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Undergraduate dentistry BDS students at the University of Manchester

Dentistry with pre-dental entry (BDS) (six years)

Train to be a dentist even if you don’t have science qualifications through this course with a foundation year.

Dentistry (pre-dental entry) (6 years) [BDS]

Year of entry: 2016show 2017

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Our Dentistry with pre-dental entry BDS is ideal if you have proven academic ability, but not the necessary science qualifications to apply directly to the five-year Dentistry BDS course.

You can apply if you're a UK student from a non-scientific background or if you have gained your previous qualifications abroad. Automatic entry into the standard five-year BDS course is granted upon satisfactory completion of the foundation year (the first year of this six-year course).

Our course prepares you for careers in the modern world of dental practice by combining clinical studies with basic and advanced dental sciences.

You'll be taught in small groups and will follow an enquiry-based learning programme. Once you have mastered basic competencies in the University's facilities, you will rapidly move on to treating patients in both the dental hospital and local outreach clinics, benefiting from extensive 'real world' clinical exposure from the outset. 

There is also the opportunity to study for an intercalated BDS degree, where you can interrupt the course for one year between Years 2 and 3 to complete the final year of a BSc Honours degree at Manchester.

Intercalated degrees offer the opportunity to study either a subject already covered in part by the BDS course or a new area in greater depth. 

We welcome applications from EU students.

UCAS course code
UCAS institution code
Degree awarded
6 years
Number of places/applicants
The number is places/applicants for this course is: 6/75
Typical A level offer
We require AAA plus grade B in a fourth AS subject (non-science subjects or only one science offered)

Full entry requirements

Typical International Baccalaureate offer
36 Points overall: 6,6,6 in the Higher Level subjects 5,5,5 in the Standard Level subjects One science subject only permitted 1 core point

Full entry requirements

Contact email
Contact telephone
+44 (0)161 306 0231
How to apply

Course description

This course is aimed at students who have proven academic ability but who do not have the necessary science qualifications to apply directly to the five-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS).

Automatic entry into the standard five-year BDS course is granted upon satisfactory completion of the foundation year (first year of a six year course).

Open days

The best way to get a feel for what it's like to study at the School of Dentistry is to come and visit us on one of our open days .


Fees for Home students approximately £9000 per annum for all programmes

International: £20,000

Clinical overseas: £35,000

Compare this course

Entry requirements


We require grades AAA. This should predominantly be in Arts/Humanities subjects and should not include Biology and Chemistry. General Studies is excluded.

We are aware that the some schools may no longer enter candidates for AS Level qualifications. You will not be disadvantaged if written confirmation of this policy is provided by the school.


Alongside your A-Levels you must have one further AS level at grade B or above.

We are aware that the some schools may no longer enter candidates for AS Level qualifications. These students will not be disadvantaged if written confirmation of this policy is provided by the school. The school expects AS attainments to be included on the UCAS application form.

Unit grade information

We welcome the provision of unit grade information which, like all other available information, will inform the consideration of applications. Unit grades will not normally form part of offer conditions, except for Mathematics programmes.


A minimum of 7-11 GCSE including either Integrated Double Award Science or (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) with a minimum of six GCSEs at Grade A and Grade B or above in GCSE English Language and Mathematics are required in support of your level 3 qualifications (e.g. A levels, International Baccalaureate etc).

Key Skills qualification

We welcome applications from students studying the Key Skills qualification. However, as the opportunities to take these modules are not open to all applicants, currently this is not an essential requirement of the University.

International Baccalaureate

36 Points overall: 6,6,6 in the Higher Level subjects 5,5,5 in the Standard Level subjects One science subject only permitted 1 core point

English language

You must be proficient in the use of the English Language. The minimum acceptable level of proficiency is:

  • GCSE English Language grade B or above
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English grade B or above

English language test validity

Some English language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Relevant work experience

A minimum of 2 weeks shadowing a General Dental Practitioner is required prior to application and must have taken place within the last two years. UK Students are expected to have completed this in the UK in either NHS or Private practices.

Irish Leaving Certificate

A minimum of A2 A2 A2 A2 A2 including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English Language and Maths are required.

Scottish Highers

AAAAA including English Language and Maths. Only 1 science subject permitted. Biology, Chemistry and Physics must have been studied at Standard/intermediate level.

Scottish Advanced Highers

We require two Advanced Highers in non-science subjects at grades AA.

