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Dental hygiene, a preventive profession, is composed of licensed dental hygienists who are an integral part of the dental health team. They provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services to those seeking dental care.

The dental hygiene curriculum at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry is fully approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and its graduates are eligible for examination and licensure in all states.

The curriculum is organized into a four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene. Preparation for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program consists of approximately two academic years of study with the course work to be completed at any accredited college. To comply with our prerequisites, it is advisable to contact the Dental Hygiene Program at the College of Dentistry, so we can help you select courses that will fulfill requirements for our curriculum.

After acceptance into the dental hygiene program, the next two academic years and one summer session are spent at the College of Dentistry in Lincoln, Nebraska or the West Division campus in Gering, Nebraska.

Predental Hygiene Requirements

High School

Preparation for the study of dental hygiene begins in high school. The prospective dental hygiene student is encouraged to take the following subjects:

  • English - 3 years
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra - 2 years
    • Geometry - 1 year
  • Biological Sciences (Biology) - 1 year
  • Chemistry - 1 year
  • Foreign Language (suggested but not required) - 2 years

College

The predental hygiene courses fulfill general requirements and provide the student with a core of knowledge.

  • Communication (English Composition) - 6 hours
  • Biology - 4 hours
  • Microbiology - 4 hours
  • Human Anatomy or Anatomy & Physiology I - 4 hours
  • Human Physiology or Anatomy & Physiology II - 4 hours
  • General Chemistry - 8 hours
  • Introductory Sociology - 3 hours
  • Introductory Psychology - 3-4 hours
  • Communication (Speech/must give speeches) - 3 hours
  • Humanities/Arts - 6 hours
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences/Human Behavior, Culture, and Social Organization
  • Nutrition - 3 hours
  • 12-hour series - 12 hours

Six credit hours must be completed in the Humanities & Arts (English literature, philosophy, music history, classics, art history, theater arts, drawing), and three hours in Social & Behavioral Sciences/Human Behavior, Culture and Social Organization (psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, geography). A twelve-hour series (a 12-hour minor in one academic area) must be completed in a specific area of study. The courses taken in the 12-hour series must have the same course prefix for all courses being considered. The Dental Hygiene Program advisor should be consulted for specific details.

The following is an example of course sequencing.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
First SemesterCredit Hours
English Composition 3
General Biology/Lab 4
Speech 3
Introduction to Psychology 4
 Credit Hours14
Second Semester
English Composition 3
Biology of Microorganisms/Lab 4
Introduction to Sociology 3
Social & Behavioral Sciences 3
First of 12 Hour Series 3
 Credit Hours16
Second Year
First Semester
General Chemistry I/Lab 4
Humanities/Arts 3
Humanities/Arts 3
Second of 12 Hour Series 3
Anatomy/Lab or Human Anatomy & Physiology I/Lab 4
 Credit Hours17
Second Semester
General Chemistry II/Lab 4
Nutrition 3
Third of 12 Hour Series 3
Fourth of 12 Hour Series 3
Physiology/Lab or Human Anatomy & Physiology II/Lab 4
 Credit Hours17
 Total Credit Hours64

Transfer Credit

All official transcripts from postsecondary institutions will be examined, and credit will be awarded according to UNMC policy. Usually, credit from any accredited institution of higher learning is accepted for transfer if successfully completed with a course grade of C or above.

For two- and four-year institutions, transfer credit will be determined by the standards set forth in the “Transfer Credit Practices of Designated Educational Institutions” published by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Offices. Transfer credit is not awarded for D grades from other institutions.

Application Guidelines

The Department of Dental Hygiene accepts twenty students each year for the program at the College of Dentistry in Lincoln, Nebraska. Four students are accepted for the West Division in Gering, Nebraska. Students who meet the following requirements may be considered for admission.

Criteria utilized by the Admissions Committee for selection are cumulative GPA, science GPA, ACT score, interview, familiarity with the profession, essay, and letters of recommendation. The University of Nebraska Medical Center is an equal opportunity institution and all qualified minorities are urged to apply.

Applicants will be accepted who present evidence of intellectual promise and strong personal qualifications, including good moral character and the desire to serve the public. Consideration is given to personal maturity and professional motivation. Students selected must be committed to scholarly pursuits and have career goals compatible with the philosophy of the baccalaureate program.

