Harvard University School of Dental Medicine

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    Boston, MA
    *Note: Cost calculation does not include living expenses, student loan interest, or loan origination fees. 
    Harvard University Seal


    The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) is located in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard originated the Doctor of Dental Medicine (Doctor Medicinae Dentariae) degree. Considering dentistry to be a specialty of medicine, the 280 students at HSDM are also considered students of Harvard Medical School.

    Harvard Dental School opened in 1867 and offered the first university-based dental education in the United States. In 1940, the school was given the name it is now known by, Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

    Tuition and Fees

    • Tuition: $61,600
    • Annual Increase: 4-7%
    • HUSHP Basic: $1,178 (annually)
    • HUSHP Supplemental: $3,364 (annually)
    • ASDA Membership: $100 (annually)
    • Matriculation Fee: $35
    • Course Materials Fee: $425
    • Technology Fee: $300 (annually)
    • Clinic Fee: 
      • 2nd year: $14,800
      • 3rd year: $14,800
      • 4th year: $14,800
    • Instrument Purchase:
      • 1st year: $750
      • 2nd year: $4,912
      • 3rd year: $1,725
      • 4th year: $147
    • Books and Supplies: 
      • 1st year: $2,293
      • 2nd year: $1,700
      • 3rd year: $1,300
      • 4th year: $150
    • Board Exam Fees:
      • 2nd year: $415
      • 4th year: $2,085

    Total Tuition and Fees with 5% annual increase: $359,478


    First Year

    Foundations of Medicine

    The first year of the curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of medicine.

    Taught by faculty from the Medical School, the curriculum begins with the foundational building blocks to study medicine, including fundamentals of anatomy, histology, biochemistry, and molecular and cellular biology; genetics; immunology; and introductory pharmacologic principles. This introductory period includes two new courses, Foundations and Immunity in Defense and Disease, designed to equip students with the knowledge to navigate the study of organ systems.

    These two courses are followed by a month focused on the fundamental social and population sciences – health care policy, social medicine, clinical epidemiology and population health, and medical ethics and professionalism – to provide a foundation of knowledge on which students will build throughout the four years of medical school. The remainder of the preclerkship curriculum will be organized around organ-system-based modules – Homeostasis I and II and Mind, Brain, Behavior and Development – during which structure and function and normal and abnormal processes for each organ system will be integrated—anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pathology, pharmacology, imaging, and nutrition.

    In this design, students will learn about two complementary organ systems simultaneously in parallel blocks, which allows students more time to digest each system and difficult concepts, to consolidate learning, and to appreciate the complementarity between systems. From the first week of medical school, beginning with the Introduction to the Profession, students will be engaged in a longitudinal clinical course, The Practice of Medicine, which will be integrated with the basic and social science courses and during which students will learn the fundamentals of patient-doctor communication, the physical exam, the dynamics of working in clinical teams and systems, and the process of developing a differential diagnosis. All courses are Pass/Fail.

    HSDM students in the first year spend Wednesday mornings observing in the HSDM Teaching Practices clinic, as part of the Practice of Medicine course. The new program incorporates primary care clinical experience by introducing the dental students to the clinical approach as performed by dental and medical professionals and raising the students’ awareness of the increasingly evident links between oral health and systemic health. The aim of this experience is to teach foundational clinical skills and primary care medicine with a focus on oral health, using the primary care rotations for students in a dental setting as a platform for change in our approach to patient care.

    Second Year

    Integrated Oral Health Foundations

    The second year curriculum consists of three longitudinal courses that provide a foundational knowledge base for students to build on as they progress through the second and third years.

    The Dental Basic Science Foundations course includes dental anatomy, craniofacial development and genetics, oral microbiology and immunology, oral physiology, and oral pathology and radiology.  Topics are introduced individually at first and interwoven as the course continues through the fall and winter months.

    In addition, the clinical observation rotations expand the focus from primary care to a wider range of dental topics such as oral medicine, oral hygiene, pediatric dentistry, behavioral science, the role of nutrition in dentistry, and dental treatment for patients with special needs.

    All students are required to complete a research project by the end of the fourth year.  It provides students with the opportunity to select an area of interest, find a mentor, design a project, perform the necessary data gathering and analysis, and present or publish the results.  Projects can be in any area of dental research, from basic science to community health to dental education.

