BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Dental Health Science at Griffith University

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Dental Health Science at Griffith University

Griffith Dentistry - Fact Sheet

So, you’re interested in studying a Dentistry degree at Griffith University, such as the Bachelor of Dental Health Science?

You’ve come to the right place because we’ll take you through everything there is to know about the degree including core units, assessments, the uni culture and more.

Let’s take a closer look!

What is Dentistry at Griffith University?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into Dentistry at Griffith University
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is Dentistry at Griffith University?

Griffith University offers a whole range of different Dentistry degrees! Here are all the different types that may be of interest to you:

We will be focussing on what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Dental Health Science! 

Dental Health Science at Griffith university is hands-on from the first day — you’ll be learning about different patients’ cases and all the techniques while practising on manikins in simulated dental labs. Eventually you’ll get to see and treat patients (under supervision) in the Griffith Dental Clinic!

Now, you’re thrown into the deep end with a lot of contact hours and much to learn but the aim of it is to immerse you in the world of dentistry and get you comfortable working in that environment!

With just 80 people in the cohort, you become pretty close as you progress through to a Master of Dentistry (two more years) so that you can then register as a working dentist! 

Griffith Dentistry - Quote

Can it be studied with another degree?

Studying to become a dentist is fairly intense! So, it’s no wonder you can’t combine your dentistry degree with another one.

After completing your Bachelor’s degree, you then have to complete a Master of Dentistry to apply to become a registered dentist!

It’s important to know that if you want to take a break after completing your Bachelor’s degree, you’ve only got one year and there’s no guarantee that you will get an offer into the Master’s program. The reason for no longer than a one year break between the Bachelor’s and Master’s program is because the knowledge and skills you learn need to stay fresh in your mind!

Career Paths 

Well, most people who study Dental Health Science go on to complete a Master of Dentistry and then they’re able to register as a qualified dentist! 

Now, depending on which particular Dentistry degree you study and what you’re most interested in, you could find yourself working in any of the following positions:

  • Dentist 
  • Dental hygienist 
  • Dental technician 
  • Dental therapist 
  • Dental assistant 
  • Researcher 

Core Units for this Degree

First Year

So, the first year is more focussed on general health science with an introduction into dentistry. After this, you get into the tooth-specific subjects and specialisations of dentistry (periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, paediatric dentistry, oral surgery) which you’ll continue to learn about as you progress into your Master of Dentistry.

The core units combine theoretical and practical components so you’re able to develop the required skills to work in a clinic. You’ll cover Chemistry of Biological Systems I and II, as well as Anatomy and Physiology I and II. You’ll also learn about Cells, Tissues and Regulation plus Genes and Diseases!

You have two Pre-clinical Dental Sciences subjects which introduce you to oral biology, help you develop your communication skills for a career in Dentistry and you also start to learn and practise the hand skills dentists need.

Second Year

Now moving onto the second year! Social Sciences 1 is all about developing those communication skills so you can work well with patients and you’ll also learn about culturally safe oral healthcare.

In Clinical Dental Sciences 1, you’re taught about dental healthcare as well as cariology, dental disease and oral surgery. There’s also Clinical Dental Sciences 2 where you develop knowledge and skills for preclinical practice. You’ve got labs for both of the classes which means that’s where you get to practise on the manikins.

Pharmacology for Oral Health is where you’ll develop an understanding of the different drugs used in Dentistry and their effects on the patient.

Third Year

In your third year, you’ll have General Dental Practice 1 which is where you get to put everything you’ve learnt into practice, so it’s a really hands-on subject and you have to attend a number of professional practice sessions so you’re able to work safely in the clinic.

You’ll also progress to Clinical Dental Science 3 which focusses on oral surgery and pathology as well as administering the right kind of medicine for patients. Clinical Dental Science 4 is all about orthodontics and paediatric dentistry — very interesting!

You’ve also got Social Science 2 which explores techniques and ways to promote oral health!

Check out the degree details section of this for more information about the other core units! 

Facilities 

Lucky for you, you’ll get to learn in state-of-the-art Griffith Health Centre! That’s where you’ll find the dental simulation labs, set up like real-world dental clinics where you get to practise all your skills. 

On top of that, the great thing about studying Dentistry at Griffith is that they have their own dental clinic services! That means that you can learn from dentists and dental specialists working there and see how actual patients are treated.

Further along in your studies, you actually get to see and work on these patients — of course, under supervision so you have an extra pair of hands to fall back on if you’re unsure or need help. It’s such a great learning opportunity and something that makes Griffith Uni really stand out!  

How to Get into Dentistry at Griffith University

So, getting an offer to study a Dentistry degree like Dental Health Science at Griffith depends on your overall performance in regards to three different sections for which you’ll receive an overall score.

  1. The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) (20%) 
  2. Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) (40%)
  3. GPA/ATAR scores (40%)

Depending on your score, offers are made starting from the highest to the lowest. 

Requirements  

You should have scored at least a Grade C in Units 3 and 4 of English/Literature or English/Literature extension. 

Pathways

Entry into this degree can be quite competitive and tough because they can only take a handful of people (around 80). Receiving an offer to study this degree is based on your overall performance of what we mentioned above (UCAT, MMI and your GPA/ATAR).

