College of Dental Medicine Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

The KCU College of Dental Medicine (CDM) is in Joplin, Missouri, and will serve the four-state region of Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The College seeks to recruit and educate future dentists who have a passion for providing care in underserved communities and who wish to continue to practice in rural areas after graduation. The CDM will utilize an integrated basic and clinical sciences curriculum that differs from a discipline-based curriculum in that some aspects of basic and clinical sciences will be taught throughout the curriculum in increasing levels of complexity and relevance based on what students are learning each semester. Students will have early clinical and community-based experiences beginning the summer after their first year and will have the unique opportunity to complete two 12-week rotations at community educational activity sites outside of KCU in order to best serve the underserved populations in the four-state region. 

 

Application, Requirements and Interview Process

Our admission requirements are as follows:

  • A minimum of three years of college or university coursework (90 semester hours or 135 quarter hours) from a regionally accredited school is required. However, a baccalaureate degree is strongly preferred because it affords a broad, liberal education as a basis for further studies. 
  • Demonstrated community service through volunteerism and/or service-oriented employment
  • Clinical dental experience (shadowing or practice)
  • DAT score (taken within the last 3 years)
  • Completion of prerequisite coursework with a grade of C or better. Courses are below:

Course/Credit Hours

General Biology (one year lecture & lab, minimum 8 semester/12 quarter hours) (Zoology or similar is an acceptable alternative)

Microbiology (one semester lecture & lab, minimum 4 semester/6 quarter hours)

General Chemistry (one year lecture & lab, minimum 8 semester/12 quarter hours)

Organic Chemistry (one year lecture & lab, minimum 8 semester/12 quarter hours)

Additional Biology, Chemistry, and/or Physics courses (to total 12 semester hours/18 quarter hours)

English Composition/ Technical Writing (minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours)

*Human Anatomy (one semester lecture & lab, minimum 4 semester/6 quarter hours)

*Biochemistry (minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours)

*Course is strongly recommended, but not required

Students apply through AADSAS beginning in May when the application portal opens. The first day to submit applications through AADSAS for the upcoming admissions cycle is June 1, 2022. KCU reviews applications and offers secondary applications beginning in mid-July on a rolling basis. Interviews begin in September and continue through March.

You are encouraged to develop your course of study in consultation with your college or university pre-dental or pre-health professions advisor. If your school does not have a pre-dental/pre-health advisor, you may consult with faculty members in the departments aligned with courses listed as pre-dental requirements. We recommend you select courses that reflect the content and rigor of the dental program curriculum. Most dental schools expect one year of general biology with lab, two years of chemistry (one year of general chemistry and one year of organic chemistry with laboratories), English composition, additional biology courses e.g. anatomy, human physiology, molecular biology, and immunology, and/or physics 1 & 2 with lab. Courses that help hone your perceptual ability are also encouraged and useful for the PAT portion of the DAT.

Course/Credit Hours

General Biology (one year lecture & lab, minimum 4 semester/6 quarter hours) (Zoology or similar is an acceptable alternative)

Microbiology (one semester lecture & lab, minimum 4 semester/6 quarter hours)

General Chemistry (one year lecture & lab, minimum 4 semester/6 quarter hours)

Organic Chemistry (one year lecture & lab, minimum 4 semester/6 quarter hours)

Additional Biology, Chemistry, and/or Physics courses (to total 12 semester hours/18 quarter hours)

English Composition/ Technical Writing (minimum 6 semester/8 quarter hours)

*Human Anatomy (one semester lecture & lab, minimum 4 semester/6 quarter hours)

*Biochemistry (minimum 3 semester/4 quarter hours)

*Course is strongly recommended, but not required

The KCU College of Dental Medicine does a holistic review of each applicant’s credentials, therefore, there is no single portrait of a competitive applicant. KCU’s mission is to “improve the wellbeing of the community we serve” and the College of Dental Medicine values characteristics in applicants that reflect this mission.

A minimum of three years of college or university coursework (90 semester hours or 135 quarter hours) from a regionally accredited school is required. However, a baccalaureate degree is strongly preferred because it affords a broad, liberal education as a basis for further studies.

Yes. Individuals in the workforce who desire a career change are encouraged to apply. You must complete all pre-requisite coursework and meet the admissions criteria. It is helpful to address your reasons for desiring a career in dentistry in your application, where appropriate.

It is always a good idea to apply as early as you can once the application portal opens. The portal opens mid-May and applications can be submitted as early as June 1st. An early submission does not guarantee a secondary application or interview.

DAT scores are accepted three years prior to entry, i.e., for Fall 2023 entry, scores need to be from May 2020 or later.

Three letters of recommendation are required with one from your pre-health advisor or committee, one from a dentist (non-family member) and an additional letter from an individual who can attest to your academic strengths, abilities and fit for dental school. If you do not have a pre-health advisor, obtain a LOR from a science faculty member who is familiar with your scholastic performance.

KCU does not offer a special course of study for internationally-trained dentists. Internationally trained dentists who wish to obtain a U.S. dental degree may apply to the DMD program and are required to complete the full four-year program. You may visit adea.org to learn of the dental schools that have advanced-standing programs for internationally trained dentists.

