School of Dentistry


The philosophy and goals of the professional phase of the Dental Hygiene Program reflect those of the University and School of Dentistry. The philosophy encompasses the areas of teaching, service, patient care and scholarship.

The teaching philosophy of this program is to prepare students who strive for excellence and ethical conduct in the provision of comprehensive dental hygiene care. A state of the science curriculum integrates the biophysical, clinical, and psychosocial sciences and facilitates the development of a knowledge-based practitioner. Patient care focuses on the individual needs of each patient and actively involves the patient in the treatment process to promote positive, long-term changes in health status. To prepare the dental hygienist for a dynamic interdisciplinary health care system, both didactic and clinical experiences explore practice in a variety of settings and with culturally diverse patients of all ages and health status. An atmosphere of mutual trust and respect increases the opportunity for instructor evaluation of student performance and improves the quality of feedback. Student self-evaluation is encouraged as a step toward becoming a practitioner who continually appraises the quality of his/her patient care. The student advising and remediation program allows for individualization of the curriculum and promotes intellectual growth. The challenging, collegiate atmosphere fosters the development of dental hygienists who are intellectually curious, critical thinkers and lifelong learners. The exposure to the humanities provides the student with the flexibility to adapt to societal change and to contribute to the community.

The professional phase of the Dental Hygiene Program has a service philosophy to the University, the School of Dentistry, the students, the public and the profession of dental hygiene. The educational program graduates competent dental hygienists who are engaged in health care, education, research, and professional leadership nationwide. The provision of quality patient care is of primary importance in the dental hygiene teaching clinics at the School of Dentistry and the various community sites. Continuing education in changing concepts of dental health care is offered to health care professionals. A commitment to the education of the public and the profession is demonstrated by student and faculty involvement in the community and professional activities.

The scholarship philosophy is to conduct educational and clinical research to further develop the body of dental hygiene knowledge. This philosophy is facilitated by a commitment to the professional development of each faculty member. Faculty keep current and exchange instructional methodologies and research findings through oral presentations and written publications.

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    Goals for the Professional Phase of the Dental Hygiene Program

    • Prepare a qualified dental hygienist who will be competent with respect to the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, Dental Hygiene Program Competencies for the Dental Hygienist.
    • Maintain a contemporary dental hygiene program that reflects relevant and current dental hygiene practice.
    • Provide a dynamic interdisciplinary dental and dental hygiene curriculum that integrates biomedical, clinical and behavioral sciences.
    • Maintain recruitment activities and admission policies that ensure admission and retention of a diverse and qualified student body.
    • Maintain a baccalaureate degree completion program to support and encourage continued formal dental hygiene education.
    • Provide quality individualized patient centered dental hygiene care.
    • Participate in collaborative community health promotion.
    • Serve as a resource of oral health knowledge and education for the health care community.
    • Engage in professional association activities.
    • Demonstrate leadership in dental hygiene education and research.
    • Provide service to the School of Dentistry and the University communities.

    Competencies for the Dental Hygienist

    Competencies for the Dental Hygienist identifies and organizes the knowledge and skills the graduate must acquire to become a critically thinking competent practitioner in the delivery of dental hygiene services in clinical and alternative practice settings. The document also reflects an evidenced-based curriculum that is patient driven, competency based and criterion referenced.

    These competencies serve to define the core content of the curriculum. The document provides a method of stating graduate knowledge and skills after completing the professional phase of the dental hygiene program, thus, establishing a basis for the content of all courses. The competencies set standards for identifying relevant content and provides guidance in making decisions related to pedagogy and course sequencing

    The document also sets forth individual measurable competencies which a student must demonstrate to qualify for graduation and entry into the profession. These competencies assess the degree to which a student can provide the defined standard of dental hygiene care to patients.

    Competencies for the Dental Hygienist should be viewed as dynamic standards which must be responsive to the professional environment. It is recognized that this educational plan will require regular review for continual improvement.

    • The graduate demonstrates interpersonal communication skills to function successfully in a multicultural work environment with diverse populations.
    • The graduate makes professional decisions affecting the practice of dental hygiene that satisfy legal, societal and ethical principles.
    • The graduate performs routine self evaluation and takes corrective action to address perceived deficiencies.
    • The graduate critically evaluates the validity and relevance of emerging information, products, and treatment modalities to the practice of dental hygiene.
    • The graduate applies business and practice management skills.
    • The graduate promotes health maintenance and disease prevention.
    • The graduate applies the principles of infection control and environmental safety.
    • The graduate obtains, records, updates and organizes accurate and complete medical/dental histories including pertinent psychological and socioeconomic information.
    • The graduate performs, records and organizes a physical assessment appropriate for dental care.
    • The graduate determines differential, provisional or definitive dental hygiene diagnoses related to and congruent with the diagnosis of the dentist and other health professionals.
    • The graduate develops alternative dental hygiene care plans which are sequenced to address patient needs, consistent with assessment and diagnoses.
    • The graduate establishes with the patient a mutually acceptable dental hygiene care plan.
    • The graduate monitors and provides for patient comfort associated with dental hygiene care.
    • The graduate delivers and/or manages the planned evidence-based dental hygiene treatment and education in sequence and in accordance with accepted standards of care.


