Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy BSc

Year of entry

2025 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements
Available to UK residents only

Course overview

Dentistry student using equipment

Our course in Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy gives you all the skills you need to become a professional dental hygienist and therapist. The course integrates clinical practice with science and personal development. You’ll graduate from Leeds as a highly qualified, well-equipped professional ready to register with the General Dental Council. You can also take on careers in research, regulation and education.

You’ll engage in clinical learning from an early stage so that you can apply your academic theoretical knowledge to the clinical environment. Your time on the course will develop your clinical reasoning, communication, leadership skills, clinical operative skills and your ability to work as part of a dental team. Clinical skills are gained through simulated clinical phantom head and digital haptic technology, followed by clinical experience on real patients in a range of environments. You will learn about the professional and ethical practice of dentistry.

Course highlights

The School of Dentistry, in partnership with Leeds Dental Institute, is one of a few dental schools in the UK where the whole dental team (dentists, dental therapists, hygienists, technicians and dental nurses) are educated together.

The first year of Dental Surgery is co-taught with the first year of the Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy course. This encourages a community of learning and prepares students to work as a member of the dental team.

Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy students have access to two outreach centres where they can practice comprehensive care for patients.

The School is committed to cultural and societal transformation in dental education. This comprises issues such as sustainability, decolonising the curriculum and a commitment to dealing with health inequalities and accessibility among the population. You will have the opportunity to engage in these issues and to drive the transformation of the profession.

The School is also at the forefront of research advances, which directly benefit our patients and informs our teaching. We are active in oral biological science, dental public health, digital dentistry and translational clinical science, as well as educational research. Students are encouraged to work with leading researchers in the School as part of their student final year project work.

You’ll have access to the recently refurbished School of Dentistry Clinical Skills Classroom and Dental Haptic Simulator Classroom. You’ll also be able to use the School’s Medical Emergency simulation room, where you will learn (with video feedback) and be assessed on the management of simulated dental emergencies. The University of Leeds Health Science library is close to the School (the floor above) and so you will have easy access to a range of learning resources and study space.

We are especially proud of the School’s friendly atmosphere and our active, effective student-staff partnership work. Students are encouraged to give regular feedback on the course and to contribute to its development and there are multiple opportunities, both formal and informal to do this.

As a Dental Hygiene and Therapy student, you will have the opportunity to be a member of the Leeds University Dental Society (DentSoc), which organises social and sports events, visits and talks throughout the year.

We are committed to supporting our students through the course and have a dedicated DenStudy team who provide study and academic skills advice and pastoral care to Dental School students. This dedicated team are able to give tailored support and are easily accessible to our students. We want all of our students to fulfil their potential, to thrive and be successful.

General Dental Council Registration

Successful completion of this course (and meeting Fitness to Practise criteria) allows you to be recommended for registration with the General Dental Council (GDC), the regulatory body for dental professionals in the UK.

Professional standards

Dental professionals must adhere to a professional code of ethics to maintain their registration with the General Dental Council (GDC). As a dental student, you’ll be expected to demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills and attitudes expected of a dental professional. You must apply the principles of professionalism to your studies, education and your personal and social life. Please read the guidance on professionalism on the GDC website.

Course details

Year 1: Laying the Foundations

Your first year of study will introduce you to dentistry’s core concepts including basic science, clinical practice and the importance of professionalism. You’ll also be introduced to supporting topics such as consent and confidentiality, as well as medical matters like health promotion, oral anatomy, microbiology and diseases of the mouth.

Our phantom heads and dental haptic simulators will help you to develop your skills and give you valuable insights into a clinical environment.

Year 2: Building experience and knowledge

Your second year will see you building on your scientific knowledge and putting it into practice. You’ll keep on developing your operative skills for both adults and children with sessions treating real patients within the Dental Hospital and in outreach community clinics. Your knowledge of dentistry’s ethical and professional practices will also continue to expand.

In addition to your practical skills, this year will develop your skills in research and critical appraisal, as well as your understanding of evidence-based practice. Further clinical experience will give you deeper understanding of working as a dental hygienist.

Year 3: Amassing experience and the culmination of your studies

In your final year, you’ll consolidate the skills and attitudes you need to work in an independent professional practice. Completing a final-year research project will help you demonstrate your ability to reflect critically on your activities, as well your skills in scientific research.

