Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy


The Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy is a 27 month full-time course enabling students to gain professional accreditation as dental hygienists and dental therapists. The course has one intake per year in April. We recognise the importance of training the dental team together and there is a strong belief in integrating the dental hygiene and therapy students with dental students. At Sheffield our graduates can launch themselves into the responsibilities of a working life with confidence and competence. See what our students and graduates think...

The deadline for applications for our April 2018 intake has now passed. Our next expected intake is scheduled for April 2019. The provision of this and subsequent intakes, including programme funding, is under review. Please complete our online form if you wish to receive information about our next expected intake.


Course Brochure

Entry Requirements

Expected Entry Requirements for Entry in April 2019 (subject to change)

Our next expected intake is scheduled for April 2019. Please note the provision of this and subsequent intakes is currently under review. Any changes to course provision may affect our entry requirements.

5 GCSEs at grade C / grade 4 to include Mathematics, English Language and a Science subject.

PLUS ONE of the following options:

Option 1:

1.1 Level 3 Dental Nurse Qualification plus 2 nationally recognised post-qualification certificates for example:

  • Dental Sedation Nursing,
  • Dental Radiography,
  • Oral Health Education,
  • Orthodontic Nursing,
  • Special Care Dental Nursing,
  • Dental Implant Nursing.

1.2 Level 3 Dental Nurse Qualification plus 1 A Level in a relevant Science subject (preferably Biology) at grade C.

1.3 Level 5 Foundation Degree in Dental Nursing.

Option 2:

2 A Levels to include one in a relevant Science subject (preferably Biology) at grades CC.

Option 3:

Access to Higher Education Diploma (60 credits with 45 at Level 3 at grade M) including 36 Level 3 credits in relevant Science units (preferably Biology) at grade M.

Option 4:

BTEC National Diploma at grade MM including 90 credits or 540 GLH of relevant Science subjects (preferably Biology) at grade M.

Option 5:

A degree in a relevant Science subject.

We will consider other national and international qualifications on an individual basis. If your qualifications aren’t listed here please contact us to discuss your application. Applicants with international qualifications are also encouraged to submit a certificate of comparability from UK NARIC with their application form. If your first language isn’t English you’ll need to take a language test – for example IELTS Test 7.0 with 6.5 in each component (should have been completed no more than two years before of the start date of our course).

Proof of all qualifications will be required.

Please note we do not accept Psychology or Sociology as scientific subjects.

Personal qualities and experience

You must possess a high level of manual dexterity and demonstrate attention to detail. You must also demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, and have the ability to work as a team, think logically and respond positively to feedback. You must have a genuine interest in the care and treatment of patients, be empathetic and act without discrimination. Candidates are strongly advised to spend some time observing dental care professionals to ensure they have a good understanding of the profession.

The School offers a free online course via Future Learn which explores the impact dentistry has on our lives. You may find it useful to complete our discover dentistry course before applying.

NHS Constitution.

We also seek to select dental students with values and behaviours which align with the values of the NHS Constitution.

These are:

  • Working together for patients

  • Respect and dignity

  • Commitment to quality of care

  • Compassion

  • Improving lives

  • Everyone counts

To find out more about the NHS core values please take a look at the NHS constitution.

Fees & Funding

This information relates to our April 2018 intake and is only intended to give you an indication of the financial support which may be available to you.

It is subject to change at any time.

As part of the Government's 2015 Spending Review it was announced that the funding of courses for allied health professions is changing. For many courses, this change is due to come into effect from 1 August 2017, however any decision in relation to courses in Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy has been postponed for a year and we understand will not come into effect until 1 August 2018.

As our next intake is scheduled for April 2018 we do not believe the way you will be funded will change. This would mean:

  • You do not have to pay tuition fees. If you are offered a place on our course, you will apply for your tuition fees to be paid by the NHS.
  • You will also be entitled to apply for additional financial support every year. This includes a £1,000 non-means tested grant, a means tested bursary and a reduced rate non-means tested loan.
  • To be eligible for this NHS financial support you must meet certain immigration and residence criteria. For full details of eligibility please visit the NHS Business Service Authority website.

Please keep checking this page for the latest information on fees and funding.

