Post-Doctoral Certificates and Degrees

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

The School is a pioneer in developing rigorous and challenging specialty programs in which students first establish a firm theoretical foundation through a group of well-designed courses and then assume responsibility for direct patient care with close supervision and feedback.

Boston University has a special commitment to outstanding patient care. One manifestation of this commitment is our excellent and experienced faculty who work intensively with students on a one-to-one basis. The establishment of a University-wide employee dental health plan ensures an optimum patient load.

CAGS programs vary in duration. Students may pursue a CAGS in the following areas:

  • Advanced Education in General Dentistry (12 months)
  • Dental Public Health (12 months)
  • Digital Dentistry (12 months)
  • Endodontics (24 months)
  • Operative Dentistry (24 months)
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (48 months)
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics (36 months)
  • Pediatric Dentistry (24 months)
  • Periodontology (36 months)
  • Prosthodontics (36 months)

Master of Science in Dentistry (MSD)

Students who are interested in research or advanced teaching may pursue the Master of Science in Dentistry. In general, the MSD is awarded either in the same area as a CAGS or in oral biology or dental public health. Requirements vary with individual programs and students are encouraged to review specific program descriptions. Please note, the MSD is not offered with the advanced education in general dentistry certificate program.

Requirements for the MSD include relevant coursework and completion of a research project and/or thesis under faculty supervision. The goal is for students to develop the ability to focus, analyze, and organize complex data to address an issue in a way that contributes to the literature.

Doctor of Science in Dentistry (DScD)

The Doctor of Science in Dentistry program prepares a limited number of highly motivated students who wish to acquire advanced research expertise. The program is designed to train graduates who are capable of taking leadership roles in education, research, and health policy making.

Research Requirements

Students accepted into the Doctor of Science in Dentistry program are required to fully participate in the research activities of the advisor’s laboratory, learning experimental approaches by carrying out specific research protocols related to a dissertation project. In addition to learning appropriate knowledge, skills, and techniques, students are taught how to devise research strategies to answer specific questions, relate the strategy to previous studies and analyze the resulting data, and communicate research findings. The student should be able to formulate a hypothesis and develop a protocol to test it. Furthermore, he or she should be capable of writing a well-developed manuscript and grant application.

Students pursuing a Doctor of Science in Dentistry must commit a minimum of three years to the program. During the first year, the thesis advisor selects related didactic courses to support the student’s area of research. During the second and third years, students focus on conducting and completing their research. It is expected that the dissertation or manuscript will be written before completion of the program.

Doctor of Science (DSc) in Oral Biology

The Doctor of Science in Oral Biology program prepares a limited number of highly motivated students who wish to acquire advanced research expertise. The program is designed to train graduates who are capable of taking leadership roles in education, research, and health policy-making.

Research Requirements

Students accepted into the Doctor of Science in Oral Biology program are required to fully participate in the research activities of the advisor’s laboratory, learning experimental approaches by carrying out specific research protocols related to a dissertation project. In addition to learning appropriate knowledge, skills, and techniques, students are taught how to devise research strategies to answer specific questions, relate the strategy to previous studies and analyze the resulting data, and communicate research findings. The student should be able to formulate a hypothesis and develop a protocol to test it. Furthermore, he or she should be capable of writing a well-developed manuscript and grant application.

Students pursuing a Doctor of Science in Oral Biology must commit a minimum of three years to the program. During the first year, the thesis advisor selects related didactic courses to support the student’s area of research. During the second and third years, students focus on conducting and completing their research. It is expected that the dissertation or manuscript will be written before completion of the program.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Oral Biology, Program in Biomedical Sciences

Course requirements for post-bachelor’s and post-master’s degree programs are as follows:

Post-bachelor’s candidates without a master’s degree or its equivalent are required to complete a minimum of 64 credits or the equivalent. Specific requirements relative to the selection of courses, seminars, and research or Directed Study will be determined for each student by department or division in the field of concentration.

Normally, no more than 16 credits may be taken concurrently. Each student must register for at least 4 credits each semester until completion of all departmental course requirements unless granted an authorized leave of absence. The number of courses that may be transferred to a post-bachelor’s program is explained in more detail in the Transfer of Credit section of this Bulletin.

Candidates with a master’s degree are required to complete a minimum of 32 credits, subject to specific approval by the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology. If the candidate’s master’s degree is deemed not to overlap sufficiently with the discipline of oral biology, the candidate will be enrolled in the post-bachelor’s PhD program. Specific requirements relative to the selection of courses, seminars, and research or Directed Study will be determined for each student by the department or division in the student’s field of concentration. Normally, no more than 16 credits may be taken concurrently and each student must register for at least 4 credits each semester until completion of all departmental course requirements unless granted an authorized leave of absence. Regulations regarding transfer of credit to a post-master’s program are explained in more detail in the Transfer of Credit section of this Bulletin.

Qualifying Examination

All students shall demonstrate mastery of their major fields in special examinations set by the major department. All parts of the qualifying examination must be passed before the dissertation prospectus or outline will be accepted by Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

PhD Candidacy

A student in Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine’s PhD program will be accepted to PhD candidacy upon successful completion of such qualifying examinations as are designated by the department. At that time, the department will notify Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences of the School of Medicine, which will formally accept the student to PhD candidacy. The maximum period allowable between matriculation and acceptance to PhD candidacy is established by the individual department. A PhD candidacy will expire on its fifth anniversary and after such time will be renewed only if the student re-qualifies for candidacy as determined by the department and Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. In no instance will a student who is not a PhD candidate be allowed to defend a completed PhD dissertation.

Dissertation

Candidates shall demonstrate their abilities for independent study in dissertations representing original research or creative scholarship.

Dissertation Prospectus

After completing coursework and the qualifying examinations, a student proposes a dissertation topic and asks the department to identify first and second (and in some departments third) readers for the dissertation. The first reader will be a member of the student’s department, except by special arrangement with Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. The dissertation prospectus should be completed before the more extensive phase of dissertation research is undertaken. The department is responsible for reviewing and evaluating a draft prospectus. The review is followed by revision and the production of a final draft, which must be approved by the readers and the department chair. Specific procedures for meeting the general guidelines described here vary from department to department.

Abstract and Final Oral Examination

Students undergo final oral examinations in which they defend their dissertation as a valuable contribution to knowledge in their field and demonstrate a mastery of their field of specialization in relation to their dissertation. The examining committee is composed of five or more Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine faculty, at least two of whom are from the student’s department. By special arrangement, examiners may be from outside the institution. The membership of the committee must be approved by the chair or the director of graduate studies, as applicable. Before the final oral examination can be scheduled, the candidate must obtain initial approval of a dissertation abstract from the Committee. The abstract describes the hypothesis, methods, and general content of the dissertation. The abstract must be submitted to Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine at least three weeks before the examination. Two weeks before the examination, the schedule of the examination is due in Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, together with copies of the approved abstract. Students are responsible for arranging an examination date with the department and for requesting that Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine schedule the examination. Students should consult their departments and the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine graduation calendar about specific procedures and dates pertaining to abstracts and examinations. General instructions concerning the scheduling of examinations and the submission of abstracts are available from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

Time Limit

The post-bachelor’s program must be completed within seven years after the first registration for doctoral study. The post-master’s program must be completed within five years after the first registration for the doctoral program.