USC University of Southern California

Operative Dentistry


The advanced program in Operative Dentistry offers a combined 36-month program leading to a Certificate in Operative Dentistry and Master of Science in Craniofacial Biology or 24-month program leading to a certificate in Operative Dentistry.

The objective of the program is to produce skilled dental professionals with in-depth knowledge, technical and scientific background to become cutting-edge clinicians, professors, and researchers. The program is structured to provide proficiency in scientific methodology and clinical expertise in mastering the most advanced techniques in digital (CAD/CAM), esthetic, and adhesive dentistry on both direct and indirect procedures. The curriculum provides a solid foundation and proficiency in diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, restoration, management of developmental defects and discoloration, and rehabilitation of severely damaged dentition using a myriad of restorative techniques customized for the patient needs. Strong emphasis will be placed in accomplishing the above to meet the patient’s biological, functional and esthetic wishes.

Research is an integral part of the program. A strong clinically relevant and fundamental research component is provided for long-term evaluation of restorative techniques and materials. Residents must perform and complete original research projects. The program encourages the residents to present their research in renowned scientific meetings and to submit for publication.

The residents of the combined operative dentistry certificate/Master of Science in craniofacial biology are required to defend a master thesis to fulfill the thesis requirements. Additionally, residents will gain teaching experience through assisting in the DDS teaching program.  The experience gained in clinical dentistry, research, and teaching will provide graduates the skills and the background needed to pursue academic careers.

Application Deadlines

USC application deadline: December 15
PASS deadline: December 1

How to Apply

The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC uses the American Dental Education Association’s Postdoctoral Application Support Service (PASS) centralized application for its specialty certificate programs. Supplemental materials are not to be sent to the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry.

In addition to the PASS, all Operative Dentistry applicants must submit a non-refundable processing fee of $85 ($145 for international applicants) to the Ostrow School of Dentistry’s Office of Admissions. We will accept a personal check, cashier/bank check, or money order made payable to USC. Please indicate the program you are applying to on the check.

If you are applying to the optional combined master’s program, also submit:

  • Official undergraduate transcripts
  • Official Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) results

Cost of Attendance

This program does not provide a stipend.

Direct Costs Year 1 Year 2
Tuition $46,545 $46,545
Dental Equipment $8,000
Health Insurance $1,702 $1,702
Student Health Center Fee $773 $773
Disability Insurance $55 $55
Topping Student Aid Fund $16 $16
Dental Gown Usage Fee $165 $165
Grad Student Programming Fee $80 $80
Grad Student Services Fee $10 $10
Total Direct Costs $57,346 $49,346
Allowances for Indirect Costs
Room and Board $21,334 $21,334
Transportation $3,360 $3,360
Personal/Misc $2,436 $2,436
Estimated Cost of Attendance $84,476 $76,476

Estimated cost of attendance for 2014-2015

Students are required to have an intraoral camera, computer, and magnifying optical lens.

Financial Aid

Click here to learn more about financial aid options or click here for information on how to inform the Financial Aid Office of any changes in circumstance that might affect your eligibility.

Health Requirements

Please note that all matriculating students must comply with the university’s health requirements.