8 Best Pre-Dental Schools in California in 2024[UPDATED] | Spynaija
Best Pre-Dental Schools in California

8 Best Pre-Dental Schools in California in 2024[UPDATED]

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Michael Tijani


Dentistry is a science that helps people maintain and enhance their oral health. It involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of injuries and malfunction of the mouth.

The term ‘pre-dental’ on the other hand refers to a course of study meant to help students prepare them for a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program. A student can choose a DDS or DMD and still be pre-dental because they are equivalent degrees and have the same curriculum. Also, students must take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). The dental school prepares you to serve humanity through quality dental care services.

With a reputable pre-dental school, your dream of becoming a dentist would be tremendously possible. But the question is; how do you select a pre-dental school that would be best for you out of the numerous pre-dental schools in California?

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There are over 50 schools in California yet not all of them are equal and l doubt that it can ever be possible. One characteristic must always differentiate them from each other and choosing the best pre-dental school in California that best suits you is a priority.

Here are some things you should consider when choosing a pre-dental school.

  • Location – How far is the school? Where is the school located?
  • Cost– Can I afford the school fees? Are there scholarships?
  • The number of students – how many students attend this school and how many graduates have they produced? How many are employed and how many are unemployed?
  • Student-faculty ratio – What is the class size like?
  • Are the faculty friendly or cold?

Best Pre-Dental Schools in California 

To make your quest for knowledge a lot easier, we have put together some of the best pre-dental schools in California. In addition, you will get to know the various dental schools’ acceptance rates, GPAs, prerequisite science classes recommended by dental schools in California, and everything else you need to know that will aid your application process.

1. Arthur A. Dugoni School Of Dentistry

The Arthur A. Dugoni School Of Dentistry is the dental school of the University of the Pacific. The institution was founded on July 10, 1851, less than a year after California became a state, the University of the Pacific is the oldest university in California.


The University of the Pacific’s aim is to offer a top-notch, and exceptional student-centered educational experience that combines liberal arts and professional training to equip students for long-term success and ethical leadership within and outside their careers.

Interested applicants must acquire a minimum DAT of 18 and above on all scales and an Average overall GPA of 3.25 or higher to be admitted into the school.

There are three main admission pathways offered by Pacific.

  • In some cases, pacific allows you to earn an undergraduate degree on an accelerated timeline.
  • There is an interview for the Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree program upon successful completion
  • Only available for students entering college for the first time.

To get prepared for the pre-dental program at Arthur A. Dugoni School Of Dentistry, courses must be taken after a proper high school experience has been completed. Also, courses like Greenlight classes, yellow-light classes, and red-light courses are horrifically important for pre-dental programs. However, if you complete a biology or chemistry course before enrolling at Pacific, you will have to take a more advanced course in those subjects at Pacific.


In addition, maths, physics, and psychology may be required by other DDS programs at a 4-year college.

2. UCLA School of Dentistry 

The 1-year pre-dentistry program at the University of California, Los Angeles offers comprehensive, hands-on experience to help increase its students’ chances of being accepted into a DDS or DMD program.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) also offers a 4-year Doctor of Dental Program, DDS program to foreign dentists for 2 years. They also offer dual DDS and Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Oral Biology, or Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Biology programs. Furthermore, students in the 4-year Doctor of Dental program surgery program begin clinical experiences during their first year of study.

You may earn a Master of Science in Oral Biology as a dentist and oral health researcher. A Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Biology which prepares students for research careers is offered. It requires a minimum of four years to study.


The school has a GPA of 3.77 and a DAT of 23. Also, no grades lower than C in the required high school courses are needed to be admitted to the university. You can substitute your SAT subject tests for courses if you don’t meet the requirements.

3. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

UCSF is dedicated to health science. It is a top-notch public land-grant research university located in San Francisco.

Interested applicants for the pre-dental program must complete a minimum of at least 139 quarter units or 93 semester units (exclusive of repeated and nontransferable courses) of college work: Units must be earned at an accredited U.S. or English-speaking Canadian institution. Also, at least 43 quarter units or 29 semester units must be completed at a four-year institution. Applicants must acquire a minimum GPA of 3.5 and an average DAT of 21.

4. University of California, San Diego

Established in 1960, the University of California, San Diego is the southernmost of the ten campuses of the University of California. It offers pre-dental programs among the 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

To be admitted into the university you must earn the following GPAs.

  • A GPA of 3.0 or better with no grade lower than a ‘C’ should be earned by California residents.
  • A GPA of 3.4 or better with no grade lower than a ‘C’ should be earned by international residents.

5. University of Southern California

Founded by Robert M. Widney in 1880. The University of Southern California is a private research University located in Los Angeles, California. It is the oldest research university in California. The University of Southern California has one liberal arts school, the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, 22 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools enrolling about 21000 undergraduates and 28000 postgraduates from all 50 U.S. states and over 115 countries.

To have the best shot of being admitted into the University of Southern California you need an SAT of 1530 or a 34 ACT and a 3.79 GPA. The University of Southern California is accredited by WSCUC.

6. University of California, Irvine

A type of Public Land Grant Research University Established in 1965. University of California, Irvine has a large teaching hospital called Irvine Centre. The prestigious school is known to set up the First Earth System Science Department in the United States. As of January 2023, there have been 8 Noble Prize Laureates, 7 Pulitzer winners, 6 MacArthur, ‘Genius Grant recipients, and many others. It sure would be a good school for any pre-dental student.


Interested applicants need an SAT of at least 1410 including an 18 in your essay, you also need a 33 on your ACT including a 30 in English Language Arts and A’s in at least a few AP, IB, or honors courses.

7. Stanford University

Stanford University has one of the best pre-dental programs in California. Stanford University is a private research university founded by Leland and Jane Stanford on November 11, 1885, in memory of their child, Leland Stanford who at age 15 died of typhoid fever.

The university is known to be super competitive so to get admission to Stanford University you must be studious and competitive as well. You need a 35 ACT or a 1550 SAT. A good GPA of about 3.96 is required but in case your GPA is lower than this you could compensate for it with a higher ACT/SAT score.

8. University of California, Davis

Established in 1905; The university is a type of public land research institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Despite having graduate and professional programs in law, veterinary medicine, nursing, education, and business management it has a space for pre-dental programs.

The University of California, Davis is also rated as the largest veterinary school in the United States for five consecutive years and has been ranked first in the world.

The academic requirements to study at the University of California, Davis includes having a GPA of 3.00 for residents and 3.40 for non-residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the prerequisite science classes recommended by dental schools in California?

The classes include chemistry, biology, and physics. You can move a bit further by taking the Advanced Placement Test as it would help you become more prepared for Dental Admission Test.

What is the easiest major for a pre-dental program?

Biology or Chemistry is an easy measure since it is a natural science and could also make your entrance into a dental school easier and faster.


In a world with many alternatives, it is almost impossible to leave out sentiments and make the right choice that suits your need. However, choosing one of the best pre-dental schools in California is a prerequisite for a better professional life and must not be underestimated.

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