The integrated DMD-PhD joint degree program is designed to minimize redundant basic science and research coursework in order to reduce the time needed to obtain both degrees by 1-2 years, with a typical program taking approximately 7-8 years. Integration of these two programs will provide a comprehensive DMD and PhD-level biomedical research. The PhD offered through the UF Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences (IDP) in the Health Science Center offers areas of concentration in Cancer Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Immunology and Microbiology, Molecular Cell Biology, Neuroscience, and in Physiology & Pharmacology.
This joint degree program draws upon the exceptional professional training by faculty in the College of Dentistry, while offering students outstanding PhD training by one of the many excellent research faculty in diverse biomedical fields of the IDP. Students establish both research and clinical identities to enhance their focus and talents in starting an academic career to applying modern research methods to clinical problems.
For the first three years, students focus entirely on the DMD curriculum, thus providing a foundation in the basic sciences with exposure to the clinical setting, current dental treatment strategies and treatment planning. During this period students pass the National Board Dental Examinations (NBDE) part I. Students officially enter the joint degree program in the Fall semester of their DMD senior year by beginning their formal PhD training in the IDP. From this point on, students simultaneously maintain a foothold in the clinical arena by working for two half-days each week in the TEAM dental clinic. Students have four years to complete DMD degree requirements of the last two semesters of the DMD program. These requirements include limited didactic courses, clinical competencies, clinical experiences (i.e., relative value units) and passage of NBDE part II. Students therefore learn to balance research with clinical duties, a skill necessary for a successful academic career.
Upon entering the joint degree program, 12 credits in the DMD program are credited toward the PhD degree. Reciprocally, 12 credits of the IDP program are credited toward the DMD degree. To help ensure students continually progress in their professional development while pursuing the PhD degree, specific benchmarks are to be obtained by the end of year 5. These requirements are equivalent to those in the DMD curriculum expected by the end of the Fall semester of the Senior year. By the end of year 7, students are to complete all clinical and didactic requirements for the DMD degree. However, students must satisfy all requirements for both degrees before either degree is awarded. Students requiring additional time to complete PhD requirements will continue working two half-days in the clinic to help prepare for the Florida State Dental Licensure Examination.
Application Process and Admission
Applications, review committees and interviews for the DMD program and for the joint degree program are completely independent. However, students must be accepted into the UF College of Dentistry DMD program to be eligible for acceptance into the joint degree program (UF College of Dentistry DMD Application Requirements). Prospective UF College of Dentistry DMD students therefore apply to the DMD program through the AADSAS application process in conjunction with all other DMD applicants.
A separate application for the joint DMD-PhD program must be submitted to the DMD-PhD Coordinator of the College of Dentistry by December 1 of the year preceding entrance into the DMD program. It is highly recommended that both applications be submitted within a month of each other. An ad hoc DMD-PhD Admissions Committee composed of at least two members of the IDP Admission Committee and two members of the DMD Admission Committee reviews the application. Formation of the committee and processing of applications is by the DMD-PhD Coordinator of the College of Dentistry in consultation with the Associate Dean for Graduate Education in the College of Medicine. Applicants successful during the initial review of DMD-PhD applications will be invited to interview with members of the ad hoc DMD-PhD Admissions Committee. All candidates must meet entrance criteria for the IDP program. The joint degree program is not open to students who have already earned a DMD degree (or equivalent) or a PhD degree in the biomedical sciences.
Current UF College of Dentistry Students
Students currently enrolled in the UF College of Dentistry DMD program can apply to the joint degree program at any time up until the end of semester 7. Students are to file an application by following the instructions and using the forms provided in DMD-PhD Application Packet. The review process and restrictions are identical to those described above for prospective students.
DMD-PhD Application Materials
Instructions and application materials are the following:
- DMD-PhD Application Instructions
- DMD-PhD Application Form
- UF Grad School Rec Letter Form
- Dean’s Certification Form
- Curriculum Vitae Template
Tuition and Stipends
Once a student is accepted and enters the joint degree program at any point during their first 3 years of the DMD program they receive a stipend (currently $22,032 per year) and additional funds towards their DMD tuition (currently $21,000 per year). These funds are available to U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents through a training grant sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Once starting the IDP program in the fall of their fourth year, the DMD tuition is waived and tuition for the IDP program is paid by the student’s PhD mentor. Furthermore, as a student in the IDP program, joint degree student receive a graduate research assistantship stipend (currently $25,750) and health insurance.
Advanced Specialty Training Post Graduation
Upon successful completion of the DMD-PhD program students may pursue specialty training in the School of Advanced Dental Sciences of the UF College of Dentistry. Application to a specialty program can be made in year 5 at the earliest. A student’s clinical skills must meet the standards of the specialty program. The exact start date in the program is made in consultation with the specific program director and the Associate Dean for Advanced and Graduate Education. The length of the program is dependent on accreditation standards of the Commission of Dental Accreditation. Students are responsible for tuition required by the program. Upon successful completion of the program a certificate will be awarded.
For more information on the IDP program, please visit http://idp.med.ufl.edu.
Students interested in applying to the joint degree program are highly encouraged to contact the DMD-PhD Coordinator prior to submitting an application.
David J. Culp, Ph.D.
Professor of Oral Biology