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PhD in Oral Sciences

Training the 'Next-Generation' of Oral Health Professionals Heading link

dentist working in lab

Customizable curriculum combining clinical care with oral science research and biomedical technology

This program trains the next generation of oral health scientists. Oral Sciences utilizes cutting edge biomedical technology and knowledge to address basic and clinical research questions of importance for promoting and maintaining oral health. The program also offers an opportunity to combine PhD training with a DMD for a dual degree.

Program Description

The curriculum consists of a core based on the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) Program coupled with an option to select one of three curricular tracks: Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology; Biomaterials Science; or, Microbiology/Immunology. Students participate in an oral science topics series throughout the program. Students who are candidates for the PhD will usually complete the program within 4-5 years. Students who are candidates in the combined DMD/PhD program will earn both the DMD and PhD degrees within 7 years. A preliminary (candidacy) exam and a final thesis defense are required. More information on degree requirements (including curriculum and research thesis) is available from the UIC Graduate College.

Research and Training

Research has demonstrated the definitive associations between oral and systemic diseases such as periodontitis, cardiovascular disease and preterm birth. Students and faculty in the PhD in Oral Sciences program focus on one of three areas of oral health research, all of which integrate the oral cavity with systemic and whole body health: Wound Healing, Cancer Biology and Tissue Engineering. The program prepares students for faculty and research positions in interdisciplinary oral health research. Training emphasizes bench research and the evaluation of scientific data in addition to didactic course work. In addition, training will include presentation and writing skills, as well as other activities essential for developing an independent researcher.

Admissions Requirements

Candidates with an undergraduate degree in a relevant field from an accredited institution are eligible to apply for the PhD in Oral Sciences. Additional requirements include GRE scores above the 50th percentile and, for international candidates, minimum levels of English proficiency as set by the University’s Office of Admissions.

Tuition & Fees

Please visit UIC’s tuition and fees page for current tuition rates for the PhD program. Please visit the UIC Office of Financial Aid for information about how to fund your education.

How to Apply

Step 1: Statement of interest
All candidates must express interest in writing to:

Christina Nicholas, PhD
Head of PhD Program
Room 131
801 S Paulina St., Chicago, IL 60612

Step 2: Online application
All applicants must complete the UIC graduate application for the PhD in Oral Sciences, Program Code 20FS1525PhD. All materials requested during the online application (official transcripts, application fee and GRE scores) must be uploaded directly to the University’s Office of Admissions’ online application. All applicants should carefully read the directions available from  UIC Graduate Admissions.

Applicants will also be required to upload the following:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Personal statement
  • 3 letters of recommendation

Dates and deadlines for the application are available from the UIC Graduate College.

Once your application is complete, it will be reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee. The committee will either make a determination immediately or ask you to interview, in-person or online video conference accommodations are available. Once a decision has been made, you will be notified by letter.

The DMD/PhD Program

The DMD/PhD program integrates our innovative DMD curriculum and clinical training with a customizable basic and translational oral sciences track to offer graduates both a DMD and PhD in Oral Sciences.  Students work closely with faculty mentors and multidisciplinary  science teams to gain valuable experience in the lab and clinic to prepare for careers in science, academics or specialized clinical practice.

Watch these videos to hear from current DMD/PhD candidates on the advantages of combining clinical training with oral science research experience.

Multidisciplinary Oral Science Training (MOST program)

Research Areas

Craniofacial Pathology

Regenerative Science

Clinical, Translational & Community Research

Resources Heading link

Contact Us Heading link

For more information about the PhD in Oral Sciences program, and to apply, please contact:

Christina Nicholas, PhD
Head of PhD Program
Room 131
801 S Paulina St., Chicago, IL 60612

Amsa Ramachandran 
Academic Advisor DMD/PhD Program
MOST Program Coordinator
Office of Research
(312) 413-1160