USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Frequently Asked Questions

Dental Hygiene Program

How many students does the Dental Hygiene program accept every year?

Each year, we receive about 200 applications and accept 35 to 40 students for the program.

What is the average GPA of admitted students?

Admitted students typically have an average GPA of 3.45 overall and 3.25 in the sciences.

Is there an age cap?

The program has no age cap. While the average age of admitted students is 24 years old, we enroll students older and younger than that.

Will coursework taken many years ago be accepted in fulfillment of requirements and prerequisites?

All transferable coursework will be accepted, even if taken many years ago. However, we recommend that you enter the Dental Hygiene program no longer than five years after taking the prerequisite coursework.

How can I find out whether my coursework will transfer?

Visit the USC articulation website, where you can enter your previous school(s) and dates that you attended to see if your coursework is transferable.

Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree in order to get into the program?

A previous degree is not required for admittance to the Dental Hygiene program.

Do I need to complete all prerequisites and general education units before I apply to the Dental Hygiene program?

When you apply to the Dental Hygiene program, you may have coursework in progress, as long as all of your prerequisite coursework will be completed before orientation in the fall.

May I take prerequisite coursework online?

Only online courses outside of the sciences may be transferred. Science courses and labs may not be taken online.

Is previous experience important?

We encourage you to get some experience in dental hygiene, whether it’s shadowing a dental hygienist or volunteering or working in a dental office. The Dental Hygiene program is rigorous, and it is important to know before you begin whether dental hygiene is the right career for you.

Where do I find the application?

Go to the How to Apply page

Both applications are due February 1 for admittance the following fall.

When are admittance interviews held?

Interviews are held in late March or early April.

Are the interviews held in groups or individually?

We primarily hold group interviews.

Do I need to send letters of recommendation?

Yes.  ADEA DHCAS requires every applicant to submit two letters of recommendation and will accept an optional third letter.  Applicants submitting via ADEA DHCAS without at least two letters of reference will be incomplete and unable to e-submit.  Letters of recommendation can be from anyone of your choosing.

Can I shadow a current Dental Hygiene student?

If you would like to shadow a current student or get a closer look at the Ostrow School of Dentistry’s Dental Hygiene program, contact the Office of Admissions. Call (213) 740-2851 or email

If I need assistance with my application, whom can I contact?

The Ostrow School of Dentistry’s Office of Admissions can help. Call (213) 740-2851 or email