Bachelor of Dental Surgery

Keep your community smiling

Dentists work to improve oral health in our communities. They’re lifelong learners who care about their patients and their work.

Dentistry is a science and an art. It’s flexible and rewarding, and it changes lives.

What will you do?

Our Bachelor of Dental Surgery supports you in becoming a highly skilled and patient-focused dentist. You will:

  • build clinical experience starting in your very first year
  • learn in Australia’s newest dental teaching hospital, in the state-of-the-art Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building
  • explore the full range of dental therapies—from complex restorative to preventative-based treatments
  • practise using equipment in our Dental Simulation Clinic
  • tackle real-life case scenarios in teams
  • benefit from extensive placements across metropolitan and rural settings
  • improve lives through community outreach programs.

Where could it take you?

You could work in a local or community dental clinic or provide dental care for people in the developing world. You might become a defence force dentist. Perhaps you’ll be a researcher, making new discoveries to improve oral health care.


This degree is only available in blended mode and on-campus attendance is required.  if you are a continuing student in the degree and are unable to attend campus, please contact your program coordinator for program advice.

  • Ranked 25 globally for dentistry^
  • 16.7% industry growth predicted in Australia by 2025
  • Train alongside future oral health therapists

^QS World University Ranking by Subject, 2022

Entry Requirements

Choose your applicant type to view the relevant admissions information for this program.
I am a:

Domestic applicants

Admissions information

SATAC Code 314122
Deferment Yes - 2 year
Intake February
Prerequisites SACE Stage 2: two Science subjects: one chosen from Chemistry, Mathematical Methods, Specialist Mathematics, Physics; and one chosen from Biology, Geology, Chemistry, Physics; OR IB: two Science subjects (one of Chemistry, Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations (HL) or Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (SL) or Physics AND one of Biology, Chemistry or Physics); OR equivalent University courses (i.e. 1st year Human Biology as part of the Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences program). Subject prerequisites are applicable to all BDS entry pathways. MathTrackX is an online bridging program available as a recognised alternative to Mathematical Methods.
Assumed Knowledge A necessary precursor for success is a high proficiency in the written and oral use of the English language.
Additional Entry Requirements
The Dental Surgery Admissions Guide - domestic applicants details important information regarding the additional entry requirements for entry at the University of Adelaide. All applicants are advised to read the Guide before applying for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery. Failure to read this document will not be grounds for special consideration. Ranking for offers is based on a combination of scores from these three components weighted as follows: - UCAT ANZ Results: 20% - Interview Results: 40% - Academic Results: 40% Rural Background Entry (RBE) pathway - Entry pathway eligibility (including important how to apply information) is detailed in the Dental Surgery Admissions Guide - domestic applicants.
Selection Criteria
Recent Secondary Education Applicants with recent secondary education are those whose admission is primarily based on the completion of Year 12 within the last two years, however if you completed your secondary education more than two years ago, you may still be able to be considered on the basis of your secondary schooling. To be considered as a secondary school leaver, applicants must not have completed more than 2 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) university study (48 units) at an Australian or overseas institution.

For full details of Tertiary Entrance Rules under the SACE/NTCE refer to the Tertiary Entrance Booklet published by SATAC (available at their website: Academic Score (ATAR).

To meet the minimum academic threshold for entry into the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) program at the University of Adelaide, year 12 applicants (school leaver applicants) must achieve an Selection Rank (ATAR plus any applicable adjustment factors) of 90 or above, OR the equivalent International Baccalaureate score, OR the interstate/ overseas equivalent.

Please refer to Additional entry requirements section for details of other entry requirements to the BDS program.

Higher Education Study To meet the minimum academic threshold as a Higher Education applicant, you must have completed at least half a year full time equivalent higher education study, achieving at least a credit average (a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 5.0 or more). Calculating your GPA Higher Education applicants must also meet the prerequisite subject requirements (refer above). Please refer to Additional entry requirements section for details of other entry requirements to the BDS program.
Work and life experience To be eligible to sit the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) as as pathway for entry, you must be 18 years or over before 1 February 2024. If you have studied at higher education level in the last two years (for 2024 entry this means you were enrolled in either 2023 or 2022), you must not have accumulated more than a TOTAL of 2 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) higher education study (ie. including any study prior to 2022). If you meet this criteria, you will be ranked according to your result in the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT). Your STAT result is not weighted between verbal and quantitative components.

STAT applicants must also meet the prerequisite subject requirements (refer above).

