There are four dental schools in Texas listed on the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service website (TMDSAS). The TMDSAS is the organization that collects and distributes all medical and dental school applications in Texas, and we’ll talk a little about it later. But, in general, the four dental schools in Texas are associated with the same institutions that host the various medical schools in Texas, even though dental students do not usually take classes with medical students. This article will give you a complete listing of dental schools in Texas, their unique curricula, dental school requirements and strategies for you to get in. 

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Dental Schools in Texas Dental Schools in Texas: How to Apply How to Get into Dental Schools in Texas Conclusion FAQs

Dental Schools in Texas

  1. Texas A&M University School of Dentistry
  2. University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston
  3. University of Texas School of Dentistry at San Antonio
  4. Texas Tech University Woody L. Hunt School of Dentistry

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1. Texas A&M University School of Dentistry

Overall Acceptance Rate: 6.1%

In-state Acceptance Rate: 5.9%

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 0.18%

Average GPA: 3.72

Average DAT Score: 22

In-State Cost of Attendance: $41,997

Out-of-State Cost of Attendance: $52,797

The Texas A&M University School of Dentistry is one of the oldest dental schools in Texas, and it has evolved to be one of the best dental schools in the US. The School of Dentistry offers four separate degree-programs related to dentistry including the DDS program. You can start your career with a bachelor’s in dental hygiene, then either take a master’s or a PhD in Oral Biology. After your bachelor’s, you can also apply to the DDS program, even though the school does prefer Texas residents.

There is a low acceptance rate for out-of-state students, but the school does admit some as part of its program to accept students from surrounding states that don’t have dental schools. The school does not require a full bachelor’s degree, but it recommends one and all of the students who were matriculated last year had one. You can complete 90 hours of a bachelor’s program and complete a set of dental school prerequisites to gain entry as well, but the school also recommends you complete a bachelor’s degree to fulfill all the necessary requirements, because there are a lot. Beyond the typical science courses, such as physics and chemistry, you must also complete:

  • 3 semester hours of biochemistry
  • 18 semester hours of biology
  • 6 semester hours of English
  • 3 semester hours of statistics

You must complete all your prerequisites courses with a C or higher to be considered. The school does not have any minimum DAT or GPA requirements, but they are the first thing the school looks at when reviewing your application, so make sure your GPA is close to the average to be competitive. As much as your DAT and GPA matter, so does your dental school interview. The school uses a traditional, panel interview for invited applicants, so make sure to put a lot of effort into reading dental school interview questions to make sure you perform well.

You must also complete a set amount of shadowing hours, which is now a key part of how to become a dentist, and a near-universal dental school requirement. Aside from the four-year DDS program, you can also opt to take residency program at the school, as it offers certificate programs in all 12 of the most common dental specialties and sub-specialities such as Advanced Education in General Dentistry, Oral Biology and Dental Public Health. The school has several affiliations with all of the major teaching hospitals and clinics in Dallas, such as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. It also has several community-based education initiatives included in its curriculum that involve treating the elderly, underrepresented and incarcerated individuals.

2. University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston

Overall Acceptance Rate: 6.4%

In-state Acceptance Rate: 6.2%

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 0.24 %

Average GPA: 3.78

Average DAT Score: 22

In-State Tuition: $30,869

Out-of-State Cost of Attendance: $47,510

Founded the same year as the Texas A&M School of Dentistry, the UT School of Dentistry at Houston is another of the state’s oldest dental schools. It is also one of the original professional schools of the University of Texas, along with the medical school, school of nursing, and school of Public Health. The school has the largest amount of degree offerings for anyone interested in a career in dentistry at any level, from dental hygienist to dentist or oral surgeon. The school also offers several post-bacc or pre-dental programs that allow graduates from certain partner schools preferred application status if they apply.

But given that it is part of a wider healthcare system, the UT School of Dentistry at Houston is able to offer a dual-degree option – DDS/MPH – in collaboration with the School of Public Health, which has only recently begun. Its location and size also allow the school to offer continuing education courses in dentistry for non-dentist, dental professionals. You can take advantage of the school’s low student-to-faculty ratio (6.5:1) to improve your skills or earn a certificate in various specialties to progress your career.

You do not need a bachelor’s degree, but the school has a very specific set of prerequisites you must complete to be considered. The prerequisite courses are divided between in-class instruction and lab work and they each have different hour requirements, so it is much easier to simply complete them during the course of a regular bachelor’s degree program. But the non-degree option still exists for mature students to apply.

You can apply with a Canadian degree, but you must be an American citizen or permanent resident to apply. You have to complete the prerequisites with at least a C grade or higher and you must also submit DAT scores from either the American or Canadian version of the test. The school’s graduates have a high success rate among those who take the national board exams, as 98% of all UT Houston School of Dentistry students pass the NBDE Part I exam the first time, with another 98% passing state board exams as well.

