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Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)

Dental School Sculpture

Overview

Most graduates in Dentistry enter general practice on their own or in association with others. Some undertake postgraduate study and research training in preparation for an academic career. Others obtain further experience and complete postgraduate clinical qualifications before entering specialist practice.

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Information for new applicants

Applications for 2022
Open: 1 August 2021
Close: 15 September 2021

Find the guidelines for admission to the Division of Health Sciences

In 2022, there are 60 places for international students available. Not all places may be allocated in the initial intake year.

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Subject area

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Programme requirements

Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)

Year Papers Points
1st year

Health Sciences First Year Course

Note: Students enrolled in the Health Sciences First Year course will be required to achieve a satisfactory mark in a standard diagnostic English test or another approved measure of achievement.

126
2nd year

DENT 261  The Dentist and the Patient 1

DENT 262  Biomedical Sciences 1

DENT 263  The Dentist and the Community 1

33

72

15

3rd year

DENT 361  The Dentist and the Patient 2

DENT 362  Biomedical Sciences 2

DENT 363  The Dentist and the Community 2

or

DENT 364 * Dentistry in the New Zealand Context

72

36

12

 

72

4th year

DENT 461  The Dentist and the Patient 3

DENT 462  Biomedical Sciences 3

DENT 463  The Dentist and the Community 3

90

18

12

5th year

DENT 551  The Dentist and the Patient 4

DENT 552  Biomedical Sciences 4

DENT 553  The Dentist and the Community 4

72

18

30

* DENT 364 is available only for approved students admitted under articulated agreements with Partnership Programmes and other universities and having previously passed appropriate courses; students who pass the paper will be credited with the First, Second, and Third Year courses of the BDS programme.

Regulations for the Degree of Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)

  1. Admission to the Programme

    Notes:
    (i) All applicants seeking admission to the second year of the Dental Surgery programme must have completed the requirements of the Health Sciences First Year course at the University of Otago (or equivalent for the Graduate and Alternative admissions categories).
    (ii) For specific enquiries about admission to the Dental Surgery Programme students should contact AskOtago (ask@otago.ac.nz).

    1. Admission to the second year of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery programme shall be determined by the Dental Admissions Committee.
    2. Admission to the second year of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery programme is limited to a number of domestic students determined annually. (see regulation 1(h) regarding International student admissions).

      Note: 'Domestic student' is defined in the Admission to University Statute 2011, clause 3.3.

    3. Applications for admission may be made under the following categories:
      Health Sciences First Year (see 1(e))
      Graduate (see 1(f))
      Alternative (see 1(g))

    4. The University of Otago is committed to promote and facilitate academic equity for Māori students, and for students from other under-represented groups, who have the potential to succeed academically.
      Applicants in any category (see regulations 1(c)) who have fulfilled the criteria as described in the Mirror on Society Policy and associated admissions entry requirements, may be considered in one or more of the Mirror on Society Category Groups..
    5. To be considered for admission under the Health Sciences First Year category, an applicant must:
      1. be enrolled in the Health Sciences First Year course at the University of Otago (see also 1(j));
      2. pass all of the papers prescribed for the University of Otago Health Sciences First Year course, normally with a minimum average of 70%, with no paper mark less than 65% (but see 1(d));
      3. meet any other requirements as determined by the Dental Admissions Committee. See Guidelines for Admission for current requirements.

      Selection of applicants who have met these criteria will be based on their average mark in the Health Sciences First Year papers.

      Notes:
      (i) If an additional optional paper from the approved list is taken, and provided all of the prescribed papers are passed at or above the required minimum standard, the results in the highest scoring seven papers will be counted for admission purposes.
      (ii) To be admitted to the Health Sciences First Year course, the applicant must not have studied any university degree-level papers that include a subject that is the same, similar to, or contains significant portions of any of the prescribed Health Sciences First Year papers. Prior university degree-level study in any subject area must not comprise more than one year of equivalent full-time study.

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    6. To be considered for admission under the Graduate category, an applicant must:
      1. 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; or
        - a bachelor's degree, followed by an honours degree

        Note:
        (i) The qualifying degree for the Graduate category will be the first university degree awarded to that applicant.
        (ii) The grades obtained in a bachelor’s honours degree (if separate from the qualifying degree) or postgraduate diploma will be included in the GPA calculation, along with the qualifying degree.

      2. meet any other requirements as determined by the Dental Admissions Committee. See Guidelines for Admission for current requirements.

