Graduate Entry Dentistry

If at first you don’t succeed..

I applied a grand total of THREE times before I was even offered an interview. As heart breaking as each rejection was, it made my subsequent application stronger.

I had no extenuating circumstances; I just didn’t do very well first time round. I had no idea that moving schools to retake year 12 would result in unis refusing to even look at my application. I suppose it seems silly now looking back but I wanted to be a dentist so badly I guess I didn’t even allow myself to think it would be an issue.

Unfortunately, I had the rude awakening at a university fair. I put my hand up in a seminar held by a representative for all dental unis in the UK. He picked me first.

“will my chances of getting into uni lessen because I have retaken my first year of a levels?”

“Don’t even bother applying”

He was looking for the next waving arm in the audience whilst responding disinterestedly to my question.  I left the fair without speaking to another person and cried the whole way home.

Needless to say, I picked myself up and went to university to study Biomedical Science. With my dental career at the forefront of my mind, I graduated with a 1st class degree. However, my application for dentistry was rejected again.

I dusted myself off again and studied my personal statement.  With no other career path interesting me, I decided to spend the next year filling in the gaps in my PS which contributed to the failure of my application. Strangely, when I was writing the application I was blind to the flaws. But looking at it with a fresh perspective allowed me to see how terribly bland it was.

I then reluctantly dove into the world of work. I hated it. Working in places you couldn’t see a future in, watching all your friends starting their exciting careers and getting promoted within weeks of finding their ‘calling’. Then there was me, was washing and labeling hundreds of PET bottles for minimum wage in a lab where no one knew each other’s names. I went for so many interviews for meaningless jobs – including a position to scrub hair and blood off of medical instruments (a degree being necessary requirement for the role).

I was then hit with another bombshell that graduate entry dentistry was being phased out. This was due to new guidance for the number of hours of training a student should complete before graduating, putting pressure on universities to stop their graduate entry programs. After finding a steady job in microbiology lab, I applied a final time and gave the application everything I had.

I studied my bum off for the UKCAT, read as many dental articles and blogs as I could get my hands on and finally managed to translate on paper why I deserve a place.

I suppose my take-home message would be: Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. And if you still find yourself at a loose end, well… try again.


4 thoughts on “Graduate Entry Dentistry

  1. Bahareh

    Hi there,
    Thank you for your really helpful content here. I am applying for graduate entry to dentistry this year.
    But, I really don’t quite understand about what you meant by saying ‘ I was then hit with another bombshell that graduate entry dentistry was being phased out. This was due to new guidance for the number of hours of training a student should complete before graduating, putting pressure on universities to stop their graduate entry programs. ‘
    Does that mean I should be working for a number of hours in a dental practice (or any scientific related field) before graduated from my current under graduate degree?
    I graduated in 2014, which is a while ago and I am not sure what you mean by number of hours of training? I mean what kind of training? and what is the minimum number of hours in that training is required?
    I would highly appreciate your comment/ feedback.
    Many thanks


    1. Hi! Thank you for your comment, apologies that my original post didn’t really make sense! In 2013, The European Union of Dentists released a statement which detailed the number of hours (5000 hours) and years (5 years) a dental student should complete whilst studying for their BDS Dentistry (this does not take into account any hours from previous degrees). Many Uni’s are now discontinuing their 4 year courses as their students would not fit this criteria upon graduation. To find out more go to

      I hope this helps!


  2. Hi

    I am currently studying Audiology in my first year and I’ve checked with the dental admissions at various universities and my degree is acceptable. More about the phasing out of the GED, do you reckon Brexit would positively or negatively effect this “phasing out” if any effect at all. I will be applying for entry in 2019 do you think that GED programs will be phased out by then.

    Many Thanks!


    1. Hi Mohammed,
      Thank you for your comment! Unfortunately, my response is purely speculative as I honestly do not know how/if Brexit would impact British dentistry. However, I can only assume that it would actually have a positive impact as it was European legislation that described the new number of hours (5000) that undergraduates had to complete during a BDS course. Obviously, before this was put in place in 2013, the majority of British Dental schools offered an accelerated 4 year degree for graduates. Now, I must reiterate that to work as a dentist in the UK (having graduated also in the UK) you do not need to prove that you have fulfilled the 5000 hours. It is purely if you wish to work within the EU. Brexit ultimately would lead to British Dental schools gaining more ‘power’ over their courses, graduate entry is also a very profitable business for Schools so there would be a monetary incentive for the accelerated courses to become mainstream once again.
      I would however, contact the prospective schools you wish to apply to. But you will always be able to apply for the 5 year courses!


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