Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (Professional, Entry-Level Program)


Program Director: Charlene Dickinson, Associate Clinical Professor
Location: MCL 911
Telephone: 940-898-2870
Fax: 940-898-2869

Our on-campus program gives students the coursework and practical experience needed to start a career as a professional dental hygienist. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the board exams and complete licensure requirements to become a registered dental hygienist (RDH).

Accreditation Status

The program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements.” The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at:

Commission on Dental Accreditation
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611


Marketable Skills

Defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30 Strategic Plan as, "Those skills valued by employers that can be applied in a variety of work settings, including interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skills areas. These skills can be either primary or complementary to a major and are acquired by students through education, including curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities."

  1. Apply evidence-based dental hygiene implementation measures and evaluate patient outcomes utilizing professional values and ethical principles.​
  2. Effectively assess, implement, and evaluate the oral health needs of community-based programs.​
  3. Evaluate and analyze scientific literature as a basis for evidence-based practice.​


All applicants must meet the general undergraduate admission requirements.

Effective November 11, 2023: The HESI exam is not offered at the TWU Testing Center.  Students must register for an in-person proctored examination via the HESI admission test portal.

Effective October 4, 2023: Applicants must have completed the Health Education System Inc. (HESI A2) admission test within 12 months prior to applying with a minimum cumulative score of 75.  The HESI exam covers general knowledge needed for our program and will be available from September 17th to January 8th. The exam may be taken up to two times.

The program admits once a year and begins in the summer semester. Applications are only accepted between Nov. 1 and Jan. 10.


  • Completion of the Health Education System Inc. (HESI A2) admission test within 12 months of applying.
  • A cumulative college GPA of at least 3.0
  • Good academic standing with the college or university last attended
  • Completion of required foundational coursework with a C or higher before applying to the program. Foundational coursework consists of:
    • Anatomy I or A&P I (including lab)
    • Physiology I or A&P II (including lab)
    • Microbiology (including lab)
    • Nutrition
    • Statistics
    • English Composition I and II
  • Completion of anatomy & physiology, microbiology, and chemistry within the past five years.
  • Completion of 57 credit hours of undergraduate coursework before entering the program in the summer semester. Specific required courses are listed in the Degree Requirements and include all the courses listed under the Texas Core Curriculum and Other Requirements sections.
  • Knowledge of professional ethics and the dental hygienist’s role in healthcare.
    • This requirement may be met through individual research, study and/or completing DH 1101.

Students who do not meet these requirements will not be considered for admission into the Professional Entry-Level Program.

How to Apply

  • Take the Health Education System, Inc. (HESI A2) Admission Exam within 12 months of applying to the program.
  • Apply to TWU by Dec. 1 to meet the program application deadline (if not currently attending)
    • Submit all transcripts (except TWU transcripts) to Admissions Processing to be fully accepted into the university.
    • Program applications will not be considered until copies of all transcripts have been received and reviewed by the Office of Admissions Processing, which may take several weeks.
    • Acceptance to TWU does not guarantee admission to the dental hygiene program.
  • After acceptance to TWU, complete the online Professional Entry-Level Program Application
    • The program admits once a year and begins in the summer semester.
    • Program applications are only accepted between Nov. 1 and Jan. 10.
    • Applicants enrolled in courses at a college other than TWU during the fall application semester must submit an official transcript that includes those fall grades to the Office of Admissions Processing by Jan. 10.
    • To access the program application, students must be fully accepted to the university, have their Pioneer Portal account set up, and be logged in to the TWU Google Drive account. For technical questions, contact the TWU Service Desk.
  • A copy of the HESI A2 score report and the following information from college transcripts will be needed to complete the program application:
    • Course names and dates for all foundational prerequisite and Texas core curriculum courses.
    • Names of all colleges and universities previously attended and the dates attended.

About the Selection Process

  • A foundational grade point average (FGPA) is computed using an applicant’s grades in the foundational courses. Both the cumulative GPA and the foundational GPA will be considered in making selections, along with the HESI exam score.
    • The foundational GPA will average grades from all attempts within a specified time frame for each foundational course.
  • Competitive applicants will be invited for a personal interview with a selection committee.
    • Invitation to an interview does not guarantee a place in the program but serves as part of the selection process.
    • All expenses of the interview are the responsibility of the applicant.
    • Notification of interview invitation will be made by mid-February.
    • Knowledge of the role that professional dental hygienists play in healthcare, specifically oral healthcare, and awareness of the professional code of ethics of dental hygiene are critical during the interview process. Information regarding the professional code of ethics of dental hygiene can be located here: American Dental Hygienists' Code of Ethics.
  • All required core and prerequisite courses must be completed prior to entry into the program in the summer semester.