You’ll also engage in yet more clinical activities; these will see you tackling more serious dental diseases, including restorative treatments. In addition to these activities you’ll develop skills in organisation, business and management, ensuring you can function properly in a broader dental team.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy BSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Health and Health Promotion (20 credits) – Your dentistry education begins with the concepts of health, illness and disease, as well as how to promote general and oral health. You’ll learn about the various things that affect our health (including biological, cultural and environmental factors) and how to place oral health in a wider context. You’ll also learn how to optimise your own wellbeing, and we’ll introduce you to key research skills at this point.

Introduction to the Oral Environment (20 credits) – This module teaches you about the key tissues and structures in our mouths, giving you an introduction to their anatomy and biology and preparing you for clinical practice. You’ll learn about stages of tooth development and different tooth types, as well as other body parts like the facial skeleton and the neck. Various digital tools will aid you during the learning process, both here and in later modules.

Anxiety and Pain Management (20 credits) – These topics are an essential consideration in all dental treatments, with the module teaching you the foundations of effective anxiety and pain control. It touches upon anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and behavioural science, as well as the physiology and psychology of pain and anxiety. Education on local anaesthesia will prepare you for clinical experience down the line.

Developing Clinical Practice 1 (20 credits) – In this module, you’ll learn how to safely treat patients (under close supervision) in a clinical environment. You’ll learn which skills and knowledge a dental hygienist needs, and you’ll demonstrate your development through a reflective clinical log. You’ll also learn how to recognise common abnormalities, how to demonstrate basic relevant medical knowledge, and how to communicate properly with both patients and professionals.

Oral Diseases, Defence and Repair (20 credits) – You’ll begin to learn here about oral disease and their causes, as well as their development, diagnosis and management. We’ll teach you about how the tissues in our mouths change when they’re diseased or repairing themselves, as well as the roles played by microbial plaque and defence mechanisms. You’ll also learn how we use (and regulate) ionising radiation when we practise dentistry.

Personal and Professional Development 1 (20 credits) – This module introduces you to key study skills, communication skills and concepts of ethics and professionalism. You’ll learn how to study effectively on dental programmes, reflect on your strengths and weaknesses (within and without a team) and develop your understanding of the dental professional-patient relationship. We’ll provide you with details on the various learning, teaching and assessment methods used in the rest of the course as well.

Year 2 compulsory modules

Applied Dental Hygiene (20 credits) – This module will give you the skills and academic knowledge that a dental hygienist needs. You’ll understand and apply the principles of evidence-based dentistry, building upon the knowledge you’ve gained in previous modules. You’ll also build the skills you need to complete a research project in your third year of study.

Clinical Skills (20 credits) – At this stage you’ll develop the ability to identify and manage common dental diseases in both adults and children. You’ll learn about the relationship between pathological processes and clinical findings, build a working knowledge of a dental therapist’s skills and explore other areas like dental radiography, restorative treatment options, and extracting primary teeth.

Personal and Professional Development 2 (20 credits) – This module takes a closer look at personal and professional development amongst dental professionals, as well as their relationships with patients and colleagues. You’ll consider the tensions between personal and professional responsibilities, as well as the meaning of professionalism itself. You’ll explore the importance of the patient’s perspective, and how to hone your communication skills in both simulated and real-life settings.

Developing Clinical Practice 2 (60 credits) – You’ll gain the knowledge, skills and experience needed to practise as a safe beginner dental hygienist. Your reflective skills will be bolstered through guided practice, and you’ll put knowledge gained from your first and second years to practical use. Reflective practice will help you to accurately assess your own ability, which will help you to properly delivery safe, effective patient care.

Year 3 compulsory modules

Applied Dental Theory (20 credits) – In this module you’ll develop the knowledge and skills needed from a dental therapist. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of how to provide holistic patient care within a dental team, as well as the academic knowledge underpinning your activities. The unique tasks of a dental therapist (such as dealing with vulnerable adults and dementia sufferers) will also be covered here.

World of Work and the Dental Team (10 credits) – As your University studies draw to a close, you’ll prepare here for graduation and registering as a dental professional with the General Dental Council. You’ll consider how best to continue your professional development after you graduate, as well as how your legal and ethical responsibilities apply in the world of work. Employment, law, career pathways and business and management skills will all be discussed here.

Final Year Research Project (30 credits) – This project tasks you with developing a research question related to dentistry and answering it via a detailed review of literature. You’ll analyse your findings, interpret their results, and connect these to dental practice in both the present and the future. We’ll teach you how to communicate research, both verbally and textually.

