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Oral Health

Overview

 

Who is an oral health professional?

An oral health professional forms an important part of the oral health team. Oral health professionals have skills in dental hygiene, dental therapy, and oral health promotion.

Dental hygienists educate patients about the health of their mouths and provide options for improving and maintaining oral health.

Dental hygienists work closely with dentists in detecting and treating oral disease and in preparing mouths for complex restorative care.

A dental therapist is a highly-skilled professional member of the oral health team who provides quality dental care to various sections of the community, particularly preschoolers and children. Early detection of dental disease and preventive treatment is a key aspect of the work of a dental therapist.

An oral health professional can be registered to practise as a dental hygienist or as a dental therapist, or both. Each discipline is skilled at promoting healthy lifestyles and has a strong awareness of the socio-cultural influences on health.

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Entry requirements

The Oral Health Admissions Committee shall consider applications from candidates in the following categories:

Secondary School category

To be considered for admission under the Secondary School category, an applicant must:

  • Have fulfilled the University’s entrance requirements; and
  • Have attained a minimum of 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Biology or equivalent; and
  • Have attained a minimum of 10 credits in English at NCEA Level 2 or above (with at least 5 credits in Reading and 5 credits in Writing) or equivalent; and
  • Have provided a satisfactory statement of interest and have provided a current curriculum vitae

Scoring is in accordance with the University of Otago Entry Pathway calculation:

Final admission is based on NCEA Level 3 results (or equivalent) and a possible interview.

Note: Applicants are initially reviewed based on their Level 2 (or equivalent) performance and subjects taken in NCEA Level 3 (or equivalent). Applicants must have completed NCEA Level 3 (or equivalent) within the last five years. Admission from Secondary School will be based on a scoring process as outlined above.

One Year of University Study category

To be considered for admission under the One Year of University Study category, an applicant must:

  • Have undertaken, within the last five years, one year of relevant study (for example biological sciences, and—if you are structuring your degree—it is recommended that you include human biology papers) in a New Zealand university to a standard determined by the Oral Health Admissions Committee; and
  • Have provided a satisfactory statement of interest and a current curriculum vitae

Scoring is in accordance with the University of Otago GPA calculation:

Final admission is based on results obtained in the first year of university and a possible interview.

Two or More Years of University Study category

To be considered for admission under the Two or More Years of Tertiary Study category, an applicant must:

  • Not be a finalist but must have completed within the last five years, two or more years of relevant full time study (for example biological sciences, and—if you are structuring your degree—it is recommended that you include human biology papers) at a university in New Zealand, comprising at least three papers at 200 level, to standard determined by the Oral Health Admissions Committee; and
  • Have provided a satisfactory statement of interest and a current curriculum vitae

Scoring is in accordance with the University of Otago GPA calculation:

Final admission is based on results obtained and a possible interview.

Graduate category

To be considered for admission under the Graduate category, an applicant must have completed, normally in the minimum academic time, at least one of the following qualifications awarded by a university in New Zealand:

  • A bachelor's degree; or
  • A bachelor's honours degree; or
  • A bachelor's degree followed by a postgraduate diploma equivalent to a bachelor's honours degree;

and have provided a satisfactory statement of interest and curriculum vitae.

An application must be received within three years of the completion of the first degree, to a standard determined by the Oral Health Admissions Committee.

Scoring is in accordance with the University of Otago GPA calculation:

Final admission is based on results obtained and a possible interview.

Alternative category

To be considered for admission under the Alternative category a candidate must have provided a satisfactory statement of interest and a current curriculum vitae and either:

  • Hold a relevant degree from a New Zealand university and no longer be eligible for the Graduate category; or
  • Have completed a relevant degree at an overseas university at a standard of at least NZQF Level 7; or
  • Hold a relevant master's or doctoral degree, or have relevant study acceptable to the Oral Health Admissions Committee, or have health-related experience as determined by the Oral Health Admissions Committee

Final admission is based on results obtained and a possible interview.

Notwithstanding any of the above provisions, the Oral Health Admissions Committee shall have discretion to admit any applicant who, not having satisfied these regulations in a particular aspect, warrants admission to the programme for exceptional reasons.

Sub-categories

The University of Otago is committed to initiatives that increase the number of indigenous Māori and indigenous Pacific Island graduates. The Division of Health Sciences is focused on ensuring that New Zealand's diverse health workforce needs are met, to honouring the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi / Tiriti o Waitangi and promoting academic equity for under-represented groups.

Applicants may also be considered in one or both of the following sub-categories:

  • Māori
  • Indigenous Pacific (see note)

An applicant in either or both of these sub-categories must provide verified indigenous ancestry of either Māori whakapapa or indigenous Pacific ancestry and be a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand.

