Studying Dentistry in ANZ: A Complete Guide

Your Guide to ANZ Dentistry

Dentistry is a great career offering stability and the chance to positively impact peoples’ lives. However, the application process can be quite daunting as the degree entails several prerequisites and aptitude examinations. If you’re still interested in applying to dentistry school in 2022, our team of experts have assembled a comprehensive breakdown of what it takes to study dentistry in Australia and New Zealand in 2022!

Pros and Cons of Studying Dentistry 

If you’re still on the edge about whether dentistry is the career for you, consider the following key points. 

Pros Cons
Make tangible changes in the lives of patients Longer duration of education 
Attractive salary Stressful, demanding career
Job stability Many exams to get through
Ability for constant professional development and technique up-skillingHigh load of responsibility 
Research opportunities Potential of physical injury occurring 
Shift work is rare

How Competitive is Dentistry?

Unfortunately, dentistry is quite a competitive degree as, as of 202, there are only 10 dental schools across both, Australia and New Zealand, each with only a limited number of places. To maximize your chances of securing a coveted spot, it’s important to think about each aspect of your application to ensure you are a holistic applicant.

Academic Grades

To be an attractive dental school applicant, you should be aiming for a high Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) or university Grade Point Average (GPA); the former should ideally sit around 99 or higher. 

Admissions Tests

In addition to maintaining high academic grades, you will need to excel in key admissions aptitude tests to be considered for a place at most dentistry schools. Your best bet is to start researching early and look into which tests are required by each university. 

If you’re applying to dental school as a direct high school leaver, you will likely have to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). The UCAT ANZ is a 2-hour, multiple choice, aptitude exam. To learn more about the UCAT and how you can prepare for it, check this out. 

If you have already completed a degree and are applying as a graduate student, you will likely have to take the Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT). To learn more about the GAMSAT and how you can prepare for it, click here


The final step in gaining admission to an ANZ dental school in 2022 is to pass their interview. Your interview will likely either be a semi-structured panel format or a multiple mini interview (MMI). 

  • Semi-structured panel interview – You will be interviewed by a panel of interviewers who will ask you a series of questions and, potentially, follow-ups. These questions are likely to be centered around you. 
  • Multiple Mini Interview – These interviews comprise different stations that target different soft skills such as communication, empathy and ethical appraisal. You will rotate around these stations and will have a new interviewer and task at each station. To prepare for this form of interview, read up around well-known dental issues, think about your motivations for applying and ask your friends and family to help you practice.

Medicine vs Dentistry: Which is Right For Me?

Medicine and dentistry are very similar fields, although with distinct differences. See the table below for pros and cons of each career. 

Medicine Dentistry 
✓ Many more specialties ⨯ Less variety 
⨯ Longer education and training period ✓ Shorter education and training period
⨯ Less potential to be your own boss if working in a hospital ✓ Higher chance of being your own boss

What Are My Dental School Options in 2022?

You are able to choose either an undergraduate or postgraduate dentistry course:

  • Undergraduate – This pathway is usually most suitable for high school leavers (and some graduates) and can take up to 5 years to complete. 
  • Graduate entry – This pathway is usually around 4 years in Australia/New Zealand and requires you to hold a previous degree (at least a Bachelor’s). 

Below is a list of ANZ Dental Schools that you may be interested in applying to:

The universities offering graduate-entry dentistry are listed below:

  • Charles Sturt University 
  • Griffith University
  • James Cook University 
  • University of Adelaide 
  • University of Otago 
  • University of Melbourne 
  • University of Sydney 
  • University of Western Australia

What Are Dental School Prerequisites?

Dental schools may have prerequisite subjects you need to have studied in order to apply as well as certain qualities they look for in applicants. 

In terms of prerequisite subjects, you will generally be expected to study Chemistry, Biology and English — although this varies depending on the university you are looking at. Previous mathematics and physics experience may also prove to be beneficial. In addition to this, although dental work experience is not a prerequisite, it may embellish your application and give you an advantage in your interview as you will have a better practical understanding of what a dentist does. 