Developing Clinical Practice 3 (60 credits) – This module will help you put your studies of a dental therapist’s skills into practice. You’ll develop a deep understanding of the professional requirements and skills such a job demands, and work as a dental hygienist on a more independent basis. You’ll also plan and deliver effective patient care as a dental therapist, with assessment and special investigations taken into account.

Learning and teaching

You will build your knowledge and skills through a range of learning and teaching methods which are designed to be student centred, active, engaging and inclusive. We will encourage you to take ownership of your learning and to learn as part of a community of dental students across the School. We strive to be inclusive in our learning and teaching approaches, so that all students feel a sense of belonging in the School.

We have a hybrid approach to teaching methods so that the most appropriate method is chosen to align with the content or subject being taught. We use lecture methods with online or face-face, live and pre-recorded sessions. There are opportunities for exploration of topics in face-to-face seminar and tutorial discussions with other students and tutors. Our lecture theatre is designed to facilitate engaging and interactive learning sessions with lecture capture technology and a pod style seating arrangement.

We use a digital learning platform to give you easy access to learning resources and to help guide you through your learning. Each module has its own area, and you will be able to access lecture presentations, engage in discussions and communicate with staff and other students through discussion boards.

Clinical learning is done through clinical skills classroom sessions using haptic simulation technology and traditional phantom head operative activities. Our clinical skills classrooms have been recently refurbished and are equipped with the latest technology and dental hand pieces.

We will introduce you to clinics and the management of real patients gradually, ensuring that you have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes at each stage, to ensure patient safety. We have developed sector leading digital 3D printed teeth and arches of teeth which give much greater accuracy to the real patient situation. You will engage in communication skills teaching with simulated patients where you can practise your skills and gain feedback from other students, tutors and highly trained simulated patients.

You will be allocated an academic personal tutor to help guide and support you through the course. Your relationship with your personal tutor is a very important one. You will work in partnership together to maximise your success and ensure you feel you belong as a member of the vibrant academic community here at the School of Dentistry. Our online personal development tool will be used to encourage you to engage in reflective learning and action planning.

Clinical sessions are supervised by highly qualified dental educators and you will treat patients across the Leeds Dental Hospital and outreach centres across the Yorkshire region. This will allow you to gain experience of a diverse range of patients and clinical needs which will prepare you well for your future career.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


The course uses a variety of different academic, clinical and professional assessments which are designed to ensure students can demonstrate they have met the General Dental Council learning outcomes required for registration as a dentist.

Our assessments are relevant and authentic to the work of your future career as a practising dentist. Academic type assessments are designed to test your knowledge, understanding, application and critical thinking. You will experience multiple choice type questions, short answer questions, essays, and research reports.

We also encourage teamwork between students by assessing group work, for example, group presentations. Clinical type assessments test and monitor your clinical reasoning, clinical operative skills, communication skills and professional attitude throughout your clinical education. We use clinical scenarios, clinical skills gateway operative assessments, real patient case presentations and oral assessments.

Clinical progress throughout the course is continually monitored and recorded by our Clinical Assessment and Feedback System (CAFS). This is an online, digital system where you record your clinical experience, receive written feedback from clinical tutors and record your own reflections on your progress.

We encourage student reflection as a key skill throughout the course and you will be asked to demonstrate your reflective skills in assessments. Assessments are designed to be inclusive and fair. We take great care to ensure that examination questions are clear and we explain our marking approach and the use of marking descriptors to ensure that the required standards are maintained. Any approved disability allowances are taken into account in assessments.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB B in Biology, excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking. You must achieve a pass in the practical element of any science A-levels.

GCSE: A minimum of 5 GCSEs, at Grade 4/C or higher including Chemistry and Biology (or Dual Science) plus English and Maths.

Other course specific tests:

Health and disclosure barring screening

All successful applicants will also need to pass health and disclosure and barringscreening.

The University has a policy statement on students with criminal records. For the vast majority of students who are resident in the UK the record will be checked via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The DBS check can only include background checks on your time in the UK. A criminal record check from other countries in addition to the UK DBS check may be required. Abroad this may be referred to as a "Certificate of Good Conduct" (CoGC), but the name varies.

To ensure a safe and professional environment for patients, you’ll also need to meet other requirements, including screening for communicable diseases. Read ‘Professional requirements’ section.

