Required Prerequisite & Core Courses

State of Texas Core and Core Complete

The State of Texas Core is comprised of a minimum of 42 hours in the areas of Communication, Mathematics, Life & Physical Sciences, Language, Philosophy & Culture, Creative Arts, American History, Government/Political Science (which must include Texas Government), Social/Behavioral Science, and Component Area Option. Each public Texas Community College or University defines their own core and the courses which they accept to meet their institution’s core. Many of the 35 hours of prerequisite courses required by the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene will help meet or fulfill these core areas. As much as possible, students are encouraged to complete courses that meet both required prerequisites and core curriculum requirements.

Students accepted into the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene must meet the core requirements at their Texas public university or community college. “Core complete” must be recorded on a transcript from one of these institutions before matriculation into the dental hygiene program.

Texas Private College and Out-of-State applicants

Applicants must meet the core at Texas A&M University ( or be core complete at another Texas public college or university. A course which includes Texas Government is required and available at all Texas public colleges and universities. Please consider enrolling for this course at a Texas public community college or university that aligns best with the courses you have already taken and which will meet that institution’s core. Request your transcript reflect that you have met their core curriculum.

Applicants who already have a Bachelor’s degree from any University (public, private or out of state)

In addition to completing the prerequisite courses, applicants will need to meet the citizenship requirements for history and political science: two semesters in US History (total of 6 semester hours) and two courses in Government (total of 6 semester hours), one of which must include Texas Government.

Credit Hour Minimum

All students entering the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene must have completed at least 60 semester credit hours of college-level coursework no later than the Summer 1 term prior to entry. Specific prerequisite coursework is listed below. Additional courses taken to meet State of Texas core requirements as well as elective hours will bring the total to the required 60 hours.

Future academic performance in a competitive dental hygiene program is best judged by current GPA and letter grades of previous college courses taken. Because of this, transcripts containing prerequisites courses graded as pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory will not be used for admission purposes and will need to be repeated.

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite Coursework

Biology & Nutrition
Anatomy & Physiology for science majors, 8 hours including both labs (BIOL 2401 and BIOL 2402)

(A separate course in Anatomy combined with a separate course in Physiology will be considered on a case-by-case basis)

Microbiology, 4 hours with lab (BIOL 2420 or 2421 preferred)
Anatomy, Physiology and Microbiology must not be older than 5 years at time of entry into the program.

Nutrition, 3 hours (BIOL 1322)


8 hours (CHEM 1405/1406 and CHEM 1407), or (CHEM 1411 and CHEM 1412) must complete chemistry 1 & 2 of the same series.

It is strongly advised for applicants who plan to take Chemistry 2 (CHEM 1407 or CHEM 1412) to complete that course prior to Summer 1 session of year of entry. Some colleges/universities do not offer CHEM 1407 in the Summer 1 term.


Freshman Composition, 6 hours (ENGL 1301 and ENGL 1302 or 2311)

Introduction to Psychology, 3 hours (PSYC 2301)



Introduction to Sociology, 3 hours (SOCI 1301)



College level Math, 3 hours (developmental math courses will not count toward 3 hour requirement)

Statistics, 3 hours (any level statistics courses taught in Math or Statistics Department)



Public Speaking, 3 hours (SPCH 1311 or SPCH 1315)


A grade of “C” or better is required for all prerequisite and core courses.

It is beneficial to have the majority of the science courses completed by December 31, with all science courses completed by the end of the spring semester.

*Texas Common Course Number information is available on the internet:

Determining Core Completeness

Please see your advisor at your primary institution so that they can help you determine whether you are meeting their institution’s core requirements.

If you have taken college courses at other institutions, some of those courses might help complete the core at your primary institution. But those courses have to be officially evaluated and documented so please ensure that your primary institution has transferred in that coursework and that it is showing up on your transcript.

If you are not meeting your primary institution’s core, plan out when you will be able to take the courses you need so that they are completed by end of Summer 1 of year of entry.

Each institution’s core is slightly different so which courses need to be taken is not something the staff and faculty at the College of Dentistry can determine for you. If you are invited for an interview, you will be asked to record the courses you are presently taking and future courses to meet not only the dental hygiene program’s requirements but also your primary institution’s core.

Foreign Language Requirement

Must have two years of the same foreign language in high school or one year (8 semester hours) at the college level.

Applicants from out of state or private colleges who have never been required to take the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) must take this test with passing scores before being accepted for admission or meet exemption requirements.

Transfer of Undergraduate Credit

Transfer policies vary by component program. Disputes concerning lower-division courses are resolved by the following rule:

In accordance with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), the following procedures shall be followed by public institutions of higher education in Texas in the resolution of credit transfer disputes involving lower-division courses:

  1. If an institution of higher education does not accept course credit earned by a student at another institution of higher education in Texas, the receiving institution shall give written notice to the student and to the sending institution that transfer of the course credit is denied.
  2. The two institutions and the student shall attempt to resolve the transfer of the course credit, in accordance with the THECB rules and guidelines.
  3. If the transfer dispute is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student or the sending institution within 45 days after the date the student received written notice of denial, the institution whose credit is denied for transfer shall notify the commissioner of the denial.