    Third Year

    Principal Clinical Experience

    The interdisciplinary courses in the Principal Clinical Experience are presented in an integrated case-based and flipped classroom format, providing students continuity in the style of teaching and learning. The observational rotations from years 1 and 2 are put into practice as the evaluation and treatment of real patients begins. A longitudinal course called Occlusion, Malocclusion, and Treatment forms the didactic base of the clinical courses, which include Diagnosis and Treatment Planning, Treatment of Active Disease, and Final Restorative Treatment, as well as modules on the Treatment of the Child and Adolescent, Advanced Surgical Treatment, and the Advanced Dentistry Module. The progression of these courses follows realistic patient treatment methodology.

    A longitudinal course addresses issues specific to dental patient care and management. The valuable patient skills acquired and honed in Practice of Medicine and foundational dental science courses permit a confident and positive transition to patient interaction in the clinical setting. Case presentation to faculty and colleagues is a requirement in this year. A course called Dental Health Care Delivery and Ethics includes topics on dental health care delivery, ethics, and practice management.

    Preclinical and Clinical Skills/Comprehensive Care

    Small class size and significant faculty interaction facilitate the development of preclinical and clinical skills. Competence is emphasized in mastering skills and the delivery of comprehensive patient care. As students achieve this competence at the preclinical level, they are permitted to commence patient care, treating simple and then more complex patient cases as subsequent skills are acquired. The union of the science learned in the first two years with preclinical and clinical competency creates a comprehensive experience for the patient.

    As students transition to clinical training, the academic society experience evolves. Students learn clinical skills in the laboratory, share tutorials, and form a small-group practice when treating patients in the comprehensive care Teaching Practice at the Harvard Dental Center. The role of the senior tutor broadens from adviser to primary clinical mentor and guide. Senior tutors serve as head of the small-group practice, review treatment planning, and monitor the completion of requirements on an ongoing basis.

    Fourth Year

    Advanced Clinical Experiences

    The fourth year of the curriculum brings opportunity to apply skills developed and mastered in Year 3 in a variety of settings. Students continue to provide comprehensive care at the Teaching Practice at the Harvard Dental Center and learn advanced techniques such as esthetics, implant therapy, and advanced pain-management techniques. Required clinical rotations, an externship experience, and elective opportunities broaden the clinical experience.

    Evaluation of students moves from formative and summative measures to a more comprehensive assessment of student academic, clinical, and professional achievement. Students are assessed on case completion in keeping with the program’s goal of training students to provide patient-centered comprehensive care. Case presentation to colleagues and faculty is a requirement of this year.

    Comprehensive Care Rotation

    Dental students continue to provide care to their patients at HSDM in a three-month Comprehensive Care Rotation.  Dental students are able to perform more advanced techniques in prosthetics, esthetic dentistry, and implantology.

    General Dentistry Rotation

    Students participate in a three-month general dentistry rotation at a Veterans Affairs hospital or an affiliated community health center. Working under the supervision of faculty, students provide care to patients with a wide variety of needs. Students gain perspective on their training and skills with feedback from patients and supervisors in a setting outside of the School’s Teaching Practice.

    Oral Surgery Rotation

    Students participate in a one-month oral surgery rotation at an affiliated Harvard academic medical center.

    Elective Time

    Students are encouraged to use elective time as they choose. Students pursuing an honors track in research may continue or complete their work. Some opt to use elective time at other dental schools completing electives in a specialty field, while others pursue international community-health experiences.


    A personal interview is required for admission to the DMD program and is granted by invitation only. Interviews are considered an essential part of the admissions process and provide the candidate the opportunity to articulate their knowledge and experience as well as their potential for the field of dentistry and suitability for the program.

    All interviews are held at Harvard School of Dental Medicine to give the candidate an opportunity to interact with faculty, students, and staff and gain a general sense of the educational environment. Candidates invited to interview at HSDM should plan on a full day at the School. A general timeline for the interview day is as follows:

    • 8:30 – 9:00      Arrive at HSDM
    • 9:00 – 10:00     Introduction to HSDM
    • 10:00 – Noon    Two one-on-one interviews with individual members of the Admissions Committee
    • Noon – 12:45    Lunch with HSDM students
    • 12:45 – 1:30      Tour of HSDM
    • 1:30 – 2:00       Financial Aid and Office of Diversity Inclusion Welcome

    Following the interview, candidates are presented to the Admissions Committee who vote individually on the admissibility of each candidate.  Offers of admission will be made beginning December 1 and continue on a rolling basis. Places in the entering class remain available until all invited candidates complete the interview process. The class selection is ordinarily completed in March. Candidates may be placed on the Waiting List or denied based on the Committee review. The Waiting List is not ranked; rather, candidates are reviewed again before admission is offered.


    The mission of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) is to develop and foster a community of global leaders dedicated to improving human health by integrating dentistry and medicine at the forefront of education, research and patient care.

    Its vision is to transform dentistry by removing the distinction between oral and systemic health.