Pre-Dental Hygiene

The Pre-Dental Hygiene Program provides an excellent academic foundation for applicants to the Dental Hygiene Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Applicants for the Dental Hygiene Program must complete 51 semester credit hours of courses through a pre-professional curriculum before they are admitted into the professional curriculum at UAMS.

Students in the Pre-Dental Hygiene Program at UAMS. If you have questions regarding the UAMS program, please call 501-686-5730 or email

UAMS Application Procedure

To qualify for consideration for admission to the dental hygiene program, the applicant must have met or exceeded the following minimum qualifications:

  • 75 cumulative grade point average
  • 75 prerequisite grade point average
  • 20 hours of dental office observation
  • Official ACT scores submitted
  • Completion of College Algebra and three out of the five science prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or better prior to the application deadline. All prerequisites must be complete before the start of the Dental Hygiene program.

Application Deadline: All application materials must be postmarked by February 15. Documentation of all previous college work, including the prerequisite courses, must be provided in the form of official transcripts* Transcripts provided or delivered by the applicant will not be accepted. The most qualified applicants will be invited for an interview.

*Have official transcripts sent to:
UAMS College of Health Professions
Attention: Admissions
4301 W. Markham Street #619
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205

Class Size and Selection: A class of 36 students will be selected for the program.

Admissions Criteria: Admission to the dental hygiene program requires the applicant to complete required prerequisite coursework/admission requirements and successfully complete an on-campus interview process if invited. Admissions to the UAMS Dental Hygiene Program is competitive and based on the following factors:

  • Academic achievement in math and science
  • Overall academic achievement
  • Leadership and professionalism
  • Written and oral communication

The most qualified applicants will be invited for an interview. Interviews are held after the application deadline. A class of approximately 36 students is typically selected. Applicants selected for enrollment will receive notification within a few weeks after interviews are held. Selected applicants are required to complete a criminal background check and drug test. Licensure in Arkansas also requires a state and federal criminal background check.

Required Prerequisite Courses

Area/Typical Course Title Minimum Semester Credit
English Composition
Two-semester sequence of English Composition 6
Speech Communication
Fundamentals of Speech or Speech Communication* 3
College Algebra (or higher-level Mathematics) 3
Principles of chemistry course with laboratory 4
Principles of biology course with laboratory (A Zoology course with laboratory is also acceptable) 4
Microbiology with laboratory 4
Anatomy & Physiology
Two-semester sequence of Anatomy & Physiology (labs not required) 6
Fine Arts
Music, Art, Theater 3
Philosophy, Political Science, Literature, or Humanities 3
History of the United States or National Government 3
General Psychology 3
Introduction to Sociology 3
Lower Level Electives 6

*Due to rules set forth by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, Speech Communication is a required prerequisite and cannot be substituted by an additional Fine Arts/Humanities course.

Chemistry, Biology, and Microbiology courses must include laboratory sections. Anatomy & Physiology courses do not require a lab. Credit by examination will not be given for science courses. Prerequisite science labs must be face-to-face. A course graded of “C” or higher must be achieved to satisfy program prerequisite and core curriculum requirements.


  • GPA                                  60%
  • ACT scores                      25%
  • Interview                         10%
  • References                      5%


Most UAMS dental hygiene students were admitted “in sequence” (high school 2 yrs at university before UAMS).  However, approximately 35% are non-traditional students.  Almost all scored 20 on the ACT and earned 3.4 overall GPA.


If application materials are received before February 1st, the application packet is reviewed and applicant is informed if anything is missing.  If the application is received after Feb. 1st, no confirmation will be sent and the applicant risks not making “the cut” if materials are missing.  Always apply early and confirm receipt of reference letters and test scores.

A 3.0 GPA is considered the minimum criteria.  Higher GPAs are more competitive. A GPA at 3.4 or above is highly competitive.

ACT scores can be improved in one day, but most students ignore them or refuse to retake the exam.  Performance on the ACT reflects the student’s academic abilities and may reflect potential performance on national and state certification exams.  If > 20 ACT score, applicant meets the minimum criteria (higher scores are better).  If < 19, applicant is encouraged to retake test.  A score of 23 or above is competitive.

The dental hygiene program confers a SCIENCE degree.  Biology, math, chemistry, and computer courses are very important (A or B only, one C “tolerable”).  Applicants with similar GPAs are differentiated by their performance in the science courses.  Core social science courses are also important (interpersonal skills).  Electives have marginal impact.  Students should take electives that are fun.  If science grades are deficient (a C in chemistry or biology), the applicant should take science courses as electives.

Out-of-state applicants rarely are accepted (AR residents receive a high priority).

Work experience is very important.  Many applicants have more than 20 hours of experience in dental work setting.  Applicant with work experience in a dental or orthodontic office are viewed favorably.

The interview can impact a candidate’s admission.  Be prepared and schedule a “mock” interview with your advisor.

Approximately half of all admitted students were accepted on the first attempt.  Many students apply 2-3 times.

The UAMS Dental Hygiene Program is too competitive and selective to let someone “slide in”.  Proper planning BEFORE the application process will improve your likelihood of admission.