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The University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry – Te Kaupeka Pūniho – has an international reputation for clinical and research excellence

We offer cutting-edge research and clinical facilities. Our brand-new Clinical Services Building houses patient-focused activities for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Dentistry, Dental Technology, and Oral Health.

The Clinical Services Building has key advantages including:

  • Modern dental chairs and equipment
  • The most common electronic patient records software in the Australasian health sector
  • Facilities that enable our teaching to keep up with digital developments in dentistry
  • Larger spaces to accommodate teaching in operating theatres, surgical procedure rooms, and areas for reviewing scans and radiographs
  • A new student commons social area

The adjacent Walsh Building (opened in April 2021) houses the Sir John Walsh Research Institute, the Simulation Clinic, seminar spaces, and offices for research staff and postdoctoral students.

As New Zealand's only dental school, at the Faculty of Dentistry we offer a comprehensive suite of postgraduate programmes for practicing dentists seeking to further their careers through specialisation, and students seeking careers in dental research.

We are currently ranked 41st-best dental school in the world (QS World University Subject Rankings).

Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dentistry (PGDipClinDent)

The Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Dentistry (PGDipClinDent) is offered over one year full-time or up to three years part-time. It can be completed on-site in Dunedin, or part-time within dental practice.

The Diploma can be awarded in the following areas:

Postgraduate Diploma in Community Dentistry (PGDipComDent)

The Postgraduate Diploma in Community Dentistry (PGDipComDent) consists of two papers which can be taken over one year full-time or two years part-time.

The DPGDipComDent may be accepted as part of the requirements for the Master of Community Dentistry (MComDent) if the required grades are achieved.

Master of Community Dentistry (MComDent)

The Master of Community Dentistry (MComDent) encompasses the study and epidemiology of community oral health, oral health promotion, provision and funding of oral healthcare, and issues in the planning and management of public oral health services.

The MComDent consists of papers and a research thesis. It can be completed over two years full-time or three years part-time.

Students with an approved qualification (such as the PGDipComDent) may be permitted to complete the MComDent in less than two years.

The MComDent is recognised by the Dental Council of New Zealand as part of the training for registration as a specialist in public health dentistry.

Master of Dentistry (MDent)

The Master of Dentistry (MDent) is available with two endorsements:

  • Aesthetic Dentistry
  • Rural Oral Health

MDent (endorsed in Aesthetic Dentistry)

The aim of the MDent (endorsed in Aesthetic Dentistry) is to provide general dental practitioners with further training in areas that directly enhance provision of aesthetic dentistry. It is offered as a one-year full-time 180-point taught master's programme.

The course will allow candidates to analyse, diagnose, treatment plan, as well as treat aesthetically challenging cases, while enhancing their clinical skills.

This course is designed to cover all aspects of Aesthetic Dentistry, from the communication, to treatment planning, and to different laboratory and clinical techniques of smile enhancement.

The programme is offered to New Zealand general dental practitioners or dentists from overseas countries interested in this evolving field. This course does not lead to vocational specialty registration with the Dental Council (New Zealand).

MDent (endorsed in Rural Oral Health)

The MDent (endorsed in Rural Oral Health) will allow dental practitioners—particularly those working in remote rural environments—to provide higher-level advice and management services in general practice.

It is targeted at practitioners who wish to service rural areas; or who are engaged in outreach in remote areas such as rural areas of Australasia and the Pacific; or with the military or humanitarian aid missions; or government-sponsored dentists working in developing countries.

It is offered as a one-year full-time or two-year part-time 180-point taught master's programme. For part-time candidates, the majority of the clinical experience will be practice-based, remote from Dunedin.

The areas of study include:

  • Advanced general dental practice
  • General medicine and pharmacology
  • Minor oral surgery
  • Oral medicine
  • Oral pathology

Because dentists working in remote locations may be required to play a greater role in medical emergencies and trauma management, a module in initial general trauma management – focussing especially on the primary survey, airway management, and assessment – will be provided.

Attention will also be paid to Hauora Māori and Pacific Island health issues in remote regions.

Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent)

The Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent) provides graduate training in almost all specialist disciplines in dentistry. The aim of each discipline programme is to prepare graduate students to become registered specialists in that discipline.

The programmes foster development of critical analysis, research skills, and advanced clinical skills that will be recognised for specialist registration.

Within each programme, course work includes papers on research methods and practice, advanced clinical science, and advanced clinical practice. A candidate's research will be presented in a thesis and demonstrate a significant contribution to knowledge in a particular field.

DClinDent disciplines:

Doctor of Dental Science (DDSc)

The Doctor of Dental Science (DDSc) recognises the results of substantial and original investigation of relevance to dentistry. The work submitted shall comprise publications which form a connected dissertation.

Every candidate shall have fulfilled one of the following conditions:

  • Have been admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Dental Surgery of a university in New Zealand, or
  • Have been admitted with the status of one who is entitled to proceed to the degree


PhD study at the Faculty of Dentistry may be undertaken either full- or part-time, in any of our three departments.

The duration of the course of advanced study and research under supervision is at least two-and-a-half years for full-time candidates, and at least four years for part-time candidates.

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