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    University of Southern California
  Jan 24, 2018
USC Catalogue 2017-2018

Dental Hygiene (MS)

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Return to: Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC  


The Master of Science in Dental Hygiene is designed as an online twenty-month part- time program. The program is designed to educate graduate dental hygiene students to become leaders in the field who will help to advance the art and science of the discipline of dental hygiene. Students will learn how to integrate research findings into the dental hygiene process of care to form strategies to decrease oral disease risks and promote oral health among individuals, families and communities. The first three semesters are devoted to course work that progressively leads to the formation and acceptance of a project plan for implementation in the field in the final trimester.

All students will complete 19 units of required core course work, plus 7 additional units of elective studies in an area of emphasis, which supports their interests, and future career plans. Emphasis areas include education and geriatric dentistry courses in which the instruction will be offered through the Dental Hygiene program, while electives in geriatric dentistry will be offered primarily through existing graduate programs at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry. 

Students will learn program planning, advanced research methodology and statistical data management, and apply these skills into the design and implementation of their project as the basis for their scholarly Capstone project. Students will demonstrate active learning through interactive online classes, peer teaching and the design and use of educational technology. Courses include online lectures, case studies, student written and oral presentations, student teaching and fieldwork.

Admission Requirements

All applicants to the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene program must satisfy the following general criteria:

  •  Successfully graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program in North America.
  •  Possess a baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene or related area from an accredited university.
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Submit three letters of recommendation: one from the undergraduate dental hygiene director and the other two from individuals who can attest to the your general character. These letters may be from professors, and/or an employer, a representative from a service organization, or from a respected member of the dental hygiene or dental profession.
  • Submit a career statement
  • Submit a current curriculum vitae or resume
  • Applicants who meet these requirements will be invited to interview for the program. The interview may take place in person or through a live, interactive electronic communication.

Application Deadlines

In order to be reviewed, the application and required application materials must be received by the Division's Admissions Committee prior to February 15 for a fall trimester start. Submit your application well in advance of the deadline and note that transcripts and other application materials may take three weeks or more to be processed by the Office of Admissions and then made available to our office. Please plan accordingly.

Applications received after Feb 15 are also welcome and will be processed on a space available basis.

Application Procedures

Apply online by going to at least three weeks before the departmental application deadline to allow adequate time for processing. Be sure to complete the supplemental portion that relates to dental hygiene. You also should arrange to have transcripts and test scores sent to USC in time to meet this deadline.

Materials to be submitted by applicants

  • Send official transcripts from all colleges you have attended to:

University of Southern California

USC Office of Graduate Admission

3601 South Flower Street Room 112 

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

  • Nonrefundable application fee

Supplemental Materials to be submitted to:

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Office of Admissions Room 201

925 W. 34th Street

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0641

Supplemental materials include:

  • Three letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation must be in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back.
  • Career statement
  • Current résumé / curriculum vitae

Progressive Degree Programs

Applicants for a progressive degree program must have completed 64 units of course work applicable to their undergraduate degree since graduating from high school. (AP units, IB units and course work taken prior to high school graduation are excluded.) Applicants must submit their application before completing 96 units of course work. Normally, the application is submitted in the fall semester of the third year of enrollment at USC. Applicants do not have to submit GRE scores but are expected to have at least a 3.0 GPA at the time of application.

The Application for Admission to a Progressive Master's Program must be approved by the deans of the bachelor's and the master's degree-granting schools at USC and submitted to the Degree Progress Department. An approved course plan proposal and letters of recommendation from two USC faculty members must be submitted with the application, with at least one of the recommendations coming from a faculty member in the student's bachelor's degree major department.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses

Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 26 units of course work at the 600 level or above to include a Capstone project, which consists of a comprehensive written scholarly report suitable fro publication and a defended oral presentation. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on all graduate work is required.

Area of Emphasis

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