CAGS in Operative Dentistry

The 24-month Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Operative Dentistry program offers advanced education in the conceptual, biological, and practical components of operative and esthetic dentistry. Beneficial to students pursuing teaching careers, the program includes training in basic sciences, biomaterials, lecture presentation, research methods, and the clinical aspects of restorative dentistry.

Initial activities include lectures, seminars, and preclinical training with special emphasis on resin and porcelain systems. The clinical component of the program includes patient care with particular emphasis placed on diagnosis and treatment planning, the significance of periodontal health, esthetic dentistry, and conventional and implant restorative procedures. Students will also have the opportunity to utilize the latest technology of CAD-CAM units and restorations.

*The advanced Operative Dentistry program is not an ADA-recognized specialty.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates must be:

  • Proficient in operative dentistry, esthetic dentistry, and digital dentistry.
  • Proficient in patient assessment and diagnosis.
  • Competent in designing and in the fabrication of CAD-CAM, fixed, and removable restoratives.


Year 1

  • SDM EN 820 Endodontics and Pulpal Therapy for the General Practitioner
  • SDM OP 803 Seminar: Operative Dentistry (offered in Year 1 or Year 2)
  • SDM OP 806 Digital Dentistry in Prosthodontics and Restorative Science
  • SDM OP 807 Preclinical Technique
  • SDM OP 912 Clinical Operative Dentistry I
  • SDM OP 916 Literature Review–Operative Dentistry (offered in Year 1 or Year 2)
  • SDM OS 761 Medical Concerns of the Dental Patient
  • SDM OS 828 Anxiety and Pain Control
  • SDM OS 831 Head and Neck Anatomy
  • SDM PA 801 Oral Pathology
  • SDM PE 764 Current Concepts in Periodontology
  • SDM PE 827 Applied Dental Pharmacology
  • SDM PH 763 Bioethics and Law
  • SDM PH 803 Biostatistics
  • SDM PR 750 Preclinical Restorative
  • SDM PR 761 Occlusion
  • SDM PR 810 Case Presentation and Patient Care Conference
  • SDM PR 825 Postdoctoral Biomaterials
  • SDM PR 828 Esthetic Dentistry
  • SDM PR 844 Implantology Literature Review
  • SDM PR 845 Implantology Topics
  • SDM PR 852 Implantology Topics for the General Practitioner

Year 2

  • SDM OP 803 Seminar: Operative Dentistry (offered in Year 1 or Year 2)
  • SDM OP 913 Clinical Operative Dentistry II
  • SDM OP 916 Literature Review–Operative Dentistry (offered in Year 1 or Year 2)
  • SDM PR 810 Case Presentation and Patient Care Conference
  • SDM PR 813 Literature Review in General Dentistry

Completion is not tracked by credit accumulation but by successful completion of individual courses and duration requirements.


Personal Days

Students will be given a maximum of ten (10) personal days. These may be used for board exams, interviews, religious holidays, etc. There are no sick days. If a student is out due to illness, personal days will be deducted.


There are 12 University-recognized holidays during which the school is closed.

Winter Intersession

Between the first and second semesters there is an approximate two-week vacation for students. This usually begins mid-December and lasts until the first week of January.

Clinic Schedule

Students are scheduled in the clinic five days a week for a total of 40 hours. Students are currently required to work four days from 9 am to 5 pm and one day from 11 am to 7 pm. This schedule is subject to change. Classes are held either before clinic from 8 to 9 am or after clinic from 5:30 to 7 pm (or both).

Application Process Guidelines

Applicants will be reviewed by the director and the chairman and they will decide whether the candidate will be selected for interview.

The applicant, if selected for interview, will meet with the program director and the chairman of the department for interview.

All applications must be received by December 1 of the previous calendar year. All applications must be submitted through PASS.

The qualifications that the program is looking for include the following:

  • High GPA
  • High class standing
  • Four letters of recommendation including a letter from the dean of your dental school and three letters from clinical faculty
  • Clinical grades
  • Past clinical experience
  • Board scores are encouraged but not required

Additional Information

English Proficiency Requirement for International Applicants: TOEFL

International applicants must be proficient in the English language. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit a recent TOEFL score (TOEFL scores must be no more than two years old).

English Proficiency Requirements for Massachusetts Limited License

For Massachusetts licensure, if the student’s dental degree is from a school where instruction (written or oral) was in a language other than English, documentation of a TOEFL score or the Academic Format International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score must be submitted with the license application. The minimum Academic Format IELTS score acceptable for licensure in Massachusetts is 7.0. English proficiency requirements for licensure are different from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine requirements. Results from IELTS will be considered for Massachusetts licensure, but IELTS is not accepted for program admissions consideration. The TOEFL is required for Boston University admissions consideration.

Higher TOEFL scores are required to obtain a Massachusetts Limited License than for admission. A Massachusetts Limited License is necessary for rotations at affiliated sites.

For Massachusetts licensure, the minimum overall TOEFL score is 90 on the internet-based exam (iBT), or 577 on the paper-based exam (TOEFL PBT). Furthermore, if a student has achieved an overall score of 90 but one of the TOEFL sections is deficient, the student will need to retake the TOEFL.

For licensure, the minimum overall iBT score is 90 and the minimum scores on the iBT sections are:

  • 25 Written
  • 24 Spoken
  • 21 Reading
  • 17 Listening

US Social Security Number

If accepted into the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Operative Dentistry, you must obtain a US Social Security number prior to the start of the program.