Harvard Dental School: Admissions, Programs & Student Life


Founded in the heart of Boston, Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) stands as a pinnacle of excellence in dental education and research. As one of the foremost dental schools in the world, HSDM not only prepares its students for successful careers in the field but also emphasizes the integration of oral health with overall healthcare. The school's rigorous academic program, combined with its cutting-edge research and community engagement, equips students with the necessary skills to excel both as clinicians and scholars. With a highly competitive admission process, securing a place at HSDM is a coveted achievement for aspiring dental professionals, reflecting their dedication and potential to lead and innovate in the dental field.

History and Legacy of Harvard Dental School

The Harvard School of Dental Medicine was established in 1867, making it one of the oldest dental schools in the United States. Originally affiliated with the Harvard Medical School, HSDM was founded on the principle of integrating dental and medical education. This pioneering vision has set the standard for dental education nationally and internationally, positioning HSDM as a leader in the field. Over the years, HSDM has been at the forefront of dental research, advancing the understanding of oral and systemic health connections, and shaping the careers of countless dental professionals who have gone on to make significant impacts in healthcare.

DMD Application Process 2023-2024 at Harvard School of Dental Medicine

The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) has outlined a structured application process for the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program for the 2023-2024 academic session. Applicants are required to navigate several steps and adhere to specific deadlines to be considered for admission.

Interview Format

HSDM plans to offer a hybrid interview format, incorporating both in-person and virtual interview days. This approach ensures that all candidates have the opportunity to engage with the school in a manner that suits their circumstances, with no inherent advantage given to either format. Those selecting a virtual interview will also have the chance to visit the campus upon acceptance.

Pass/Fail Credit Acceptance

Acknowledging the academic changes caused by the pandemic, HSDM will accept pass/fall credits for the semesters of spring 2020, summer 2020, fall 2020, spring 2021, and summer 2021. This flexibility ensures that applicants are not disadvantaged by the varying grading policies adopted by institutions during this period.

Dental Admissions Test (DAT) Scores

For the cycle in question, HSDM will accept unofficial DAT scores initially to expedite the review process; however, official scores must be provided before final admission decisions are released. Valid DAT scores are those taken after June 1, 2020, with a validity of three years from the start of the application cycle.

To be considered for admission to the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, applicants must achieve a minimum score of 19 in each individual section of the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and an overall average score of 21 or higher.

Application Requirements and Deadline

Applications are accessible through the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) AADSAS application service. The application deadline for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle is December 15, 2023, with a completion deadline of January 1, 2024. To be considered, applicants must submit the AADSAS application, official transcripts, letters of evaluation (three individual letters or one Pre-Health committee letter, with at least two from science professors), official DAT scores, and the HSDM application fee of $80 by the specified deadline.

Timeline and Selection Process

The application process begins in mid-June each year. HSDM practices a rolling basis screening of applications, starting late June until the deadline. GPA and DAT are considered alongside other factors in a holistic review of the candidate's application. Interviews are scheduled from late September through February, with admission offers starting on December 15, 2023, and subsequently on a rolling basis.

Academic Regimen at Harvard Dental School

At Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program emphasizes a rigorous academic schedule that melds scientific knowledge with clinical proficiency. Students commence their journey with two years of intensive preclinical instruction, which includes courses in biomedical sciences, oral health, and disease prevention. Here, future dentists learn the foundational theories that underpin dental practice.

With a distinctive feature of integrating medical education, HSDM students spend their first two years alongside medical counterparts from Harvard Medical School. This interprofessional education model highlights HSDM's commitment to a comprehensive healthcare perspective, blurring the lines between medicine and dentistry and fostering a holistic approach to patient care.

During the clinical phase, students transition to real-life application of their learned skills under the supervision of experienced faculty members. They engage in hands-on practice at the Harvard Dental Center, treating diverse patient populations. This part of the curriculum not only hones their clinical abilities but also reinforces their communication and interpersonal skills, crucial for a successful dental career. The integration of global health externships further broadens their perspective, preparing students to address oral health challenges both locally and worldwide.

Unique Aspects of Harvard Dental School

What distinguishes Harvard School of Dental Medicine from other dental schools is its strong emphasis on research and leadership in dental medicine. As a pioneer in the field, HSDM encourages students to engage in innovative research projects. With access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources, students explore various aspects of dental and craniofacial research, contributing to the broader understanding of oral diseases and their treatments.

Another unique attribute is HSDM's small class sizes, which foster a close-knit community atmosphere and personalized attention from faculty. This environment is conducive to learning and growth, allowing students to thrive academically and professionally.

Furthermore, HSDM's joint programs with other Harvard schools, such as the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kennedy School of Government, provide students with opportunities to develop interdisciplinary skills that are essential for leadership positions in healthcare. These collaborative programs underscore the school's commitment to holistic education and its impact on advancing the health sector.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Harvard Dental School

Admission to the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) is a highly competitive process that demands more than just academic excellence. Successful applicants typically possess a well-rounded profile, demonstrating a strong commitment to the dental field through diverse experiences, interpersonal skills, and a genuine passion for dentistry.

Enhancing your application involves engaging in relevant extracurricular activities, such as volunteering at dental clinics or participating in dental outreach programs. These experiences showcase your dedication to the field and provide you with valuable practical knowledge and skills.

Shadowing experienced dentists is also highly recommended, as it offers firsthand insights into the daily life of dental professionals and allows you to establish important connections within the field. HSDM values candidates who have a clear understanding of the profession and its requirements.

Demonstrating your contributions to the dental field through research experience, whether it be through published papers or conference presentations, can significantly strengthen your application. This demonstrates your capability and enthusiasm for advancing dental science.

Finally, your personal statement and interview are crucial components of the application process. Your personal statement should articulate your aspirations, experiences, and reasons for choosing Harvard Dental School. During interviews, be prepared to discuss your experiences, goals, and how HSDM aligns with your career objectives.

How Orgoman Can Help You

Orgoman, led by Dr. Jim Romano, provides comprehensive resources to bolster your Harvard Dental School application. Our renowned DAT Destroyer study guide, featuring over 1,600 practice questions, prepares you for the rigorous DAT exam. Dr. Romano's expert tutoring and engaging teaching style simplify complex material, ensuring a thorough understanding. Success stories from past students offer motivation and demonstrate the effectiveness of Orgoman's approach. Additionally, our supportive Orgoman community provides a valuable network for advice and encouragement throughout the challenging application process.

Interested? Contact us today through the chat feature on our website. We look forward to helping you start your dream career.

Note for 2025

Starting March 1, 2025, the American Dental Association (ADA) will implement a new scoring model for the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The current 2-digit score reporting scale (1 to 30) will change to a 3-digit scale (200 to 600).