Oral Health Science BSc

UCAS code B750
Information line 01463 279190

What is special about this course?

This leading degree in Oral Health Science offers prospective students (including school leavers, qualified dental nurses, and those who are considering a career change) the opportunity to train for a structured professional career in dental hygiene and dental therapy; a sector currently experiencing a shortage in skilled practitioners.

The role of dental hygienists and dental therapists is varied. You will provide clinical and educational care in the community, including prevention, fillings and treatment for periodontal (gum) disease. Strong values, an ethical approach and good communication skills, as well as the ability to work well in a team, are essential.

You will receive a thorough understanding in all aspects of dental care including the latest in practical skills and procedures. Delivered from our purpose-built dental buildings in Inverness, Stornoway and Dumfries, you will have access to state-of-the-art equipment and a highly skilled team of clinical and academic staff.

Special features

  • The course is delivered from state-of-the-art training units at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness, Dumfries Dental Centre and Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
  • You will learn clinical skills and undertake treatments in supervised patient clinics
  • The course is taught and supported by a professional team of clinical and academic staff
  • You will benefit from small group teaching
  • The course is taught using a combination of face-to-face and online methods
  • In your final year you will undertake a work placement in a hospital or in clinics situated across Scotland
  • On completion of the full BSc you will be able to register with the General Dental Council as a dental hygienist and dental therapist


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 4 Scottish Highers at grade B or above OR 
  • 3 A levels at grade BCC or above
  • One B grade must include a science subject, preferably Biology or Human Biology. English is also preferred
  • For those who do not have English at Higher or A level then Standard Grade English at Credit level, or GCSE English at A or B is required
  • Applicants with a recognised qualification in dental nursing may also apply
  • Applicants without traditional entry requirements are encouraged to apply and will be considered for the course on the basis of a portfolio of alternative evidence of the required knowledge and experience

In addition, all applicants to this programme will be expected to demonstrate the following:

  • A genuine interest in the care and treatment of patients as part of the dental team
  • Demonstration of care 'values'
  • Good manual dexterity as evidenced through relevant skills
  • Team working ability
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • IT experience e.g. word processing packages, email and using the internet
  • A high level of commitment due to the intensive nature of this academic and clinical degree programme

Successful applicants will be required to complete a PVG Disclosure Check and become PVG Scheme Members in order to undertake this course

Access routes

Students eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP) will be able to apply for entry to BSc Oral Health Science with a grade profile of ABB in one of the below courses:

  • Access to: Biological Science (West Lothian College)
  • Access to: Health and Life Sciences (Fife College)
  • Access to: Life Sciences (Dundee & Angus College)
  • Access to: Life Sciences (Edinburgh College)
  • Access to: Medical and Life Sciences (North East College)

Year 1 - CertHE

Modules are:

  • Behavioural science
  • Biomedical science
  • Clinical dentistry 1
  • Clinical practice 1
  • Oral biology

Year 2 - DipHE

Modules are:

  • Clinical dentistry 2
  • Clinical practice 2
  • Dental public health
  • Human disease
  • Radiography and radiology

Year 3 - BSc

Modules are:

  • Literature review oral health science
  • Advanced clinical dentistry 1
  • Advanced clinical destistry 2
  • Preparation for practice
  • Clinical practice 3

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time - 3 years
  • You will learn through a combination of practical clinical and patient skills sessions, video conference lectures, online study and tutorials taught by experts in Inverness (Centre for Health Science), Dumfries (Dumfries Dental Centre) and Stornoway (Western Isles Dental Centre).
  • Some modules are available via online study through the university's virtual learning environment (VLE) which is supported by your tutors and student advisor
  • All practical work is face-to-face
  • You are also required to attend an induction session in Inverness prior to the start of your course

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 3 years @ 37.5 hours per week

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness College UHI - Centre for Health Science (Inverness)
  • Lews Castle College UHI - Western Isles Dental Centre (Stornoway)

You will enrol at Inverness College UHI or Lews Castle College UHI. Teaching sessions are run at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness, Dumfries Dental Centre and Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. Applicants interested in studying in Dumfries should apply to Inverness College UHI: location offered will depend on applicant numbers.

Start date



For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820

Rest of UK students

For students living in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man)Ireland), with a term-time address in Scotland, studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

This course is not available for international students requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK. For students living in the UK and assessed as international fee status, the following fees will apply:

Year 1 CertHE £12,800 £13,200
Year 2 DipHE £12,800 £13,200
Year 3 Degree £12,800 £13,200


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact Inverness College UHI for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of this BSc Oral Health Science course there will be many career opportunities open to you, including:

  • General dental practice
  • Salaried dental practice
  • Hospital practice
  • Armed forces
  • Academic training

Is there more information available online?

QR Code - scan to visit course page

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

What our students, graduates and staff say

I chose the University of the Highlands and Islands because it offered the best facilities for learning oral health science. I also wanted to start working with patients straight away and they had a wide client base.

Calum Taylor is studying full time on the BSc Oral Health Science at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness.

I qualified as a dental nurse in 2014 and this course is the next step to help further my career. I loved the idea of being able to work on practical treatment rather than assisting as I did in my previous job. The course moves so fast but I look back on the first year and realise how much I have achieved with my patients. It is very rewarding.

Robyn Devlin is studying full time and is in her second year of the BSc Oral Health Science, at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness.

One of the highlights of the course was being able to get hands-on with patients after only three months. I also enjoyed our outreach placements in Elgin which gave me a chance to practice my skills in a different environment and prepared me for life outwith the comfort of university. Over the three years of study I saw certain patients on a regular basis and one of the rewarding aspects of this was being able to educate them on the importance and associated benefits of good oral hygiene.

BSc Oral Health Science graduate Gemma MacLennan now works as a dental therapist at Inspire Dental in Kingussie, winners of the Dentistry Scotland Awards 2014 and Scottish Dental Awards 2014.

Apply for Oral Health Science BSc

This course is full and applications are now closed for September 2020 entry.  Applications for September 2021 will open in September 2020.

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.