Note: Students applying under the Indigenous Pacific sub-category need to provide verified evidence of family ancestry originating from one or more of the following Pacific nations:

  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Hawaii
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • New Caledonia
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rapanui (Easter Island)
  • Rotuma
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
  • Wallis and Futuna

Māori – Form A (PDF 190 KB)

Applicants wishing to be considered under the Māori sub-category must indicate this at the time of application by ticking the Māori sub-category box along with providing information on their Māori whakapapa. Applicants will also be required to complete and upload the following documents:

  1. An endorsement of Māori whakapapa, and
  2. A written personal statement

Successful applicants from the Māori sub-category are required to attend a mihiwhakatau (greeting) at the commencement of classes in Dunedin. Whānau are welcome and encouraged to attend.

It is recommended that students wishing to apply under the Māori sub-category attend a relevant information session held by the Division of Health Sciences Māori Health Workforce Development Unit (MHWDU) and/or contact the MHWDU to arrange a meeting with staff or for further information:

Email health-sciences-maori@otago.ac.nz

New Zealand Resident Indigenous Pacific Origins (NZRIPO) – Form B (PDF 100 KB)

Applicants wishing to be considered under the NZRIPO sub-category must indicate this at the time of application by ticking the NZRIPO sub-category box on the application form and then confirming their island of heritage / origin. Applicants will also be required to complete and upload the following documents.

  • An endorsement of Pacific Island Heritage, and
  • A written personal statement, and
  • A copy of birth certificate and any other verified information (certified copy) to confirm evidence of indigenous Pacific ancestry

Successful applicants from the Pacific sub-category are expected to be connected and contribute to the Health Sciences Pacific support network.

It is highly recommended that students wishing to apply under the NZRIPO sub-category contact the staff in the Pacific Islands Research and Student Support Unit, in the Office of the Associate Dean (Pacific):

Email pirssu@otago.ac.nz

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Application process

How to apply

New and returning students are required to complete their application through eVision, which combines both your admissions and enrolment into the University of Otago, and your programme application.

You should apply in the first instance to the 'Health Sciences Undergraduate Professional Programmes' and then select 'Oral Health' from the list.

If you have any questions regarding your registration please contact the University Information Centre:

Email university@otago.ac.nz

Tel 0800 80 80 98 (New Zealand callers) or 64 3 479 7000 (overseas)
facebook.com/otagouniversity
Frequently Asked Questions: Ask Otago

Supporting documentation

Please ensure that the following supporting documentation is available to upload, as these will be required to complete your online application.

  1. Declaration and police vetting form (PDF 190 KB)
  2. Curriculum vitae with the following clearly stated:
    • Awards attained, positions of responsibility, participation in sports, leisure activities, community activities and voluntary work
      Employment record
      (The Careers Development Centre has useful information available on their website about how to prepare your CV, should you require assistance.)
  3. Certified documents of all secondary school qualifications
    • If applying with NCEA results, please include:
  4. Certified copies of tertiary academic records (transcripts). Copies of University of Otago records are not required.
  5. Statement of Interest for Oral Health (PDF 190 KB)
    • Statement of Interest of no more than 600 words, explaining why you wish to pursue the course of study you have selected.
    • Your Statement of Interest would be enhanced by including details of your recent interaction with this profession i.e. Dental Hygiene and/or Dental Therapy and should cover the following areas:
      • Describe the day-to-day working life of a Dental Hygienist or Dental Therapist and the attributes that you feel you could bring to the profession
      • Describe your motivation for wanting to join the profession

Appropriate witnesses

You should normally have your documents witnessed as true copies of originals by an authorised person i.e. a person listed in the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 such as:

The following may also witness documents:

  • Notary Public
  • Court Registrar or Deputy Registrar
  • University of Otago Administrative or Liaison Staff
  • Member of Parliament
  • Land Transport New Zealand, Public Trust, or local authority employee (who must be authorised under the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957—an authorised stamp is required)

Students within New Zealand may wish to check the Yellow Pages for a list of Justices of the Peace in their area. Students from remote areas who do not have access to anyone in the approved categories should contact the University Information Centre for advice.

What the witness needs to do

Witnessed Document Example jpgWhen witnessing the photocopy this person must indicate the authority with which the copy is certified as true (e.g. Certified true copy, W B Smith, Justice of the Peace).

The person's name should be printed under his or her signature if not easily legible.

Other officials or professionals should not normally be asked to witness documents. Check the Yellow Pages for Justices of the Peace in your area.

If you do not have access to anyone in the approved categories, you should contact the University Information Centre for advice.

Application deadlines

Applications for entry in 2018 close on 15 September 2017.

Outcome of application

You will be advised of the outcome of your application no later than 11pm (New Zealand Time) 22 December 2017.

