Dental Hygiene Major, B.S.

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 2024–2025 academic year.

All course descriptions can be found in ConnectCarolina. 

Admission to the Program

Applicants may be admitted for dental hygiene study after completion of the dental hygiene prerequisites, provided they meet the 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 college course instructors and one letter should be 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. For questions about specific admission requirements on the undergraduate and graduate programs in dental hygiene, please visit our website or call our office at (919) 537-3474.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the dental hygiene program, students should be able to:

  • Possess the skills and knowledge needed to provide optimal dental hygiene patient care while valuing and adhering to the ethical beliefs as stated by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Code of Ethics
  • Promote the values of optimal oral health as related to general health and overall wellness to all patients
  • Embrace an interdisciplinary role within the health care system and assess, plan, implement, and evaluate oral health care programs and activities for diverse population groups while facilitating access to care and services
  • Assess, plan, implement, and evaluate treatment in the promotion of oral and systemic health using an evidence-based approach
  • Value the dental hygiene profession through career growth and development and commitment to lifelong learning


All baccalaureate-seeking dental hygiene students must complete all First-Year Foundation requirements, all Reflection & Integration requirements, and must complete at least six Focus Capacity requirements as part of the IDEAs in Action General Education curriculum. Although not required, STOR 151 is recommended to fulfill the FC-QUANT requirement. Other specific requirements include the following courses:

ENGL 105IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric3
or ENGL 105I IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
BIOC 107Introduction to Biochemistry 14
or CHEM 101
IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Descriptive Chemistry I
and IDEAs in Action General Education logo Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
BIOC 108Introduction to Biochemistry4
or CHEM 102
IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Descriptive Chemistry II
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory II
Select one of the following options: 3-5
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology
and Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory H
Human Anatomy and Physiology II 2
Select one of the following COMM courses:3
Communication and Social Process
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Public Speaking 3
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Interpersonal and Organizational Communication H, F
MCRO 251Introductory Medical Microbiology4
PSYC 101IDEAs in Action General Education logo General Psychology F3
Select one of the following SOCI courses:3
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Sociological Perspective Through Documentary Film F
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Sociological Perspectives H
Human Societies

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


FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.


CHEM 101/CHEM 101L satisfies FC-NATSCI requirement. 


EXSS 155 is a prerequisite to EXSS 256


COMM 113 satisfies the Communication Beyond Carolina requirement.

Dental Hygiene Professional School Program

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
DHYG 236 Infection Control 2
DHYG 237 Medical Emergencies in the Dental Office 2
DHYG 252 Dental Radiology 3
DHYG 253 Dental Embryology, Histology, and Anatomy 4
DHYG 257 Introduction to Dental Hygiene 2
DHYG 257L Preclinical Dental Hygiene 3
Hours 16
Spring Semester
DHYG 241 Nutrition 2
DHYG 261 Dental Pharmacology 2
DHYG 263 Periodontology 2
DHYG 265 Dental Materials 3
DHYG 267 Dental Hygiene Theory I 3
DHYG 267L Dental Hygiene Clinic I 3
DHYG 269 Ethics and Professionalism 1
DHYG 414 Radiographic Interpretation 1
Summer Session: 1
DHYG 357 Dental Hygiene Theory II 1 2
DHYG 357L Dental Hygiene Clinic II 1 2
DHYG 495 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Research Methodology 1 2
Hours 23
Second Year
Fall Semester
DHYG 351 General and Oral Pathology 2
DHYG 352 Community Dental Health 3
DHYG 367 Dental Hygiene Theory III 3
DHYG 367L Dental Hygiene Clinic III 4
DHYG 401 Oral Microbiology 2
Dental Hygiene Electives Chosen from: 1-3
Educational Foundations and Theory
Dental Hygiene Honors I
Hours 15-17
Spring Semester
DHYG 362 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Community Dental Health Internship 2
DHYG 377 Dental Hygiene Theory IV 3
DHYG 377L Dental Hygiene Clinic IV 4
DHYG 379 Dental Ethics and Jurisprudence 1
Dental Hygiene Electives Chosen from: 1-3
Community-Based Dental Hygiene Service Learning
Dental Hygiene Honors II
Hours 11-13
Total Hours 65-69

DHYG 357, DHYG 357L, and DHYG 495 will be taken in the summer semester between the first year and second year. 

