James Cook University Dental School in Australia
Program Overview - Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
||University and Faculty:
||James Cook University (JCU)
College of Medicine and Dentistry
||Bachelor of Dental Surgery
||Cairns, Queensland, Australia
||Cairns campus: 4,000
||February each year
|Est. Indicative Annual Tuition:
||$58,000 AUD (2017)
|Est. Indicative Total Tuition:
||$290,000 AUD (based on 2017 fees)
James Cook University
Dental School offers the Bachelor of Dental Surgery program, a five-year, undergraduate degree that provides
students with the knowledge and skills they require to become a competent practitioner of dentistry. The dental program
aims to promote improved oral health care delivery, particularly to people living in rural, remote and
tropical regions of Australia. The curriculum integrates the basic sciences with dental clinical sciences and preventative oral
James Cook University dental school students will have early exposure to clinical practice, with an increasing proportion of the
course dedicated to clinical skills in the later years. The first three to four years of study are based on the Cairns Campus, and
the final year is devoted to developing students' clinical skills during placements in public and private dental clinics across
northern Queensland including Mackay, Proserpine, Atherton and Thursday Island.
Upon graduating, students will have the knowledge and skills to provide appropriate dental health care
in a variety of settings, including rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
Unique Features of the Program
JCU Dental School had its first intake in 2009. The first cohort of 67 students was admitted to the Bachelor
of Dental Surgery program from a pool of more than 600 applicants. The faculty is committed to the education of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the health professions, and had seven
Indigenous students in the first two cohorts.
James Cook University dental school is one of only three schools in Australia located outside a capital city,
and is the only one outside the metropolitan areas of southeast Queensland. JCU's dentistry
establishment was funded by a grant of $52.5M from the federal government and includes a
new building on the Smithfield Campus of JCU with state-of-the-art facilities, including an
80-seat dental simulation laboratory, prosthodontics and science laboratories, and student home group rooms.
The Bachelor of Dental Surgery program is delivered at the Cairns campus of James Cook University, which is located 15 km
north of Cairns, in the suburb of Smithfield. Opened in 1987, this campus is situated in a beautiful, mountainous
rainforest area of tropical North Queensland.
More than 4,000 students study at JCU Cairns, including approximately 380 international students. The
campus location is spectacular, surrounded on three sides by rainforest-covered mountains.
Located near the northern beaches in the suburb of Smithfield, the campus is 15 kilometres north of the city centre.
Professional Certification/Accreditation Information
Accreditation has been awarded for the James Cook University's Bachelor of Dental Surgery program by the Dental Board of
Australia. In 2015, James Cook University's Bachelor of Dental Surgery program will undergo the normal accreditation processes
required for a new school in Australia.
Established in 2009, the School of Dentistry reports annually to the Australian Dental Council as the five-year program unfolds.
In 2013, the first cohort of JCU's Bachelor of Dental Surgery students will graduate;
the initial accreditation cycle of new schools will then be complete. Ongoing reviews of all university dental and medical schools are part of the normal cycle that
maintains the high quality of Australian health professional programs. JCU is a national leader in this field with its tropical, rural, remote and Indigenous focus and ability to develop "fit for purpose" graduates.
Additionally, the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) recognizes the reciprocal agreement between the Australian Dental Council and the
Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada, which allows accredited graduates of either body to practice
dentistry in Australia or Canada. For Canadian students studying in accredited Australian dental programs, this means they will return home and follow the same
process as Canadian domestic graduates with licensure being granted after successfully sitting the National Dental Examination Board of Canada.
Anatomy & Physiology for Dentists 1 & 2
Communication Skills for Therapy
Biological Chemistry for Dentistry
Introduction to Dental Science 1 & 2
Chemistry for the Dental Sciences
Health & Health Care in Australia
Lifespan Development & Health
Communication Skills for Health Professionals
Health Professional Research 1
Health Promotion for Health Professionals
Biological Sciences for Dentistry 1 (Growth, Development and Microbiology)
Operative Dentistry 1 & 2
Pathophysiology and Therapeutics for Dentistry
Introduction to Clinical Dentistry
Clinical Dentistry 1
Clinical Dentistry 2
Clinical Dentistry 3
Clinical Practice 1 (Comprehensive Oral Care)
Clinical Practice 2 (Comprehensive Oral Care)
Why Canadians Love this Program
Read what OzTREKK students have to say about the JCU dentistry program!