      Applications must be received within three years of completion of the qualifying degree. Normally, the date of completion will be taken as the end of the teaching period in which the final paper or papers included in the programme are undertaken. Repeat applications within the eligibility period are allowed.

      The applicant must have passed the papers of the Health Sciences First Year course or their equivalents. The average grade for all papers in the qualifying programme must be at least B (grade point average (GPA) of 5) (but see 1(d)).

      Selection of applicants who have met these criteria will be based on their GPA, as calculated by the Division of Health Sciences.

      Notes:
      (i) For purposes of admission into the second year of the programme, a second attempt in a 100-level paper in the Schedule in which a pass has already been achieved will not be considered.
      (ii) For guidance on how average grades are calculated, see the Guidelines for Admission into the Health Sciences Professional Programmes at www.otago.ac.nz/healthsciences/students/professional/otago034699.html

    7. To be considered for admission under the Alternative category, an applicant must have provided a statement of interest and current curriculum vitae and:
      1. hold a degree from a New Zealand university, and no longer be eligible under the Graduate category;
        or
        have completed a degree at an overseas university at a standard of at least NZQF Level 7;
        or
        hold a master’s or doctoral degree;
      2. have passed the equivalent of the papers prescribed for the Health Sciences First Year course, and have achieved a minimum academic standard to be determined by the Dental Admissions Committee in any papers undertaken at university level (usually a minimum of a B (GPA of 5) (Otago equivalent)) (but see 1(d));
      3. meet any other requirements as determined by the Dental Admissions Committee. See Guidelines for Admission for current requirements.

      Selection of applicants who have met these criteria will be based on academic merit and an interview.

      Note: For purposes of admission into the second year of the programme, a second attempt in a 100-level paper in the Schedule in which a pass has already been achieved will not be considered.

    8. The Dental Admissions Committee shall have discretion to offer a limited number of additional places in second year classes to International students who meet all the requirements determined by the Dental Admissions Committee. (See Note (i) below.)

    9. Admission to the programme shall be subject to applicants’ meeting an English language requirement as determined by the Dental Admissions Committee.

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

    11. Any applicant who
      1. is, or has been, the subject of criminal charges; or
      2. is, or has been, subject to disciplinary proceedings of a tertiary institution or professional body; or
      3. has been found to have an issue (whether in connection with their mental or physical health, or their professional attributes or conduct, or otherwise) that compromises or is likely to compromise their fitness to practise; or
      4. is found to have failed to declare a matter covered by (k)(i)-(iii),

      may be declined admission to the programme by the Dental Admissions Committee on the recommendation of the Health and Conduct Review Group. Any offer of admission made before responses to medical tests or requests for information regarding an applicant’s health status or past conduct have been received is conditional on the information received confirming the applicant’s suitability for admission.

      Notes:
      (i) See the Guidelines for Admission into the Health Sciences Professional Programmes at www.otago.ac.nz/healthsciences/students/professional/otago034699.html.
      (ii) The due date for applications for applications for enrolment in the second year course is 15 September in the year before admission.

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  2. Admission to the Programme in the Third Year

    Admission with Advanced Standing to the third year of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery programme shall be offered to domestic and international students subject to available spaces in the third year of the programme.

    To be considered for admission with Advanced Standing an applicant must:

    1. Demonstrate health-related professional experience in a relevant field to a standard acceptable to the Dental Admissions Committee; and
    2. Hold a degree in (a) Dentistry awarded from a university outside of New Zealand or Australia; or (b) Medicine awarded from a New Zealand or Australian university; and
    3. Have provided a current curriculum vitae, certified academic transcript, certificate of good standing from the applicant’s most recent registration authority, and have met the minimum academic standards, as determined by the Dental Admissions Committee, in the course of study on which the application is based.

    Selection of applicants who have met these criteria will be based on academic merit and an interview.

    Notes:
    (i) The due date for applications for admission with Advanced Standing to the third year of the Programme is 30 September in the year before admission
    (ii) For specific enquiries about admission under this pathway applicants should contact AskOtago ask@otago.ac.nz

  3. Structure of the Programme

    1. Every programme of study shall satisfy the programme requirements above.
    2. No student may take a paper additional to those prescribed for the second, third, fourth and final years of the programme without the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry.
    3. Students will not normally be permitted to enrol in any papers of a year until all papers of the preceding year have been passed.