    The School of Dentistry at University of Detroit Mercy offers a baccalaureate degree in Dental Hygiene. All students graduate with a bachelor of science degree. Graduates are eligible to take dental hygiene licensing examinations in any of the 50 states and the Provinces of Canada. A Dental Hygiene Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program is also offered for licensed dental hygienists who have a certificate or associate’s degree. As a unit of the School of Dentistry, students gain exposure to all aspects of dental hygiene and dentistry. The application cycle begins anew each year; there is no wait list.


    Baccalaureate Degree Requirements (Professional Dental Hygiene Program)

    A candidate for the bachelor's degree must complete a minimum of 137.5 semester credit hours, minimum quality point averages and senior residency within the following areas:

    • required pre-requisite courses
    • required dental hygiene courses
    • required core curriculum courses
    • any elective courses as needed

    Required Prerequisite Courses

    The following must be completed before beginning the professional phase of the program. Notice: Prerequisite courses are subject to change. Please consult the Dental Hygiene Program for current requirements.

    • BIO 2040 Applied Nutrition (3 credits)
    • BIO 2410 General Microbiology (3 credits)
    • BIO 2420 General Microbiology Lab (1 credit)
    • BIO 2300 Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology Lecture I (3 credits)
    • BIO 2310 Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory I (1 credit)
    • BIO 2320 Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology Lecture II (3 credits)
    • BIO 2330 Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory II (1 credit)
    • CHM 1050 Chemical Principles (3 credits)
    • CHM 1025 Introductory Chemistry for the Health Sciences (3 credits)
    • ENL 1310 Academic Writing (3 credits)
    • ENL 2350 Study of Fiction * (3 credits)
    • ENL 2450 Study of Poetry * (3 credits)
    • ENL 2650 Study of Drama * (3 credits)
    • PYC 1000 Introductory Psychology (3 credits)
    • SOC 1000 Introduction to Sociology (3 credits)
    • CST 1010 Fundamentals of Speech (3 credits)

    *Choice of one.


    Required Professional Dental Hygiene Program Courses

    Notice: The Dental Hygiene curriculum is subject to change. Please consult the Dental Hygiene Program for the complete and current curriculum.

    • BSC 8040 Integrated Biomedical Sciences I (2 credits)
    • BSC 8050 Integrated Biomedical Sciences II (4 credits)
    • BSC 8070 Immunology (1.5 credits)
    • BSC 8120 Head & Neck Anatomy (2 credits)
    • BSC 8140 Oral Microbiology I (1.5 credits)
    • BSC 8150 Histology (2.5 credits)
    • BSC 8190 Infectious Diseases for Dental Hygiene (2 credits)
    • BSC 8260 General and Oral Pathology (2 credits)
    • CLN 8140 Clinical Dental Hygiene I/Clinic Rounds (2 credits)
    • CLN 8150 Clinical Dental Hygiene II (3 credits)
    • CLN 8260 Clinical Dental Hygiene III (5 credits)
    • CLN 8270 Clinical Dental Hygiene IV (4 credits)
    • CLN 8280 Clinical RDA Expanded Functions (Elective) (0.5 credit)
    • COM 8210 Concepts in Community Health (1 credit)
    • COM 8220 Community Oral Health Education I (2 credits)
    • COM 8230 Community Oral Health Education II (0.5 credit)
    • DHS 8110 Physical Assessment & Management of Medical Emergencies (2 credits)
    • DHS 8200 Pain and Anxiety Control (2 credits)
    • DHY 8010 Dental Hygiene Success Seminar (0.0 credit)
    • DHY 8080 Oral Health Assessment (3 credits)
    • DHY 8100 Dental Hygiene Care I (5 credits)
    • DHY 8130 Radiology (3.5 credits)
    • DHY 8140 Strategies for Prevention of Oral Diseases (3 credit)
    • DHY 8150 Dental Materials (3 credits)
    • DHY 8170 Dental Anatomy (2 credits)
    • DHY 8180 The Child and Adolescent Patient (1 credit)
    • DHY 8190 Orthodontics (0.5 credit)
    • DHY 8200 Concepts in Professionalism (3 credits)
    • DHY 8210 Special Patient Care (2 credits)
    • DHY 8220 National Board Review (0 credit)
    • DHY 8230 Periodontal Therapy I (1 credit)
    • DHY 8240 Ethical, Legal Issues II (2 credits)
    • DHY 8250 Radiographic Interpretation (1 credit)
    • DHY 8280 Scientific Literature (2 credits)
    • DHY 8300 Periodontal Therapy II (1 credit)
    • DHY 8320 Introduction to Ethical and Legal Issues (1 credit)
    • DHY 8330 Management of Evidence-Based Dental Hygiene Care (1 credit)
    • DHY 8350 Scientific Presentation (1 credit)

    Required Degree Completion Courses

    The following coursework is required of all students working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in the Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program.

