B.S. in Dental Hygiene

B.S. in Dental Hygiene

The University of Louisville School of Dentistry’s bachelor of science degree in Dental Hygiene provides a comprehensive education to prepare future hygienists.

The four-year program’s curriculum serves as a broad-based foundation for the changing complexities of health care, equipping students to provide comprehensive dental hygiene care in a variety of settings. Classes and experiences emphasize critical thinking and problem solving skills. The first 2 years of the program are spent completing the general education and program pre-requisites on the Belknap Campus. Students then apply for admission to the Upper Division, where the junior and senior years are completed in the Dental School, focusing on dental hygiene didactic and clinical courses.

Because the program is housed with the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, hygiene students learn their skills in a context that emphasizes their important place on the dental health team. UofL offers Kentucky’s only Dental Hygiene program based within a school of dentistry.

The characteristics of those selected for admission to the Upper Division class change from year to year. Preference is not necessarily given to UofL students, but UofL native students have a unique opportunity to be pre-admitted to the Upper Division. The Dental Hygiene program admits 30 qualified applicants each year and typically receives 1-3 applications for each available space.

A baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene will expand the hygienist’s personal and professional growth, opening the door to opportunities in:

  • Administration and management
  • Research
  • Patient care, including select populations such as senior citizens, children and patients with special needs
  • Public health
  • Corporate sales
  • Education

As licensed health-care professionals, dental hygienists provide a wide range of preventive and therapeutic dental services:

  • Examining teeth and gums
  • Removing stain and plaque
  • Applying fluoride and sealants that protect teeth and prevent decay
  • Bleaching discolored teeth
  • Taking dental x-rays
  • Teaching oral hygiene

Dental hygiene is expected to be one of the fastest growing occupations through the year 2018.

The program is accredited by The Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. View all School of Dentistry accreditation information.

The bachelor of science in dental hygiene requires a total of 54 prerequisite credit hours and 71 upper level credit hours.

Prerequisites54 credit hours
Dental Hygiene courses (third and fourth years)71 credit hours
Total125 credit hours

The course catalog has descriptions of the various courses. Refer to the UofL General Education Program for general education requirements.


CourseCredit Hour(s)
Written Communications *(up to 2 courses)6
Chemistry 101 or 105**3 or 4
Intro. to Biology 102*3
Intro. to Biology Lab 104*1
Anatomy & Physiology I 260**3
Anatomy & Physiology II 261**3
Anatomy & Physiology Lab 262**1
Math - from Gen Ed list*
Human Nutrition 303**3
Oral Communications3
Intro. Sociology 201, 202, 203, 210, or 3233
Intro. Psychology 2013
World History 101 or 1023
Arts and Humanities- one in each6
Cultural Diversity (at least one CD1)***6
Social & Behavioral Sciences at 200-300 level3
DHED 101 Orientation (transfers with >24hrs1

* Must have a grade of "C" or better in these courses.

** Students must make a "C" or above in these courses and must have completed them no more than 5 years before Upper Division admission. Transfer credit for science courses taken prior to the last five years will be evaluated on an individual basis.

***CD1 = African, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, or Native American ethnicities

Transfer students wanting to know how their coursework will transfer to UofL should start by using our Transfer Equivalency System. If you are unable to find an equivalency, you may contact one of our articulation specialists.

Third Year

First Semester

CourseCredit Hour(s)
Biology of Head & Neck DHED 3053
Dental Anatomy DHED 3032
Radiography DHED 3042
Dental Hygiene Theory I DHED 3013
Dental Hygiene Principles of Practice I DHED 3022
Microbiology DHED 3063
Physical Diagnosis and Medical Management DHED 3073

Second Semester

CourseCredit Hour(s)
Preclinical Radiography DHED 3081
General & Oral Pathology I DHED 3093
Periodontology DHED 3103
Dental Materials DHED 3113
Dental Hygiene Theory II DHED 3133
Dental Hygiene Principles of Practice II DHED 3143
Oral Health Education DHED 3122

Summer Session

CourseCredit Hour(s)
Pain and Anxiety Control DHED 315 (Local Anesthesia)3
Community Dental Health I DHED 3162

Fourth Year

First Semester

CourseCredit Hour(s)
Pharmacology DHED 4023
Statistics & Research Design DHED 4033
Special Needs Patients DHED 4042
Community Dental Health II DHED 4062
Dental Hygiene Principles of Practice III DHED 4084
Clinical Radiology I DHED 4091
Advanced Technology & Patient Care Procedures I DHED 4072
Advanced Periodontology I DHED 4051

Second Semester

CourseCredit Hour(s)
Advanced Radiology DHED 410 (online tuition)1
Clinical Radiology II DHED 4111
Dental Hygiene Principles of Practice IV DHED 4124
Advanced Technology and Patient Care Procedures II DHED 4141
Advanced Periodontology II DHED 4131
Dental Hygiene Ethics and Practice DHED 4152
Dental Hygiene Extramural Education DHED 4172

The admissions process to the Dental Hygiene Program Lower or Upper Division.

Lower Division

Students wanting to complete the dental hygiene pre-requisite courses.

The admissions requirements are detailed on this page, below.

Upper Division

Students who have completed or are in the process of completing their final pre-requisite courses. These students are ready to begin the Clinical and Educational Courses.

Upper Division

Upper Division Pre-Placement (UPP)

UPP is an option only available for students beginning their initial college course work at UofL and completing their first semester of coursework in the Lower Division.

