The dental school runs a five-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) programme and from 2011 will have an intake of approximately sixty students per year (including fifteen places for international students). This small intake provides students with the opportunity for close one-to-one supervision in the clinical disciplines and this is a particular strength of the QUB programme. The course takes an evidence-based and student centred approach to learning so that students quickly recognise the need to treat patients using the most robust scientific evidence and the importance of being a highly motivated, independent learner. Students are introduced to patients at the earliest opportunity and are expected to make the care of their patients their first concern at all times.
Years 1 and 2
In the first two years of the course a range of opportunities are provided for students to learn dental skills through clinical observation, clinical simulation and clinical practice with patients. Dental team working skills are learned alongside dental hygiene and dental technology students.
Years 3 to 5
The third year begins to take greater clinical focus. Classroom-based and clinical teaching takes place in each of the dental disciplines and also includes teaching in general medicine and surgery relevant to dentistry which is integrated with therapeutic, pathological and microbiological principles relevant to clinical dental practice. There is also opportunity for laboratory-based learning and the study of dental public health and behavioural science. In the fourth and fifth years students gain further experience in all dental disciplines consolidating and advancing their clinical skills and deepening their clinical and related knowledge. By final year, students have the opportunity to provide a full range of dental treatment to their patients without the artificial boundaries imposed by specific clinical disciplines. Teaching and learning in ethics, communication, teamwork, and related behavioural science is embedded throughout the curriculum and students learn about and practise (in a simulated setting) cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in each year of the course.
On completion of the 5 year course the degree of BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) is awarded.