3. University of Texas School of Dentistry at San Antonio

Acceptance Rate: 6.3%

Average GPA: 3.69

Average DAT Score: 20.9

Total Cost of Attendance In-State (including tuition, housing, fees): $77,308

Total Cost of Attendance Out-of-State: $88,108

The sister school to the UT School of Dentistry in Houston, the School of Dentistry in San Antonio has a similar dental school acceptance rate as the Houston school, but offers many more degree opportunities, such as 11 different certificate programs for graduates or practicing dental professionals. The San Antonio school also lets you enter through an Early Acceptance program in collaboration with certain partner undergraduate universities in Texas. You can apply to the program in your junior or senior year, and if you meet the academic and non-academic criteria to enter the four-year DDS program, you’ll be admitted.

You can also apply to the bachelor of dental hygiene program and progress to the DDS program. But if you’re a mature student, you can also apply for the school’s Master of Dental Science program that acts as a bridge to the DDS program, if you have been out of school for longer than five years. Lastly, the school also offers a pathway to internationally-trained dentists to gain US accreditation with a two-year International Dentist Education Program (IDEP).

For the main, four-year DDS program, you have to have the same prerequisites and requirements as most other programs, such as a four-year degree (recommended, but not required), DAT scores, dental school letters of recommendation and at least 100 hours of dentist shadowing hours, so you have to learn how to shadow a dentist. The curriculum is interesting, as it is divided into three different tracks:

  • Human Health and Disease
  • Foundations of Restorative Dentistry
  • Introduction to Patient Care

The tracks converge across all four years, and can include such diverse courses and electives as:

  • Basic and Advanced Preclinical Restorative Procedures
  • Dental Spanish
  • Summer Clinics
  • Inter or Externships

The first two years are spent on foundational courses and sciences, and developing essential skills covered by the dental manual dexterity questions in your entrance interview. But you are introduced to clinical experiences and direct-patient care in your second year as well, which acts as a precursor to your clinical years and rotations in various sites in South Texas, including at free dental clinics. By the end of your program, you’ll have completed over 2,000 hours of clinical experience and have to show your competency in 33 different procedures to be able to graduate. The rigor and requirements of the program at San Antonio are probably why 100% of its graduates pass national and state board exams on their first attempt.

4. Texas Tech University Woody L. Hunt School of Dentistry

Acceptance Rate: n/a

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Minimum DAT Score: 17

Total Cost of Attendance In-State (including tuition, housing, fees): $77,308

Total Cost of Attendance Out-of-State: $88,108

The Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine at Texas Tech is one of four professional health sciences schools within the Texas Tech system, and it one of the newest dental schools in Texas. The school was created to serve the needs of Texas residents, especially in the area surrounding the campus in El Paso. The school does have a preference for Texas applicants, and, in keeping with state regulations, around a dozen out-of-state students are admitted to the four-year DDS program.

But the school does a lot to encourage in-state and regional applicants, as it has several outreach programs aimed at bringing in applications from rural, remote and underserved communities throughout the state. Outreach begins early, as middle school and high school students interested in any career in health sciences from nursing to dentistry can attend summer camps organized by Texas Tech to help them choose from any of these careers. There is also a yearly program run by the school – Journey to Dental School – that helps high school students decide on whether dentistry is for them.

As for academics, the school offers a traditional four-year DDS degree, along with a few certificate programs for dental professionals. But given its newness, the school is still developing other degree programs and options for foreign-trained dentists. The school does not require a full bachelor’s degree, but it does have over eight different prerequisites all applicants must complete including Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Statistics, and English.

The school does have minimum requirements to apply and you have to complete all the prerequisites with a C grade or higher. The school does not have any programs for international students, but you can apply with a Canadian degree. As it has a mission to train new dentists from the El Paso region, the school has no supplementary application, so you have to put as much effort into your dental school personal statement and TMDSAS personal characteristics essay as possible, if you want to make a good first impression to get an interview invite.

Dental Schools in Texas: How to Apply

If you want to attend a dental school, medical school, or veterinary school in Texas, you have to submit an online application via the state’s centralized application service, the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS). It’s separate from the Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS), which is the system used by every other dental school in the US.

There are not many differences between the two services, as you have to upload the bulk of your application package through each service’s respective online platform, such as your transcripts, DAT scores, and dental school letters of recommendation. The TMDSAS application also includes several unique sections, including a TMDSAS activities section, where you are supposed to list and describe your dental school extracurriculars.

You also have to submit a TMDSAS personal statement, and a TMDSAS optional essay that you can write if you need to explain more about why you are applying to a school in Texas as a non-resident, for example. But there is also a section specifically for dental applicants – the dental manual dexterity questions – where you have to include activities that are centered around having deft hand-eye coordination (playing an instrument, woodworking, etc.)

