Combined DDS-PhD Program

DDS-PhD Pre-Application Form:

In response to a growing interest in research among students of dentistry and today's strong demand for biomedical researchers in the oral health arena, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry is offering a combined DDS-PhD program. The program is designed to prepare outstanding clinical and basic biomedical scientists, thoroughly versed in the science underlying clinical practice and capable of identifying and addressing significant problems in oral health. Although designed as a seven-year program, an exceptional student can complete the program in six years. A maximum of two students are admitted into the program each year. A student may enter the program in year one, two, or prior to entering the third year of dental school.

The combined degree program builds on the school's tradition of attracting and cultivating high-caliber research-oriented students. Since the start of the program in 1997, more than 100 University of Maryland dental students have undertaken research training at the school or at other Baltimore-area institutions. Many have presented their work at national or international meetings and several have published their studies in peer-reviewed journals. University of Maryland School of Dentistry students have been especially successful in garnering prestigious NIH Summer Research grants. Their research experience at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry has prepared them for new opportunities in the field of biomedical science at universities, hospitals, and laboratories around the country.


Upon admission, a student is assigned to a program oversight committee codirected by a clinical mentor and a basic science mentor. The student meets regularly with the committee for guidance and evaluation throughout the program.

Financial Assistance

Students enrolled in the program will receive financial support in the form of a stipend for the one full-time year of the program In addition, short-term fellowships are available for research conducted in the summer before entering dental school and summer work during dental school.

Curriculum Overview 

Here is a typical program timeline:

Years One & Two

Similar to year one and two of the dental predoctoral curriculum, with addition of:

  • Graduate-level courses in biochemistry, physiology, and pharmacology
  • Weekly research seminars and journal club meetings
  • Biostatistics and start of laboratory rotations (summer between years one and two).

Years Three, Four, Five

  • Research laboratory work
  • Completion of elective coursework tailored to students' chosen research area
  • Progression through doctoral degree candidacy
  • Completion of doctoral dissertation
  • Reassessment of clinical skills (spring semester, year five ), followed by preclinical courses as appropriate to address additional training needs.

Years Six & Seven

  • Completion of clinical requirements of DDS degree (equivalent to years three and four of dental school) and additional research-related activities. Upon completion of the clinical program, students receive DDS and PhD degrees simultaneously.

Contact Information 

For further information about the combined degree DDS-PhD Program, please contact:

Nicki Mitchell
Program Coordinator
Office of Research