In addition to the program requirements listed above, students must attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog, and the Dental Hygiene Programs Academic Policy.

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. See "Immunization Requirements" details in the Compliance section.

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 Adams School of Dentistry has adopted an Infection Control Policy that requires the wearing of a clinical overgarment, disposable gloves, a mask, shield, protective cap and protective safety eye covering when performing oral examinations and dental hygiene services.

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


Jennifer Brame.

Clinical Associate Professors 

Jennifer Harmon, Shannon Mitchell, Yuri Oh, Lattice Sams.

Clinical Assistant Professors

Leena Balicat, Roxanne Dsouza-Norwood, Sarah Liebkemann, Tiffanie White, Natasha Wiltshire.

Clinic Adjuncts

Raluca Colta, Min Gim.

Program Directors

Lattice Sams, Undergraduate Program Director
Jennifer Brame, Graduate Program Director

Special Opportunities in Dental Hygiene

Departmental Involvement

Students are eligible to become members of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, American Dental Education Association, American Association of Dental Research, American Association of Public Health Dentistry, and other specialty organizations. Student membership fees may be required.

Experiential Education or High-Impact Experience

Students have the opportunity to participate in community-based clinical experiences as well as providing oral hygiene programs in the community. Service-learning opportunities are possible as an elective. Each semester, students will be involved with hands-on experiences providing dental hygiene services. Due to the location of community sites, undergraduate students may need access to transportation. Expenses for travel are the responsibility of the student.


Baccalaureate degree graduates are eligible for dental hygiene licensure examinations at the state and national levels. Candidates must pass both the national and clinical board examinations in order to be granted a license to practice dental hygiene. Additional costs are associated with the examinations required for licensure. Some dental hygiene licensure examinations require background checks with fingerprint analysis.


The dental hygiene program's accreditation status is approval without reporting requirements as determined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Undergraduate Awards

Dental hygiene students are eligible for awards through the Spurgeon Dental Society in the UNC Adams School of Dentistry and the Dental Foundation of North Carolina. In addition, student awards are also available through the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, American Association of Public Health Dentistry, American Dental Education Association, and other specialty organizations.

Undergraduate Research

Research opportunities are available at the undergraduate level for dental hygiene students. Students are encouraged to become involved in research activities pertaining to dental hygiene and dentistry. Student research grants are available through the University, professional organizations, and private industry.

Graduate School and Career Opportunities

Upon satisfactory completion of the baccalaureate program, students are eligible for application to graduate programs in dental hygiene education, public health, and other areas. The UNC Adams School of Dentistry offers a master of science (M.S.) graduate degree program in dental hygiene education to which graduates of the dental hygiene program may apply. Graduates also are eligible to apply for admission to the school’s predoctoral dental curriculum provided they successfully complete the required program prerequisites.

The growth of the dental health care field assures an excellent employment outlook for the coming years. Courses of study provide comprehensive educational experience to qualified individuals for the practice of dental hygiene in accordance with the current and changing demands for health services and in accordance with the laws and ethics pertaining to practice.

Information Relevant to the UNC Adams School of Dentistry Experience

Immunization Requirements

The State of North Carolina immunization requirements and the UNC Adams School of Dentistry immunization requirements for dental hygiene and doctor of dental surgery students are listed below. Documentation of all is required with application.

State Requirements

  • Three DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), Td (tetanus, diphtheria), or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) doses. (This fulfills the primary series requirement.)
    • One Tdap booster after completion of the primary series that did not include a Tdap, and then a Td vaccine every 10 years thereafter.
  • Three polio (unless greater than 18 years of age).
  • Two measles (rubeola), two mumps, one rubella (two MMR doses meet this requirement) or positive titers.
  • COVID-19 vaccination series, including prior boosters, or intent to request a medical or religious exemption.
  • Hepatitis B series (not required for individuals born before July 1, 1994). See school requirements below.

