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College of Dentistry Division of Dental Hygiene
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Entry Level Dental Hygiene Program

The Dental Hygiene Program at The Ohio State University is a four-year course of study leading to the degree Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.

Program Structure and Scheduling
The four-year program in dental hygiene includes two years of general education courses and program prerequisites followed by two years in the professional program. The pre-dental hygiene program is composed of courses in the General Education (GE) curriculum and natural sciences that will be used as a foundation for the dental hygiene major. Careful planning of the pre-dental hygiene program is necessary to meet the stated program prerequisites in two years. A total of 124 semester hours are required for graduation.

During the first two years, prospective students should complete all program prerequisites including the university's General Education (GE) curriculum. Students apply for admission during autumn semester of the second year, and all applicants will be notified of their admission during spring semester. Successful applicants will enter the dental hygiene major in autumn semester of the junior year. Once enrolled in the professional program, completion of the dental hygiene major requires two years of full-time study. Students are required to attend May session and may be required to attend summer term following the junior year.

Admission to Dental Hygiene
Admission is selective and competitive. Spaces in the class are limited, so not all qualified applicants can be admitted. The overall grade point average and grades in the required sciences are important factors in the admission decision. Applications will be available June 1 and are due December 1. Most admission decisions will be made following receipt of autumn grades and will be conditional on successful completion of any remaining prerequisites prior to matriculation.

Prerequisites for Admission
A grade of C– or higher is required in these prerequisite courses. Prerequisites may be completed by any combination of semester or quarter courses or their equivalents.

Prerequisites must be completed by:
Quarter courses
Semester courses
End of autumn semester prior to admission

Anatomy 199
Anatomy 2300
Biology 101 or 113
Biology 1101 or 1113
Chemistry 101 & 102

or 121 & 122

Chemistry 1110 or 1210

English 110
English 1110
Psychology 100
Psychology 1100
Math 116 or higher
Math 1116 or higher
One additional natural science from list below
One additional natural science from list below
End of spring semester prior to admission

EEOB 232 EEOB 2520
Human Nutrition 210 or 310 Human Nutrition 2210 or 2310
Microbiology 509 Microbiology 4000
End of summer semester prior to admission

Sociology 101 Sociology 1101
Completion of remaining general education curriculum

The remaining general education courses must be completed prior to matriculation.

For a complete list of general education courses, click on the GE list below.


General Education Curriculum (GE)

Writing and Related Skills

Second writing course from approved list

Arts and Humanities

One course in literature and one course in visual and performing arts

Historical Study

One course from the approved list

Additional Breadth/Student Selected

One additional course from social science, cultures and ideas or historical study and one course from the open options list

International Issues

Selection of general education courses listed above should include two courses from the global studies list

-- Minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7. Most competitive applicants will have a cumulative grade point average above 3.0. The average grade point for admitted students in recent years was 3.4–3.5.

-- Minimum science grade point average of 2.5. Most competitive applicants will have a science grade point average above 2.8. The average science grade point for admitted students in recent years was 3.2–3.3.

-- Documentation of a minimum of 20 hours of observation of dental hygienists in private practice. This experience provides the applicant with a first-hand look at the profession of dental hygiene. Students will benefit from a variety of observation experiences, but at minimum the 20 hours must include two or more dental hygienists and be conducted in two or more dental practices. The 20 hours should include at least one general practice office. Observation hours may not be scheduled with a family member and may not take place in a teaching facility such as a college or university or in any office where the prospective student has been employed. It is not necessary to document hours in excess of the 20 hours required. Observation hours are subject to verification. Students should record the following information as they complete each observation as this information will be requested in the program application: Name of dental hygienist observed; type of dental practice; date(s) of observation; total hours with this dental hygienist; dental office address and telephone number. Applicants will also be asked to describe three things they learned at each observation site.

Admission criteria and application procedures are subject to change. Please visit this web site regularly for updated information.