Other Entry Pathways
How to Apply
Application Process: There are two distinct parts to the application process: 1. UCAT ANZ: all applicants must register and sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT ANZ). 2. SATAC application which must be lodged by the September early closing date: Late applications will not be considered. Applicants who have listed the BDS amongst their preferences will be asked to enter their UCAT ANZ identification number during the SATAC online application process. Applications will not be considered complete without a valid UCAT ANZ identification number entered prior to the closing date. Merit Ranking Process: Applicants will be ranked for an offer based on a combination of scores from these three components as follows: - UCAT ANZ Results: 20% - Interview Results: 40% Formal offers will be made by SATAC. However, to secure your place in the BDS degree, you MUST enrol in all first year courses for the BDS degree by the deadline stated in the SATAC offer letter. Supporting information regarding the above will be provided within your University Welcome email and the EnrolMe portal. Please note: the University reserves the right to make offers outside of the formal SATAC offer rounds until all places are filled. Offers can be made up to and during March. Entry pathway eligibility (including important how to apply information) is detailed in the Dental Surgery Admissions Guide - domestic applicants. Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal Education administers the Aboriginal Access Scheme which offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians an alternative entry pathway to study at the University of Adelaide. For more information visit:

  • Admissions Transparency Data
    2023 Admissions Data for school leavers
    (raw ATAR, excluding any applicable adjustment factors)
    Lowest ATAR to receive an offer 90.75
    Median ATAR to receive an offer 99.15
    Highest ATAR to receive an offer 99.95
    Selection Rank
    (ATAR plus any adjustment factors)
    Lowest Selection Rank to receive an offer N/A
    Median Selection Rank to receive an offer N/A
    Highest Selection Rank to receive an offer N/A
    Minimum eligibility score 90
    Additional criteria considered Additional criteria
    Student Profile
    Applicant background Semester one/Full year intake 2023
    Number of students Percentage of all students
    (A) Higher Education study
    (includes a bridging or enabling course)
    N/A N/A
    (B) Vocational education and training (VET) study N/A N/A
    (C) Work and life experience
    (admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three categories)
    N/A N/A
    (D) Recent secondary education:
    • Admitted solely on the basis of ATAR
      (regardless of whether this includes the consideration of adjustment factors)
    N/A N/A
    • Admitted where both ATAR and additional criteria were considered
      (e.g. portfolio, audition, extra test, early offer conditional on minimum ATAR)
    37 50.7%
    • Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and ATAR was not a factor
      (e.g. special consideration, audition alone, schools recommendation scheme with no minimum ATAR requirement)
    N/A N/A
    International students 36 49.3%
    All students 73 100.0%

Fees and Scholarships

Choose your applicant type to view the relevant fees and scholarships information for this program.
I am a:

Domestic applicants

Indicative annual tuition fees
Commonwealth-supported place

Where the standard duration of the program is less than one year the full cost of the program is displayed.

More information on Student Contribution Amounts.


These scholarships, as well as many others funded by industry and non-profit organisations, are available to potential and currently enrolled students.

Find a Scholarship.


Career Readiness

As a University of Adelaide-qualified dentist, students will be ready for a dynamic career in the dental industry and will be sought-after by employers. Some of the choices graduates might have are:
  • Private practice: once students are registered with the Dental Board of Australia they can enter private practice on their own, work as an associate with an established practitioner, or join a partnership.
  • Public sector: students can work as a dentist in government, and community or school-based dental clinics across Australia.
In order to be able to register as a Dentist with the Dental Board of Australia, all applicants must be able to demonstrate English language skills at IELTS academic level 7 or the equivalent.

The University of Adelaide Careers Service prepares, inspires and empowers students to achieve successful career transitions and connect with industry.

Graduate Attributes

The objective of this program is to produce graduates with specific attributes as outlined in University of Adelaide Graduate Attributes.
  1. Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
  2. Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
  3. Teamwork and communication skills
  4. Professionalism and leadership readiness
  5. Intercultural and ethical competency
  6. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency
  7. Digital capabilities
  8. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

Industry Placement

From first year, students undertake compulsory clinical placements in a range of metropolitan and rural settings. These compulsory placements can extend beyond the academic year and can include after-hours and weekend work.

Professional Accreditation

The Bachelor of Dental Surgery is accredited by the Australian Dental Council.

