School of Dentistry (M.S. and Ph.D. in Oral Health Research) Virginia Commonwealth University

School of Dentistry (M.S. and Ph.D. in Oral Health Research) Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
September 1
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
4 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry

Virginia Commonwealth University is a premier urban, public research university focused on academic success. VCU is in Richmond, Virginia, a setting that combines the amenities of a major metropolitan area with the charm and convenience of a small historic city. Richmond provides an engaging backdrop for work, play and study.

At the VCU School of Dentistry, students and faculty members share a commitment to oral health care education, research, patient care, and community service. For more than 110 years, the school has served as the commonwealth of Virginia's only dental school, preparing men and women for successful careers in private practice, academia, hospitals, and public agencies.

Through investments in research, the VCU School of Dentistry is well on the way to becoming a national center for oral health research. Starting in Fall 2015 PhD and MS degree programs in oral health research will be offered. These will have a research focus on cancer and developmental biology of the head and neck; infection and immunology of oral and systemic diseases; and bioengineering and stem cells for tissue regeneration

MS degree program applicants will find this program useful for gaining entry into professional degrees or advancing their academic positions.

PhD degree program applicants will be trained by researchers and clinician scientists to become the next generation of scientific leaders in biomedical and health-related research fields.

Research will be carried out in the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research, at the School of Dentistry. The institute brings together teams of scientists from the VCU schools of dentistry, medicine, and engineering; the VCU Massey Cancer Center; and the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) to address areas of unmet need in oral health.

The VCU School of Dentistry recently recruited five researchers to strengthen its research portfolio. The school has $8 million in active research funding focused in areas of unmet clinical need that strategically align with National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding priorities.

Thanks to significant recent investment, the VCU School of Dentistry is well-equipped with some of the latest instrumentation to conduct the best and most effective experiments. VCU supports a number of core laboratories: protein production and crystallization, flow cytometry, mass spectrophotometry, bio-statistics, bio-informatics, microscopy, materials characterization, and tissue collection.

The VCU Massey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute, placing it in the top 4% of cancer centers in the country.

The VCU CCTR is part of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium and is supported by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Science.

The VCU School of Engineering has a core focus on biomedical research, especially bone and cartilage biology.

Students in the program can select their area of research from one of the three focus areas.

Cancer and developmental biology of the head and neck

Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. While the incidence of tobacco associated head and neck cancer is declining related to the decline in smoking, the incidence of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) associated head and neck cancer is increasing. The increase in HPV associated head and neck cancers represents a disease pathway with many unresolved issues including risk factors, biology of the disease, and gender disparities. The Philips Institute works closely with the Massey Cancer Center to identify new and more effective therapeutic options.

Infection and immunology of oral and systemic diseases

Periodontal diseases arise when oral bacteria infect gum tissue, triggering a complex immune response and resulting in inflammation. Oral bacteria shed from chronic periodontal infections or normal oral flora enter the circulatory system and may contribute to diseases of the heart and other organs. The role of periodontal diseases and commensal oral microflora in causing or contributing to other serious conditions is a major research focus of the Philips Institute in association with the department of microbiology in the school of medicine.

Bioengineering, stem cells, and new materials for tissue regeneration

Tissue engineering of new bone faces the twin challenge of satisfying both the mechanical and biological properties of the tissues they intend to replace. The development of new materials in combination with the use of patients' stem cells to regenerate bone should provide mechanically and biological superior new materials for treatment of craniofacial birth defects and disease-induced bone trauma. Researchers at the VCU schools of dentistry and engineering work closely together to provide solutions for this unmet clinical need.

Rankings and accreditation

VCU Medical Center was named the number one hospital in Richmond for the fourth year in a row and number 68 in research according to the 2014 "US News & World Report." The VCU School of Dentistry is ranked number 10 in graduate programs according to student reviews on and in the top third of US dental schools by

VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master's, doctoral, and first-professional degrees.

Location & Contact

Dr Oonagh Loughran

Wood Memorial Building

521 N. 11th St.

Richmond Virginia 23298-0566

Doctor of Dental Surgery degree program

This four-year program in general dentistry emphasizes study in three broad areas: basic sciences, clinical sciences, and social sciences. Students begin seeing patients in their first semester. It is one of only seven programs in the USA with DentSim technology.

Advanced education

The School of Dentistry offers advanced education beyond the DDS degree program in general dentistry, endodontics*, general practice residency in dental medicine, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics*, pediatric dentistry*, and periodontics*.

* These programs award a Master of Science in Dentistry degree as well as a specialty certificate.

Dental hygiene

The dental hygiene program requires two years of liberal arts study (a minimum of 60 semester hours) followed by two years of study focusing on basic and dental sciences, dental hygiene science and theory, community health, and preclinical and clinical experiences. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene.

International Dentist Program

The International Dentist Program provides an opportunity for foreign-trained dentists to enter the DDS degree program in their third year of study.

Location & Contact

School of Dentistry (M.S. and Ph.D. in Oral Health Research)

Virginia Commonwealth University

901 West Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23284-9005
United States

Dr. David Sarrett

Dean/Associate Vice President for Health Sciences

Phone: 804-828-7235

Dr. Michael Healy

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions

Phone: 804-828-9196

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Dentistry Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
      Doctor of Dental Surgery/Doctor of Philosophy (DDS/PhD)
      Doctor of Dental Surgery/Master of Science (DDS/MS)
      Master of Science (MS)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 13
    • Doctoral Degrees 90
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? Not reported
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


85% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 141
    • Accepted 120
    • Acceptance Rate 85
    • Enrolled 117
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic Not Reported
    • Application Fee - International Not Reported
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline September 1st Not Reported Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesNational Board Dental Exam
    • Doctoral's DegreesDAT
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesNot Reported

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students431
    • Female Percentage40%
    • Male Percentage60%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students431
    • Part-time Percentage3%
    • Full-time Percentage97%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino4%
    • Black / African American3%
    • White / Caucasian75%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian14%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races1%
    • Unknown3%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty46
    • Full-time Percentage100%
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Female Percentage15%
    • Male Percentage85%




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