Note: Selected students join a cohort for the professional-entry program, starting in the summer.

Degree Requirements

Total Semester Credit Hours (SCH): 121   

Major: 63 SCH

Program Code: DENTHYGNENTRY.BS   CIP Code: 51.0602.0

Texas Core Curriculum

ENG 1013Composition I3
ENG 1023Composition II3
Life & Physical Sciences6
Language, Philosophy, & Culture3
Creative Arts3
HIST 1013History of the United States, 1492-18653
HIST 1023History of the United States, 1865 to the Present3
POLS 2013U.S. National Government3
POLS 2023Texas Government3
Social & Behavioral Sciences3
CAO: Women's Studies3
CAO: First Year Seminar, Wellness or Mathematics3
Total SCHs42

Courses Required for Major

DH 3112Periodontology I2
DH 3221Risk Assessment and Preventive Dentistry Lab1
DH 3222Risk Assessment and Preventive Dentistry2
DH 3312Professionalism and Ethics 2
DH 3323Orofacial Biology3
DH 3341Orofacial Biology Lab1
DH 3401Preclinical Dental Hygiene I Theory1
DH 3402Preclinical Dental Hygiene I Practice2
DH 3413Clinical Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice3
DH 3431Oral Radiology Lab1
DH 3433Oral Radiology3
DH 3502Dental Hygiene II2
DH 3511Clinical Dental Hygiene II Theory1
DH 3512Clinical Dental Hygiene II Practice2
DH 3542Pharmacology for the Dental Hygienist2
DH 4301Clinical Dental Hygiene III Theory1
DH 4303Clinical Dental Hygiene III Practice3
DH 4313Community Oral Health3
DH 4341Periodontology II Lab1
DH 4342Periodontal Disease II2
DH 4412Dental Hygiene III2
DH 4431Community Oral Health Practicum1
DH 4443Dental Hygiene Care for Special Needs3
DH 4451Dental Materials1
DH 4461Dental Materials Lab1
DH 4513Alternative Dental Hygiene Practice3
DH 4533Oral Health Worldview3
DH 4551Senior Seminar1
DH 4561Clinical Dental Hygiene IV Theory1
DH 4563Clinical Dental Hygiene IV Practice3
DH 4713Applied Evidence-based Research3
DH 4723General and Oral Pathology3
Total SCHs63

Departmental Requirements

BACT 1003
BACT 1001
and Microbiology Laboratory (may be applied from core; grade of C or higher required)
Any introductory level or higher chemistry lecture course 3
Any introductory level or higher chemistry laboratory course1
MATH 1703Elementary Statistics I (may be applied from core; grade of C or higher required)3
NFS 2323Introduction to Nutrition (grade of C or higher required)3
ZOOL 2013
ZOOL 2011
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology I Laboratory (may be applied from core; grade of C or higher required)
ZOOL 2023
ZOOL 2021
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II Laboratory (grade of C or higher required)
PSY 1013Introduction to General Psychology (may be applied from core)3
SOCI 1413Culture, Inequality, and Self (may be applied from core)3
or SOCI 1013 Introductory Sociology
Total SCHs28

Retention Criteria

Students must meet all of the following requirements in order to continue in the program.

