Oral Biology Academic Programs

The Department of Oral Biology Graduate Program offers basic, translational, and clinical studies in oral biology, biomedical research and health that span spatial scales from the molecular and cellular levels to the whole organism level. Studies include fundamental biological phenomena related to the development, structure, and function of the craniofacial region and the development of new therapies, biomaterials, and diagnostic tools for the treatment of diseases and disorders in the craniofacial area.

The Graduate Program provides a stimulating and collegial environment to prepare motivated and qualified students for careers in academia, dental medicine, industry, and government. Student applicants to the School of Dental Medicine pre-doctoral program (First Professional DMD Program) will be invited for interviews on condition of good standing in the Department of Oral Biology Graduate Program and of satisfying the pre-doctoral program entrance requirements.

Students may earn Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Science (MS) degrees in Oral Biology within one of two research concentrations:
    • Craniofacial and Dental Genetics
    • Craniofacial Tissue Regeneration
Students will be exposed to both concentrations in the program curriculum, which includes three courses with DMD students, and work with faculty in the Department of Oral Biology on research in one of these concentrations.

Select Here to Apply to the Graduate Program

Admissions will only be considered for the fall term. However, early applications are encouraged, and offers may be extended to suitably qualified candidates before the application deadline.

The program is open to post-baccalaureate students, pre-doctoral (First Professional) DMD students, and dental residents. School of Dental Medicine pre-doctoral students and residents may apply for a dual degree option with the PhD or MS Graduate Programs in Oral Biology. Pre-doctoral dental medicine students may also pursue dual degrees while enrolled in the School of Dental Medicine through collaborative programs with the Graduate School of Public Health, the School of Law, and the School of Education.

Questions? Please contact the Department of Oral Biology here.



PhD Program

The PhD Program requires approximately four to five years to complete and employs a Core Curriculum which is separate from the MS Program. Students may enter the PhD program directly following their undergraduate degree and do not necessarily have to earn a master's degree first. Earning a master's degree can be incorporated into the PhD program without increasing the total length of time in studies.

Requirements for the PhD degree

  • A total of 72 credits of coursework: 50 didactic (29 in the PhD Core Curriculum) and 22 research
  • Successful completion of PhD core curriculum with a grade of B (3.0 GPA) or better in each course
  • Written comprehensive examination after the sixth semester (for advancement to PhD candidacy)
  • Dissertation proposal defense
  • Approval of a Dissertation Committee and dissertation research
  • Dissertation defense
  • A PhD thesis

A student who earned a master of science degree from another institution may petition the Graduate Studies Committee to waive the comprehensive examination.

MS Program

The MS Program requires two years to complete, but no more than four years. Early completion may be considered for students with exceptional progress in their thesis that have completed their coursework. The MS Program is distinct from the PhD Program. MS students may apply to be accepted for the PhD Program once they are accepted into the MS program. If the student is accepted into the PhD program at a later date, courses taken toward the MS will satisfy doctoral degree credit and residency requirements.

Requirements for the MS Degree

  • A total of 30 credits: 25 didactic in the MS Core Curriculum and 5 in research
  • Successful completion of MS core curriculum with a grade of B (3.0 GPA) or better in each course
  • A one-year research project leading to an master’s thesis
  • Defense of the master’s thesis before a thesis committee research
  • A master’s thesis