2015 Intake Reviews
"I like the facilities and can't think of anything I don't like. JCU Dentistry is an amazing program with top of the
class facilities. You begin in the sim clinic in the first year and are exposed to hands on experiences very early on
in the program. The professors want you to do well. The program requires a lot of hard work and determination but it is
definitely worth it in the end. The JCU dental program has one of the highest number of hours spent in the clinic
working on patients which is incomparable to many dental schools in Australia. I'd do it all again if I had to. I would
highly recommend you apply to JCU dental school and have the chance of living in not only a beautiful country but the
tropical city of Cairns."
"I really like the program and how it exposes you to the clinical aspects of dentistry right away in first year of the program.
However what I disliked was the unorganization that I felt that was present at times within the program. It's a great program!
The university is very well known and the dentistry program is rated highly by the ADA. It is still a brand new program
at JCU and many adjustments and changes continue to be made."
"its great "hands on" university and getting into the clinical setting in first year is a wonderful opportunity"
"Like: the approachability of the lecturers, the community feeling the school provides, small easy to navigate campus,
surrounded by nature, the school dedicates a 24hr building to the dental students which is much appreciated when studying.
Dislike: nothing -both professors and students make a point of including the Canadians - Australia is very similar to Canada
in a lot of ways (kindness of the people and culturally--except for the slang"
2014 Intake Reviews
"It was not as big of a transition as I had expected (Canada and Australia are very similar) The coffee!!! Like: 1)
Small program - They focus on you personally and want you to do well and succeed. They also try to help you if they
see that you are falling behind 2) Beautiful dental facilities and building - it comforts me that we are learning from
the latest technology and facilities 3) Beautiful campus - situated near the rainforest. Rivers and wildlife constantly
flow through campus JCU Cairns is a beautiful and unique university. The JCU Dental Surgery program has recently been
enacted and has the best and most up-to-date facilities in Australia. The professors are kind and knowledgable, and
the location is amazing."
"A university that has amazing dental facilities. The faculty are very approachable and always willing to help. I love the
dental facilities available to us at James Cook. The clinics and labs are very nice. I also like that our program feels
very personal. We know the instructors very well approachable and interested in your well being. They also have placed us
in small home groups to ensure we meet people and develop relationships with other students in our program. I dislike
the fact that we have many guest lecturers. I also find the schedule very disorganised at times. Class start times,
location and planning are not very well coordinated. I would tell them to apply to Australian schools and to consider
James Cook as an option if they are interested in Dentistry. The fees are very high but I believe the experience is worth it."
"I like that the dental facility is new and the government has invested a lot in new technology and our learning environment."
"I love that I am able to be travelling here while doing my degree. It makes the experience of becoming a Dentist much more
exciting than staying back in Canada. I like that my program is dentistry specific, and I do not have to do as much general
study as I would have to in Canada. Also, the facilities are amazing at my University, I am very lucky to be here! JCU Cairns
is quite small but the dental buildings are fantastic! So far the difficulty of my program is comparable to first year
university in Canada. Maybe a bit harder. Later years become more dentistry specific which I am looking forward to."
2013 Intake Reviews
"I love JCU! The campus is extremely modern, and the dental facilities are state of the art. Overall, I am very impressed. In terms
of the program, I am really enjoying it. The professors are wonderful :) So far, there is nothing that I dislike. I feel so
fortunate to have such a strong connection with the Canadian Dent students. They are all so amazing! We have all become very good
friends, and it really helps to have a wonderful support network, especially far away from home. I would tell other Canadians that
making the big move to Australia from Canada is an incredible, once in a lifetime, life changing experience! I only have positive
feedback with regards to JCU campus. I would tell prospective students that the campus and all facilities are very modern and the
professors are outstanding. In terms of the campus, its like being in the middle of a tropical rainforest - amazing experience!"
"Seems a little disorganized and lacks consistency throughout program/courses. Great facility (dental clinic). Passionate and
highly specialized profs. Innovative approach to training prospective dentists. Program still has a long way to go in terms of
refinement, being such a new program."
"Firstly it's a small university. This has advantages and disadvantages. The great thing is that you can really develop a good
rapport with your profs and it's easy to get one on one time if you need it. The disadvantage is that there may not be all the
same resources of a larger university. Also the way of doing things seems to be much different that how it's done back home.
