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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)

Year of entry: 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 in non-science subjects.

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 here is to come and visit us on one of our open days .


Tuition fees for home/EU students commencing their studies in September 2017 will be £9,250, subject to government regulations on fee increases.

Tuition fees for international students will be £21,000 per annum in Years 1 and 2 and £38,000 per annum for clinical learning in Years 3 to 5.

For general information, please see the  undergraduate finance  pages.

Additional expenses

When on the clinics you will need to wear a tunic, which cost approximately £25 each, black trousers or skirt and black leather duty shoes, close fitting around the toes and heels. When attending community clinics in the Greater Manchester area, from Year 4, there will be travel costs attached. There is no discounted parking on campus for students if you have a car.


No specific academic scholarships are available for 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.

You must also meet the GCSE requirements.


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. Where taken the school expects AS attainments to be included on the UCAS application form. ]

Where an additional AS-level subject has been discontinued at AS-level you must have achieved a minimum of a B grade in this subject.

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.


Six A grade GCSEs including either Dual Award Science or Core, Additional and Further Additional Science or Biology, Chemistry & Physics and B grades in English and Maths. In the newly reformed GCSEs, we expect to see a broad range of GCSE subjects all at grade 5 and above with a minimum of six at grade 7 and above including the Sciences. Either Dual Award Science or Core, Additional and Further Additional Science or Biology, Chemistry & Physics). Grade 6 or above in GCSE English Language and Mathematics is also required. These GCSE requirements must be met in addition to your level 3 qualifications (e.g. A levels, International Baccalaureate etc)

GCSE Applied Maths is not acceptable.

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.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Acceptable at Grade A alongside two further non-science A-Levels.

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 team.

Advanced Placement tests

Advanced practice tests are not considered.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Not considered.

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

How your application is considered

Your academic achievements will be checked against the standard entry requirements. Your UKCAT score will be ranked by the percentile provided by Pearson Vue and your SJT Score should be in Band 1, 2 or 3. Your Personal Statement will be reviewed.

Skills, knowledge, abilities, interests

Reasons for choosing dentistry

When we read a UCAS form, we want to develop some insight into what has attracted you to dentistry, and what has confirmed this choice.

Work experience

You must have observed a dentist at work before applying. This must be a general dental practitioner, as this is the role that most students fulfil on graduation. This must have taken place within the last two years. You must undertake a minimum of two weeks' work experience in a general dental practice. The personal statement must be specific about the duration. It is not necessary to have fulfilled the role of a dental nurse.

Team and leadership experience

The practice of dentistry involves a considerable amount of teamwork and the dentist takes on the role of team leader. Although skills in teamwork will be developed throughout the course, a significant method of learning we use is small group teaching, which relies on students' ability to work as part of a group. We are keen to find out what experience you've had of working as a member and a leader of a team. This does not have to be a school based activity, it could be in connection with a part-time job, sport, volunteer work or religious community.

Manual dexterity

From your own experiences of dental treatment and your observation of a dentist working, you will be aware of the degree of manual dexterity required. We need to feel confident that you have some basic fine motor skills and a desire to enter a profession to which these skills are central. You may have studied an art or craft at school, or pursued a hobby that requires considerable dexterity.

Other information

What do you enjoy doing, feel passionate about and excel at? Are there any contributions made to community life of which you feel proud? Dentistry can be a stressful profession. What do you do to relax when you take a break from academic work?

Interview requirements

No offer is made without a successful interview. The interview includes participation in a group discussion, a short written task and a face to face interview with a member of staff and a current student. Interviews run between November and March each admissions cycle.

Returning to education

We expect you to have been in education within the last 4 years.

Aptitude test requirement

All applicants are required to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) before applying to study dentistry.

The UKCAT is a timed computer-based aptitude test. It is split into the following sections:

Quantitative Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning

Abstract Reasoning

Decision Making

Situational Judgement Test.

The test is taken at various test centres in most countries. Each candidate is scored on their performance in the test. The actual raw score is not particularly important, but each candidate is also given a percentile score that shows how they performed in relation to other candidates. It is this percentile score that is examined as part of the assessment of the UCAS application. UKCAT is merely one element of the assessment of the application.

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.

See the HEOPS standards of medical fitness to train guidance (PDF, 84KB) for more information.

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 are considering deferring your entry ideally you must make this decision at the point of application. Once an offer has been made it may not be possible to defer your entry. We would not consider any requests for deferred after the release of the A-Level results.

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 once only. 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.


Transfers to 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 a 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 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

This 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 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, we provide a BSc in Oral Health Sciences which trains dental hygienists/therapists. We also have close links with nearby Manchester Metropolitan University's long standing programmes in Dental Technology.

Students drawn from different years of the course 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.


We have 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 University has a separate medical library.

IT facilities are provided within The University of Manchester library and our own multimedia cluster.

The £24m Alan Gilbert Learning Commons has been designed to give you a focal point for learning, offering a stimulating and comfortable 24/7 environment for study. The building 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 in Years 3 - 5 are loaned an Apple iPad for the duration of the course. This facilitates learning and is also used for assessment and communication.

Our skills facility and technical skills teaching areas support the acquisition of clinical skills.

Disability support

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


Career opportunities

Overall statistics

99% 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 Dental Foundation 1 training 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 FY1 is mentored by a Dental Trainer in the same practice. All training practices are inspected to ensure they are of a required standard.

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 England, Edinburgh or Ireland and Glasgow.

Careers support

Careers advice is available throughout the five year course, but is concentrated in Year 5 as graduation approaches. Specific help and guidance is given in Year 5 to help you prepare for the Foundation Dentistry 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 course is compulsory and gives our students additional skills and experience

Accrediting organisations

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