  • A minimum grade of C is required for all dental hygiene courses. No credit will be awarded toward the major for a grade of D or F.  
  • Students receiving a grade of D or F in a course will be placed on academic probation and must retake the course and earn a grade of C or better in order to graduate from the Dental Hygiene program. Students earning two grades lower than a C, whether in the same course or different courses, will be dismissed from the program.
  • Students must maintain professional and academic integrity at all times and must abide by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners ethics policy and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Standards for Clinical Dental Hygiene Practice, university, college, department, and program codes of ethics/conduct and policies and procedures while in the program. Any act deemed unethical or unprofessional by the Promotion Committee may result in sanctions for the student including academic probation or dismissal from the program.
  • Immunizations: Students must submit documentation showing that all required immunizations are current to Student Health Services at TWU. Immunizations must also remain current throughout enrollment. Without immunizations, students will not be able to participate in required externships, clinical rotations or client interactions on campus.
  • Background check: Before beginning the dental hygiene program a criminal background check is required. The background checks are conducted by a third party at the student’s expense. In addition, some externships and clinical rotation sites require additional background checks that students are responsible to complete at their expense. Inability to participate in clinical experiences will hinder or preclude a student from either entering into or continuing in the program.
    • Students who have had a conviction or deferred adjudication for a felony or misdemeanor offense (not a traffic ticket) should contact the dental board to determine whether or not they will be eligible for licensure. Also note that the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners requires naturalization papers, driver's license, or passport in order to apply for dental hygiene licensure. 
  • Drug Screening: A drug screening is required before beginning the program. Most externships and all clinical rotation sites also require drug screenings. Drug screening is facilitated through TWU Student Health Services at the student's expense. Any student with a non-negative drug screen result or any student who refuses the test will not be admitted into the dental hygiene program or will be dismissed from the program if enrolled. 

Recommended Plan of Study

First Year
ENG 1013Composition I ENGL 13013
MATH 1703Elementary Statistics I MATH 13423
ZOOL 2013
ZOOL 2011
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology I Laboratory
BIOL 2401
& BIOL 2101
Wellness or Mathematics CAO Core2
UNIV 1231Learning Frameworks: First-Year Seminar EDUC 1100, EDUC 1200, EDUC 13001
 SCHs 13
PSY 1013Introduction to General Psychology PSYC 23013
SOCI 1413Culture, Inequality, and Self 3
ENG 1023Composition II ENGL 13023
HIST 1013History of the United States, 1492-1865 HIST 13013
BACT 1003
BACT 1001
and Microbiology Laboratory
BIOL 2420
& BIOL 2120
 SCHs 16
Second Year
ZOOL 2023
ZOOL 2021
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II Laboratory
BIOL 2402
& BIOL 2102
NFS 2323Introduction to Nutrition BIOL 13223
POLS 2013U.S. National Government GOVT 23053
HIST 1023History of the United States, 1865 to the Present HIST 13023
 SCHs 13
CHEM 1013
CHEM 1011
Introductory Chemistry
and Introductory Chemistry Laboratory
CHEM 1305
& CHEM 1106
POLS 2023Texas Government GOVT 23063
Language, Philosophy & Culture Core3
Creative Arts Core3
CAO: Women's Studies3
 SCHs 16
DH 3323Orofacial Biology 3
DH 3341Orofacial Biology Lab 1
DH 3312Professionalism and Ethics 2
 SCHs 6
Third Year
DH 3112Periodontology I 2
DH 3401Preclinical Dental Hygiene I Theory 1
DH 3402Preclinical Dental Hygiene I Practice 2
DH 3413Clinical Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice 3
DH 3433Oral Radiology 3
DH 3431Oral Radiology Lab 1
 SCHs 12
DH 3221Risk Assessment and Preventive Dentistry Lab 1
DH 3222Risk Assessment and Preventive Dentistry 2
DH 3502Dental Hygiene II 2
DH 3511Clinical Dental Hygiene II Theory 1
DH 3512Clinical Dental Hygiene II Practice 2
DH 3542Pharmacology for the Dental Hygienist 2
DH 4451Dental Materials 1
DH 4461Dental Materials Lab 1
 SCHs 12
DH 4443Dental Hygiene Care for Special Needs 3
DH 4723General and Oral Pathology 3
 SCHs 6
Fourth Year
DH 4301Clinical Dental Hygiene III Theory 1
DH 4303Clinical Dental Hygiene III Practice 3
DH 4313Community Oral Health 3
DH 4342Periodontal Disease II 2
DH 4341Periodontology II Lab 1
DH 4412Dental Hygiene III 2
DH 4713Applied Evidence-based Research 3
 SCHs 15
DH 4513Alternative Dental Hygiene Practice 3
DH 4533Oral Health Worldview 3
DH 4431Community Oral Health Practicum 1
DH 4551Senior Seminar 1
DH 4561Clinical Dental Hygiene IV Theory 1
DH 4563Clinical Dental Hygiene IV Practice 3
 SCHs 12
 Total SCHs:  121