How to Get into Dental Schools in Texas

1. Make Sure You Apply with Good Stats

None of the dental schools in Texas, except the Hunt School of Dentistry, have minimum requirements to apply. But all of them will look at your GPA and your DAT scores first to decide whether the rest of your application warrants review. The other parts of your application are undoubtedly important, but if you’ve made the decision to go to dental school, you should make sure you that you get high marks in your final two years and all the prerequisites, as all of these schools require you complete them with at least a C. For the DAT, you should create a DAT study schedule that will give you enough time to study for the test (about 3-4 months) and to possibly retake it, if you don’t get anything above 20, which is an average score, anything above or below may still be good enough depending on the school and the strength of other parts of your application.

2. Have a Good Reason to Study in Texas

All the dental schools in Texas listed here show preference for in-state applicants, but they do let in students from surrounding states that lack a dental school, such as Arkansas, or only have one dental school like Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. If you are from neither of these states, and you still want to go to a dental school in Texas, you should have a very compelling reason to do so. Granted, the two UT schools at Houston or San Antonio will consider you a Texas resident if you have lived there for 12 consecutive months, so there are ways to get around the residency requirement. If you don’t reside in Texas, then you have to make clear in a “why this dental school?” essay or when you are asked in your interview, why you want to study in Texas and nowhere else.

3. Make Sure You Have Good Extracurriculars

Dental schools everywhere, not just Texas, put a premium on the kind of extracurriculars that you engage in, as well as the number of shadowing hours you have; no dental school in Texas has a set number of hours, but they still require them, so you should check with the program for how many hours you need exactly. But aside from shadowing a dentist, you should also pack your extracurriculars with service-based commitments that demonstrate your passion for community service and helping others. Community-based education is a large part of the curricula of most of these schools, and commitments to helping serve underserved populations are part of their mission, so if they see you also have a background in altruism and community service, they will look favorably on you.

4. Do a Lot of Interview Prep

Dental school interviews are as important to the application process as medical school interviews are to getting into medical school, so you should start early in preparing for your interview, regardless of the format the school uses. Dental schools in Texas all use a traditional, panel interview consisting of a faculty member and a senior dental student so you don’t have to study MMI practice questions. But you should do a few mock interviews to help you formulate answers and refine your delivery. Mock interviews can also help bring down the pressure of the interview, so you can go in confidently and prepared rather than improvising and risking giving poor answers.


There are a limited number of dental schools in Texas, even for one of the largest states in the US, but they are not solely for Texas residents to apply. The four dental schools in Texas pick-up the slack for its neighbor states who don’t have dental schools so its residents can still pursue a career in dentistry, and they are not averse to accepting out-of-state students. But if you’re not from the region, you’ll have to work hard to prove that you must study in Texas, and nowhere else.


1. How many dental schools are in Texas?

There are four dental schools in Texas – the Texas A&M University School of Dentistry; University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston; University of Texas School of Dentistry at San Antonio; Texas Tech University Woody L. Hunt School of Dentistry. 

2. How can I get into dental schools in Texas?

You typically need a GPA anywhere from 3.0 to 3.5, while your DAT scores should be at or above 20, but you could have lesser scores as long as your other applications materials (personal letters; letters of recommendation; interview performance) are outstanding. 

3. Do I need to be from Texas to go to dental schools in Texas?

No, you can apply as an out-of-state applicant, but there are complications. If you are from states bordering Texas, you might have an easier time, but even then, it's difficult. Texas law states that only 10% of any DDS class can be made of out-of-state students, so getting in as an out-of-state applicant can be extremely competitive. 

4. Is it hard to get into dental schools in Texas?

It is hard for out-of-state residents from faraway states to get in, but usually Texas students and anyone from nearby states might have an easier time, even though you must have good stats and an excellent application even if you are from Texas. 

5. What’s different about dental schools in Texas?

There is not much difference from dental schools in Texas than other dental schools in other states, except for minor differences that are connected to the delivery of care for the diversity of Texas’ population. Many of these schools have culturally appropriate electives, such as Dental Spanish, and offer rotations in several different sites to help bring dental healthcare to underserved populations in Texas. 

6. How do I apply to dental schools in Texas?

You have to apply through the state’s online application service, the TMDSAS, where you upload your transcripts, DAT scores, and other application materials.

7. How much do dental schools in Texas cost?

Dental schools in Texas have different rates for the type of student you are, so if you are from in-state, you can expect to pay between $30,000 to $40,000, while out-of-state students can expect to pay up to $40,000 and $50,000. 

8. Should I go to a dental school in Texas?

If you are from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, or New Mexico, and you want more options to go to dental school, you should definitely apply. If you are from further away, then you should focus on schools closer to you that will be among the easiest dental schools to get into. But applying to a dental school in Texas, if you are from faraway is not recommended, unless you have a significant reason. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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