Admissions procedure

To apply for a place on the Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy course, you'll need to complete and submit an application form to the Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Office, School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, Claremont Crescent, Sheffield, S10 2TA (applications to study are not made through UCAS). 

Our next expected intake is scheduled for April 2019. The provision of this and subsequent intakes, including programme funding, is under review. Please complete our online form if you wish to receive information about the application process for our next expected intake.

Closing date

Date to be confirmed. The School must have received your completed application form by this date.  If your application is received after this date it will not be processed.  

Short listing for selection days will take place immediately after the closing date.

Selection procedure

We will initially assess your qualifications, supporting statements and reference supplied on your application form. We may then invite you to a selection day and an offer of a place may be made afterwards. At the selection day you will also have the opportunity to tour the Dental School and meet some of our current students.

Selection days are scheduled to take place in November each year. The course is expected to start in April each year.

Overseas applications

Currently we cannot accommodate overseas students on the course as we are contracted to fill the available places to students supported by the UK NHS. More information can be found on the NHS website.

Further help

The University of Sheffield offers free online courses via Future Learn on writing applications and succeeding at interviews.

You may find these courses useful, however please note they cover general advice only. We advise all applicants to carefully read our application guide and form thoroughly for criteria specific to our course.

Course structure

The Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy enables students to gain professional accreditation as dental hygienists and therapists.

The course is kept under continual review and an exciting new curriculum was recently launched with professionalism at its core. Current accepted practices are taught and our students learn about the new techniques and advances that are rapidly taking place in the field of dentistry.

First year

At the beginning of the first year you will develop your understanding of the anatomy and physiology relevant to dentistry. You will also be introduced to a range of study skills to help you thrive at University.

After the first month you'll begin clinical skills training to give you the skills you need to treat patients. Alongside this you'll visit and assist on clinics to help build your confidence and communication skills in a clinical environment – we place great emphasis on helping you become a caring, competent and confident member of the dental team.

Throughout the first year you'll also develop your knowledge and understanding in other subject areas including law, ethics and professionalism, health promotion and education and oral disease.

Second year

The second year is mainly clinical – you’ll be treating your own patients and will be expected to show a commitment to compassionate, high quality care. You will also rotate around many different specialist departments within the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, including the Dental Practice Unit, helping to broaden your clinical experience. There will also be the opportunity to attend Sheffield Children’s Hospital to assist with oral surgery and you’ll visit care homes to train staff in oral health education.

In addition you will further your knowledge and understanding in other important areas of dentistry including oral disease. During your second year you will also work towards an oral health promotion project. This is an exciting opportunity to make a real impact, with previous schemes launched in primary schools and care homes.

Third year

By the time you reach the third year, you will have acquired a vast range of knowledge, skills and experience. Our principles of practice theme will inform you of the important issues you will confront in the workplace and help ensure you begin your career as a well-rounded professional.

Outreach training

During the second year you will spend part of your time working as a team in a range of primary care settings in Yorkshire and the East Midlands. We use carefully selected placements in community dental services, dental access centres and general dental practices. Our pioneering  outreach training programme  provides a real working environment to encourage your professional development. It will give you the exciting opportunity to see and treat a variety of patients and maximise your clinical and communication skills.

Dental students' society

It's not all about hard work. Our students can join one of the largest dental students' societies in the UK. SUDSS is run by our students and aims to make sure you have the best time of your life while studying at our Dental School.

Careers Student with patient

The profession

The role of the dental hygienist and therapist has never been so exciting and challenging. With the introduction of Direct Access and NHS dental contract reform, dental hygienists and therapists are central members of the dental team. 

They have an ever increasing scope of practice which includes preventative and periodontal treatment, placing simple restorations, taking dental radiographs, and extracting deciduous teeth. They also have a key role in oral health education and promotion for the individual and wider community.

Your future

When it comes to getting well-paid jobs, our graduates are very successful. Right from day one we will help you develop the skills employers are looking for and prepare you for a successful career.

We have a dedicated Careers Advisor who liaises with the School. During your final year we also run sessions on job searches, applications, interview techniques and career pathways.

The University's Careers Service also offers extensive help to students including a drop-in advice service. They can also support you throughout the process of applying for a job.

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For Offer Holders, Current and Graduated Dental Hygiene and Therapy Students

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 What our students and graduates think...