Occupational health

Any offer of a place to study Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy is conditional upon a satisfactory confidential occupational health assessment, which will include a health questionnaire, and if necessary further telephone consultation and/or an appointment with an occupational health clinician. Screening for serious communicable disease, (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and a review of immunisation status and needs, which includes COVID-19, will also be arranged before beginning your studies.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

30 level 3 credits awarded with Distinction. Your Access to HE programme must include a minimum of 12 graded level 3 credits in Biology.


We will accept either:

  • BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science with DDD

  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Applied Science with DD plus A Level Biology at grade B

Please note, you must still meet our standard GCSE requirements as outlined above. We are also unable to accept BTECs in Health and Social Care for entry to this programme.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall with three higher level subjects at grade 5, including Biology. English must be offered at higher or subsidiary level (grade 5 minimum if not offered at GCSE). Maths Studies is acceptable.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

Students require a minimum of AABBBB, including Biology, English and Maths.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

ABB, including Biology. We consider all subjects for the remaining grades.

Other Qualifications

Graduates: Applications are welcomed from graduates (with a minimum 2:2 or equivalent plus GCSE Maths at grade 4 or C) in a relevant science or healthcare professional's subject.

Alternative Qualifications: Fully qualified dental nurses who have completed the University of Leeds Preparation for Higher Education course awarded with Distinction (70 overall).

The University of Leeds BSc Interdisciplinary Science foundation year passed with 60% overall plus 60% in Biology.

For enquiries regarding any alternative acceptable qualifications, please contact the admissions office at the School of Dentistry directly.

Non-UK A-levels (other than Irish) are not accepted.

Proof of English language proficiency will also be required if English is not your first language.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and contextual admissions.

Access to Leeds Submission

In order for us to give your application due consideration, we'll need you to submit your Access to Leeds (A2L) application at the same time as you submit your UCAS application.

Typical Access to Leeds offer

BSc – A level: BBC (B in Biology)

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 7.5 in listening and speaking, plus not less than 6.0 in writing and reading.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

Students will incur a direct cost for the following items:

Sensible shoes
Approximately £40 - These should be plain, non-slip, low heeled, wipeable and soft soled with enclosed toes and heels.
Wipeable dark leather trainers are acceptable. Non-wipeable trainers, canvas shoes, open backed or open toed footwear, crocs, ‘ballet’-type slippers are not permitted. See the School Dress Policy for further information.

DentSoc (School of Dentistry's social society)
£50 for Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy (3 years membership)

Travel expenses for external placements
Students in Year 3 will be paid £50 as a contribution towards their travel expenses. Please see the School’s travel policy which provides further details. GDP observational placement (Year 1 – 1 day), will incur travel expenses Clinical Outreach Placements (Year 2 and 3) - students are expected to pay their own travel costs to Beeston, Bradford and Chapel Allerton centres.

Exam resits
There will be a charge if you need to resit any examinations. Please see the additional costs page on the University website for more details.

You may incur additional costs cleaning your uniforms as they will need to be washed at a higher temperature and separately to other items.

School Funding Information
The School will fund the following:

  • Four sets of uniforms for clinical use
  • A name badge

  • Disclosure & Barring Service Checks in Year 1

  • Locker padlock

  • USB encrypted memory stick

  • Full Library access

  • Occupational health clearance (for entry to your programme)

  • Handbooks: currently, School, programme and module handbooks are provided online. Clinical skills handbooks are provided individually to students.

Students may incur costs for the following items:

  • Locker padlock - You will not be charged for a padlock but if you lose it or fail to return at the end of your programme then you will be charged £25.

  • USB Encrypted Memory Stick (Year 2 onwards) - You will not be charged for a USB stick but if you lose it or fail to return at the end of your programme then you will be charged £25.

  • Student Uniforms - If you lose or damage an item of uniform you will be charged for a replacement £10 per item.

  • Student name badges - If you lose your name badge you will be charged £5 for a replacement.

  • Occupational Health Checks Non-attendance at an occupational health appointment - £50 per missed appointment.

  • Loss or damage to clinical skills models - Costs will vary, students will be informed of replacement costs for any items damaged through negligence or lost.

  • Clinical skills locker key - You will not be charged for a key but if you fail to return the key to the clinical skills department you will be charged £15.

  • Disclosure and Barring Service - You will be charged if you lose your DBS certificate and you require a replacement.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

The application closing date for Dental Hygiene & Dental Therapy is 31 January 2024. The School of Dentistry will not accept applications after the UCAS closing date. We do not typically participate in the UCAS Extra scheme or in Clearing.

Read more about applying or contact the Undergraduate Admissions Team for further information.

