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Your University Choices

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Dental Universities and how to choose them

Selecting the most appropriate Dental Universities is fundamental in giving you the best chance of gaining a place at Dental School. Here, we have information on all 16 Dental Universities – including the specific questions each ask at interview. Please see our Full Comprehensive Package or our Dental Universities Guide Package for unlimited access to all of the dental universities.

Below, we have providede a free sample of this information for The University of Central Lancashire, the 2nd most popular applicant choice of the 2020-2021 application cycle

16 UK

Dental Schools

Aberdeen Bristol Glasgow Manchester
Bart’s and the London Cardiff King’s London Newcastle
Belfast Central Lancashire Leeds Plymouth
Birmingham Dundee Liverpool Sheffield

UCLan was founded in 1828 in Preston as the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge. Today, there are almost 38,000 students and staff at the university. The city of Preston is vibrant, exciting and student-friendly, making it an excellent place to study. Preston is located a short distance from the Lake District, Manchester and Liverpool, and the university campus is 10-minutes walk from the campus, making travel very easy.

Preston has been ranked as the cheapest city overall for students to live in the UK, and also ranked as the best city to live and work in the North West of the UK.


The University has over 150 societies that students can join, alongside leisure venues such as “Level”, which offers everything from bowling, crazy gold, darts, lasertag, karaoke and assault courses. If these do not interest you, a 20-minute bus ride will have you in Brockholes Nature Reserve, and the Beacon Fell County Park is only a little further away. The natural walks, cycle paths and green spaces are a fantastic opportunity to be at one with nature.


Preston is a small city with a huge personality. Vibrant, cultural and friendly, it is traditional yet has a young and lively atmosphere. The large student population has turned the city into an energetic metropolis with a buzzing nightlife and a growing arts scene, surrounded by pubs and clubs, and eateries that provide worldwide cuisine catering for every palate. Preston is the best city in North West England in which to live and work, according to a 2017 report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the think tank, Demo. It’s also been rated the most affordable student city or town in the UK in recent years.


Warehouse, Evoque, Popworld, Roper Hall, The Adelphi and Ships & Giggles are among the city’s most popular venues, and Preston attracts household names to perform in the city’s Guild Hall and Charter Theatre. It is also home to five museums including the Harris Museum. The city’s football team, Preston North End Football Club, was one of the 12 founder members of the Football League. They currently play in the Championship. Cyclists and walking enthusiasts can enjoy the Guild Wheel, a 21 mile ‘greenway’ which encircles the city, linking it to the countryside.

There are only 29 places on the programme so it has a friendly, intimate feel and allows for more discursive, interactive learning. You will be based in one of four local Dental Education Centres for the majority of the final three years – a very different model from a traditional dental school and one that UCLan firmly believe prepares you better for life in practice.

You will spend Year 2 BDS studying on Campus in the new purpose-built Dental School at UCLan, before relocating for three years’ clinical training at one of four newly-established DECs in Accrington, Blackpool, Carlisle and Morecambe Bay.

During your 3-year placement at one of four local community Dental Education Centres (DECs), you’ll gain experience of secondary care maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and advanced restorative dentistry. The DECs are clinical training centres where you will treat patients, under supervision, and gain first-hand experience within the communities you are most likely to serve after graduation.


By placing you at the heart of community dental services within Cumbria and Lancashire, UCLan aim not only to attract local candidates, but also foster long-standing relationships with those communities, leading ultimately to an increase in the numbers of newly qualified dentists who will remain in the area to continue their professional career.


In Year 3 BDS you will begin your placements at local hospitals where you will gain experience of secondary care maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and advanced restorative dentistry. During your training you will have seen more than 5,000 patients, undertaken nearly 9,500 fillings and provided treatment ranging from preventative advice to advanced procedures.



During your first year of the graduate entry pathway training at UCLan you will learn clinical skills in the phantom head room and practice procedures such as examination, scaling and impressions in the clinical training units. You will learn dental technology in the prosthetics teaching laboratory. Towards the end of the first year at UCLan (2nd BDS) you will go to your DEC for two days a week to begin your work on patients.

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Oral science and medicine including anatomy
  • Behavioural science
  • Communication skills
  • Basic radiology
  • Health education
  • Dental materials

Skill Development (on simulators)

  • Preventative techniques
  • Fillings
  • Oral examination
  • Injections
  • Extractions
  • Dental technology

Clinical Practice

  • Students treat their first patient towards the end of the year



Now you are based in Dental Education Centres most of the time and really put into practice the skills you learned on the phantom heads in second BDS. You will return to Preston for a number of training days to learn about endodontics and crowns.

