Oral Health Science BSc

Course code B750

What is special about this course?

This leading degree in Oral Health Science offers prospective students (including school leavers, qualified dental nurses, and those who are considering a career change) the opportunity to train for a structured professional career in dental hygiene and dental therapy; a sector currently experiencing a shortage in skilled practitioners.

The role of dental hygienists and dental therapists is varied. You will provide clinical and educational care in the community, including prevention, fillings and treatment for periodontal (gum) disease. Strong values, an ethical approach and good communication skills, as well as the ability to work well in a team, are essential.

You will receive a thorough understanding in all aspects of dental care including the latest in practical skills and procedures. Delivered from our purpose-built dental buildings in Inverness, Stornoway and Dumfries, you will have access to state-of-the-art equipment and a highly skilled team of clinical and academic staff.

Special features

  • The course is delivered from state-of-the-art training units at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness, Dumfries Dental Centre and Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
  • You will learn clinical skills and undertake treatments in supervised patient clinics
  • The course is taught and supported by a professional team of clinical and academic staff
  • You will benefit from small group teaching
  • The course is taught using a combination of face-to-face and online methods
  • In your final year you will undertake a work placement in dental clinics situated across Scotland
  • On completion of the full BSc you will be able to register with the General Dental Council as a dental hygienist and dental therapist


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 4 Scottish Highers at grade B or above OR 
  • 3 A levels at grade BCC or above
  • One B grade must include a science subject, preferably Biology or Human Biology. English is also preferred
  • For those who do not have English at Higher or A level then National 5 English at grade C or above, or GCSE English at B or above is required
  • Applicants with a recognised Dental Nursing qualification will be considered. For those who hold this qualification, other Higher/A level qualifications must include a science subject
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications or experience will be considered for the course on the basis of a portfolio of alternative evidence of the required knowledge and experience
  • This is a Category 1 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required to successfully achieve target qualification, where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in key elements of the course. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage
  • Please note: this course does not accept applications for deferred entry; if you wish to take a year out, for example, you must apply next year

Successful applicants must be passed fit by occupational health. This will require a questionnaire and also a personal visit to the occupational health department in addition to and on a separate occasion to the interview day.

All applicants will be required to attend an interview. Full guidelines will be provided in advance of the interview day, including required preparation for the event. As part of the interview you will be expected to demonstrate the following:

  • A genuine interest in the care and treatment of patients as part of the dental team
  • Demonstration of care 'values'
  • Good manual dexterity as evidenced through relevant skills
  • Team working ability
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • IT experience e.g. word processing packages, email and using the internet
  • A high level of commitment due to the intensive nature of this academic and clinical degree programme

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

Modules are:

  • Behavioural science (S1)
  • Biomedical science (S1)
  • Clinical practice 1 (S1 and S2)
  • Clinical dentistry 1 (S2)
  • Oral biology (S2)

Year 2 - DipHE

Modules are:

  • Clinical dentistry 2 (S1)
  • Radiography and radiology (S1)
  • Clinical practice 2 (S1 and S2)
  • Dental public health (S2)
  • Human disease (S2)

Year 3 - BSc

Modules are:

  • Literature review: Oral health science (S1)
  • Advanced clinical dentistry 1 (S1)
  • Clinical practice 3 (S1 and S2)
  • Advanced clinical dentistry 2 (S2)
  • Preparation for practice (S2)

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • You will learn through a combination of practical clinical and patient skills sessions, video conference lectures, online study and tutorials taught by experts in Inverness (Centre for Health Science), Dumfries (Dumfries Dental Centre) and Stornoway (Western Isles Dental Centre).
  • Some modules are available via online study through the university's virtual learning environment (VLE) which is supported by your tutors and student advisor
  • All practical work is face-to-face
  • You will be required to attend an induction session in Inverness prior to the start of your course and may be required to attend further inductions at the start of years two and three

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 3 years @ 37.5 hours per week

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness - Centre for Health Science
  • North, West and Hebrides - Western Isles Dental Centre (Stornoway)
  • You will enrol at UHI Inverness or UHI North, West and Hebrides
  • Teaching sessions are run at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness, Dumfries Dental Centre and Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
  • Applicants interested in studying in Dumfries should apply to UHI Inverness: location offered will depend on applicant numbers
  • Travel to other locations is an integral part of this course

Start date

  • September


Find out more about fees, fee waivers and funding options.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

Additional costs

Travel for radiography teaching in year 2 will be required and clinical placements in dental clinics across Scotland are offered in the final year; travel and accommodation costs will be covered for both, but you will need to cover any subsistence costs.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of this BSc Oral Health Science course there will be many career opportunities open to you, including:

  • General dental practice
  • Salaried dental practice
  • Hospital practice
  • Armed forces
  • Academic training

Is there more information available online?

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I'm now beginning my last 6 months as a student and am both excited and a little apprehensive of going back out into the world. I wouldn’t have got through the last 3 years had it not been for the support of the teaching and support staff. This university has given me the opportunity to advance my career in a comfortable, relaxed location linking in through VC to the Highlands and Islands. I have loved every part of my 3 years as a student on this course and the university has given me the confidence to know I can do more and be more. 

Kyle Anderson is in his final year of the BSc Oral Health Science.

I chose the University of the Highlands and Islands because it offered the best facilities for learning oral health science. I also wanted to start working with patients straight away and they had a wide client base.

Calum Taylor is studying full time on the BSc Oral Health Science at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness.

I qualified as a dental nurse in 2014 and this course is the next step to help further my career. I loved the idea of being able to work on practical treatment rather than assisting as I did in my previous job. The course moves so fast but I look back on the first year and realise how much I have achieved with my patients. It is very rewarding.

Robyn Devlin is studying on the BSc Oral Health Science, at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness

Apply for Oral Health Science BSc

  • Applications to this course are now closed for September 2023 entry. Applications for September 2024 will open in September 2023. Please revisit this page then to apply.

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.