Penn dental school adds advanced doctoral program

The University of Pennsylvania's School of Dental Medicine will add a new doctoral program that will combine a doctor of science in dentistry (DScD) degree with advanced training in a clinical dental specialty.

The new program is undergoing final approval by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, according to the university.

The program will be open to students with a doctor of dental medicine or doctor of dental surgery (DMD/DDS) degree or equivalent who are pursuing advanced training in one of dental school's clinical specialty programs. Initially, it will be open to students within the periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics, periodontic/prosthesis, or oral medicine postgraduate programs. Candidates will concurrently complete their clinical specialty training and DScD degree, engaging in an intensive research program for approximately five years that culminates in a thesis and oral defense.

Students will devote 40% to 80% of their time in each of the five years to research, and clinical training will occur in all five years of the program to ensure maintenance of clinical skills throughout. In addition, all students will take courses in grant writing and write a National Institutes of Health (NIH) K08 or K23 grant.

The program will also be open to those who have completed their clinical specialty training but are interested in obtaining a DScD degree. Students in this track would earn their DScD degree in four years, completing all the didactic courses and research requirements, but not directly participating in clinical care.

The school anticipates accepting three to five students into the program per year.

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