European Baccalaureate

Acceptable on its own or in combination with other qualifications where no Science is included however, students will be expected to have examination grades for GCSE Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics. If English Language and Maths are not included in the qualification these subjects must be achieved at GCSE with B grades. Applications from students studying for this qualification are welcome and all such applicants will be considered on an individual basis

Other international entry requirements

There are no overseas seats on this course.

We do not accept applications from individuals already holding a dental qualification awarded by another country. We are not able to accept applications from outside the EU for the Foundation Year. If you are uncertain about whether you qualify for entry, you should contact the admissions secretary .

Advanced/Progression Diploma

We welcome the introduction of the level 3 specialised diplomas. We look forward to providing guidance regarding progression opportunities and subject and grade requirements when further details on equivalences are published.

Non-standard educational routes

If you have followed a non-standard educational route and have been, for example, educated at home, your application will be considered against the standard entry criteria of the course to which you applied. You will be required to demonstrate that you meet the academic entry requirements as specified for the course. We will also require a reference which should be written by somebody who knows you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. Please refer to UCAS for further information.

Other entry requirements

We encourage applications from older candidates; there is no upper age limit. The competition for places is keen and the standard of applications is high. Each application is carefully considered in the light of individual circumstances.

Graduates are required to have obtained a First/2:1 pass in the first degree. Previous A-Level qualifications will be taken into consideration.

Any queries regarding qualifications required for entry onto the course should be directed to the admissions secretary.

Deferred applicants

If you wish to defer entry for one year you will not be disadvantaged and should apply through UCAS for deferred entry in the normal way.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

Please refer to the Application process page for further guidance on the following:

  • How to apply
  • How your application is considered
  • Personal statement guidance
  • Interview requirements
  • Aptitude test requirements

Aptitude test requirement

UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT): All applicants for the BDS course will be required to sit the UKCAT.

Fitness to practise / health requirements

Health screening

In Manchester, you will be introduced to the clinic in your first term. Therefore, you will have to produce satisfactory evidence on non-infectivity with respect to the blood-borne viruses HIV, Hepatitis B and C and Tuberculosis. In addition, you must pass a health screening in Student Occupational Health prior to entry to ensure you are fit to practice.

Disclosure and Barring Service check

You will have to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This will reveal any criminal convictions, spent or unspent, as well as any police cautions, warnings or reprimands. You must declare any criminal convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands on their UCAS application. Some criminal convictions may preclude candidates from working as a dentist.


If you wish to defer entry for one year, you will not be disadvantaged and should apply through UCAS for deferred entry in the normal way.

Policy for applicants who resit their qualifications

We welcome applications from those re-sitting their A-Levels, though you should only have re-sat either Year 12 or Year 13.

If you have taken three A levels, you are expected to have obtained a minimum of Grade B in each subject at the first sitting. Re-sitting candidates are expected to achieve Grades A*AA in the A level subjects specified above and the A* is expected to be achieved in the Year 13 re-sit year.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.


Transfers to the School of Dentistry from other courses are not possible.

Portfolio requirements

You are required to have observed a general dental practitioner at work before applying. A minimum period of two-weeks experience in a general dental practice (either NHS or private or both) is required.

Course details

Course description

This course is aimed at students who have proven academic ability but who do not have the necessary science qualifications to apply directly to the five-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS).

Automatic entry into the standard five-year BDS course is granted upon satisfactory completion of the foundation year (first year of a six year course).


The course is specifically constructed to prepare you for the first year of the standard five-year BDS course . All topics have a medical or dental orientation, many using clinical material, although you will not have direct contact with patients.

Part of the foundation year is taught at Xaverian FE College , with access to all its facilities and support systems.

Teaching and learning

Enquiry-based learning (EBL): In EBL, the tutor establishes the task and helps the process, but you will pursue your own lines of enquiry, drawing on existing knowledge and identifying your own learning needs. Through EBL, you will participate in a wide range of different learning activities including PBL sessions, small-group seminars, themed theatre events, case-based activities, computer-assisted learning (CAL), the use of web-based resources and project work. The emphasis on EBL means that traditional lectures do not form a major part of the course.

Projects: During Years 2-6 of the course, you will complete a research project and a Clinical Case Presentation.

Problem-based learning (PBL): This features interdisciplinary cases where learning is driven by the need to acquire knowledge in order to understand a particular clinical problem or scenario. This approach involves a mixture of small group and self-directed learning with the tutor acting to support the student rather than teach.

Lecture/symposium: These are interdisciplinary-themed theatre events combining presentations, clinical case presentations and interactive exercises.

