MS/MSD Majors

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:

Cariology and Operative Dentistry:   Minor concentration:  dental materials or preventive dentistry

Dental Materials: Minor concentration: operative dentistry or prosthodontics

Endodontics: Minor concentration: oral pathology

Orthodontics: Minor concentration: life sciences

Pediatric Dentistry: Minor concentration: psychology

Periodontics: Minor concentration: oral pathology

Prosthodontics: Minor concentration: dental materials

MS Program:    A MS degree is awarded through the IUPUI Graduate School in dental materials.   Applicants who do not have a dental degree should apply to this program.      A candidate for the MS dental materials degree would choose a minor in Chemistry, Materials Science Engineeering, Mechnical Engineering or Biomedical Enginering.   Please contact the IUSD graduate education for detailed application information.

MS/MSD 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. Each student must satisfactorily complete an original research project and submit an approved thesis or manscript.   All students are required to present at IUSD Research Day prior to graduation.

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, R955 Graduate Oral Biology I and R980 Research Methodology. 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 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 program director of the candidate’s major subject (or the program director’s designee) and is composed of the chair and four or more additional members of the IUSD, IU or Purdue graduate faculty, including at least two from the student’s major department, one from each minor, and one from outside the student’s program of study, if deemed appropriate. 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


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.

Research Committee

The research committee may or may not have 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).  The committee is composed of the chairperson and a minimum of two  additional members of the IUSD, IU or Purdue graduate faculty, with at least one from the student’s major department.   The committee should be selected from the members of the graduate faculty who are best qualified to assist the student in conducting the thesis research.  The research committee is responsible for reviewing and approving the research protocol, supervising the research, guiding the preparation of the thesis, and conducting and approving the thesis defense   

Once the research committee has 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.


Scientific inquiry and research are strongly encouraged for all students in the graduate dental programs.  Opportunities for both basic and/or clinic research are available in most disciplines, together with appropriate support services and facilities. 

Degree candidates are required to carry out an original research project and submit an approved thesis or a manuscript based upon their research must be submitted to an approved journal for publication. Preliminary review of the literature and selection of a research topic should ordinarily be completed by the end of the first spring semester of the program.  Prior to starting the project, the candidate must submit a research protocol approved by the candidate’s Research Committee to the IUSD Graduate Student Research Committee.  

Graduation Completion Requirements

For successful completion of the MSD, each student will be required to successfully present and defend his/her thesis research and submit an approved manuscript for publication or electronically submit approved thesis to the IUPUIScholarWorks Repository.

  • Completion of the preclinical and clinical requirements of the MS or MSD major.
  • Completion of five core courses, depending upon the program.
  • Completion of required English courses.
  • Completion of all course work and examinations with at least 3.0 cumulative grade point average, within the 5 year limit or revalidation of those courses outside that limit.
  • Presentation on Research Day
  • Payment in full of all fees due to the University.

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 280B
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 274-5348
(317) 274-7188 (fax)