University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

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About the Bachelor of Dentistry

Bachelor of Dentistry (BDent)
Course code: EH003

Course Credit points for award Duration full-time
BDent 192 4 years


The degree of Bachelor of Dentistry prepares students for professional registration in order to practise dentistry on graduation. The program is designed to develop and enhance the skills, knowledge and professional behaviours of motivated and interested students.

Objectives of the program

The program aims to produce dentists who will:

  • develop, and be committed to maintaining, the highest professional and ethical standards
  • develop the intellectual, technical and personal skills to practise effectively, rationally and compassionately
  • be responsive to the needs of individual patients and committed to improving oral health within the community
  • have a broad understanding of the relationship of general health, disability and illness to oral health and disease
  • develop skills to underpin lifelong, self-directed professional learning and the application of evidence to rational decision-making
  • develop an appreciation of the role of research in dentistry and be able to contribute to leadership in clinical dental practice, research, education and community service.

Features of the program

Features of the curriculum include:

  • development of dental skills from the first week and early patient contact
  • an emphasis on effective communication and active learning
  • an integrated understanding of medical and dental issues in health and disease
  • learning based on clinical problems and emphasising clinical reasoning
  • a team approach to learning and clinical work
  • an evidence-based approach to practice
  • encouragement and support for self-directed learning
  • an emphasis on information literacy, and
  • opportunities to learn in a range of dental practice settings, including rural placements.


The program is integrated and designed to develop student knowledge, skills and professionalism progressively over four years. In order to achieve those aims, four themes have been identified.

  • Life Sciences (LS)
  • (Foundations of) Total Patient Care ((F)TPC)
  • Personal and Professional Development (PPD)
  • Dentist and the Community (D and C)

These four themes provide the framework for the objectives of the program, the development of the curriculum, and for assessment. The integrated nature of the curriculum means that every week some aspects from all themes will be discussed in tutorials, presented in lectures or specific theme sessions, or encountered in dental clinics, laboratories or simulations.


The Faculty of Dentistry, in recognition of meritorious performance, offers an honours program for BDent candidates. The honours program is a 12 credit point unit of study which is taken as an alternative to the elective program and each of these are integrated into the BDent program. The honours program comprises a significant research project, however outstanding clinical achievement is also a requirement for the award.

An honours degree provides greater opportunities after graduation and will make you more competitive when seeking employment among graduates without honours degrees. Honours will reflect that you have developed research and analytical skills which are more advanced to those of pass degree candidates, and that you developed superior organisational and time management skills to complete the honours program simultaneously with the demands of the BDent program. Honours will also provide an advantage when applying for postgraduate study.

Dentistry conjoint studies

Selected students with a proven aptitude for research and an honours degree (by research) are offered the opportunity to conjointly undertake their studies with a higher degree:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or
  • Master of Philosophy in Public Health (MPhilPH) (by research).

The BDent and PhD conjoint studies program will normally take six or seven years, the BDent and MPhilPH conjoint studies program five years.

There are two methods of application for the admission of qualified applicants:

  • at the time of application for admission to the BDent
  • during the first two years of the BDent, by submission of a research proposal approved by a potential supervisor and application for admission.

Criteria for selection into the PhD program include eligibility for an Australian Postgraduate Award (or similar scholarship).

Note that students enrol in the two degrees seperately; they are not offered and awarded as a combined degree program. All candidates are expected to undertake their BDent studies full time and complete the other degree on a part-time basis. It is expected that candidates for the PhD or MPH program will have made some progress towards the completion of the PhD or MPH program. The candidate also undertakes conjoint studies on the condition that their candidature in the BDent program will not be compromised by the workload expected in the PhD or MPH program. The candidate and his/her supervisor must be able to verify this at the time of admission to the BDent program.

Dentistry intercalated degree programs

Students who desire to obtain research experience may apply to interrupt their studies after second year to undertake a one-year degree:

  • Master of Philosophy by research
  • Master of Public Health (by coursework and dentally-related treatise).
Master of Philosophy by research

Applicants for the MPhil (Dent) will be required to satisfy a potential supervisor and the faculty that they have either obtained an honours degree (or equivalent) by research previously, or otherwise demonstrate their capacity by completing a relevant, short laboratory or library research project at an acceptable standard during the first two years of the program.

Master of Public Health (by coursework and dentally-related treatise)

The BDent/MSc (Dent) and MPH Intercalated Degree Programs will normally each take five years.