UPP Program

Transfer Student

For those students looking to transfer into the program from within and without the University.

Transfer Student

Admission to the Lower Division

Eligible students may apply to the lower division. Please note that admission to the Lower Division does not guarantee admission to the Upper Division.

Undergraduate catalog entry

Lower Division (DHL) is for those who are wanting to complete the Dental Hygiene pre-requisite courses at UofL.  Interested applicants should:

To be admitted to the Dental Hygiene Lower Division in good standing an applicant must:

  • Have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.8 or higher
    • High School students from an accredited high school, have a GED, or equivalent by petition (for example, home school education).
    • Transfer students with less than 24 earned hours will be evaluated on both High School and Transfer GPA
    • Transfer students with more than 24hrs will be evaluated by transfer GPA
  • Composite ACT score of not less than 21
    • High School students with a composite score of 20 may be admitted on a conditional status*.  There is no conditional admission for transfer students.
    • Transfer students with more than 24 earned hours are not reviewed for the ACT; however, please note that ACT scores are required for admission to the professional program (Dental Hygiene Upper Division).

* Students in conditional status receive a status of good standing if their university GPA is 2.8 or above after completion of their first semester.

Please note: Any Lower Division student whose university grade point average (GPA) is less than 2.8 will be placed on academic warning. The university GPA is based on all college-level undergraduate courses taken at the University of Louisville.

Students in the Dental Hygiene program may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens during lab and clinical experience while enrolled. The School of Dentistry complies with OSHA bloodborne pathogen standards and CDC guidelines for infection control to provide a safe environment for students, patients, faculty, and staff. The confidentiality of information pertaining to the health status of individuals is strictly maintained.

Office of Student Affairs
School of Dentistry, Room 231
501 South Preston Street
Louisville, KY 40292
502 852-5081
502 852.1210 [fax]
800 334.8635 Ext. 5081

Email Dental Hygiene Service Account

Email dhygiene@louisville.edu

Dianne D. Foster, RDH, MA
Asst. Dean of Student Affairs
Email Dianne Foster

Dental Hygiene Tuition and Fees

Tuition & Fees for Academic Year 2014-15

Kentucky ResidentNon-Resident
Instrument & Supplies Fee$650$650
Health Profession Fee$105$105
Student Rec Fee$196$196

Financial Aid

Information about financial aid can be found on the following sites:

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions regarding your application, please call 502-852-5081 or 1-800-334-8635 ext. 5081.

Office of Dental Student Affairs

The Lower Division level is for students who are attending UofL to complete the program pre-requisites for the Upper Division.

The Upper Division level is for students who have completed and are in the process of completing the required courses for admission in the program. The Upper Division level includes clinical and education courses needed to complete the BS Degree in Dental Hygiene.

Program pre-requisites for the Dental Hygiene Program may be completed at any accredited institution. It is your responsibility to work with the advisor to verify that courses are correct and transferrable for specific requirements.

February 1 - The admissions committee will only consider applications that are complete, including all required supplemental documents.

  • Submission of ACT/SAT Scores
  • 3 Letters of recommendation (LOR) (must be received directly from recommendor)
  • Minimum Technical Standards:
  • Unofficial copies of all transcripts
  • External applicants, submit official transcripts
  • Personal statement explaining your interest in the career of dental hygiene
  • Dental experience or observation documentation

Interviews are not a part of the admissions process but may be requested by the committee.

Admission decisions are made at one time. All applicants receive written notification of their admission decision no later than March 30th.

As an undergraduate program, the tuition costs are that of undergraduates: http://louisville.edu/finance/bursar/tuition

Additional fees include a mandatory campus health fee, instrument fees, books and health insurance. Health insurance is mandatory but optional to be purchased through UofL.

If you are planning to file for Financial Aid for Fall, you will need to go online at www.fafsa.ed.gov and complete a financial aid application. The priority deadline for the state of Kentucky and UofL to be considered is March 15th.

Our admissions process is competitive and determined yearly based on the number of applicants and their qualifications. Preference is given to applicants who have demonstrated the ability to carry a fulltime course load with sciences. Each year we receive 1-3 applications for each available space. Thirty qualified applicants as relected for admission each fall.

The Admission Committee ask that you attach a detailed explanation of the offense, misdemeanor or felony to your application. If you have concerns regarding a conviction, please contact the Board of Dentistry in the state(s) which you plan to seek licensure.

Falsifying any part of your application may result in cancellation of your admissions.

Yes you may apply. You must complete an Intra-University Transfer (IUT) Form specifically for the Dental Hygiene Upper Division (DHU). To complete the form, go to http://louisville.edu/provost/iut

Yes, an application must be completed through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. It can be completed online at louisville.edu/admissions/apply. There is a fee for this application. In addition to applying, ALL transcripts (official) must be sent to: University of Louisville, Office of Admissions, Belknap Campus, Louisville, KY 40292

Yes, required SCIENCE COURSES must be completed no more than 5 years before applying for Upper Division admission.

Completion of a Criminal Background checks (CBC) is required for all applicants who are offered admission to teh DH Upper Division. Detailed infromation about the CBC service and the process will be outlined by ULSD to admitted applicants. Students will pay the CBC service directly for the cost of the background check.

Yes, there is a minimum of a 2.8 overall GPA and a “C” average in your sciences. Those requirements are the minimum. Because the program is competitive, the program has not admitted any sciences GPA’s below a 3.0.