School of Dental Sciences

Undergraduate

Overview

Undergraduates form the largest single group of students in our friendly and welcoming School.

Our degrees

Practical teaching

We integrate teaching for both courses. There is a focus on practical work, initially using a phantom head with natural teeth

Then you will treat patients at Newcastle Dental Hospital and clinics in the district.

Work experience

We recommend you gain some work experience if you are applying to study dentistry. We may be able to help find you a placement.

Intercalated and elective study

Our students also have the opportunity to enrich their development with an intercalated degree.

The majority of our students choose some elective study. They've experienced everything from observing top cosmetic practice in New York to performing basic dental care in the Amazon basin.

International recognition

The BDS degree is recognised across Europe and countries including Australia and New Zealand. 

It gives you the flexibility to take your skills worldwide.

Our guide to undergraduate dental degrees.

Treating Patients

You will spend time in patient clinics during the first two stages of your degree.

You will observe treatments provided by senior students. You'll also conduct simple examinations on student colleagues.

Key clinical skills

At the end of Stage 2, you'll learn practical skills and fine motor control for the exacting work of a dentist.

Our Clinical Skills Unit delivers this key training. You will also learn about dental materials and the principles of disease management.

You will not take responsibility for treating your own patients until Stage 3. By then you'll have: 

  • strong foundations in the relevant science
  • shown your competence
  • completed key clinical skills training

Advanced practical training

As you progress, you'll return to the unit for more advanced practical skills, including:

  • endodontics (root canal treatment)
  • crown and bridgework
  • removable prosthodontics (denture work)
  • aspects of implantology 

You'll then exercise these skills in the clinics. Every qualified dentist remembers their first days in a clinic. We'll help smooth your transition from clinical simulation to patient care.

The responsibilities are considerable, but the rewards of clinical service are great.

Our dental students learn the fine motor skills needed before working on real patients in Stage 3.
Our dental students learn the required practical skills before working on actual patients in Stage 3.

Work Experience

Work experience will help you decide if dentistry is for you. It will give you valuable first-hand insight.

We strongly recommended this if you are applying to study dentistry.

Help with placements

The School may be able to help find a suitable placement if you are having difficulty organising one.

We have contacts with dentist throughout the UK. These are through the Newcastle University Dental Graduates Association and links with training practices. 

Please email your details including a contact address, email and telephone number to Michelle.Smith@newcastle.ac.uk

Dental hospital

If you would like to arrange a week of work experience at the Dental Hospital in Newcastle, please write to:

Mrs Lynn Nichol 
Dental Hospital
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Richardson Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE2 4AZ

Include your contact details and the dates you would hope to visit. 

Connexions

You can also get help in securing work experience through the Connexions service in your area.

Intercalation

Our dental students have the opportunity to enrich their personal and professional development further.

They can take time out of their dental studies to pursue an intercalated degree. Intercalation allows students to do a separate but related research degree (one year) and then return to their main degree.  

New perspectives

Intercalation provides an opportunity to study a subject that interests and excites you. It can help you develop new perspectives on healthcare delivery, research and education

We offer several Biomedical Science BSc degrees covering aspects of medical and dental practice.

Developing skills

We encourage you to develop skills that will be useful throughout your future career. We also offer options to undertake your own research project.

Electives

We want our students to enrich their professional and personal lives with elective study.

ERASMUS exchanges

Opportunities for student exchange are available through the ERASMUS scheme. Our students have enjoyed time with the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Greifswald, Germany. 

Typically, students transfer for three months at the start of Stage 4. They have the opportunity to experience different educational and clinical environments. They also gain valuable cultural insights.

Eight-week experiences

At the end of Stage 4, our students have up to eight weeks to: 

  • travel
  • attend clinics at home or overseas 
  • undertake some research

We have a vast network of dental contacts around the world. Recent students have engaged in a variety of activities.

Some observed top-level research in leading European universities. Some provided simple dental care in Latin America or tropical Pacific communities. Others engaged in meaningful projects far closer to home.

Policy and application

Check out our elective policy document (PDF: 301 KB) or, if you are already with us, make an elective application (PDF: 224 KB)‌.

Elizabeth Willasey helped with setting up a clinic in an indoor gymnasium in Bayawan City, Philippines.

Elizabeth Willasey at a clinic on an outdoor basketball court in Danao, Philippines.

Elizabeth Willasey travels on a boat to Panglao Island, Philippines.

Sophie Ledger volunteered in Cusco, Peru.

Sophie Ledger's photo of one of the Peruvian pre-school children with her own toothbrush.

A dental outreach project in Dhampus, Nepal. Students conducted a dental health screening visit for Himalayan schoolchildren.

Zamri Hussin with a woman waiting for treatment at our free dental camp in Dhampus, Nepal.

Zamri Hussin treating a patient in our temporary clinic in Dhampus, Nepal, with the help of a local 'nurse'.

Catherine Horridge and friends at 4,600 metres above sea level on the Salkantay trail in Peru.

Catherine Horridge and Fiona Blake with just a handful of the pupils examined and treated at a local school in Cusco, Peru.

Mark Cobb applying Fluoride gel to one of many students in a rural school in Peru.

Catherine Hicks and Elle Reid visited children in a school in India. Children competed in colouring in of a tooth/toothbrush.

Catherine Hicks and Elle Reid used a classroom for 'check-ups' in India. One saw a patient, the other recorded findings.

Sushil Chauhan examining a young patient from the shanty town of Tibas, San Jose in Costa Rica.

Fiona Blake and friends conducted basic dentistry at a school in a deprived area on the outskirts of Cuzco, Peru.

Fiona Blake and friends 4,600m above sea level, at the peak of the Salkantay trek on the way to Machu Picchu, Peru.

Hannah Atkins with Dr Rashid at his specialist paediatric practice, called The Kids Dentist, in Singapore.

Hannah Atkins with dental nurses at The Oral Maxillofacial Practice in Singapore.

Hannah Atkins at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Day in the Life

With 09.00 lectures commonplace, a day in the life of a dental student starts earlier than most. Read a typical day in the life of a fourth year student.

James McKenzie, fourth year BDS

Lectures

I live with friends in Jesmond. The morning begins with a short 20-minute walk with my housemates to the Dental School. In fourth year, lectures from enthusiastic course leaders fill the mornings

While not compulsory, the lectures are well attended. They are on the internet though - useful for the days the alarm doesn’t go off. The lectures are on a wide range of subjects from anatomy and physiology to dental materials. 

Some mornings are spent melting wax and making dentures in the lab. You learn the role of the dental technician first hand.

Clinics

After a quick lunch, it is time for clinics. The year split into small groups who you work with from third year through to final year. The groups become close-knit and are friendly and reassuring. This is great for the daunting experience of seeing your first patients in third year.

Every afternoon you work on a different clinic, which provides a nice variety to the week. Students control booking patients and arranging appointments. The patients are a diverse, interesting and tolerant group. 

You often get to know them well after several appointments. Staff supervise the clinics assisted by nurses who are friendly and helpful. You have some independence but help is never too far away.

Dentsoc

Although it can be hard work, it's balanced out by the fun and games organised by Dentsoc. Dentistry has one of the friendliest and best organised social scenes in the University. 

Every Friday my friends and I head to the Crown and Bridge, operated by the fourth year. It has a range of free refreshments available to all. Social highlights include the dental ball, mystery tour and ski trip.

As you can see, a day in the life of a dental student is a unique, exhausting but also rewarding experience.

Other student experiences

You can find out more about student life from our student profiles.