Frequently Asked Questions | Dental Hygiene

Application Process & Prerequisites
The Program
Financial Aid & Tuition

Application Process & Prerequisites

When are applications available?

Applications are available in the fall for the next year. 

When are applications due?

Deadlines are usually in March of the year of entrance. 

How will I know if my application file is complete?

All application packets that are submitted should be complete. Incomplete application packets will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Individuals will be notified via email or postal mail regarding the completeness of their application packet.

When will students be notified of admittance?

Depending on when an application is submitted, most final decisions are completed by May of the year of entry.

Do all of the prerequisites have to be completed by the time that the application is submitted?

Required prerequisite coursework does not need to be completed by the application deadline. Coursework may be in-progress as long as it will be completed prior to starting the dental hygiene program.

Do students need to apply to Pacific University prior to or at the time that they are applying to the dental hygiene program?

Students only need to submit the Pacific University Dental Hygiene Application. We also accept the Dental Hygiene Central Application Service (DHCAS).

Do you keep applications on file from previous years?

All applications are kept on file for two years. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), matriculating students do have access to their permanent files. Pacific University does not provide access to admissions records to applicants who are denied admission, or students who decline an offer of admission.

Is there a waiting list?

We do have a waiting list for the same year of entry. However if an applicant is not accepted in to the class from the waitlist, it does not necessarily carry over. Applicants will need to complete the admissions process the following year to be reconsidered for admission.

Will my coursework from another institution transfer?

100-level or higher coursework from regionally accredited colleges and universities will transfer.

How important are grades for acceptance to the dental hygiene program?

Grades are just one factor in the admissions selection process and we look at all aspects of an application including a personal interview.

What other factors are important in the selection process?

The Admissions Committee will also consider the following factors in the selection process:

  • Prior dental or healthcare experience
  • Content of application forms and care with which they have been completed
  • Quality of writing ability as demonstrated by personal narratives
  • Understanding of the dental hygiene profession
  • Type of community activities
  • Strength of on-campus interview

Do you look at previous dental health experience during the admissions process?

Yes. A minimum of 20 hours of dental health experience or observation is required. We prefer some of the hours to be a in a public health setting, which may include a public dental clinic, dental school clinic, dental hygiene school clinic, or mobile dental van. If you currently work in the dental health field these hours can be waived.

Do I have to interview to be accepted into the dental hygiene program?

Yes. The interview is required and is a strong contributing factor in the admissions decision.

Can I take my prerequisite coursework at a community college?

Yes. Required prerequisite coursework may be completed at any regionally accredited college or university.

Is college coursework from 20 years ago still acceptable?

Yes and no. Coursework in natural sciences should be completed within the last seven years. All coursework will be evaluated for transfer prior to admission.

What is the difference between semester hours and quarter hours?

There are two 15-week semesters or three 10-week quarters in an academic year. To convert your quarter hours to semester hours follow this equation: Quarter Hours / 1.5 = Semester Hours. (Example: 3 Quarter Hours / 1.5 = 2 Semester Hours) Please note that hours, credits, and units are typically all the same thing.

How do I apply for the dental hygiene program?

We've outlined the steps to apply and application details on our How to Apply page.

How many applications do you receive each year?

We receive approximately 80-100 applications each year.

How many applicants will you interview?

We interview an estimated 60-75 applicants each year.

When will I be notified about interviews?

Interview notifications will begin in March.

Is it okay for me to take the 100-level Human Anatomy & Physiology course offered at Oregon community colleges?

No. The School of Dental Hygiene Studies will only accept the 200-level series of Human Anatomy & Physiology or higher.

My subject credits do not add up to the semester hour requirement. Is this okay?

If you are less than one credit shy of meeting the requirement, then yes it is okay. If it is more than one credit, then you will need to take an additional course.

I am a reapplicant, do I need to submit new official transcripts with my application?

Reapplicants only need to submit official transcripts for institutions they completed coursework at after they have submitted their application last year.

I went through a dental assisting program that was not at a college or university; do you still want to see my coursework?

Yes. Please submit a copy of the coursework you completed for your dental assisting program.

What type of verification do you require for shadowing and experience?

No verification is needed.

What happens on Interview Day?

Interview Day is a full-day event. On this day there will be a program and financial aid presentation, facility tours, a writing sample, a student panel over lunch, and a 20-minute individual interview.

When will interviews take place?

Interviews will take place in April. Students are notified of invitations to interview in March/April.

Where will interviews take place?

Interviews will take place at the Hillsboro Campus.

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The Program

How many students are accepted into the dental hygiene program?

The dental hygiene program accepts 32 students each year.

When does the dental hygiene program start?

The dental hygiene program starts in August each year.

Where is the dental hygiene program located?

The School of Dental Hygiene Studies is located at Pacific University's Hillsboro Campus.

What type of degree will I receive when I complete the dental hygiene program?

Students who complete the dental hygiene program at Pacific University will receive a bachelor of science in dental hygiene.

How long is the dental hygiene program?

The dental hygiene program at Pacific University is two years, year-round. Required prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to starting the dental hygiene program.

What is the advantage of getting a bachelor's degree over an associate's degree?

A bachelor's degree allows graduates more flexibility and choices for work within the dental health field. Graduates will have the foundation to pursue careers in education, public health, and management.

What is the total number of hours for the dental hygiene program?

Required prerequisite coursework equates to approximately 48 semester hours (72 quarter hours). Dental health coursework equates to 83 semester hours (125 quarter hours). Adding these two areas together, the bachelor of science in dental health equates to approximately 131 semester hours (196 quarter hours).

Can the dental hygiene program be taken part-time?

No. The dental hygiene program at Pacific University requires a full-time academic commitment.

How many hours a day is the program?

The daily schedule for the dental hygiene program varies by semester and year of the program. Typically courses and labs will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are some evening clinics (5 to 9:30 p.m.). Students will rotate between morning, afternoon, and evening labs throughout the length of the program.

What clinical procedures will I learn in the dental hygiene program?

Students in the dental hygiene program will learn to how to perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. Students will also learn the following additional functions that are legal in Oregon: administer local anesthesia; administer nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; place permanent restorations; practice without the supervision of a dentist.

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Financial Aid & Tuition

Is financial aid available?

Need-based aid in the form of grants, loans, work-study, and other funding is available to those who demonstrate financial need. Applicants should be sure to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after Jan. 1. The FAFSA is available online at Pacific University's federal school code is 003212. If you have any questions regarding financial assistance, please call the Financial Aid Office at 1-877-PAC-UNIV, ext. 2222. Be sure to identify yourself as a potential dental hygiene student.

I'm not from Oregon. Will my tuition be more?

No. Pacific University is a private institution, which means that the tuition is the same regardless of your state or country of residence.

What is the program cost?

Tuition is approximately $33,657 for the dental hygiene program for the 2021-2022 academic year. You can find more details on about costs and financial aid. Costs typically increase about 3 to 5 percent each year. When determining the total cost of attendance you will want to also include transportation, housing, and other miscellaneous expenses.

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