Application Procedures

To be considered for acceptance into the next year’s incoming fall class, the Dental Hygiene Program admissions process begins by submitting your online application: www.unmc.edu/dentistry/programs/hygiene/admissions.html. Students are urged to begin application procedures as soon as the online application is available for the current application cycle. The College requires a $60.00 application fee, paid by personal check or money order directly to the College of Dentistry to complete the application process.

The department must receive all of the following by the deadline of February 1.

  • The online application form and the application fee
  • Dental Hygiene Program Application Cover Sheet, located on the dental hygiene admission information page
  • All official transcripts
    • Official college transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended (even if transfer credit is not being used from that institution)
    • Official high school transcripts
    • Note: All transcripts must be received in sealed envelopes from the issuing institution’s Registrar.
  • ACT scores
  • Application essay
  • Letters of recommendation (not required, but will be considered)
  • Photo (optional)

The dental hygiene admissions committee notifies all applicants of their acceptance or rejection. Upon notice of acceptance for admission to the dental hygiene program, a letter of intent to enroll and a non-refundable deposit of $300.00 are required. The full amount of the deposit applies toward payment of tuition and fees when the student enrolls.

Contact the Dental Hygiene Department for further information: 402-472-1433.

Class Size

The Department of Dental Hygiene accepts twenty-four students each year. Twenty students comprise the program at the College of Dentistry in Lincoln, Nebraska and four students at the West Division campus in Gering, Nebraska, complete the class.

Alternative Curriculum Options

For licensed dental hygienists with an associate degree, the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry offers a degree completion program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene. For more information on this program and a counseling appointment, contact the department at 402-472-1433.

Plan of Study Grid
Third Year
First SemesterCredit Hours
DHYG 301 PRECLINIC THEORY 2
DHYG 307 MEDICAL EMERGENCIES 1
DHYG 309 PRECLINICAL TECHNIQUES 4
ORBI 315 OSTEOLOGY OF THE SKULL 1
ORBI 317 SPECIAL TOPICS IN ORAL BIOLOGY 2
ORBI 319 GENERAL/ORAL HISTOLOGY 2
DHYG 321 DENTAL ANATOMY LECT/LAB 2
 Credit Hours14
Second Semester
DHYG 302 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 0
ORBI 304 ORAL RADIOLOGY FOR DENTAL HYGIENE 3
DHYG 310 CLINICAL DENTAL HYGIENE I 3
ORBI 316 HEAD & NECK ANATOMY 2
DHYG 320 CLINICAL TECHNIQUES I 2
ORBI 325 INTRODUCTION TO IMMUNOLOGY 1
ORBI 366 GENERAL/ORAL PATHOLOGY FOR DENTAL HYGIENE 3
ADRS 326 DENTAL MATERIALS 2
 Credit Hours16
Summer
DHYG 328 CLINICAL DENTAL HYGIENE II 1
DHYG 330 CLINICAL TECHNIQUES II 2
PERO 331 THEORETICAL PERIODONTOLOGY 2
ADRS 335 ORAL HEALTH AND DENTISTRY FOR OLDER ADULTS 1
 Credit Hours6
Fourth Year
First Semester
ORBI 401 INTRODUCTION TO PHARMACOLOGY 2
DHYG 406 COMMUNITY DENTAL HEALTH 0
DHYG 412 LOCAL ANESTHESIA/NITROUS OXIDE-OXYGEN SEDATION 2
ORBI 415 CLINICAL DENTAL RADIOGRAPHY FOR DENTAL HYGIENE (yearly) 0
DHYG 423 CLINICAL DENTAL HYGIENE III 4
DHYG 425 CLINICAL TECHNIQUES III 2
PERO 434 PERIO TREATMENT (SURGICAL) 1
ORBI 491 CLINICAL ORAL PATHOLOGY 2
 Credit Hours13
Second Semester
DHYG 302 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 1
DHYG 406 COMMUNITY DENTAL HEALTH 3
ORBI 415 CLINICAL DENTAL RADIOGRAPHY FOR DENTAL HYGIENE (yearly) 1
DHYG 426 PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVES 2
DHYG 428 CLINICAL DENTAL HYGIENE IV 4
DHYG 430 CLINICAL TECHNIQUES IV 2
ORBI 432 SPECIAL PATIENT CARE 1
ORBI 471 A REVIEW OF BIOMEDICAL/DENTAL SCIENCES 1
 Credit Hours15
 Total Credit Hours64