UNC Adams School of Dentistry Requirements

  • Varicella vaccination series (two shots) or a positive titer.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination series (2- or 3-shot series) and a positive hepatitis B antibody (HBsAb) quantitative titer. (Please make sure your physician does not order a qualitative titer.) Ideally, a titer is recommended one to two months after completion of the series for proof of immunity to hepatitis B but can be checked at a later date.
  • Two-step tuberculosis skin test (TST) or a TB blood test (IGRA). DDS and DH students report to Campus Health and follow the testing procedures required. Advanced Dental Education students report to Employee Health and follow the testing procedures required.

The matriculating student is required to submit an official certificate of immunizations that is signed by an authorized healthcare provider. Immunization documentation is to be submitted to both UNC Campus Health Services (CHS) and to the UNC Adams School of Dentistry through eMedley and Connect Carolina by a published and specified date. CHS will notify students who are not in compliance with the state immunization requirements noted above. Individuals who have not met the state immunization requirements after 30 calendar days from the first date of attendance will be administratively withdrawn from the University by the University Registrar. See the UNC Campus Health website.

Students with deficiencies in the additional immunization requirements of the school will be notified of the deficiencies by the UNC school's director of clinical compliance. The school will work with students to meet these additional requirements. The failure to comply with the school’s requirements after consultation with the director of clinical compliance and the agreed-upon resolution schedule will result in administrative withdrawal from the school.

Additional Requirements


  • Influenza vaccine not earlier than September 1.
  • Verification of health insurance. UNC–Chapel Hill requires all eligible students to have health insurance (see the UNC Campus Health Student Health Insurance website.) Students are required to waive with existing creditable insurance each semester or they will automatically be enrolled in the UNC System Student Health Insurance Plan, which is administered by Student Blue/BCBS of NC. To waive or enroll/renew, visit the Student Blue website.


  • American Heart Association certified CPR for Healthcare Providers training. Documentation of current certification is required of the matriculating student and is to be submitted through eKeeper. (Note that the school requires in-person CPR skills assessment.)

Infection Control: One of the consequences of the delivery of health care is the possibility of contracting an infectious disease such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV, or herpes. To minimize this risk, the school has adopted an Infection Control Policy that requires the wearing of a clinical overgarment, disposable gloves, a mask, and protective eye covering when oral examinations and dental procedures are being performed. NOTE: COVID-19 has adjusted these requirements and additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be required.

Infectious Disease Status

Students engaged in patient care activities are required to know their tuberculosis and hepatitis B (HBV) status, and are encouraged to learn their hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV status. State regulations require health care workers, including students, who perform surgical or dental procedures or who assist in such procedures in a way that may result in an exposure of patients to their blood, and who know themselves to be infected with HIV or HBV, to report their status to the state health director. See UNC's policy.

Late Registration

University regulations require students who do not register before the first day of classes in any semester or summer session to pay an additional fee of $20 for delayed registration. Any student who believes that she/he can show sufficient justification for the delay may petition for a refund by completing a form, which can be found online, and outlining the reason for delay. This form must bear the approval of the dean of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry.

Awarding of Degrees and Certificates

To be awarded a degree or certificate, students must satisfactorily complete all requirements of their respective program.

Class and Clinic Attendance

Regular class and clinic attendance is a student obligation. No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any given number of sessions.

Patient Care Responsibilities

Students are granted the privilege of participating in the patient care system of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry and are expected to provide care consistent with our person-centered philosophy. Patients are a central part of the health care team and are involved in the planning of their care. It is the responsibility of the dental student to provide patients with the information needed so they make informed decisions about their treatment. The dental student has the responsibility to provide high-quality, evidence-based care to all their assigned patients in a timely manner and to uphold the ethical responsibilities as outlined in the school's Code of Professional Conduct and its Technical Standards.

Current academic policies and procedures can be found online. However, policies are subject to change at any time. The manual provides guidelines for governing the Adams School of Dentistry's educational programs and advises students, faculty, and staff of academic policies and procedures related to the respective programs.

UNC Adams School of Dentistry

Visit Program Website

385 South Columbia St., CB# 7450, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7450

Academic Affairs: (919) 918-1258

Student Services Manager: (919) 537-3474

Marcus Walker

Undergraduate Director of Dental Hygiene

Lattice Sams


Dr. Janet Guthmiller