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Oral science and medicine
  • Restorative dentistry
  • Paediatric dentistry
  • Introduction to orthodontics

Skill Development (on simulators)

  • Endodontics
  • Crowns
  • Veneers
  • Flap design
  • Suturing

Clinical Practice (treating patients)

  • Oral hygiene
  • Scaling
  • Routine fillings
  • Endodontics
  • Simple dentures
  • Paediatric cases



So far all the work has been primary care dentistry, which all dentists provide themselves. By the third year (fourth BDS) you will be ready to learn about secondary care that is provided by consultants and specialists. It is very important for you to see and understand these aspects of dentistry so that, when you qualify, you will know which patients need to be referred. During your placement in NHS hospitals local to the DECs you also learn about the management of medical conditions that impact on dental care. You will return to Preston for a course on advanced restorative dentistry.

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Oral diseases and pathology
  • Oral medicine and surgery
  • Applied radiology
  • Restorative dentistry
  • Scientific appraisal
  • Elective project
  • Law and ethics

Skill Development (on simulators)

  • Advanced restorative
  • Techniques (bridges and complex dentures)

Clinical Practice (treating patients)

  • As Year 1 and 2 plus
  • Orthodontics
  • Minor oral surgery
  • Oral medicine
  • Sedation
  • General anaesthesia



This is mainly a consolidation year. In addition to working in the DEC and continuing placements in local hospitals you will work in an Enhanced Training Practice. You will provide routine treatment for patients in the practice. This is a final stepping stone before you graduate and enter the dental foundation training scheme.

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Medical A&E
  • Craniofacial anomalies
  • Maxillo-facial surgery
  • Implantology
  • Dental public health

Clinical Practice (treating patients)

  • Consolidation of Years 2, 3 and 4

– Usual Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degrees in the UK are 5-year programmes. There is a standard entry pathway and sometimes a graduate entry pathway (for those who hold a previous university degree). For 2019 entry the University of Central Lancashire offered 29 places on its graduate entry pathway with no standard entry places. It is likely that this will be the only pathway available from 2019 forwards for UCLan. Therefore, the course will be an accelerated 4 year course with direct entry to Year 2 (2nd BDS). Applicants to the graduate entry pathway must demonstrate that their prior formal qualifications have covered relevant biomedical subjects.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate that their prior degree covered the biomedical subjects included in the attached learning outcomes. This course is only open to applicants from the UK and European Union. This makes the course a graduates only course.


– The typical graduate student is of a mature nature, which gives rise to a different style of teaching and learning at UCLan. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is used to guide students through self-taught concepts and learning whilst guided by a tutor. This varied teaching style means there is a great emphasis on clinical experience to develop clinical skills, initially by working on simulators in phantom head. Working with actors assists in the development of communication skills. Knowledge is developed by traditional lectures and tutorials as well as PBL where you work together to develop an integrated knowledge of how the body functions in Health and Disease.


– Very small classes of 29 students per year on the programme so it has a friendly, intimate feel and allows for more discursive, interactive learning.


– Unique model of dental school: Year 2 will be spent at the Dental School, before being assigned to one of four Dental Education Centres for Year 3 to Year 5 (see the What Will You Study? Section for more information).


  • Students have the opportunity to use dental simulators (computers that simulate teeth and drills) from Year 1. This is an excellent opportunity to get a taste for the complexity and skill required in dealing with such small objects such as teeth from the first year, before you are exposed to patients on clinic.


  • Four Dental Education Centres (DECs) based locally within the community have been equipped with brand new surgeries, tutorial and study facilities dedicated for student teaching.


  • As a UCLan Dentistry student you will learn clinical skills in one of the most modern phantom head rooms in Europe, equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment. You will be provided with a tablet for use during your course. Within the School there is a wireless networking facility for you to access DVD and computer based learning resources. You will have access to online dental e-resources through the library and e-learning platform (Blackboard). Chair-side computers in the phantom head room at UCLan and the DECs support clinical teaching, allowing procedures to be viewed and revisited. You will also benefit from:
  • State-of-the-art Phantom Head facilities housing 40 workstations with Phantom Head modules, together with the latest in audio-visual technology – with each unit linking up to the demonstrator’s unit – ensuring that detailed work can be observed much more easily.
  • A fully equipped and quality assured dental surgery with inter-oral camera facilities for demonstrations.
  • Dedicated lecture rooms with AV equipment, suitable for lectures and tutorials, together with areas for relaxation between sessions.
  • A Staff Common Room for one-to-one tutorial sessions.


– Students are able to get access to state-of-the-art Human Anatomy Resource and Learning Centres as part of their studies. The main University Library is also situated nearby and provides both hard copy and electronic resources.

UCLan do not consider external admissions tests such as the UCAT or GAMSAT during any part of the admissions process.