The KCU CDM does not require a minimum number of hours of shadowing experience. We do recommend you participate in a depth and breadth of dental experiences, inclusive of general dentistry. The more dentists you observe, the more exposure you will have to a variety of procedures, doctor-patient interactions, and types of practices.

Academics and Curriculum

Yes, dental students in good academic standing following the D1 year will be eligible to apply for dual degree programs offered by KCU in business, bioethics, and public health. Information on dual degree programs may be found here.

The College of Dental Medicine will not offer curricular tracks. However, students can pursue extracurricular activities and selectives in a particular area of expertise (ex. Research, Public Health).

Yes, there are research opportunities in the Joplin community for KCU students. Dental students will have the opportunity to participate in basic, clinical, or community-based research at KCU as well as apply for opportunities nationally.

During the fourth year, the dental school has a unique community-based curriculum where students will rotate to regional health systems, community health centers and federal qualified health centers and Tribal programs within the four-state region (SW Missouri, NE Oklahoma, SE Kansas, and NW Arkansas).

The first year of the College of Dental Medicine focuses on foundational knowledge-learning the basic sciences that will form the basis of the clinical sciences in which they will treat patients. The first year will also include early clinical experiences in the community, e.g. providing oral health education and screening examinations in elementary schools, as well as experiences in the Oral Health Clinic.

Dental students will be supplied with iPads for certain clinical experiences.

Yes. Lectures will be recorded by IT and released to students after class. However, the curriculum for the dental students is rooted in active learning so dental students will be expected to come to class for small group discussions, laboratory exercises, simulation laboratory, and all clinical experiences.

Course Directors determine the nature of the testing based on the course objectives. Knowledge testing will be performed using traditional examinations as well as quizzes and exercises performed in a case-based format. The KCU CDM is a Pass/Fail program.

KCU realizes the importance of tutoring. We have a Learning Enhancement team that works with students to identify challenges, and create innovative solutions for dental students. Additionally, tutoring is offered virtually, small groups, large, groups, and through peers or faculty.

Students in good academic standing will have the opportunity to explore and seek approval to participate in international mission trips. The number, location, and timing of trips will be determined after demand is established and would depend heavily on faculty availability.

The College of Dental Medicine is committed to having mentoring/coaching opportunities for all students. The CDM will offer an Academic Coaching Program where students and faculty will be trained to be academic coaches. The College plans to pair dental students with their peers throughout their clinical education.

KCU has student scholarships established and the College of Dental Medicine is developing scholarship opportunities for students from rural areas who plan to return to a rural community to practice dentistry. Students are also assisted with applying for national scholarship opportunities, like the military or National Health Service Corps. View scholarships.

 

Student Life

There is no designated housing for KCU Dental students, however, there is information available to assist you with finding housing in the area.

From apartments to residential homes, the city of Joplin has many types of housing to suit a student’s individual needs. KCU is providing students with a list of preferred property managers. Additionally, a contact for individualized service is available to assist students in finding apartment, duplex and house rentals. Joplin’s layout and traffic flow allow individuals to reach most housing and shopping options within a 15-minute drive from campus. For more information click here.

There is a vibrant live music scene and several nightlife options. Joplin hosts monthly art walks, called Third Thursdays, in the downtown district. Check out the art scene here.

Within walking distance are Mercy Park, Freeman Hospital and the YMCA. Students looking for walking, running or hiking trails might consider several parks with trails within Joplin, or a short drive (4 miles) to the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center. KCU is working with the community in exploring bike rental stations.

Public transportation options include the Joplin Sunshine Lamp Trolley, Uber, Lyft and private cab service. More information can be found here.

The cost of living is lower in Joplin than that of a larger urban city.

Joplin Regional Airport currently offers United Airlines flights with daily nonstop flights between Joplin (JLN), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), and Houston (IAH). The Springfield-Branson National Airport is located one hour from the Joplin campus and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (Bentonville) is approximately 75 minutes from campus. Tulsa International Airport is located 1.5 hours from campus. These three airports offer a wide variety of carrier options.

KCU has several student organizations, and dental students are included in KCU student government. We expect that extracurricular offerings will continue to grow based on student interest as the dental school starts. Student organizations include, but are not limited to local chapters such as:

i. Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society
ii. American Student Dental Association (ASDA)
iii. Student Research Group
iv. American Dental Education Association
v. Student National Dental Association (SNDA)
vi. American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD)
vii. Hispanic Dental Association (HDA)
viii. American Association of Dental Public Health (AAPHD)
ix. Other Student Organized Clubs

 

International Students

Yes.

International students are held to the same application, admissions and matriculation requirements as all other students. International applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents are required to have a student visa (F-1) to study in the United States. Applicants who have obtained permanent residency in the United States will be required to show proof of valid permanent residency if recommended for admission.

A couple of things to note: 1) Applicants who are currently in pending status for permanent U.S. residency are NOT eligible for admission; 2) Applicants who apply for permanent residency status during the KCU admission application cycle will also become ineligible for admission; and 3) Students who are in the U.S. on a Temporary Visa are also NOT eligible for admission.

More information is found on the KCU website at: http://www.kansascity.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/international-students