  4. Credits

    The Faculty of Dentistry may grant such credits as it deems appropriate for work done previously by a candidate.

  5. Division of Class for Final Year

    Facilities for the teaching of the final year of the programme are provided at the School of Dentistry in Dunedin and in Auckland. After completion of the fourth year, the class will be divided and students allocated to either Dunedin or Auckland for the final year.

    In dividing the class, account will be taken of each student’s personal preference as far as possible. However, if the numbers of applicants for entry to either teaching centre exceeds the number of places available, a ballot will be held to determine which students will be required to take a place in each centre.

    The division includes international students who will be allocated between the two centres. Once class division has been finalised, exchanges between centres will be permitted only if there is a vacant place and with the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry.

  6. Assessment

    1. Assessment for the various papers is formative and summative.
    2. Assessment may use a variety of oral, practical, clinical and written examinations as required by examiners.
    3. For clinical papers, students are required to pass the theoretical and clinical components of the paper.
  7. Special Examinations

    1. If a paper is failed, on the recommendation of the Board of Examiners and with the approval of the Board of Studies for Dentistry, a student may be given the opportunity to progress by undertaking remedial activity before being reassessed in a special examination.
    2. Special examinations may use a variety of oral, practical, clinical and written examinations as required by examiners.
    3. Where a student sits a special examination and passes, they will have met the requirements to pass the paper. The maximum mark that can be gained in a special examination is the original mark or a pass mark, whichever is higher.
    4. A student who fails a special examination is required to repeat the whole paper.
    5. A student who has achieved an E grade in a paper or failed clinical and theoretical parts of a paper, or has failed multiple papers in any year, shall not normally be offered a special examination. A failed paper must be repeated.
    6. Where a paper is repeated the whole paper must be repeated.
  8. Withdrawal from the Programme

    1. Deferral of admission to second year classes
      1. In limited circumstances, the Dental Admissions Committee may allow a student to defer admission to second year classes for one year. Any application for deferral must be made no later than the end of the third week of classes in the original year of admission. Where deferral is granted the right of re-entry to second year classes remains subject to confirmation by the Dental Admissions Committee.
      2. Applications for deferral and for confirmation of the right of re-entry will be determined by the Dental Admissions Committee in accordance with the criteria and procedures set out in the Admissions Guidelines.
    2. Temporary withdrawal from programme
      1. Except in circumstances covered by 8(a), a student who wishes to withdraw from the programme on a temporary basis must obtain the prior approval of the Board of Studies for Dentistry. Where temporary withdrawal is approved, re-admission to the programme remains subject to the approval of the Board of Studies for Dentistry. Any application for approval of readmission needs to be made no later than 1 October in the year prior to that for which readmission is sought.
      2. Applications for temporary withdrawal and for readmission will be determined by the Board of Studies for Dentistry in accordance with the criteria and procedures set out in the Withdrawal and Readmission Guidelines.
    3. Permanent withdrawal from programme
    4. Students who withdraw permanently (including students who withdraw without prior approval and students who fail to communicate their intentions within 12 months of when they were last enrolled) are not normally considered for readmission.

  9. Exclusion from the Programme

    1. A student may be excluded from the Bachelor of Dental Surgery programme by the Academic Board for the Division of Health Sciences on the recommendation of the Board of Studies for Dentistry on the basis of repeated academic failure and/or other grounds as detailed in regulation 9(c).
    2. A student who fails to complete the requirements for any year of the programme (other than Health Sciences First Year) may enrol again, but this concession may normally be granted only once in the programme.
    3. A student may be excluded from the programme who, during the course of their studies, is
      1. subject to criminal charges;
      2. subject to disciplinary proceedings of the University or of a professional body; or
      3. found to have an issue (whether in connection with their mental or physical health, or their professional attributes or conduct, or otherwise) that compromises or is likely to compromise their fitness to practise; or
      4. found to have failed to declare a matter covered by (b)(i)-(iii).

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  10. Level of Award of the Degree

    The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

  11. Variations

    On the recommendation of the Faculty, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) may, in exceptional circumstances, approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

    Notes:
    (i) A small number of dental postgraduate training programmes require both Medical and Dental degrees. With the approval of the Academic Boards of Medicine and Dentistry on the recommendation of the Combined Medicine and Dentistry Programmes Board of Studies, an MB ChB graduate may be admitted directly to the 3rd Year of the BDS programme.
    (ii) For further information on this pathway please contact AskOtago ask@otago.ac.nz.

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