To be eligible to work in Australia as a dentist, graduates are required to register with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Dental Board of Australia on the completion of the degree. In order to register, all applicants must comply with the English language skills requirements as determined by AHPRA. For further details, visit

The Bachelor of Dental Surgery qualification is recognised by:
  • The Dental Board of Australia. Once registered, graduates are also eligible for membership of the Australian Dental Association.
  • The Dental Council of New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement.
  • The Commission of Dental Accreditation of Canada. Further examinations are necessary to work in Canada.
  • Singapore Dental Council
International applicants should note that successful completion of this degree may not qualify them to practise/register in their home country. Students will have to contact the relevant health registration bodies of their home country for further information.

Potential careers

Dental Practitioner, Dentist

Degree Structure

The Bachelor of Dental Surgery consists of an integrated course in each year level, with clinical experiences being provided from day one.

The focus of the degree is to emphasise a holistic, preventive-based approach to oral health care, with a minimally invasive approach if restorative treatment is required. Students will be expected to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding of relevant biological and medical sciences in managing their patients and demonstrate high levels of professionalism, including an ability to effectively monitor their performance and a desire to continue to learn and grow as a member of the dental profession.

The dynamic curriculum uses a case-based learning approach to integrate learning across disciplines. The emphasis is on learning relevant scientific information throughout the degree at the same time as the development of clinical skills.

From first year, students will undertake compulsory clinical placements in a range of settings, including a city-based dental hospital and community dental clinics located in metropolitan Adelaide, rural South Australia and interstate.

Example Study Plan

Indicative study plan
Year 1 DENT 1005AHO / DENT 1005BHO Dental Science and Practice I Parts 1 & 2
Year 2 DENT 2005AHO / DENT 2005BHO Dental Science and Practice II Parts 1 & 2
Year 3 DENT 3005AHO / DENT 3005BHO Dental Science and Practice III Parts 1 & 2
Year 4 DENT 4004AHO / DENT 4004BHO Dental Science and Practice IV Parts 1 & 2
Year 5 DENT 5005AHODENT 5005BHO Dental Science and Practice V Parts 1 & 2

Further information
All courses are compulsory. The Bachelor of Dental Surgery does not contain elective courses. 

Year 1
From a patient-centred care focus, this stream introduces students to the practice of dentistry and provides a foundation for understanding the normal structure and function of a healthy body. This includes the oral cavity, evidence-based maintenance of patients' health and dentistry as a career. By working through a series of integrated learning activities, students develop an integrated knowledge base related to evidence-based patient care and related biodental, clinical and behavioural sciences, clinical skills and professional behaviours. These integrated learning activities provide small-group discovery experiences (SGDE) for students by presenting various practice situations that focus on the initial phases of patient care.  Student learning from these SGDE involve development of research skills and are supported by class meetings, laboratory, tutorial and simulation and clinical exercises. Learning is also supported by independent study and discussion of findings in class. Students work in a collaborative environment to learn to critically evaluate themselves, and plan and implement strategies for improvement.

Year 2
Second year builds on first year, maintaining the focus on patient-centered care. The aim is to develop an understanding of the changes that occur in the oral cavity when an imbalance of the oral ecosystem develops. The emphasis will be to restore and maintain the balance towards health. As in first-year, students’ SGDE involve participation in integrated learning activities, supported by class meetings, laboratory, tutorials, simulation and clinical sessions and independent study. Second year continues the emphasis on a scientific basis of dentistry by integrating research-informed knowledge of the structure and function of body with an emphasis on developing systematic scientific skills to examine, assess risk and systematically manage healthy patients with minor conditions.

Years 3 & 4
Students will extend their Dental Sciences studies to include the understanding of dental disorders and the human diseases which have direct relevance to oral health and dental practice. The scientific basis of dental practice, and the health and the community components will continue throughout the year. Students clinical skills in comprehensive treatment planning will be developed further through the provision of supervised care for patients in both general dental practice and dental specialities. As in previous years, students’ SGDE involve participation in integrated learning activities, supported by class meetings, simulation and clinical sessions and independent study

Year 5
In fifth year, students integrate the knowledge gained from the previous four years of study and consolidate their clinical skills in a range of settings in order to develop as dental professionals and manage patients with an increasingly complex range of dental problems.


A range of assessment formats are used throughout the program. Assessment consists of examinations that may be in the format of written papers using a range of question formats or clinical assessments. There is also continuous self-monitoring of clinical performance and tutor feedback during each clinic or simulated clinic session. At the end of a clinical placement period, tutors complete summative assessments of clinical performance. Other forms of assessment during the semester include Tests of Understanding, assignments, and participation in small group tutorial sessions.

Related Degrees


If you like science and you like using your hands, then dentistry is a great career for you.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.

Last updated: Wednesday, 13 Sep 2023