Ph.D. Program Description


Short Description of Program:
Currently, the Indiana University School of Dentistry offers two terminal degrees, a D.D.S. degree and a Ph.D. in Dental Science. Both degrees are the only similar ones offered at any school in Indiana. The Ph.D. in Dental Science (Preventive Dentistry, Oral Biology or Dental Biomaterials tracks) is focused on basic and clinical science areas as they relate to the human organism and on the effect of dental materials on cariology, molecular biology and etiology, and pathogenesis. Individuals with this type of training can be expected to pursue academic teaching and/or research positions in dental schools, medical schools and other basic science departments in addition to training that will be suitable for industrial research positions. Individuals with combined Ph.D./D.D.S. training would be highly recruited to academic positions at Dental Schools. Our three Ph.D. tracks contain courses in biostatistics, research ethics, research communications and effective teaching methods. The two courses in biostatistics emphasize the important role of appropriate statistical methods used in biological research. The research ethics course addresses the importance of a strong ethical approach to the scientific method and human and animal research. The research communication course is a multidisciplinary course that will increase the ability of the student to write and review scientific papers. The teaching methods courses are a recent addition recognizing that most of our students will ultimately teach in an academic environment and may have no previous coursework in education. In addition, students will be required to participate as tutors in our innovative D.D.S. undergraduate problem-based learning program and to complete the Preparing Future Faculty (FF) program.

Recently, the Indiana University School of Dentistry, Division of Dental Biomaterials, in conjunction with the Purdue University School of Materials Science and Engineering and the Indiana University Department of Biomedical Engineering, has begun to offer a graduate program leading to a Ph.D. in Dental Sciences with specialization in Dental Biomaterials.  Course work will be taken through the Indiana University School of Dentistry, Purdue University School of Materials Science and Engineering, and Purdue University Department of Biomedical Engineering.  Dissertation research is conducted within the departments mentioned above based on the students area of research interest.  Subspecialty areas within dental biomaterials include ceramics, polymers, metals, biomechanics and tissue engineering.  However, students are encouraged to combine their specialties with other scientific disciplines, (i.e., biomimetics).  This program is designed for individuals who have a background in either engineering of dentistry.  candidates who have backgrounds in both fields, i.e., Bachelors in Materials or Mechanical Engineering and a DMD or a DDS degree, are strongly encouraged to apply.  Interested individuals may apply to the Ph.D. track program in Dental Biomaterials and for a certificate or  masters degree in one of the clinical specialty programs of Prosthodontics, Operative Dentistry, Periodontics or Orthodontics, at the same time.  Interested individuals should apply to each program separately.  Applicants may receive admittance to the Ph.D. program, however their admittance to a clinical specialty program will be conditional based on graduation from the Ph.D. program.  Gradates of this program will be equipped with expertise to pursue an academic career in the fields of dentistry, materials engineering, and biomedical engineering.  Additional opportunities are available to graduates who are planning to pursue a career in the Dental Materials industry.  Students who do not have a Material Science engineering Background must take Introduction to Materials Engineering (MSE 530 or MSE 230) as a graduate student.

Description of Research Capabilities:  The Indiana University School of Dentistry has significantly increased its commitment to research and over the last 5 years has averaged $6.0 million in external grant and contract support. In addition, several of our faculty have established jointly funded projects with faculty in the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering along with joint academic appointments for teaching purposes. Multidisciplinary approaches are highly valued at the School of Dentistry. This heavy research emphasis from our faculty has recently led to significant increases in faculty commitment to research, released time for research and recruitment of primarily research-oriented faculty. Since 1993, the School of Dentistry has completely renovated 7 research laboratories into state-of-the-art facilities that are occupied by funded investigators in addition to at least 11 others.

Student Population:  Open to dental school graduates with a minimum dental school GPA of 3.0/4.0 (as well as individuals with a B.S. degree) and a minimum GRE score of 600 in either the verbal or quantitative sections. In addition, a TOEFL score of no lower than 550 must be obtained for applicants from non-English speaking countries. 

Program Requirements:  All general requirements of the Indiana University Graduate School apply, plus specific requirements of this program, as outlined in the core curricula below.

Time Limits and Revalidation:  All Ph.D. work offered in partial fulfillment of degree requirements must either have been completed within seven consecutive calendar years of the passing of the qualifying examination or be revalidated.

Any student whose candidacy lapses will be required to apply to the IU Graduate School for reinstatement before further work toward the degree may formally be done. To be reinstated to candidacy in the IU Graduate School, the student must: 1) obtain the permission of the program director; 2) fulfill the program requirements in effect at the time of the application for reinstatement; 3) pass the current PhD qualifying examination or its equivalent (defined in advance); 4) request reinstatement to candidacy from the dean. Such reinstatement, if granted, will be valid for a period of three years, during which time the candidate must enroll each semester for a minimum of one credit hour.

Continuing Enrollment:  Students who have passed the qualifying examination must enroll each semester (excluding summer sessions) for any remaining required course work or dissertation credits. Once such students have accumulated 90 credit hours in completed course work and deferred dissertation credits, 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.

A candidate who will be graduating in June, July, or August of any year must enroll in a minimum of 1 hour of credit during that particular summer session.