Dentistry (MSD)

Master of Science in Dentistry (MSD)
Unit: School of Dentistry
Program Website 

Program Information

The School of Dentistry offers a program of study leading to the Master of Science Degree in Dentistry for postgraduate students/residents enrolled in Advanced Specialty Certificate Programs in Endodontics, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics.

The courses for the Master of Science in Dentistry will total 31 credit hours. The curriculum is at least 19 credit hours (11 core and 8 selective courses), plus credit for research and thesis/publication (minimum 12 credit hours). In addition, depending on the specific accreditation requirements of the specialty, either two or three years of clinical training are required.

The credit hours needed to complete the MSD and the certificate are listed below.

M.S.D./Specialty Programs Credit Hours Time to Completion
Endodontics 69 2 years
Orthodontics 72 2 years
Pediatric Dentistry 70 2 years
Periodontics 103.5 3 years
Prosthodontics 94 3 years

The School of Dentistry post-professional Master of Science in Dentistry with Specialty Certificate programs offer didactic and clinical training leading to certification in the specific dental specialty area. Completion of an accredited certificate program allows the student to be recognized by state boards of dentistry and by the respective specialty boards as eligible for specialty board examination and specialty dental licensure.

These programs help to develop skillful clinicians and researchers for careers in academic dentistry or private practice in the specialty areas of Endodontics, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics and Prosthodontics. Excellent training in clinical dentistry, teaching skills, and the process and interpretation of biomedical research is essential to equip tomorrow's specialists with the proper scientific background to deal with the changes and challenges inherent in a profession undergoing rapid scientific advancement. These postgraduate students are exposed to a wide variety of clinical techniques by a group of highly qualified faculty with diverse training and varied backgrounds. The philosophy of the programs is that clinical excellence is based on technical proficiency, expert diagnostic skills and broad-based knowledge of the specific specialty literature.

The didactic portion of the curriculum explores the concepts, designs, regulation, interpretation, and presentation of modern biomedical research upon which the practice of modern Endodontics, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, or Prosthodontics is based.

The Master of Science in Dentistry trains students in research concepts allowing them to design and complete a clinical or basic science research project. As a part of this program, the student is guided to design a research project and write a research proposal including any informed consent and data collection forms. The student will then conduct the research project to completion. Federal regulations and University of Louisville policy require that all research involving human subjects or analysis of data gathered from human subjects, regardless of funding status, be reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to the implementation of any research activity. After completion of the research project, the student will present the research project in both oral and written form. The oral presentation (defense) includes a review of the literature relevant to the research project, analysis of all data using appropriate statistical tests, and comparison of the results of the project to similar research in the dental literature. The student will also write a thesis or a paper that is suitable for submission and publication in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal.

Students who are enrolled in Endodontics, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, or Prosthodontics will complete the requirements for the Master of Science in Dentistry in conjunction with the awarding of the specialty certificate.

Program Descriptions


Endodontics is the branch of dentistry which is concerned with the morphology, physiology, and pathology of the human dental pulp and tissues around the tooth root. Its study and practice encompass the basic and clinical sciences, including biology of the normal pulp, the etiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and associated conditions occurring around the tooth root.


Orthodontics is the dental specialty that includes the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion of the teeth, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures.

MSD/Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.


Periodontics is that specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues.


Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.

Admission Requirements

After acceptance into an Advanced Specialty Certificate Program in Endodontics, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics or Prosthodontics, please complete the application form available online at  

Applications are not processed until the application fee is received and all required application materials have been received by the Graduate School, Graduate Admissions.

Admission Credentials

  • Application submitted to the Graduate School
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts of all college coursework, including evidence of a baccalaureate degree
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL scores, if English is not the applicant's native language
  • For international applicants, Official Course-by-Course Evaluation Report from ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.),

Program Requirements

All of the specialty programs will require 11 credit hours in the following courses:

MSD Core Coursework

OIID 501Biomedical Data Analysis: Experimental Design and Statistics3
OIID 601Introduction to Oral Biology Research2
OIID 606Oral Biology Communication2
OBIO 617Advanced Oral Pathology1
OBIO 622Multiple-Disciplinary Seminars1
ASNB 675Advanced Head and Neck Anatomy2

MSD Electives

All of the specialty programs are also required to take at least eight (8) credits hours from the following list of electives:
Oral Immunology and Infectious Diseases Electives
OIID 600Concepts in Oral Immunology2
OIID 604Oral Microbiology3
OIID 605Oral Health Seminars0.5
OIID 610Advanced Topics in Oral Biology 11-4
Oral Biology Electives
OBIO 611Craniofacial Osteology1-3
OBIO 612Craniomaxillofacial Diagnostic Imaging2-4
OBIO 613The Diagnosis & Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders1
OBIO 614Advanced Oral Diagnosis and Oral Medicine1
OBIO 615Advanced Clinical Pharmacology1
OBIO 616Overview of Medical Genetics in Oro-Facial Disease1.5
OBIO 623Advanced Implantology1


In addition to these 19 credit hours, each postgraduate student/resident will complete a research project that will be supervised by the specialty program director or a designated faculty member.

OIID 619Graduate Research1-8
OIID 620Thesis1-8
Total Minimum Hours31

In addition to the completion of the core curriculum and the postgraduate research project, there are didactic and clinical courses required for the completion of the necessary hours needed for each certificate (see Overview tab).