USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

How to Apply

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) Program

Following are the steps you’ll need to take to apply to the DDS program.

Step 1: Take the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT)

All applicants are required to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), given under the auspices of the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association. The DAT must be taken no later than February 1 of the year for which the application is made, and test scores more than three years old will not be accepted. To expedite the admissions process, we recommend you take the DAT prior to filing your application.

When you register for the DAT, you are encouraged to indicate the dental schools where you would like your scores to be sent. This ensures that each of your preferred schools can receive your DAT scores directly from the American Dental Association, in addition to your scores being reported through the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and its Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). As long as you have indicated at least one ADEA AADSAS-participating dental school in your DAT registration, your official DAT scores will be imported into your ADEA AADSAS application.

There is no longer a specific place in the ADEA AADSAS application to report future DAT test dates. If you are planning on taking the DAT in the future, please email us at, and we will update your application.

Step 2: Complete your online application

Ostrow participates in the American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) program, which allows you to apply to multiple schools of dentistry at once. All applications must be submitted directly to AADSAS.

The AADSAS application is available beginning June 1 each year and must be completed and submitted to AADSAS no later than February 1 of the year of anticipated entrance.

Applications are evaluated as they are received from AADSAS, and competitive applicants may be required to submit supplemental materials, such as official transcripts and letters of recommendation from science instructors.

Step 3: Submit your processing fee.

Domestic applicants are required to pay a non-refundable $85 processing fee. Canadian applicants or any application requiring an I-20 to receive an F-1 student visa must pay a non-refundable $145 processing fee. The appropriate fee should be forwarded directly to USC at the time of application.

To pay online visit our Online Payment Portal.

Step 4: Visit the USC campus for an interview

A personal interview is required and will be done by invitation only. Due to the large volume of applicants, we are unable to interview all qualified candidates. Every attempt is made to interview as many qualified applicants as possible within the admissions interview calendar. DDS admissions interviews typically begin in October of each year and continue through April.

Step 5: Meet health requirements

Required Health Documentation