Dental Hygiene Requirements

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The program leading to a baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene is designed to prepare the graduate to successfully enter the oral health profession of dental hygiene in any one of the six designated roles of the dental hygienist as defined by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association: clinician, educator, entrepreneur, and corporate researcher. In addition, the graduates are prepared to continue their education in graduate or professional programs. The curriculum is designed to assist students in the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will enable them to adapt to a complex and changing health care delivery system. Special emphasis is placed on the development of skills related to periodontal disease, skills and attitudes to meet the needs of the geriatric population, and access to care for those persons unable to attain care, especially the underserved rural segment of the population. A minimum grade of C (as defined by the dental hygiene program) for all dental hygiene courses is required to maintain enrollment in the Dental Hygiene professional sequence. Dental hygiene courses typically are taught one time in an academic year. A student who fails to meet the minimum grade requirements for each DH course (or drops out of the dental hygiene sequence) will be removed from the DH program and must reapply for admission.

Dental hygiene is a licensed profession. In order to meet licensure requirements, the student must graduate from an accredited program and successfully pass a written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, as well as the appropriate State/Regional (Clinical) Board Examination.

The Dental Hygiene program is a fall only competitive admissions program.

Admission requirements to the applicant pool are the same as those to the University. Once accepted into the University, the student must submit a separate application to the Dental Hygiene program. In order to be considered for admission into the professional sequence, you must be accepted into Southern Illinois University Carbondale and have completed a minimum of 29 credit hours of college credit. These credit hours must include the following courses or approved substitutions: ENGL 101, ENGL 102, MATH 108, PSYC 102, SOC 108, MICR 201, AH 105, AH 241 and CHEM 106. Prospective students may complete the University Core Curriculum and the basic science courses at other colleges or universities as well as at SIU. Thirty-six students begin the professional sequence in the fall semester. In addition to textbooks and tuition, other expenses are required to cover the cost of instruments, uniforms and other professional supplies. Contact the Dental Hygiene program for specifics.

The Dental Hygiene program offers an on-site clinic to provide the student with practical clinical instruction. Students perform dental hygiene services in the clinic under the direct supervision of dental hygiene faculty composed of licensed dental hygienists and licensed dentists. Students also are involved in the provision of care and education through a variety of community projects. An advisory committee composed of representatives from community dental practices, dental education and dental industry serves the program.

The program also is designed to serve as a degree completion program for dental hygienists who have completed an associate degree in dental hygiene from any accredited dental hygiene program. The Capstone Option is available to students who have obtained an Associate in Applied Science with a 2.75 (4.0 scale) or higher GPA (see Captone section below for additional information). The student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 in order to remain in good standing in the University and dental hygiene program. Failure to maintain the minimum GPA will result in suspension from the program. 

The Dental Hygiene program has a Linkage Agreement with Southeastern Illinois College, Kaskaskia College and Shawnee College. If you have questions about this agreement, contact the community college advisor or SIU School of Health Sciences at 618-453-7211.

The program in Dental Hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Post-secondary Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 800- 621-8099 or 440-2500 at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL  60611.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Dental Hygiene Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum 1 39
To include: AH 241 or Anatomy equivalent, CHEM 106, MICR 201, HND 101, AH 105 3
Requirements for Major in Dental Hygiene - including: DH 200, DH 206, DH 206L, DH 207, DH 207C, DH 210, DH 210C, DH 212, DH 218, DH 218L, DH 219, DH 219L, DH 220, DH 220C, DH 226, DH 233, DH 247, DH 247L, DH 320, DH 320C, DH 322, DH 322L, DH 340, DH 341, DH 347, DH 349, DH 355, DH 355C, DH 401, DH 401L, DH 410, DH 417, DH 417i, DH 440, DH 441, and DH 441C. 78
Total 120

1 These courses are required for a major in dental hygiene and are approved substitutions for the University Core Curriculum requirements in science. The additional credit hours will be included in the total credit hours required for the degree.

Education and Management Specialization

This option is designed to allow dental hygienists with an associate degree and their credentials, the opportunity to complete a Bachelor’s Degree. The student will study educational theories, philosophies, styles, and techniques. Additionally, the student will be introduced to management concepts as they relate to health care. Students in their last semester of completing their program in dental hygiene, may elect to start the education and management  program. Students who start the education management option during their last semester, must obtain an associate’s degree and their credentials at the end of their program in order to continue in the dental hygiene education management option. The primary focus of the education and management option is to allow students who wish to enter either dental hygiene education or management the opportunity to learn and develop the skills necessary for success in these two environments.

Education and Management: The ten following courses must be taken: DH 345, DH 411, DH 425A, DH 425B, DH 435, DH 476, HCM 360, HCM 364, and HCM 388.

Capstone Option for Transfer Students

The SIU Capstone Option may be available to eligible students who have earned an associates degree or the equivalent. The Capstone Option reduces the University Core Curriculum requirements from 39 to 30 hours, therefore reducing the time to degree completion. See the Capstone Option section for more information on this option.