Scholarships

There are a range of different scholarships that you can apply for — check them all out here!

If you scored an ATAR of 95.50 or above, it’s definitely worth checking out the Sir Samuel Griffith Scholarship for high achievers. Now, once you’ve finished your Bachelor’s degree, it’s good to know that if you’re experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for the Credabl Master of Dentistry Scholarship. 

What’s the Teaching Format?

A Bachelor of Dental Health Science at Griffith combines lectures, tutorials, workshops, labs and clinical work — so there is a little bit of everything! And you’ll complete the degree through trimesters.  

Class Structure

Griffith Dentistry - Class Structure

Lectures

There’s around 80 people in the Dental Health Science cohort so you would all be in the lecture together and they usually go for 1-2 hours.

In the lectures, that’s where you learn the big bulk of content — so, all the big theories and techniques! Be prepared to take a lot of notes — there’s a lot to learn.

Tutorials

These classes are a lot more one on one with about 15 people in them and they go for one hour. They’re like a Q&A session where you run through the content from the lecture.

You’ll also go through various patient cases and discuss different ways of treating them. 

Workshops

Now, workshops also have about 15 people in them and can go for as long as 3 hours!

In the workshops, there will either be a demonstration on a particular topic or you’ll break down the content and go into more detail. 

Sim Lab 

This is a hands-on class and where you get to put everything you know into practice! These go for 3 hours and the cohort is broken up into two groups, so you’ll have around 40 people in each lab.

So, these sim labs imitate real-life scenarios — they’re actually set up like a real dental clinic! You’ve got all the equipment, those fancy dentist chairs where the patients lie back while the dentist examines them and even manikins with plastic teeth.

It’s a safe environment for you to practise everything that you’ll actually be doing in the dental clinic. So, these classes are really where you start to feel like a dentist! 

Clinic

This is where you actually get to go and see patients in the Griffith Dental Clinic — so it’s an actual clinic with actual patients! What a great environment to learn in.

During your clinic classes, you’re separated into two groups so there’s also 40 students in each class. However, it’s still very one on one as every six students are supervised by one clinical supervisor.

So, there’s plenty of time to discuss patient cases and how to best go about performing the various dental tasks. You get to start applying the skills you’ve gained into real-life cases.

Of course, you always have the supervisor to fall back on and ask if you’re in doubt. So, it’s a comfortable and safe learning space but you’re also expected to be on the ball and be able to assist with patients and towards the end of the degree, actually treat them! 

How many hours do you spend at uni?

Now, this is definitely a full-on and contact heavy degree (there’s no doubt about that!). If you study a Bachelor of Dental Health Science at Griffith, you’ll complete four subjects a trimester and have about 9-12 hour days four to five times a week (yikes, but it’s totally worth it if that’s what you want to do!).

So, you’re looking at around 45-50 contact hours a week plus there’s a lot of theory to learn and consolidate! You definitely have to be organised and also find a balance so you have time to relax and enjoy uni life.

What are the assessments like?

You’ll have exams at the end of each trimester (so make sure you keep on top of all that theory that you learn throughout the trimester).

For the clinic sessions, you also get a grade at the end of each one depending on how you performed the practical tasks and whether you completed the tasks independently.

You also have research assignments that you do throughout the year so think literature reviews and writing up results. It’s basically like a big research article which could potentially be published! 

Skills You Refine and Learn

Griffith Dentistry - Skills

You learn how to communicate with people which is really important because as a dentist, you work very closely with your patients and it’s important that you’re able to listen to them, reassure them and clearly explain what needs to be done.

Of course, you’ll also refine your problem solving skills as you have to make a lot of decisions as a dentist. It’s up to you to decide what works best for the patient and what techniques you’ll use to fix the problem.

Now, throughout the degree, you’ll learn how to use all that dental equipment and how to perform various dental tasks with your hands. As you’ll use your hands a lot, it’s necessary that you get comfortable with how to use them! 

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

There’s no doubt that this is a pretty intense Dentistry degree at Griffith — but at least, you’re all on the same boat! So, that means that everyone is really supportive and friendly because you spend so much time together.

Plus, there’s around 80 people in the cohort so you actually get to know everyone. The Dentistry students are really passionate and all understand the amount of hours and hard work it takes to get through the degree.

So, you really stick together and there’s a great sense of camaraderie. It’s also nice to know that you’ll spend five years together with this group of people, you’ll work really hard, have good and bad days and at the end of it, you’re all ready to register as actual dentists! 

Griffith University Dental Students Association

You should definitely join the Griffith University Dental Students Association (GUDSA) because it’s a great way to meet new people and start networking within the industry!

There’s a ton of super fun social events including the annual dental ball and annual coat crawl & boat cruise. They also provide networking evenings and industry panels as well as a number of different workshops to develop your knowledge of the industry and of dentistry in general!

Mentoring

There’s also a great Dentistry and Oral Health Mentoring Program!

In your third year, when you start clinical activities, there’s a lot to learn and get used to, so fourth year Dentistry students (who have also gone through exactly what you are) help you transition into this clinical working environment. They’ll mentor you in the clinic for about three hours a week and you can ask them questions! 


Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films. 

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