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Graduate Program in Oral Health Sciences

DDS/PhD Program

DDS/PhD combined training is available for students committed to an academic or research career in dentistry and dental research. This program is a minimum of 8 years, combining the DDS curriculum with a PhD in Oral Health Sciences (OHS). Students must apply to both the DDS program and OHS PhD program.

The DDS program begins in Summer Quarter of each year, so all applicants for the DDS/PhD combined training program need to apply for both programs for Summer Quarter start. 


  • Educate committed individuals for future academic positions in a manner that provides the best possible dual training and minimizes debt load.
  • Students will have an opportunity to have continued clinical practice after completing dental training so there is no break in use of clinical skills.
  • Students finishing this program will be prepared to go into clinical specialty training after completing their PhD. This will prepare them for faculty positions and be an excellent opportunity to connect their research training and clinical experience.


  • Keeps normal dental curriculum intact for years 1-4.
  • Takes advantage of already existing SURF program for entering students the first year.
  • Additional course work in summers during SURF program and other quarters as time permits.
  • DDS to be conferred in spring quarter of year 4.
  • Clinical experience to continue in years 5-8 via Intramural Practice or other arrangement.
  • Applicants are eligible for financial support; details will be arranged each year.


  • Students may be eligible for funding by an NIH training grant beginning in the 1st or 2nd year of study. This would provide a stipend and partial tuition costs.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to apply for an individual DDS/PhD fellowship through NIH. The best timing would be a submission of the application beginning in their 4th or 5th year.
Curriculum milestones
Curriculum Milestone
Academic year 1 Dental Curriculum (begins Summer Quarter annually)
Academic year 2 Dental Curriculum
Required SURF project (Research Rotation #1)
Academic year 3 Dental Curriculum
Academic year 4 Dental Curriculum; Required Spring Research Quarter Rotation #2 (OHS 550) Complete DDS; INBDE
Academic year 5
Clinical Practice
Begin PhD Coursework & Research Identify PhD mentor
Academic year 6-7
Clinical Practice
PhD Research; Complete
Remaining PhD coursework
PhD General Exam
Academic year 8
Clinical Practice
PhD Research PhD Defense
and graduation

Note: This is a general outline of the DDS/PhD curriculum and may vary depending on the individual student, for example, didactic and clinical performance, research progress, etc.

For DDS/PhD students, the following courses are mandatory:

  • OHS 550 – Directed Studies in Oral Health Sciences/DPH (completed during DDS training)
  • OHS 568 – Biostatistics
  • OHS 579 – Molecular Biology and Oral Health Applications
  • OHS 575 – Oral Health Seminar (repeats during each academic year)
  • OHS 578 – Research Techniques
  • OHS 600 – Independent Study (PhD research)
  • OHS 800 – PhD Dissertation (minimum of 27 credits required before graduation)
  • DENTEL 530 – Research Seminar (completed during DDS training)
  • DENTFN 513 – Oral Microbiology (completed during DDS training)
  • DENTFN 523 – Oral Histology and Embryology (completed during DDS training)
  • DENTFN 533 – Oral Histology and Embryology 2 (completed during DDS training)

Students are required to complete at least two other OHS courses that are part of our PhD curriculum. Examples include:

  • OHS 569 (Advanced Oral Microbiology)
  • OHS 581 (Secretory Processes in Exocrine Glands)
  • OHS 591 (Advanced Topics in Oral Biology and Medicine)
  • OHS 571 (Clinical Epidemiology)

At least seven (7) credits of Conjoint (CONJ) or other elective courses offered outside of OHS. Please see the OHS PhD course description and UW catalogue for current listings.

Students are also required to attend and participate in the Biomedical Research Integrity Series. This is a non-credit summer course taught through the Department of Medical History & Ethics and consists of a series of lectures and discussion groups. Each student will need to attend a minimum of three lectures and three discussion groups.  NIH Trainees are required to attend every year of the duration of their federal funding.