March 17, 2017

School of Dentistry ranks 5th in U.S., 14th in world

The UW School of Dentistry has retained its No. 5 U.S. ranking and moved up one spot to 14th in the world in the 2017 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

Dr. Chung and Levi Reynolds treat a patient

A faculty member checks a student’s work in the Fourth-Year General Practice Clinic.

The University of Hong Kong dental school was ranked tops in the world, while the University of Michigan placed first in the United States and No. 2 in the world, as they did in 2016. The other U.S. dental schools ranked in the world’s top 15 were Harvard University, New York University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in that order.

The University of Washington overall was ranked 22nd in the United States and 59th in the world.

During the last few years, the School of Dentistry has phased in a new curriculum that incorporates changes in dental science and technology, new modes of dental practice, biomedical advances and more. In 2015, the school launched a series of third-year clinical “clerkship” rotations that give students a more intensive exposure to the core skills of general dentistry and significantly more repetitions of dental procedures.

Late last summer, the school put another key element in place with the launch of its Fourth-Year General Practice Clinic, which seeks to duplicate the experience of private practice as closely as possible. Fourth-year students also travel around Washington for five-week community clinic rotations that help improve their proficiency.

QS, a prominent British educational organization that ranks the world’s universities, assigned ranking scores based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research citations per paper, plus an index measuring the productivity and impact of researchers’ published work. Survey participants identified up to 10 domestic and 30 international institutions they considered excellent.

The 2017 dental school rankings come as the School of Dentistry prepared to receive the 2017 William J. Gies Award for Vision by an Academic Dental Institution, the highest recognition granted by the American Dental Education Association.

The award was bestowed for the school’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program, which is designed to channel dental graduates to Washington’s rural and underserved areas. Students spend their first year at the RIDE facility on Eastern Washington University’s Spokane campus, return to Seattle for their second and third year, then serve extended community clinical rotations in their fourth year. Since the program began in 2008, about 70 percent of its graduates have gone on to practice in those rural and underserved areas.