There is definitely a much slower pace when it comes to getting something done which can be frustrating at times. The main issue
is there seems to be a lack of communication within the administration. This means that sometimes certain things can fall through
the cracks. For example, twice it happened that no prof showed up for an 8 am dental science class. I put a lot of effort into
succeeding. I study late, I get up early and I show up at every class. It's frustrating when the university drops the ball like
this, especially when I'm paying so much money to be here. I will say that the material is very interesting and the lecturers are
good. I'm still happy to be here. The most striking feature of the dental program are the facilities. It really is impressive.
We'll be learning in a state of the art environment. There really is a very big WOW factor. I would tell them (future students)
it's a good choice. The dentistry program here focuses on integrated learning and lots of hands on experience. That's what I'm most
looking forward to. There's a lot of self guided study to be done - it's all about how much you put into it that will decide how
much you get out of this program. There seems to be a fair amount of academic support. The university is really committed to
helping me succeed in this program and then later on to become a great health care professional. All this in a brand new, modern,
high tech facility. It's located at the base of a tropical forest. It's a great place to study. Main thing is, students need to
be patient and keep their eyes on the prize. When I'm done here I get to go home and be a dentist. That's pretty amazing."
"The length of the program is 5 years which leads to a Bachelor of Dental Sciences, I would rather do it in 4 years since I have
done an undergraduate and Master degree already. I believe many Australian dental schools are moving towards the 4 years degree
instead. I do believe at least 2 years of solid basic science before entering into a professional dental degree is more beneficial
than straight out of high school. Students would be more mature and have had some time to explore some other option. JCU dental
school is very young and innovative with a beautiful and state-of-the-art clinic for students to practice their dental skills
before entering into the real world. Cairns is a great place to be, with lots of the wet tropics to enjoy and it is a little
paradise away from home while doing your studies."
2012 Intake Reviews
"The best aspect of this dental program is that students are put into clinical setting from 2nd year, which no other university
does. By year 3 students are already seeing their first patient and performing irreversible procedures. The biggest challenge for
me is to adjust with younger students (peers) in my class as I am a mature student with a lot more experience (life and academic).
JCU is at the forefront of research and academics. They're making big strides to be the best university in the country, if not
the world. So far they have been doing extremely well - new equipment, new facility, excellent faculty, and great ongoing mentoring
"Likes: -warm and wonderful climate -exceptional faculty staff -fast/promt response from staff members regarding any questions
you may have -professors are very approachable -dentistry building along with clinic and other high tech equipment is exceptional,
brand new technology and state of the art facility Dislike: - poor behaviour of aboriginals (i.e. street behaviour, screaming and
calling you names, especially when they are drunk) -particularly to Cairns, some locals are very racist and at times sexists.
University of Toronto, faculty of dentistry can only dream about such facility and high tech equipment!"
"What I Like: - Very good program - Staffs and instructors are very helpful and friendly - Profs are willing to meet and assist
student outside of classes What I dislike: - The city is very small and also the university campus - The business hour of library
is way too short (both weekday and weekend) - The cafeteria definitely need to improve their food quality and selections. It's a
very good program. We are the only school in Oz that has student surgeon. What does that mean? That means under the supervision
of professors, we are able to perform irreversible procedure on patients. And it starts at 3rd year!!!! Very excited!!"
Admissions Criteria/Entry Requirements for Canadians
Students can enter into the JCU Bachelor of Dental Surgery from
1. High School
These qualifications are considered on an individual basis, subject to satisfying prerequisite requirements.
- A minimum of 92% average from grade 12 subjects.
- Completion of prerequisites in English, Calculus, and Chemistry at a grade 12 level or higher.
2. Partially or fully completed undergraduate degree
A high level of academic standard is required for entry.
- Students need to have met the prerequisite subjects at least at the high school level to meet the prerequisite requirements.
- A minimum of 80% cumulative average across all university studies is required.
For more information about the James Cook University Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), please read the
Information for 2017 Entry.
Total Number of Places in the Program: approximately 80
Number of Places Available for International Students: 15
Application Deadline: Applications for the 2017 intake closed August 30, 2016. For information about the 2018 intake,
and to apply, contact OzTREKK!
OzTREKK Admissions Officer: Adam Smith