Deferred entry

You’re welcome to postpone your start date by 12 months if you want to. This won’t affect how we judge your application, but you do need to tell us in advance, in your UCAS application, if you don’t do this, but ask for a deferral later, we may not agree to it.

Equal opportunities

The School of Dentistry operates an equal opportunities policy and supports widening participation. Whilst some health conditions and disabilities may prevent admission, the university takes a positive view and tries to meet the needs of all students. You can find University equality policies on the Equality Service website.

Selection process

The main stages in our selection process are:

  • Evaluation of academic qualifications

  • Assessment of application, taking into account academic and non-academic criteria

  • Multiple mini interview (MMI)

  • Offer


Interviews are typically scheduled in February. We cannot facilitate interviews outside of this period, so if you apply, you must make sure you are free to attend in this timeframe.

If you’re unable to attend your allocated interview, you should contact us as we may be able to change your appointment to another day or time during the interview period, but this is not guaranteed. We would only agree to this for exceptional circumstances, for example, you cannot attend our interview because you have previously agreed to an interview elsewhere at the same time.

We interview using MMIs instead of traditional panel interviews. In MMIs you move around a series of interview stations. At each station, you undertake a task or answer a few short questions, for which you are scored. The scores at each station are independent of the other scores. Afterwards your scores are computed to give us your overall score and ranking.

The MMIs help us to assess your attitudes, communication skills, empathy, analytic skills and ethical reasoning, attributes that are in accordance with the NHS Constitution values-based recruitment. Some stations may be held in clinics, so you also see our working environment. Most applicants tell us they find the multiple mini interviews a positive experience.

Admissions policy

School of Dentistry Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Dentistry

Contact us

School of Dentistry Student Education Office


Career opportunities

Workforce planning reports have predicted that demand for dental hygienists and therapists is expected to rise and significantly exceed supply. The GDC in 2013 removed the barrier preventing patients from having direct access to selected groups of DCP including dental hygienists and dental therapists.

Dental hygienists and dental therapists are now permitted to provide dental treatment within their scope of practice without a prescription from a dentist. These changes have helped to ensure employability for dental hygienists and dental therapist in the future, extending scope of practice and providing long term job satisfaction.

Most starting dental therapy posts in hospital or community dental services are advertised at Band 6 salary level on the NHS pay scale. New graduates who take up positions within a general dental practice can usually expect to earn salaries equal to Band 6 or up to 30-50% higher.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Work placements

You'll work with patients in a range of settings – at the dental hospital, in the community, at outreach clinics and through hospital placements.

Professional requirements

Hepatitis B and health screening

Entry to the course depends on satisfactory health screening.

It is a Department of Health requirement that all healthcare workers who come into contact with patients should not be infectious carriers of Hepatitis B, C or HIV viruses and should accept vaccination against Hepatitis B.

We advise all candidates to seek vaccination with their medical practitioner against Hepatitis B viruses before starting the course because they will have early contact with patients.

The School will organise an immunisation schedule for students who have not already completed a successful course of vaccination before enrolment.

Applicants who have been immunised by their medical practitioner will be required to provide documentary proof of immunisation on registration. Simple blood tests will be required to confirm that students are not a carrier of the Hepatitis B or C viruses.

The General Dental Council (GDC)

The course is accredited by the General Dental Council (GDC). The GDC is the regulatory body for dental professionals in the UK. All dental hygienists and therapists must be registered with the GDC to work in the UK. Successful completion of the course allows graduates to apply for GDC registration.

The GDC quality assures all courses which lead to registration as a dental professional. All graduates must have demonstrated they have met all GDC Preparing for Practice learning outcomes, including all academic and clinical experience requirements.

In addition, the GDC must be assured that all graduates are Fit to Practise in relation to health and professional conduct. Our School has processes to ensure all graduates have met these requirements through academic and clinical assessments, as well as the continual monitoring of professionalism and conduct.

Code of Professional Conduct

Our School has a Code of Professional Conduct which it expects all students to sign-up to each year. It is important that students have awareness of the standards expected by the School and the General Dental Council. The General Dental Council has published guidance on professionalism (“Student Fitness to Practise” and “Standards for Dental Professionals”) which you can find on the GDC website.

Dress and personal appearance

The School of Dentistry has a dress policy to promote a clinical and professional appearance within our School and clinical placement facilities. Your dress and personal appearance must meet public expectations of a professional person and there are clinical dress requirements which must be followed.