    University Core Classes (24 Credits):

    • MTH 1010 College Algebra (3 credits)
    • CIS 1000 Intro to Computers (3 credits)
    • PHL 1000 Intro to Philosophy (3 credits)
    • RELS 2001 Intro to Religion (3 credits)
    • An additional Philosophy or Religious Studies course (3 credits)
    • HIS History (3 credits)
    • Culture/Language (3 credits)
    • Art/Music/Drama (3 credits)

    Dental Hygiene Core Classes:

    • DHY 8310 DH Research Methods (3 credits)
    • DHY 8312 DH Capstone (3 credits)


    Electives include any additional courses beyond those stated above necessary to achieve completion of a minimum of 126.00 credit hours. This coursework may include an independent/directed study in the student’s particular area of interest.

    Dental Hygiene Directed Studies

    • DHY 8470 Directed Study (0.5 credits)
    • DHY 8471 Directed Study (1 credit)
    • DHY 8472 Directed Study (1.5 credits)
    • DHY 8473 Directed Study (2 credits)
    • DHY 8474 Directed Study (3 credits)

    Admissions Requirements

    Admission Criteria

    Students may be admitted to any one of the three phases of dental hygiene education: Pre-Dental Hygiene; Professional Dental Hygiene; and Degree Completion.

    Pre-Dental Hygiene Admission

    Above average high school students (GPA of 2.7 or above) will be admitted into the School of Dentistry as pre-dental hygiene students. This acceptance does not guarantee admission into the professional phase of the Dental Hygiene Program. The advantage of admission into Pre-Dental Hygiene is the benefit of placement tests and the expertise of the Dental Hygiene advisor. The advisor will help in the correct selection of appropriate courses and in the presentation of your credentials for evaluation by the Dental Hygiene Admission Committee. In order to be admitted as a freshman, applicants must meet the general entrance requirements of the University. All pre-requisite courses are taken on the McNichols Campus.

    Professional Dental Hygiene Program Admission

    Applicants who apply to the program must do so on or before February 1st to be considered for admission into the Professional Dental Hygiene Program. A maximum of 26 students are admitted each year. The clinical phase of the program begins at the end of May in the Summer Semester. The Detroit Mercy Professional Dental Hygiene Program does not maintain a waiting list. Admission is competitive and starts anew each year based on the most qualified candidates. Students who are in the process of completing prerequisite requirements, either at University of Detroit Mercy or another university, college or community college, may compete for admission into the Professional Dental Hygiene Program. Admitted students take all Professional Dental Hygiene courses at the School of Dentistry's Corktown Campus on a full-time basis. In addition to the course requirements for admission, the Admissions Policies require:

    • An expected minimum pre-requisite GPA of 2.70.
    • An expected minimum Science GPA of 2.70.
    • A minimum overall College GPA of 2.70.
    • Written verification of employment or observation in a dental office.

    Degree Completion Program Admission

    Students who have previously received a Certificate in Dental Hygiene from University of Detroit Mercy or an associate's degree with a dental hygiene major from another college/university or community college, are licensed dental hygienists, and would like to complete their bachelor of science degree may apply for admission. They must meet the following requirements:

    • Graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program
    • An overall GPA of 2.50 or above in academic coursework
    • Successful completion of the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination
    • A current license to practice
    • Current CPR certification

    Transfer Students

    The Dental Hygiene Program gives full consideration to students who wish to transfer from any accredited college or university. Students may transfer into Pre-Dental Hygiene, or may apply into the Professional Dental Hygiene or Degree Completion programs. Students who have already completed applicable courses will receive transfer credit. A maximum of 96 credit hours may be transferred from a four-year college or university. A maximum of 63 credit hours may be transferred from a community college, however, some colleges and community colleges have articulation agreements with Detroit Mercy and an additional number of transfer credit hours can be accepted. Since the academic standing of each transfer applicant is evaluated on an individual basis, students are encouraged to consult with an advisor from the Dental Hygiene Program.


    Contact Information


    • Dental Hygiene Program Admissions
    • University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry
    • Corktown Campus
    • 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
    • Detroit, MI 48208-2576
    • Telephone: 313-494-6625
    • Fax: 313-494-6697
    • Email:
    • Website

    • Dean: Mert Aksu, DDS, JD, MHSA
    • Telephone: 313-494-6620
    • Fax: 313-494-6627
    • Email:

    • Director, Dental Hygiene Program: Maureen VanHook, RDH, MS
    • Telephone: 313-494-6935
    • Fax: 313-494-6697
    • Email:

    • Coordinator, Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program: Janiece Flores-Davies, RDH, BSDH, M.Ed.
    • Telephone: 313-494-6628
    • Fax: 313-494-6697
    • Email: