Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have additional questions or need additional information on any of the following questions, please submit your question in writing to:

If you have not received a response within two weeks, please follow-up by calling us at 615.327.6223.

1. What is the class size? When is the best time to apply?

The class size is 60, but will ultimately increase to 70 over the next few years. Candidates can begin applying in June by completing their AADSAS, but should complete their applications not later than December 15th the year prior to year the candidates plan to enter dental school.

2. How do I apply to dental school? How early can I apply?

Candidates can begin applying to online in June by completing the required AADSAS application

3. Does Meharry require a Supplemental Application?

Yes, candidates should complete their Meharry Supplemental Application when they complete their AADSAS Application and must pay the $65.00 Supplemental Application Fee before their applications will be considered complete.

4. How will I know that my application is complete and/or has been received by Meharry?

You will be able to check the status of your application online through AADSAS. Meharry will also send you regular email notifications updating your application status. Please be aware that it is each candidate's responsibility to regularly check with AADSAS to ensure that his/her application is complete.

5. When does Meharry begin reviewing applications for admission?

The review of applications for admission begins July 1 annually and continues until the class is filled.

6. When is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for completing all application materials is December 15.

7. Does Meharry allow early admission to dental school?

No. We have a rolling admissions policy and students will be interviewed and accepted until the class is filled.

8. When is the best time to schedule a visit to Meharry?

Meharry offers tours of the college campus year-round for groups and individuals. Campus tours for individuals or groups of fewer than 5 people can schedule tours only on Fridays at 10:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. Candidates may call 615.327.6223 to schedule a tour. However, a specific visit to the School of Dentistry should be scheduled between May 1 and September 15 to avoid conflicts with campus interviews. Call 615.327.6741 to schedule a visit to the School of Dentistry.

9. Do I have to complete all required coursework or have a bachelor's degree before applying to the Meharry School of Dentistry?

No, you do not have to complete all required coursework or have a college degree before applying to Meharry. However, it is strongly advised that most of your prerequisite courses be completed, with no grade lower than a B-, before you take the DAT and apply. While a college degree is preferred, a candidate must have completed at least 96 semester hours and 120 quarters prior to matriculation.

10. Are community college courses acceptable? What about online courses?

Community college courses are acceptable; however, the prerequisite, upper-level basic science courses (organic chemistry and biochemistry) and the recommended courses— microbiology, anatomy, physiology and cell biology—should be taken at an accredited four-year college or university. Online courses must be taken from an accredited college or university; however all basic science courses must be taken in a classroom setting and any basic sciences courses taken on-line are not acceptable.

11. Would Advanced Placement (AP) credit from high school satisfy any prerequisites? Is there a limit in the number of hours for which I can receive credit?

Advanced Placement (AP) credit from high school may be accepted, as long as it is listed on the college transcript and the grade for the AP coursework is B level or better. While there is no defined limit to the number of hours accepted, we strongly advise that no more than 16 credit hours of basic science and prerequisite courses be taken for advanced placement.

12. How can high school students begin to prepare for a career in dentistry?

In general, students should take courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, English, speech, and perhaps a course in sculpture. Students also should begin shadowing their family dentist and engaging in community service activities related to healthcare.

13. Should I major in biology, chemistry or the sciences in order to apply to dental school? Does it matter what size academic load I carried in undergraduate school?

No, you should choose the major of your choice that interests you. However, in evaluating the grade point average (GPA) of candidates, the Admissions Committee does consider that those candidates who have an extensive science background and take a full academic load (15–16 credit hours, with 3–4 science courses each term) have had a more difficult time than non-science majors.

14. What is the average grade point average (GPA) of students admitted? Is there a minimum grade point average I should attain before applying to dental school?

The applicant profile is listed below.

Number of Applicants and Academic Profile 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13
Total Number of Applicants 1,976 2,015 1,885 1,843 1,961
Average Grade Point Average (GPA) 3.19 3.16 3.17 3.26 3.20
Average Basic Science Average (BCP) 3.05 (3.4)* 2.99 3.0 3.09 3.05
Dental Admissions Test (DAT) Score 15 (18.6)* 16 (18.8)* 16 16.95 18

*Indicates National Averages

However, the Admissions Committee recommends an overall GPA of 3.0 to be a competitive applicant.

15. How much time should I spend shadowing dentists prior to applying to dental school?

Candidates should shadow 5–6 dentists, with at least two dentists being in a dental specialty (pediatric dentistry, endodontics and oral surgery preferred) and at least three general dentists (one community health-based and two in private practices). Total shadowing hours: at least 20 hours.

16. How many letters of recommendation are required? Where are they sent?

A candidate should begin securing three letters of recommendations no later than his/her sophomore year. Candidates should secure one letter from each of the following:

  • science professor
  • major advisor
  • community service administrator
  • dentist that they have shadowed

The recommendations should be sent to AADSAS and not to Meharry. Note: A Pre-Health Committee recommendation from the candidate's college or university will meet the recommendation requirement.

17. How important is the personal statement?

The personal statement is very important and is carefully reviewed.Candidates should spend time writing their personal statements—writing error-free essays without redundancy, run-on sentences, clichés, embellishments, fancy words, and spelling errors— and avoid inserting their own names in the text.

18. When should I take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)? What scores on the DAT are considered competitive?

Candidates should take the DAT only after preparing for it—not "just for practice," as candidates are allowed to take the DAT a maximum of three times.

Preparation and review should be on-going, beginning after completing the first year of college Biology and Chemistry. The latest date candidates should take the DAT the first time is August 1 the year prior to the year they plan to enroll in dental school.

Meharry recommends receiving a DAT Academic Average score of at least 17 and Total Science score of 17 in order to be a competitive candidate.

19. Is an interview required of all applicants? Who will interview me?

Yes, an interview is required. All candidates invited for an interview will receive two interviews from: Meharry Medical College basic science faculty, Meharry School of Dentistry faculty (active and retired), Meharry School of Dentistry alumni or dentists from the Nashville community.

20. How should I dress for the interview?

Candidates should dress in professional business attire:

Men—suit or sports jacket with a tie

Women—a solid blouse and suit (pants suit, or a jacket with knee-length skirt, heels or pumps no higher than three inches)

21. When will I be notified of acceptance?

By agreement, all dental schools affiliated with AADSAS have agreed to initially notify candidates of acceptance on December 1st. After December 1st, acceptances are ongoing with the goal of making final decisions by April 1 prior to matriculation.

22. How are candidates selected to fill the class?

Candidates are selected based upon academic performance in undergraduate and graduate studies, DAT scores, personal characteristics, awareness of the dental profession, leadership experience, community service, and potential for success in dental school as expressed in the letters of recommendation and personal statement.

23. If I am not admitted and decide to re-apply, how can I become a more competitive applicant?

Candidates re-applying to dental school after having been denied admission should have demonstrated significant improvements in their applications since their previous applications were submitted. These improvements may include:

Additional coursework in the basic sciences (especially graduate level basic science coursework)

  • Improved DAT score
  • Shadowing
  • Community service
  • At least one (1) new letter of recommendation

24. What should I do if I have not been in school for several years but now wish to pursue dental school?

Candidates who have been out of school for more than two (2) years and/or who have not had science courses for three years or more should take review courses before taking upper-level science courses and before taking the DAT. (Note: many dental schools have a five-year window; candidates must have completed prerequisite coursework within five (5) years of matriculation to dental school).

25. Can I transfer from another dental school to the Meharry School of Dentistry?

The Meharry School of Dentistry will consider transfer requests from an enrolled dental school student only after the second year of dental school.

The transfer process will take a significant amount of time, and the applicant should submit the request to transfer in writing to the Office of Admissions & Recruitment, along with an $800.00 application fee.

  • $500.00 of the application fee will be applied to the transfer student's tuition and fees if the transfer is approved.
  • $300.00 of the application fee is non-refundable.
  • Transfer requests must be made no later than December 1 of the year prior to matriculation to the Meharry School of Dentistry.

The following policies apply to dental student requests for transfer:

  • Transfer students must be reviewed and accepted by the Admissions Committee. There must be a space available in the class to which the transfer student is requesting admission. The recommendation for transfer must then be approved by the Dean.
  • A transfer student can be accepted only at the end of his/her second year in dental school, and must be in good academic standing. He/she must also have taken and received a score on the National Dental Board Examination, Part 1 of at least 80.
  • The Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs will assess the comparability of curricula between the Meharry School of Dentistry and the transferring institution and shall seek approval of all coursework for from course directors regarding the acceptability of coursework form the transferring institution.No courses will be accepted with a grade of D, F, N, nor I.
  • The transfer student must submit copies of official transcripts to the Meharry Medical College Director of Admissions & Recruitment prior to matriculation to the Meharry School of Dentistry.
  • The transfer student must be evaluated by the preclinical course directors prior to entering into comprehensive patient care.

26. Does Meharry have a Ph.D./D.D.S. Degree Program?

Yes. The Ph.D./D.D.S. Program is designed to prepare outstanding clinical and research professionals who are capable of identifying and addressing significant problems in oral health. The Ph.D. adds three to four years to the D.D.S. education so that a student will graduate with both degrees in seven to eight years.

Candidates must first be admitted to the Meharry School of Dentistry and then express his/her interest in writing to the Dean of the Meharry School of Dentistry. After an interview with the Dean, the Dean will recommend a candidate to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. Students must also apply to the Graduate School for Admission and must take the GRE in addition to the DAT. Click here to review the Graduate School's admission requirements

27. What do Meharry dental graduates pursue after graduation?

Dental school graduates have a variety of career choices. Many dental graduates go to graduate school for additional or specialized training; many graduates work in the military or in community health centers to work off student scholarships or accrued student loans; and many go to work in a private practice.

The post-graduate programs for the DDS class of 2012 are distributed as follows:

Class Total GPR & AEDG OMS Pediatrics Orthodontics Endodontics Private Practice or Military
51 47% 2% 8% 2% 2% 39%

28. Does Meharry have a specific program designed for candidates seeking admission, particularly foreign-trained dentists, to the D.D.S. program with advanced standing?

At present, Meharry does not have a program for advanced standing.