VCU Bulletins

Dental Hygiene, Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

McGregor, Michelle RDH, B.S., M.Ed.
Director, Dental Hygiene Program
(804) 828-9096

Special requirements

Admission requirements include two years of liberal arts study with a minimum of 60 semester hours of transferable quality academic course credits. By completing these 60 semester hours, students will complete the general education requirements of the degree. More information concerning the admission requirements for VCU students is located in the University College chapter of this Bulletin under “Preparation for the study of dental hygiene.”

  • GPA – A minimum GPA of 2.5 based on a 4.0 scale in the cumulative courses and a minimum GPA of 2.7 in math/sciences is required.
  • English proficiency – To successfully complete the dental hygiene curriculum, students are required to communicate clearly (in English) with faculty, students, staff and patients. To assure such competence, the Dental Hygiene Program requires any applicant whose native language is not English and who has been educated primarily outside of the United States to submit official Test of English as a Foreign Language or International English Language Testing System scores. Applicants are required to submit an official score with the application packet. The test must have been taken within the past two years. The Dental Hygiene Program does not conditionally admit applicants who have not met the requirement for proof of English proficiency.

    You may be exempt from this requirement if:

    • You have successfully completed 26 or more transferable semester credits at a two- or four-year postsecondary institution in the U.S. and have completed the full freshman English (non-ESL) requirement at that school with a minimum grade of C.
    • You have successfully completed 60 or more transferable semester credits at a two- or four-year postsecondary institution in the U.S.

    No student will be considered for admission until proof of English proficiency is determined.

    TOEFL: VCU’s Dental Hygiene Program minimum TOEFL score requirements are 550 (paper), 213 (computer) or 80 (internet-based). For more information about TOEFL testing, go to

    IELTS: VCU’s Dental Hygiene Program minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.0.

The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene requires two years of liberal arts study, with a minimum of 60 semester hours, followed by two years of study focusing on basic and dental sciences, dental hygiene science and theory, community health and pre-clinical and clinical experiences. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible for national, regional and state board licensing examinations. Classes enter once each year in the fall semester.

Degree requirements for Dental Hygiene, Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Demonstrate commitment to the legal and ethical practice of dental hygiene, demonstrating integrity, honesty and confidentiality with colleagues, patients and the community.
  • Demonstrate competence in interpersonal and communication skills and in the evaluation, synthesis and application of information and technology as resources in contemporary dental hygiene practice.
  • Systematically collect, accurately record and analyze data on the general, oral and psychosocial health status of a variety of patients using methods consistent with medico-ethico-legal principles.
  • Use critical-thinking and decision-making skills to reach conclusions about the patient’s dental hygiene treatment needs based on an analysis of all available assessment data and evidence from current scientific literature.
  • Collaborate with the patient, guardian and/or other health care professionals, be able to formulate an individualized comprehensive dental hygiene care plan based on assessment findings and the dental hygiene diagnosis.
  • Provide and implement specialized care that includes educational, preventive and therapeutic services designed to minimize risk and optimize oral health as well as assist the patient in achieving and maintaining oral health goals.
  • Evaluate the outcomes of dental hygiene care, which occur throughout the process of care, and modify as necessary.
  • Initiate and assume responsibility for health promotion and disease prevention activities for diverse populations in a variety of settings.
General Education requirements Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
Admission requirements (minimum 39 credits)  
English 6-9
General biology with laboratory 3-5
College chemistry with laboratory 3-5
Anatomy with laboratory 3-5
Physiology with laboratory 3-5
Microbiology with laboratory 3-5
Humanities 3
Introductory sociology 3
Introductory psychology 3
Speech 3
Statistics 3
Visual or performing arts 3
Major requirements (68 credits)  
ANAT 301 Head and Neck Anatomy for Dental Hygienists 3
ANAT 302 Microscopic Anatomy (Dental Hygiene) 2
DENH 301 Dental Hygiene Theory I 5
DENH 302 Dental Hygiene Theory II 2
DENH 312 Preventive Oral Health Education 3
DENH 327 Clinical Dental Hygiene I 5
DENH 342 Nutrition 3
DENH 401 Dental Hygiene Theory III 2
DENH 402 Dental Hygiene Theory IV 2
DENH 407 Research Methods and Study Designs 2
DENH 411 Introduction to Public Health 2
DENH 412 Community Dental Health 2
DENH 422 Current Issues, the Law and Ethics 2
DENH 437 Clinical Dental Hygiene II (capstone) 5
DENH 447 Clinical Dental Hygiene III (capstone) 6
GENP 302 Dental Materials 2
GENP 311 Oral Anatomy and Occlusion 3
MICR 365 Infection and Immunity (Dental Hygiene) 2
ORPT 301 Dental Radiology 1
ORPT 324 Oral Pathology 3
ORSG 431 Management of the Medically Compromised Dental Patient and Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office 3
PERI 326 Periodontics I 1
PERI 329 Periodontics II 2
PHTX 441 Pharmacology (Dental Hygiene) 5
Total 128

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