Certificate in Dental Hygiene

School of Dentistry

Visit Program Website

385 South Columbia St., CB# 7450

(919) 537-3347

Nikki Perkinson, Student Services


Scott S. De Rossi, Dean and Professor

The dental hygienist is an educator and motivator as well as a health care provider. As a practicing member of the dental health team, the hygienist is primarily concerned with the maintenance of oral health and the prevention of dental disease. Additionally, dental hygienists may assume professional leadership roles; participate in the development, implementation, and evaluation of community health programs; engage in research activities; or serve as consultants and assume managerial roles in certain types of dental care delivery systems.

Students are subject to the academic requirements in place when they are admitted to the dental hygiene program; consequently, the requirements described in this catalog particularly apply to students admitted to the school during the 2018–2019 academic year.

All course descriptions can be found in ConnectCarolina and in the UNC School of Dentistry Academic Catalog (see the school Web site).

Department Programs



Graduate Programs

Admission to the Program

Applicants may be admitted for dental hygiene study after completion of the dental hygiene prerequisites, provided they meet requirements of the University. To assure proper planning for admission, applicants should maintain close contact with the program during the application process.

Enrollment is limited, and applicants are accepted on a competitive basis. Admission to the University does not guarantee admission into the dental hygiene program. Selections are based on academic achievement with an emphasis on performance in science courses, character, knowledge of working with the dental team, and a sincere interest in dental hygiene as a professional career. For UNC–Chapel Hill students, application for admission to the program is usually made during the second year of General College study. Interested students should submit an online application, which can be accessed from ConnectCarolina.

For transfer applicants, all prerequisite dental hygiene coursework and General College courses taken at other institutions must be approved for transfer in advance by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Official transcripts from all schools attended (including high school) must be submitted.

Three letters of recommendation must be submitted with the application. Two of the letters should be from previous college course directors and one letter, a character reference. In addition, applicants must shadow in a dental office for a minimum of 20 hours. This requirement may be fulfilled through prior dental assisting experience.

Prior to being admitted and enrolled, all applicants will be required to present evidence of satisfactory completion of prerequisite courses required by the major. Applicants with a previous degree should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to determine fulfillment of General College requirements. Specific admission requirements on the prelicensure and graduate programs in dental hygiene can be obtained from the School of Dentistry Academic Catalog.


Applicants interested in the certificate program in dental hygiene may be admitted to the program without junior standing after completion of:

BIOL 252
Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory
CHEM 101
CHEM 102
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
and General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II
or BIOC 107
BIOC 108
Introduction to Biochemistry
and Introduction to Biochemistry
Select one of the following:3
Communication and Social Process
Public Speaking
Introduction to Interpersonal and Organizational Communication H
ENGL 105English Composition and Rhetoric3
MCRO 251Introductory Medical Microbiology4
PSYC 101General Psychology3
SOCI 101Sociological Perspectives H3
or SOCI 111 Human Societies
Total Hours28

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

After completion of the basic professional program, a certificate in dental hygiene is awarded. Enrollment to complete the baccalaureate degree requirements is an option for the student with a certificate or equivalent credential in dental hygiene.

Additional Information for the Dental Hygiene Programs

Upon provisional acceptance into the dental hygiene program, all students must provide an acceptable criminal background check and provide documentation of required immunizations, as well as varicella vaccination series (two shots) or a positive quantitative titer; Hepatitis B vaccination series (three shots) and a positive Hepatitis B antibody (HBsAb) quantitative titer; and the Two-Step Tuberculosis Skin Test (TST) or a QuantiFERON-TB Gold blood test. Specific information is provided in the School of Dentistry Academic Catalog.

One of the consequences of the delivery of health care is the possibility of contracting infectious disease such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, herpes, or HIV. To minimize this risk, the UNC School of Dentistry has adopted an Infection Control Policy that requires the wearing of a clinical overgarment, disposable gloves, a mask and protective safety eye covering when oral examinations and dental hygiene services are being performed.

Dental school fees are required that include instrument rental and other supplies needed for clinical care and the education of patients. Additional costs may occur for projects required in the curriculum.

See the program page for special opportunities

See the program page here for special opportunities.

Program Faculty

Shannon Mitchell, Program Director (Undergraduate Students)

Jennifer Brame, Program Director (Graduate Students)

Roland Arnold, Jennifer Brame, Alice Curran, Jennifer Harmon, Lynne Hunt, Elizabeth Kornegay, Linda Levitch, Sally Mauriello, Lattice Sams, Li Chen, Kate Ciarrocca.

Clinic Adjuncts

Judy Adkins, Jessica Barlow, Susan Buchenberger, Kayleigh Bullard, Stacy McCauley, Catherine Seifert, Nancy St. Onge, Sommer Wisher.