Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Oral Biology Ph.D.

School of Dentistry - Adm
School of Dentistry
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
School of Dentistry, 17-164 Moos Tower, 515 Delaware Street, S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-625-5984; fax:612-626-2651)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2018
  • Length of program in credits: 59 to 61
  • This program requires summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Oral Biology is offered by the School of Dentistry with cooperating faculty in the Medical School, College of Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine. It gives students research skills and a broad understanding of the development, structure, function, and pathology of the orofacial region. Students are encouraged to focus in one of five areas of emphasis: biomaterials and biomechanics; epithelial biology and carcinogenesis; microbiology and immunology; sensory neuroscience; and bone biology, craniofacial development, and tissue engineering. An exceptional student can create his/her own area of emphasis or specialize in topics not listed here; students should discuss their interests with the director of graduate studies before applying. Curricula are designed to allow considerable flexibility in planning individual programs to accommodate specific areas of interest; courses from other disciplines may be included as part of the major.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
Special Application Requirements:
Applicants must submit 1) scores from the General Test of the GRE, 2) three letters of recommendation from persons who can comment authoritatively about the applicant's potential for a research and academic career, 3) a clearly written personal statement (one to two pages) describing career goals, 4) an essay describing research aspirations (one to two pages), and 5) a résumé highlighting research experience and accomplishments. For D.D.S./Ph.D. applicants who are U.S. citizens, resident aliens, or Canadian citizens, U.S. or Canadian Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores at or above the national average will be accepted in lieu of the GRE. Applicants who have graduated from U.S. or Canadian dental or medical schools within three years of their application to the Ph.D. program may request that previous U.S. or Canadian DAT or MCAT scores be considered in lieu of the GRE.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
    • General Test - Verbal Reasoning: 500
    • General Test - Quantitative Reasoning: 600
    • General Test - Analytical Writing: 5.0
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 90
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 25
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 25
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
The preferred English language test is Test of English as Foreign Language.
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
23 to 25 credits are required in the major.
12 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may not be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
The Ph.D. in oral biology is a four-year program. The first year consists primarily of a core curriculum specifically chosen for each student. The curriculum provides students with a working knowledge of the major concepts and research paradigms in their scientific area, a working vocabulary, and the basis for continued learning. During months 13-15, the student writes a major research thesis proposal, which is defended orally by month 16. The oral exam must capture the student's ability to think critically about the field and the application of logical experimental designs to test hypotheses and answer questions. Months 17-45 will focus on thesis research. Months 45-48 are used for dissertation writing. Students must also present a public seminar describing their thesis research (which is attended by the final oral exam committee) no later than 6 months before defense of the thesis. The dissertation is defended in month 48. Students are expected to complete a core curriculum of 23-25 credits including 8 credits of oral biology topics courses (8021-8028) and continued participation in the oral biology student seminar series (8030). Courses may be selected from departments and programs outside the oral biology program with the approval of the adviser and director of graduate studies. A minor (minimum 12 cr) in a nonclinical discipline and 24 thesis credits are also required. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 in both the major and minor is required. Only grades of A or B are acceptable in the core courses.
Joint- or Dual-degree Coursework:
D.D.S./Ph.D. students typically complete all requirements for the Ph.D. program, except for the thesis defense, before entering the D.D.S. program. The Ph.D. and D.D.S. degrees may be awarded concurrently or separately.
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