The Commissioner of Higher Education or the commissioner’s designee shall make the final determination about the dispute concerning the transfer of course credit and give written notice of the determination to the involved student and all involved institutions.

Transfer credit will be determined by the staff of the Director of the Dental Hygiene Program and the College of Dentistry’s Office of Admissions on a course-by-course basis from official transcripts submitted in the competitive admissions process. Course content will be determined by catalog course description or course syllabus. Course acceptability is guided by these criteria:

  1. Courses given by regionally accredited institutions are considered for transfer if:
    1. They are acceptable as credit for a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited institution.
    2. Course content is at or above the level of courses specified in the College of Dentistry’s requirements for admission.
  2. Courses intended for use in a vocational, technical or occupational program normally do not transfer; general courses within this type of program may transfer.
  3. Credit on the transcript must appear in semester hours or credits that may be converted to semester hours.
  4. Credit by examination courses may be transferred if accepted by another college and followed by sequenced coursework.
  5. Equivalency of coursework is determined by content found in catalog course descriptions or syllabi of courses. In case of doubt, departmental faculty will determine equivalency. The final determination is left to the director of the Department of Dental Hygiene.
  6. As a general policy, coursework with a passing grade may be transferred, but the applicant must keep in mind that admission to the hygiene program is on a competitive basis and grades of “F” are calculated into the grade point average.
  7. Course hours will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis, but will be transferred as a block of hours and the grades do not calculate into the GPA for the hygiene program.
  8. Credit will be given for correspondence courses on a select basis.
  9. Credit will not be given for courses completed at institutions not accredited by a regional accrediting agency.

Transfer of Dental Hygiene Coursework

Transferability of dental hygiene courses is dependent upon the policies of the program in which the dental hygiene student is desiring to transfer.

Texas Success Initiative

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) was instituted to ensure that students enrolled in Texas public colleges and universities possess the necessary academic skills to perform effectively in college. As a transfer student, applicants to the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene must submit qualifying scores on tests acceptable to the THECB if they were so required when entering their undergraduate institutions. Established cutoff scores on the SAT, ACT or TAKS tests qualify students for exemption. Proof of these scores must be submitted in place of scores on qualifying tests mentioned earlier. Alternative test scores accepted by the THECB may be provided as proof of compliance with academic skills regulations.

Applicants from out-of-state colleges or private colleges who have never been required to take a qualifying test must take the test prior to acceptance for admission. Additional criteria exist to fulfill the TSI requirement. Non-resident students should contact the college for additional information. Request that test scores be sent to the Office of Recruitment and Admissions at the College of Dentistry directly from the testing agency.

International Transcripts

Official Transcripts and Records. Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary (university and college-level) courses taken.

If you attend more than one post-secondary college/university, we require an official transcript from each school, including universities attended in the U.S. College work from one institution posted on the transcript of another institution will not be accepted. Copies of official foreign transcripts on file at a previously attended U.S. institution are accepted, provided that the copies are verified by the U.S. institution as those accepted for admission.

You will also need to submit all official secondary or high school transcripts according to the educational system of your country (generally the last three to four years of secondary education). If you attended a U.S. high school, credit transferred from foreign high schools and listed on the U.S. transcript will be accepted. For application to the dental hygiene program, a copy of your high school transcript can be used. Official high school transcripts, however, must be sent immediately if you are accepted into the dental hygiene program.

Applicants from an institution that does not issue a transcript in English must submit the native language transcript with an official English translation. Official translations are prepared by a recognized translation service and include all original seals and/or signatures.

We will accept official translations from Credential Consultants and from SDR Educational Consultants.
Credential Consultants –
SDR Educational Consultants –

Consolidated transcripts or provisional mark-sheets are not considered official. Please ask the registrar to send individual mark-sheets that list grades earned in each term.

Transcripts are considered official if they have an original signature of a school official or an original school seal. Accepted signatures include the Registrar, Principal, Controller of Examinations, or The Ministry of Education. Photocopies or other duplications of a transcript, such as notarized copies, faxed or scanned documents are not considered official.

Fresh Start

An applicant for admission who is a Texas resident may seek to enter this institution pursuant to the state’s “academic fresh start” statute. If the applicant informs the admissions office in writing of his or her election under the statute, the institution will not consider academic course credits or grades earned by the applicant 10 or more years prior to the starting date of the semester in which the applicant seeks to enroll. An applicant who makes the election to apply under this statute and is admitted as a student may not receive any course credit for courses undertaken 10 or more years prior to enrollment under this section.