Are you eligible to apply to an Australian dental school?

11 January 2021

What does it take to get into an Australian dental school?

The road to studying dentistry in Australia can sometimes have bumps along the way, especially when it comes to being rejected from your dream school, or facing obstacles before you can even get through the application phase.

young female dentist working with patient
What does it take to get into dental school?

Are you stuck and wondering what are your options now?

We’ve put together some of the most common hurdles our students face, and what you can do if you find yourself in one of these situations.

Unable to apply to Melbourne due to prerequisites
The University of Melbourne DDS prerequisites are quite strict and require that students have completed approved courses in human anatomy, human physiology, and biochemistry to be eligible to apply.

The anatomy prerequisite in particular tends to be the largest barrier for many of our students. A class with a lab component with human cadaveric materials is required. Because of this, only certain anatomy courses are approved and not every Canadian school offers approved courses. This is especially true for students on the west coast, as there are no approved courses at UBC, SFU or uVictoria. Don’t fret, though—we’ve got some an alternative pathway for you:

1. Enroll in an approved course

Although students cannot apply unless they meet the prerequisites, Melbourne allows students to enroll in these courses during the application season. These courses can be taken as non-award classes or open studies and do not need to be taken as part of your degree to count towards meeting the prerequisite requirement. This means you can submit your application early in the year with your interim transcript and proof of enrollment in the class. Once you complete the prerequisite course, you will need to submit an updated transcript as proof of completion.

Have a look at Melbourne’s assessed subjects under the tab “List of Assessed Subjects” and “International” to see if the courses you have taken in these subjects have been approved. On the right-hand side of the spreadsheet you will see whether the course has been listed as approved or not approved. Be sure to check back on the spreadsheet often, as it is updated regularly. Before enrolling in any prerequisite course, we advise checking in with either your admissions officer or the university to make sure the course will satisfy the prerequisite. Usually, Melbourne requires students to complete the course(s) by November for the upcoming intake.

If you haven’t completed the prerequisite course at the time offers are issued, then the university will issue a conditional offer. When you have successfully completed the required anatomy/physiology/biochemistry course(s), your final transcript will need to be submitted, and the condition on your offer will be lifted.

2. Prerequisite Subject Assessment

If you find that the anatomy, physiology and/or biochemistry courses that you have completed are not found on the above chart, you can have these courses assessed by submitting a Prerequisite Subject Assessment Form. You’ll need to include full course outlines for each course you want assessed. If needed, we recommend you do this as soon as possible in advance of applying so you can plan accordingly as you may end up needing to enroll in an approved subject as per above.

1. I haven’t written DAT yet

If you haven’t written the DAT, you still have dental school options. OzTREKK represents 5 programs which do not require the DAT. The undergraduate-entry programs (JCU, Griffith, CSU, and UQ) are open to applicants who are applying directly from high school and to those who have partially or fully completed one or more post-secondary degrees. The University of Otago (our first dental program in New Zealand) offers a Bachelor of Dental Surgery program that is open to applicants who have a completed bachelor’s degree and have met all the mandatory prerequisite courses.

2. My DAT does not meet the minimum requirements

To be eligible to apply, you must meet the DAT minimum requirements for each program. If one or more sections of your DAT does not meet these requirements, but you are keen on applying to the graduate-entry programs, you will need to rewrite the exam. The Canadian DAT is only written twice a year—once in February and again in November. Our university partners will also accept the American DAT in lieu of the Canadian version of the test. Bonus? The ADAT can be written in Canada and is offered every month of the year, so you don’t need to wait until February or November to write the test. Score!

My degree is too old
A few of our university partners have a “10-year rule.” This means that your degree needs to have been completed within the past 10 years to be eligible to apply. This is to ensure that the information you’ve been taught is fresh and relevant to your studies. If your degree has been completed outside of this time frame but you are interested in the graduate dental programs, you will need to consider enrolling and completing a new degree. The undergraduate dental programs do not have a 10-year rule, although if you haven’t done any studies in recent years, the universities may ask for a resume to see your work experience and other activities you’ve participated in since finishing your education.

My GPA is too low
The graduate entry dental programs (Sydney, UWA and Melbourne) assess students based on their completed bachelor’s degree grades. If your cGPA from your undergraduate degree is does not meet the minimum requirements, then you must complete an entirely new degree to be eligible to apply to these programs.

However, if you’re not looking to complete an entirely new degree, the undergrad programs may be an option for you. Most of the undergraduate programs assess students cumulatively based on any university studies that they complete, so enrolling in further courses (ideally completing one year of a new degree) and achieving high marks could help to improve your overall cGPA. If you are interested in taking this pathway, please reach out to your admissions officer for more information.

How to Apply to an Australian Dental School

Applying to the Australian dentistry schools listed below via OzTREKK is streamlined and stress-free. You can apply to multiple dentistry programs at the same time via our online OzTREKK application. Have a look at some of the dentistry programs we represent:


While these are some of the most common hurdles that our students face when it comes to eligibility for dentistry, we understand there may be other barriers as well. If there’s an eligibility problem you are facing that isn’t listed here, please reach out to