  1. A minimum of an upper second class Honours degree in a biomedical discipline.
  2. Verification of prior learning: At the time of submitting their UCAS form applicants for the Graduate Entry pathway MUST complete the document Verification of Prior Learning to demonstrate that their first degree has satisfied the Learning Outcomes of Year 1. This should be emailed direct to the Admissions Tutor at DentistryAPL@uclan.ac.uk If applicants are successful at interview, the information provided will be verified before an offer is made.
  3. A minimum of 3 A Levels at Grade C or above (at least two of which must be from Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics).Please note that only one Mathematics award will count as one of the two required subjects. General Studies is not counted as one of the A Levels.
  4. GCSE Mathematics (Grade B) and English Language (Grade B) or equivalent
  5. All students whose first language is not English must have IELTS – grade 7.0 or above in every category.
  6. An academic reference. This should be from the course leader, your personal tutor or project supervisor. If you do not already have your degree, the academic reference should include a predicted grade. If you have been in employment for a number of years and are unable to obtain a reference from your previous university degree, UCLan would consider a reference that can evidence continuing professional development at degree level or beyond



  1. Home/EU students only. Currently, the university are only funded to offer places to UK/EU candidates, hence UCLan cannot accept international applicants to this course.
  2. A fully and accurately completed UCAS form, ensuring that all applicable sections contain the relevant information.
  3. Work experience within Dentistry; see below
  4. Personal Statement; see below
  5. If the main academic qualifications were gained many years previously there should be evidence of recent academic endeavour i.e. in the last five years.

UCLan is an extremely small dental school, comprising of only 29 spaces for around 260-300 applicants per year. Competition, therefore, is very tough.



UCLan’s selection procedure begins with an assessment of the Personal Statement; those showing desire to study and pursue a career in Dentistry will be invited to the Entrance Exam.

All applicants that are invited to sit the entrance assessment examination must do so at the Preston campus and unfortunately, UCLan are unable to hold the examination at any other centre.



This multiple choice exam is designed to ensure that all applicants have the necessary level of knowledge in order to allow them to enter Year 2 of the 5-year programme. The exam will cover all topics listed in the attached Verification of Prior Learning Document, which you will receive should you be invited to sit the Exam. Common topics include human biology, the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, anatomy, chemistry, physiology and application of human sciences.



Applicants who perform well at the entrance assessment exam, who have demonstrated that their degree has contained the necessary relevant subjects and who have produced all required certificates will be invited for an interview

The day will consist of (in no particular order):

  1. A presentation from the Director of the BDS programme (Associate Dean) of the Dental School
  2. Tour of the Dental School in Preston
  3. Paperwork
  4. Two manual dexterity tasks:
    1. Instructions regarding a simple manual dexterity task will be included in the invite for interview letter. Applicants will be asked to learn how to perform the task and are welcome to practice as much as is needed prior to interview. The task must be completed on the interview day, without instructions. Maximum time allowed – five minutes.
    2. Applicants will be asked at interview to perform a second manual task without prior knowledge, using either wax or wire. This lasts approximately 20 minutes, and usually requires candidates to shape the wax or wire into a predetermined shape following basic instructions.
  5. Interview: the interview itself will take the format of Mini Multi Interviews lasting approximately 70 minutes and will include topics such as communication skills, knowledge of dentistry, ethics and professionalism and team working.
  6. Checking certificates: applicants must bring all original documentation (GCSE/A Level/Degree) to the interview


Common UCLan Interview Questions:

If you apply for medicine at UCLan you will be asked to fill out a transferable skills statement which is used as part of selection for interview, but it is also used in one the MMI stations.

It’s important you fill this form out in as much detail as possible, reflecting on any work experience you’ve done and showing what skills you have that are required in medicine.

As this form is also used in interview, make sure you remember the experiences you wrote about – it would be worth keeping a copy of it to look back over before your interview! Be ready to discuss these experiences in more detail at interview.

Other common questions include:

  • Tell me what you know about amalgam and the benefits and potential hazards it poses
  • Tell me what you know about water fluoridation; how does it benefit the population? What are the perceived risks?
  • You are a 3rd year student and notice another classmate cheating on his exam. You don’t say anything during the exam, but have a decision to make after the exam – what do you do? Do you talk to anyone about it?
  • What are the core qualities of a dentist? Do you have any of these? (HINT: GIVE EXAMPLES OF YOUR OWN QUALITIES!)
  • What is more important for a dentist: communication or manual dexterity?
  • Manual dexterity station: normally something intricate such as origami or sewing (Beware: examiners are not looking for a perfect result – we recommend you read our full breakdown of manual dexterity stations in our Interviews Package for further information)

UCLan recommends a minimum of 2 weeks work experience in an NHS General Dental Practice. However, in general, the more work experience an applicant has the better their understanding is of dentistry as a career, as well as broadening their knowledge of current dental issues.

Applicants must demonstrate their motivation for a career in dentistry.

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