Technical/laboratory: Classes in life science laboratories, the anatomy dissection room, and our clinical/technical skills facilities are timed to complement the knowledge you will acquire through EBL. These are designed to equip you with the competencies you need to treat patients during each stage of your development.

Clinic: Clinical experience in a range of environments (dental hospital, outreach community clinics,) working in a dental team from Year 2 onwards.

Coursework and assessment

The course has been carefully designed to ensure that assessment is appropriate in terms of both timing and quantity, and that there is consistency of assessment methods throughout.

These will include multiple choice questions, short answer written papers, assessed projects, presentation of completed cases with companion oral examinations (sometimes known as vivas), objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) incorporating clinical competency tests, peer assessment and reflective journal writing.

Integration and early clinical experience: The integration of non-clinical and clinical aspects of the course means that the relationship of science subjects to the treatment of patients and disease elimination is immediately apparent to students. This philosophy allows for the rapid transfer of relevant research findings to the clinics.

Outreach clinics: This course emphasises exposing you to dentistry outside the confines of the School and Dental Hospital through its custom-built community clinics. Treatment needs are high, there is no shortage of patients and you will gain valuable experience of working as part of a team including dentists, dental nurses, hygienists, therapists and receptionists.

Teamwork: The importance of teamwork is emphasised on the course. Alongside the BDS course, the School of Dentistry provides a BSc in Oral Health Sciences which trains dental hygienists/therapists. There are close links with the Dental Hospital's School of Dental Nursing and nearby Manchester Metropolitan University's long-standing programmes in Dental Technology.

Students drawn from different years of the programme and from dental care professions, such as student dental therapists and student dental technicians, work as a team to meet the treatment needs of shared patients. This helps students to experience true teamwork in a dental context throughout their time in Manchester.

Course unit details

The essential components include:

  • Modules covering the core syllabus using problem-based learning (PBL) concepts
  • Formal academic teaching sessions covering some aspects of the relevant basic sciences
  • Special Study Modules with a clinical orientation
  • Guest lectures by clinicians

Entry to the five-year BDS course is automatic on satisfactory completion of the year.


Excellent clinical, library and IT facilities are available to support learning. The University of Manchester Library is the third-largest academic library in Britain. In addition, the Medical School houses a separate medical library.

IT facilities are provided within the University of Manchester Library and at the School's own multimedia cluster.

The £24m Alan Gilbert Learning Commons opened in September 2012. It has been designed to give students a focal point for learning, offering a stimulating and comfortable 24/7 environment for study.

The world-class 21st century study space boats more that 1000 flexible study spaces and an inspiring range of equipment and furnishings for individual and group study.

There are 400 PCs, laptop charging lockers, 30 bookable group study rooms, skype area and media screens for presentation and group work. The wifi available throughout the building extends to the space outside and to the ground floor cafe which is open to the public.

All students for Years 3 - 5 are loaned an Apple iPad for the duration of the course. This facilitates their learning and is also used for assessment and communication.

The School's skills facility and technical-skills teaching areas support the acquisition of clinical skills. Clinical facilities are renewed on a rolling programme.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants from the Disability Support Office  


Career opportunities

Overall statistics

96% of students are in work and/or further education within six months of graduation.

Types of jobs

Almost invariably, dental graduates apply for one-year Vocational Dental Practitioner (Dental Foundation 1) posts when they graduate. These are salaried posts in NHS general dental practices, comprising four days per week of clinical work and one day per week of professional study. Each VDP is mentored by a Vocational Trainer in the same practice. All VDP practices are inspected to ensure they are of a required standard.

In 2012 there were 1138 applications for 953 places on the 78 VDP training schemes to start in August 2013. Those not allocated a place were put on a reserve list which covers the possibility that some applicants will not pass their Final BDS examinations.

Further study

Many graduates decide to specialise in a particular branch of dentistry e.g. orthodontics, endodontics. Specialist training programmes are available in all dental specialties and are highly competitive. Some general experience in dentistry is required prior to entry to a specialist training programme, as is either the MJDF or MFDS examinations run by the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of London or Edinburgh.

Careers support

Careers advice is available through the School throughout the five-year programme, but is concentrated in Year 5 as graduation approaches. Specific help and guidance is given in Year 5 to prepare students for the VDP selection process, which is done on a national basis.

Employability skills

Dental graduates have a range of skills, both technical and interpersonal. In Manchester, participation in the Manchester Leadership Programme in Year 3 of the programme is compulsory and gives our students additional skills and experience outside the dental programme.

Accrediting organisations

The Degree of Bachelor of Dental Surgery is accredited as a qualification registerable with the General Dental Council website.