In terms of character, the Australian Dental Association states that the types of people that may enjoy a career in dentistry include those that:

  • Enjoy interacting with people
  • Have well developed communication skills
  • Have an aptitude for the medical sciences 
  • Possess good general dexterity and hand-eye coordination 
  • Is detail oriented
  • Is willing to learn about business management and leadership skills

Dentistry schools in ANZ may be looking for these character prerequisites in applicants. 

How Much Will it Cost?

Australia New Zealand
Commonwealth Support Place (CSP)$55,000 + accommodation and university application fee$16,187 per year for years 2-5
Full Fee-Paying Place (4-year degree)$300,000 + accommodation and university application fee
Full Fee-Paying Place (5-year degree)$440,000 + accommodation and university application fee

Dental School Pathways 

If you are worried about a low ATAR, you may still be able to accomplish your higher education dreams! Ensure that you check if you are eligible for any special bonuses or pathways. Many ANZ 2022 dental schools also have special pathways for First Nations applicants or those from rural areas. See these listed in the table below. 

University Pathways 
Charles Sturt University Indigenous Access ProgramRegional Location Adjustment
Griffith University Rural Priority Access Scheme – for students living in RA 2-5 for a minimum of 5 consecutive years of 10 cumulative years
La Trobe Special Entry Access Scheme (AEAS)Priority Access Program – for students attending certain schools Other pathways
University of Adelaide Aborginal and Torres Strait Island Pathway – contact the university Rural Background Entry Pathway – contact the university 
University of Queensland Rural Access Scheme – for students living in RA 2-5 for a minimum of 5 consecutive years of 10 cumulative yearsAboriginal and Torres Strait Island Admission Pathway

What Happens After I Graduate?

Upon graduating Dental School, you will have to register with the Dental Board of Australia or the Dental Council of New Zealand. After this you are able to work as a registered dentist. To specialise, you may have to undertake further courses which have an average duration of around 3 years. 


→What is dentistry?

Dentistry is a branch of medicine that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions and diseases that affect the teeth, gums, and mouth.

→What are the entry requirements for studying dentistry in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ)?

Entry requirements for studying dentistry in ANZ vary depending on the university, but typically include completing secondary education, achieving a minimum GPA, and taking standardized tests such as the UCAT or GAMSAT.

→How long does it take to become a dentist in Australia?

In Australia, it typically takes 5-7 years to become a dentist. Students must complete a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) or a Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH) degree, followed by a period of supervised clinical training.

→What is the curriculum for studying dentistry in ANZ?

The curriculum for studying dentistry in ANZ includes courses in dental anatomy, pharmacology, oral pathology, dental radiography, dental materials, and clinical practice.

→How much does dental school cost in Australia?

The cost of dental school in Australia varies depending on the institution and the course. For example, tuition fees for the BDS program at the University of Melbourne are approximately AUD 76,344 per year for domestic students, while tuition fees for the BOH program at the University of Queensland are approximately AUD 31,800 per year for domestic students.

→What is the best dental school in Australia?

The best dental school in Australia may depend on various factors such as location, programme offerings, faculty, and reputation. Some of the top dental schools in Australia include the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, and the University of Queensland.

→What do dentists earn in Australia?

According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook website, the average annual salary for dentists in Australia is approximately AUD 136,960. However, this may vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and type of employment.

→How difficult is dentistry?

Dentistry can be a challenging field that requires a strong academic foundation, excellent manual dexterity, and good communication skills. However, with dedication and hard work, many students are able to successfully complete their dental education and pursue rewarding careers as dentists.

→What are the career opportunities for dentistry graduates in ANZ?

Dentistry graduates in ANZ can pursue careers as general dentists, specialists in areas such as orthodontics and oral surgery, and dental researchers or educators.

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26 September 2023