If you have a question regarding your application, you are able to contact us at:

Email healthsciences.application@otago.ac.nz

All correspondence must include your student ID number.

Accepting or declining offers

If offered a place, applicants will be advised on the deadline for accepting or declining the offer.

The closing date to accept first round offers is 4 January 2018.

Please think carefully before making your decision; once you have declined an offer there is no opportunity to have the offer reinstated after deadline has expired.

What is the waiting list?

If your Outcome of Application indicates that you have been placed on the waiting list, you will be contacted should a place become available. Waiting lists are programme-specific and you may not ask to be included on any waiting list other than the one(s) specified.

You can be offered a place from a waiting list right up to the time classes begin. Therefore, you must make sure that you continue your enrolment process for an alternative programme of study.

Deferral of entry

Successful candidates may request to defer their entry to the following academic year.

Requests will be considered on the following grounds:

  • Graduate category or Alternative category candidates who wish to complete current academic study (e.g. an honours year) that in the opinion of the Oral Health Admissions Committee will enhance a student's future study in the Oral Health programme to which they have been admitted. If approved, the Admissions Committee will advise of the minimum grade/s that must be attained. Deferral requests, submitted under this criteria, must be received no later than the last day to add a first semester paper – 2 March 2018.
  • Serious medical grounds or other exceptional circumstances. Candidates that are approved deferral on medical grounds or exceptional circumstances will be required to provide evidence that they are able to resume study.

To apply for a deferral of entry please complete and return the deferral form (PDF 130 KB)

Deferrals will only be granted for a maximum period of one academic year.

Applicants must have their personal and financial affairs in order when they apply so that if their application is successful, they are able to take up a place at the start of the first semester.

English language requirements

Admission to the programme shall be subject to applicants’ meeting an English language requirement as determined by the Oral Health Admissions Committee, dependent on the category under which the application is made.

International students

International students are defined as all those students who require a student visa to study in New Zealand. In any given year, a limited number of places in the first year of Oral Health may be available to international students. To be eligible to apply for admission to Oral Health, international students must have completed all necessary prerequisites at a minimum standard, which is determined on a yearly basis.

Should an international student's residency status change prior to notification of the application outcome, he or she must notify the Health Sciences Admissions Office immediately and will have to compete for admission with other domestic students.

Important dates

  • Online application closing date: 15 September 2017
  • Outcome of application sent by: 22 December 2017
  • Accepting or declining first round offers: 4 January 2018
  • Health Sciences Admissions Office closed: 23 December 2017 to 5 January 2018
  • Mihiwhakatau: TBC
  • Introduction Day: TBC
  • Classes begin: TBC

Introductory classes are compulsory. Students who fail to attend classes on the start date risk losing their place.

Please contact the University of Otago's Manager of Disability Information and Support, or the Health Sciences Admissions Office, if you have a health condition and/or disability that may affect whether or not you are able to meet the requirements of this programme or obtain professional registration.

Health and disabilities

Please contact the University of Otago's Manager of Disability Information and Support, or the Health Sciences Admissions Office, if you have a health condition and/or disability that may affect whether or not you are able to meet the requirements of this programme or obtain professional registration.

Any applicant who has a mental or physical condition that could adversely affect their fitness to practice or is found to have failed to declare a condition may be declined admission to the programme by the Oral Health Admissions Committee on the recommendation of the Health and Conduct Review Group. Any offer of admission made before responses to medical requests or requests for information regarding an applicants health status have been received is conditional on the information received confirming the applicant's suitability for admission.

Criminal offences

Any applicant who is, or has been, the subject of criminal charges, or is, or has been, subject to disciplinary proceedings of a tertiary institution or professional body, or is found to have failed to declare a matter may be declined admission to the programme by the Oral Health Admissions Committee on the recommendation of the Health and Conduct Review Group. Any offer of admission made before responses to requests for information regarding an applicant's past conduct have been received is conditional on the information received confirming the applicant’s suitability for admission.

As some convictions may prohibit registration, applicants are advised to consult the regulations of the registering professional body:

Dental Council of New Zealand

All applicants must consent to verification from the New Zealand Police and Department of Courts that there are no undeclared criminal charges or convictions.

Health and Conduct Review Group

The Health and Conduct Review Group considers a student's suitability for admission to a Health Sciences Professional Programme having regard to fitness to practice issues.

Health and Conduct Review Group – Terms of Reference (PDF 60 KB)
Health and Conduct Procedure (PDF 150 KB)

Vulnerable Children Act 2014

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 is aimed at providing better protection for vulnerable children. One of the ways it aims to do this, is by introducing 'safety checking'.

If you will work with vulnerable children—as part of a specified organisation that provides regulated services—the Act requires you to be 'safety checked' at least once every three years.

