M.S.D. Degree

The Master of Science in Dentistry (M.S.D.) program is intended primarily for students who have received the doctorate in dentistry (D.D.S./D.M.D.) and wish to go on to obtain an adequate background in one of the various disciplines of dentistry or of the allied basic sciences in order to broaden their dental background or to complete the academic requirements for specialty boards. In general, students who wish to practice or teach a clinical subject are encouraged to work toward the M.S.D.

M.S.D. degrees are awarded in the following majors:

Dental Materials:  Minor concentration: operative dentistry or prosthodontics

Endodontics:  Minor concentration: oral pathology

Operative Dentistry:  Minor concentration:  dental materials or preventive dentistry

Orthodontics:  Minor concentration:  life sciences

Pediatric Dentistry:    Minor concentration:  psychology

Periodontics:  Minor concentration: oral pathology

Preventive Dentistry:  Minor concentration:  dental materials, operative dentistry, oral pathology or periodontics


The following four clinical tracks are offered in the graduate prosthodontic curriculum (1) emphasis on fixed prosthodontics; (2) emphasis on removable prosthodontics; (3) emphasis on maxillofacial prosthetics; and (4) equal emphasis on all areas of prosthodontics. The didactic requirements for each track are essentially the same. Differences in tracks involve clinical requirements and elective course work.

Minor concentration: dental materials

M.S. Majors

Students may apply to the IU's University Graduate School and work toward the MS degree in the folllowing majors.   In general, students more interested in the basic science courses would be advised to complete the requirements for the M.S. degree.

M.S. degrees are awared in the following majors:

Dental Materials    minor concentration:  chemistry, materals science engineering, mechanic engineering

Preventive Dentistry   minor concentration:  life sciences, microbiology, public health

Admission Requirements

Cumulative Grade Point Average:  Only students who have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) will be considered for admission, unless, under exceptional circumstances, the prospective student can provide evidence that he or she is capable of successfully completing the graduate dental program.

Review of undergraduate and dental transcripts.

Letters of support attesting to the candidate's academic background, professional experience, and character should be requested from at least two individuals who have direct knowledge of the candidate's potential to do graduate-level work.

English Proficinecy Requirement:  To gain admission, all graduate and professional applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English as a second language.  Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university in the U.S. or an officially recognized university in a country whose English is the predominant native language will be deemed proficient.  All others must perform satisfactorily on a standardized test of English as a second language proficency that measures students' preparedness for academic study.  At this time, the acceptable examinations and minimum scores are as follows:

TOEFL paper-based test - minimum score = 550

TOEFL computer-based test - minimum score = 213

TOEFL internet based test - minimum provisional score - 79

IELTS - minimum score = 6.0

Successful complete of Intensive English Study Level 112 at ELS Language Centers Affiliated with IUPUI 

GRE Requirement:  Required for MS Dental Materials, MS Preventive Dentistry and MSD Orthodontic Applicants

  • A minimum of 600 in either Verbal or Quantitative Sections of the examinationimum of 600 in either Verbal or Quantitative Sections of the examination


Degree Requirements


Course Work

  • Student must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of course work, of which at least 18 must be devoted to didactic work. A minimum of 6 credit hours must be earned toward a minor subject outside the major concentration.

    Other elective subjects may be selected, based on the student's educational objectives. A total of 6 credit hours must be in research; however, additional research credit cannot be used toward fulfillment of requirements for the degree. Each student must satisfactorily complete an original research project and submit an approved thesis.

    Core Courses for All MSD Students:

    All graduate students enrolled in dental school programs are required to complete five core courses, as designated by the IU School of Dentistry Graduate Program. These courses are G907 Clinical Oral Pathology Conference I, G909 Clinical Oral Pathology Conference II, G910 Biostatistics, G948 Advanced Radiology, and R955 Graduate Oral Biology I. The core courses are in addition to courses that are required by individual departments.

    Required courses must be taken in the proper sequence, as specified by the student's committee. In most departments there are additional program requirements designed to meet such criteria as may be specified by the several dental specialty boards and the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation Standards for Advanced Specialty Education Programs.

    The final credit requirement, including elective course work, is determined by each student's graduate committee and is usually dependent upon the student's previous academic accomplishments.


    Failure to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in either the major or minor concentration and/or failure to demonstrate evidence of continuing professional growth may subject the student to dismissal from the program.

    English Requirement

    EAP Requirement:   Upon arrival, all graduate and professional students admitted to IUPUI must take the EAP Placement Examination administered by the EAP Program before enrolling in the first semester of courses.  Students must take the EAP courses in which they have been placed beginning in the first or second semester of enrollment at IUPUI.   If you are required to complete EAP course(s), you are responsible for paying for these courses.

