Plan of Study

Enrollment applications for this admissions cycle will be open through July 8, 2024.

Throughout the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Oral Health Science's five-course, 13-credit curriculum, participants will gain the knowledge to recognize chronic and acute oral conditions and disease through the following training courses:

Year 1 (2024-2025)

Oral Infection and Disease: Foundations for Recognition
Fall 2024
3 Credits

This course will provide translational knowledge of the anatomic features of the oral and maxillofacial complex in health and disease. Proficiency in identification and recognition of normal oral structures and common anatomic variations, as well as recognition of abnormal findings will be garnered. The histology and function of oral and maxillofacial features will be described and related to more common pathological lesions within this region.  The student will learn the identification of the risk factors and etiologies of oral hard and soft tissue diseases and disorders, dental caries, periodontal disease, infection, and common syndromes. The relevant clinical measures and current technologies available to attain diagnosis of these processes will be described and reviewed, providing participants with the applicable direction for patient referral.

Contemporary Oral Therapeutics in Oral Medicine and Dentistry
Spring 2025
3 Credits

This course describes current evidence-based therapeutic modalities of clinical care implemented for a range of the more common pathologic disorders (benign and malignant tumors; developmental and reactive lesions; infectious processes, particularly involving the human papillomavirus; medically-induced disease, such as graft-versus-host disease, oral mucositis, osteonecrosis and osteoradionecrosis; anomalous formations; and syndromes within the oral and maxillofacial region.) Management of oral health and disease and the impact on patient health care outcomes will also be described. The use, rationale, and mechanisms of action of established pharmacologic agents, chemotherapeutics, surgical procedures, radiotherapy, laser surgery, immunotherapy, and lymphoedema therapy in the management of oral conditions and-disease will be presented.

Complex Interplay: The Relationship between Oral Health and Systemic Disease
Summer 2025 (May to July)
3 Credits

The course will explore the interrelationship of oral and systemic diseases and the impact they have on one another.  Emphasis is on the manifestation of systemic disorders revealed upon basic examination of the oral cavity.  Such findings would be indicative of or at least warrant proper referral and management of an underlying systemic condition.  A second core component of the complex interplay between oral and systemic health is the appreciation of periodontitis and its associations with systemic conditions.  The prevailing precept of periodontal-systemic interactions is the notion that periodontal inflammation and the periodontal microbiome add to the overall liability of systemic inflammation that would influence incidence, severity and progression of chronic inflammatory diseases or conditions. Recent advances in scientific methodology and experimental studies that contribute to our understanding of oral-systemic interrelationships will be reviewed.


Year 2 (2025-2026)

Prevention and Oral Health Promotion
Fall 2025 (August to December)
2 Credits

This course introduces the student to the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to support oral healthcare in acute- and long-term care settings. Characteristics of the oral healthcare system in the United States, including financing, workforce models, and access, are discussed. A variety of therapeutic options, including over-the-counter medications and oral hygiene aides, are also introduced. This course focuses on disease prevention and health promotion principles that are particularly suited to nursing care, community health centers and interdisciplinary approaches to providing oral healthcare to patients with a variety of health conditions across the lifespan. The student will learn how to guide the management of oral health in the context of overall health to improve patient healthcare delivery and outcomes.

Clinical Practicum in Oral Care Delivery and Oral Dental Radiology 
Fall 2025
2 Credits

This course will provide the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to perform oral dental radiographs. Radiographic interpretation of oral anatomy relative to oral health and disease will be reviewed. Technical skills will be developed in simulation and clinical exercises.  Patient care observation and parameters necessary for radiographic interpretation will occur in a one week clinical rotation. This practicum will allow the student to observe and conduct oral health assessments (head and neck examinations) and participate in evaluation of patients at the Universities at Shady Grove.