 in mathematics and English language.

University of Cardiff – BDS Dental Surgery: AAA, including biology and chemistry, as well as English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade B/6 or an equivalent.

Queen Mary University of London – BDS Dentistry: A*AA including biology or chemistry, and a second science (chemistry, biology, physics or mathematics).

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

Admissions tests for dentistry 

You'll have to take an admissions test to be accepted onto a dentistry degree. This will probably be a test called the Ucat, but some universities may ask you to sit the Bmat instead. You can read more about university admissions tests here

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

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