    SPEAK Requirement: IUPUI has also established the policy that all graduate students whose first language is not English and who are being considered for graduate assistantships must demonstrate adequate oral English proficiency before assignment to duties involving direct interaction with students. All ITAs (International Teaching Assistants) are required to have oral proficiency certified with a SPEAK test as a condition of receiving their ITA appointment. ITA's with primary responsibility for teaching a class or laboratory section are required to have a SPEAK score of ≥ 50. Students who have inadequate English communication skills will be required to take the ITA training course before being given a position that requires direct student contact. If you are required to complete this course, you will also be responsible for paying for this course.

    Faculty Advisory/Research Committees for MSD Degrees in the School of Dentistry

    Each degree candidate is assigned to a faculty advisory committee. The committee is chaired by the chairperson of the candidate's major subject (or the chairperson's designee) and is composed of the chair and four or more additional members of the graduate dental faculty, including at least two from the student's major department, one from each minor, and one from outside the major and minor departments.

    The functions of the advisory committee are to:

    Approve the student's program of study
    Counsel the student until the qualifying (oral and written comprehensive) examination is passed
    Compose and grade the qualifying examination

    Following successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student will be permitted to complete the thesis research under the direction of his or her research committee. The research committee may or may not be the same composition as the faculty advisory committee. The research committee is chaired by the faculty member who directs the thesis research (chosen by the student with the consent of the chair of the faculty advisory committee) and is composed of the chairperson and four or more additional members of the graduate dental faculty with at least two from the student's major department and one from each minor department. The committee should be selected from the members of the graduate dental faculty who are best qualified to assist the student in conducting the thesis research. The research committee is responsible for supervising the research, guiding the preparation of the thesis, and conducting and approving the thesis defense.

    Once the faculty advisory and research committee have certified that the student has completed the academic and research requirements, the director of the graduate program will certify the student for graduation and direct the graduate recorder to order the diploma.


    The members of the student's faculty advisory committee will conduct the qualifying (oral and written comprehensive) examination, which essentially covers the candidate's field of study. The exact format of the examination will be determined by the individual faculty advisory committee and described in an educational agreement signed by the student and department chairperson at the beginning of the program. Successful completion of the qualifying examination is required in order to proceed to completion of the thesis research, defense of the thesis and awarding of the degree. In accordance with the University Graduate School requirements, students who fail the qualifying examination are normally allowed only one retake. The student must complete the qualifying examination six months prior to the intended date of graduation. The student is eligible but not required to take the examination upon the completion of one-half of the didactic requirements.

    Continuing Enrollment

    Students who have passed the qualifying examination and completed two years as a full-time student must enroll each semester (excluding summer sessions for off -campus students) for any remaining required course work or research credit. Once students have accumulated the number of credit hours required by the particular graduate program, they must enroll for a minimum of 1 hour of graduate credit each semester until the degree is completed. Failure to meet this requirement will automatically terminate the student's enrollment in the degree program. All requirements for the master's degree must be completed within five consecutive years.

    Time Limits and Revalidation

    Master's programs in the School of Dentistry comply with IU's University Graduate School requirements regarding time limits and course revalidation. Thus, as a rule, a course may not be counted toward degree requirements if it has been completed more than five years prior to the awarding of the degree for master's students. The advisory committee, however, may recommend to the dean that course work taken prior to the above deadlines be revalidated if it can be documented that the knowledge contained in the course(s) remains current. Examples of such documentation may include (1) passing an examination specifically on the material covered by the course; (2) passing a more advanced course in the same subject area; (3) passing a comprehensive examination in which the student demonstrates substantial knowledge of the content of the course; (4) teaching a comparable course; or (5) publishing scholarly research demonstrating substantial knowledge of the content and fundamental principles of the course. Each course for which consideration for revalidation is being requested should be justified separately.

    Students who do not complete all MSD degree requirements within the five year limit will be given one year to revalidate courses and complete all requirements or enrollment will be automatically terminated.

    In the event the course work cannot be revalidated or the thesis cannot, in the opinion of the advisory committee, be completed by the deadline stated above, the student, upon the advise of the advisory committee, may be awarded a certificate of completion of a curriculum in postgraduate study, or a certificate of attendance, whichever is deemed appropriate by the IU School of Dentistry. (Please note, however, that programs are not required to grant such certificates.)

    For further information contact:

     Indiana University School of Dentistry
    Office of Graduate Education
    1121 W Michigan Street, Room 104A
    Indianapolis, IN  46202
    (317) 274-5348
    (317) 278-9066 (fax)