Click here for a printable prerequisite list

Students who wish to complete the program prerequisites at a different accredited institution must take courses equivalent to the OSU course numbers listed above. A transfer matrix is available at (, and equivalent courses for many schools are available at


Health and Safety
As a healthcare provider, you will interact with a variety of patients as part of the educational process in the College of Dentistry.  Dental hygiene students will have exposure to blood, saliva and other body fluids potentially containing infectious diseases. The Ohio State University and the College of Dentistry is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment. The Exposure Control Plan (ECP) is provided to help eliminate or minimize the risk of occupational bloodborne pathogen exposure of students and employees.

Students are also required to provide a complete and accurate medical history and immunization record. Additional information is available at Immunization Requirements.

Application for Admission
The admission criteria, instructions, and application are available on The Ohio State University Professional Admissions web site. Be sure to read the application instructions completely before you begin your application. The admissions committee will contact candidates who are under consideration for admission to schedule an interview. Interviews will be conducted on campus, but out-of-state students will have an option to schedule an interview by Skype or telephone.

Fees and Expenses
Dental hygiene students will spend much of their time in labs and clinics. There are additional costs associated with these educational experiences. Students should plan in advance for the cost of supplies, uniforms, lab fees, and other expenses they will incur during their professional education. Information about these expenses as well as university fees and living expenses is available at fees and expenses.

Program Mission and Philosophy
The Division of Dental Hygiene, an educational program in the College of Dentistry, derives its purposes and functions from the mission statements of the university and the College of Dentistry. Dental Hygiene offers a 2 + 2 baccalaureate degree program, the baccalaureate degree completion program, and a variety of continuing education courses.

The fundamental purpose of The Ohio State University is "to enhance the quality of life through developing the individual capacity for enlightened understanding, thinking, and acting. Through the dissemination of knowledge, the university serves not only the individual but acts as a force to shape society for the common good." This purpose is affected through teaching, research, and service.

The College of Dentistry promotes the acquisition, advancement, transmission, and application of scientific knowledge and skills for the prevention, diagnosis, and management of orofacial disease and disorders, and for the restoration and rehabilitation of its effects. The College, with a commitment to multicultural diversity, conducts the mutually supportive activities of education, research, patient care, and community and professional service. Based upon an understanding of biological processes, these activities promote human orofacial health and well-being. The College provides undergraduate dental hygiene, professional, and graduate students with the analytical, technical, ethical and humanistic skills necessary to provide quality health care. The programs encourage professionalism and responsiveness to societal and professional changes. Through its graduate programs, the college provides graduates with the skills necessary to become researchers and teachers.

The Dental Hygiene Program is committed to developing oral health professionals who, as co-therapists with the dentist, can function as effective primary health-care providers in a dynamic society. Extensive clinical experience, as well as the specialization options of public community health education, dental hygiene education, restorative expanded functions or an individualized program, prepare students for additional roles of leadership and responsibility within the scope of dental hygiene care.

Program Goals

  1. The Dental Hygiene Program will prepare students for practice and licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH).
  2. The Dental Hygiene Program will prepare students to provide quality care to patients in an ethical and professional manner.
  3. Dental hygiene graduates will have an understanding of research methods and will be able to use current research to make evidence-based decisions in their dental hygiene practice.
  4. Dental hygiene graduates will have experience providing community service and outreach and will understand the importance of continuing these activities after graduation.
  5. Dental hygiene graduates will understand and appreciate the dynamic and evolving nature of the profession of dental hygiene.

Please click here for the complete list of competencies for Entry into the Profession of Dental Hygiene.

Dental Hygiene Program Curriculum
The Dental Hygiene Program curriculum includes the university's General Education (GE) requirements , additional natural sciences, the dental hygiene major, an area of specialization, and electives.

The GEs and natural sciences and must be completed prior to matriculation in the dental hygiene major. The dental hygiene major and area of specialization courses are only available to students who have been admitted to the dental hygiene professional program.

Click on any requirement below to view details.
GE and Natural Science Prerequisites 53
Dental Hygiene Major 60
Area of Specialization 6-8
Electives 3-5
Program Total 124

Degree Planning
The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene degree is designed to be a four-year program, and most students can complete the degree in four years if they plan carefully and meet the required standards. A sample schedule and benchmarks for progress are available at four year degree planning.

For additional information, contact
Division of Dental Hygiene
College of Dentistry
3082 Postle Hall
305 W. 12th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210
614–292–8013 fax

Division of Dental Hygiene