The safety check involves:

  • Identify verification
  • New Zealand Police vetting
  • Reference checking
  • An interview
  • A risk assessment

Applicants who enter the programme will receive further information regarding the timing of these checks.

Further information

The Children's Action Plan website has more information about the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Culturally-sensitive issues

All students must participate in laboratory, practical and clinical activities, including those that may be unusual in some cultures. In the professional programmes, some aspects of the teaching will require individuals to practise certain techniques on each other that may involve partially undressing or body contact with other students. Training occurs under close supervision and all students are required to participate, as it is essential for their acquisition of clinical skills.

First aid certificate

Important note: All applicants that accept an offer of a place in the Oral Health programme will need to provide, before the start of the programme, a certified copy of an appropriate New Zealand first aid certificate.

Applicants must gain this qualification through an NZQA-registered training provider who is authorised to assess NZQA first aid standards.

The certificate should include at least NZQA Standard 6401 and NZQA Standard 6402, but students are recommended to obtain a qualification which includes the higher NZQA Standard 6400. The following are a selection of recommended training courses:

Immunity status

All applicants who are offered and accept a place to the second year, or any subsequent year, of Medicine will be required to provide evidence of their serology status.

Because of the nature of their practice, health professionals are required to take steps to ensure they neither acquire infections from their patients nor transmit infections to patients.

Immunity testing arrangements will be made known during December, preceding the start of the programme.

Please refer to the Infectious Diseases Policy for Health Professional Students (PDF 680 KB) for further details regarding immunity status.

Domestic place numbers

The maximum number of domestic and international student places available across all admissions categories for 2018 is 50.

Special examinations

Applications from students sitting special examinations will be placed on hold until the special examination results are released. Once you receive your special examination results you must immediately advise the Health Sciences Admissions Office to ensure the processing of your application is completed.

As we do not receive special examination results automatically, it is applicants' responsibility to inform us of the results of special examinations as soon as they become available.

Practising in New Zealand

To register with the Dental Council of New Zealand to practise Dental Hygiene, Dental Technology or Dental Therapy in New Zealand applicants may be required to satisfy the English language requirements as set by the Dental Council of New Zealand.

Please contact the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ) for further information:

Email inquiries@dcnz.org.nz

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Programme content

What will I study?

The University of Otago's Bachelor of Oral Health is an exciting three-year degree at the Faculty of Dentistry—New Zealand's National Centre for Dentistry. The programme delivers excellent and innovative education in Oral Health.

Oral Health students work in a team with undergraduate and postgraduate Dentistry and Dental Technology students. This is made possible because the programme is delivered from within the Faculty of Dentistry.

From the beginning of their study, Oral Health students work as part of an oral health team.

They also have constant access to highly qualified specialist staff. Graduates will be leaders in the field, because the programme ensures its teaching and research are continually refined and improved to keep in step with oral health best-practice. The programme also focuses on enabling the students to be well prepared for lifelong, self-directed learning.

In the first year of the oral health degree students learn how the body works, particularly how oral tissues interact with their environment. Students will learn the most effective use of computers in the study and practice of oral health and will complete a paper in Māori Society. Clinical practice begins in the first year as well. Initially students develop clinical skills on models and 'phantom heads', later treating patients under supervision.

The second year introduces pathology, pharmacology, and medicine relevant to oral health. Students will also study a paper in Sociology and in Health Promotion. A large part of the year is spent developing clinical skills in dental hygiene and dental therapy.

The third and final year concentrates on further clinical training, community oral health, and oral health promotion. Students also undertake a research project.

Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH) papers

First year

Second year

Third year

  • DEOH 301 Community Oral Health and Oral Health Promotion
  • DEOH 302 Advanced Oral Health Therapy 1
  • DEOH 303 Advanced Oral Health Therapy 2
  • DEOH 304 Applied Oral Health Research

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Careers

Graduates will meet the requirements for registration as either a dental hygienist or a dental therapist, or both. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge about health and disease to health promotion in education, community development, and public policy.

There is a wide range of employment opportunities including working in private practice, orthodontic practice, school-based clinics, iwi-based clinics, and hospital dental clinics.

There is a demand for oral health graduates in New Zealand and Australia, and other countries worldwide.

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Regulations

Regulations for the degree of Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH)

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Disclaimer

The University of Otago makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided on its web pages. However the matters covered, including the availability and structure of courses, are subject to regular review and no warranty or representation can be provided regarding the accuracy of such information, and the University does not accept liability for any losses or damage arising directly or indirectly from reliance on the information.

While the University of Otago takes all due care in implementing the regulations, policies, and procedures that relate to the admissions process, it reserves the right to correct any administrative errors that may occur.