Graduate Programs

Master's Degrees

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the M.S. degree are outlined in the Indiana University Graduate School Bulletin. Requirements for the M.S.D. degree are as follows:

Course Work

The student must complete the required number of credit hours of course work specific to the graduate program. A minimum of 6 credit hours must be earned toward a minor subject outside the major concentration.

Other elective subjects may be selected, based on the student’s educational objectives. A total of 6 credit hours must be in research; however, additional research credit cannot be used toward fulfillment of requirements for the degree.

All students enrolled in the IU School of Dentistry's M.S.D. program are required to submit a research proposal to the IUSD Graduate Student Research Committee (GSRC) prior to beginning the experimental or data collection phase of their research projects. Prior to this, the student's research committee must review and approve the proposal. Preliminary review of the literature, selection of a research topic and submission of the research proposal to the GSRC should ordinarily be completed by the end of the first spring semester of the program.

It is the goal of the proposal review process to provide qualified feedback to the principal investigator and student on the scientific merit of the project. The school has a vested interest in encouraging students and faculty to prepare well-justified and competitive proposals, research publications, and both internal and external grant applications related to their work. A secondary goal of this process is to improve the external funding support the school receives by improving the quality of student pilot projects that can provide preliminary data for external grant proposals from principal investigators.

The IUSD GSRC consists of members of the faculty who are active in research and are willing to provide significant guidance in reviewing research proposals.

Each student must present at the IUSD Research Day prior to graduation.

Each student must satisfactorily complete the project and submit an approved thesis or journal manuscript.

Core Courses

All graduate students enrolled in dental school programs (including M.S. degree candidates) are required to complete six core courses, as designated by the IU School of Dentistry Graduate Program. These courses are:

  • G907 Clinical Oral Pathology Conference I
  • G909 Clinical Oral Pathology Conference II
  • G910 Seminar (Biostatistics)
  • G948 Advanced Radiology
  • R955 Graduate Oral Biology I
  • R980 Research Methodology

The core courses are in addition to courses that are required by individual departments.

Required courses must be taken in the proper sequence, as specified by the student’s committee. In most departments there are additional program requirements designed to meet such criteria as may be specified by the several dental specialty boards and the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation Standards for Advanced Specialty Education Programs. The final credit requirement, including elective course work, is determined by each student’s graduate committee and is usually dependent upon the student’s previous academic accomplishments.


Failure to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in either the major or minor concentration and/or failure to demonstrate evidence of continuing professional growth may subject the student to dismissal from the program.


The members of the student’s faculty advisory committee (previously described) will conduct the qualifying (oral and written comprehensive) examination, which essentially covers the candidate’s field of study. The exact format of the examination will be determined by the individual faculty advisory committee and described in an educational agreement signed by the student and department chairperson at the beginning of the program. Successful completion of the qualifying examination is required in order to proceed to completion of the thesis or journal manuscript research, defense of the thesis or journal manuscript, and awarding of the degree. In accordance with University Graduate School requirements, students who fail the qualifying examination are normally allowed only one retake. The student must complete the qualifying examination six months prior to the intended date of graduation. The student is eligible but not required to take the examination upon the completion of one-half of the didactic requirements.

English Proficiency

All graduate students for whom English is not the first language must take the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Placement Test at the beginning of their dental school program. This test is offered on the IUPUI campus by the EAP Program in the Department of English. Students must satisfactorily complete all English courses required as a result of performance on the EAP test before a certificate or degree can be awarded. The required English courses must be completed during the first year of study.

All graduate students whose first language is not English must be tested for oral English language competency before they are given any appointment having direct student contact. Students’ oral language proficiency will be assessed using the SPEAK Test, a pronunciation test that is also offered by the EAP Program. If the results of the SPEAK test indicate that the student must take one or more English courses, these courses must be paid for by the student and must be satisfactorily completed before the student will be allowed to teach.

For more information about these tests, call the EAP Program at (317) 274-2188 or visit the EAP Program’s website.

Continuing Enrollment

Students who have passed the qualifying examination and completed two years as a full-time student must enroll each semester (excluding summer sessions for off-campus students) for any remaining required course work or research credits. Once students have accumulated the number of credit hours required by the particular graduate program, they must enroll for a minimum of 1 hour of graduate credit each semester until the degree is completed. Failure to meet this requirement will automatically terminate the student’s enrollment in the degree program. All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within five consecutive years.

Time Limits and Revalidation

Master’s programs in the School of Dentistry comply with IU’s University Graduate School requirements regarding time limits and course revalidation. Thus, as a rule, a course may not be counted toward degree requirements if it has been completed more than five years prior to the awarding of the degree for master’s students. The advisory committee, however, may recommend to the dean that course work taken prior to the above deadlines be revalidated if it can be documented that the knowledge contained in the course(s) remains current. Examples of such documentation may include (1) passing an examination specifically on the material covered by the course; (2) passing a more advanced course in the same subject area; (3) passing a comprehensive examination in which the student demonstrates substantial knowledge of the content of the course; (4) teaching a comparable course; or (5) publishing scholarly research demonstrating substantial knowledge of the content and fundamental principles of the course. Each course for which consideration for revalidation is being requested should be justified separately.

Students who do not complete all M.S. or M.S.D. requirements within five years will be given a maximum of one additional year to revalidate courses and complete all requirements. The enrollment of any student who fails to fulfill these requirements will be automatically terminated at the end of that year.

In the event the course work cannot be revalidated or the thesis or journal manuscript cannot, in the opinion of the advisory committee, be completed by the deadline stated above, the student, upon the advice of the advisory committee, may be awarded a certificate of completion of a curriculum in postgraduate study, or a certificate of attendance, whichever is deemed appropriate by the IU School of Dentistry. (Please note, however, that programs are not required to grant such certificates. See individual program educational agreements for specifics.)

M.S.D. Thesis or Journal Manuscript

The results of the M.S.D. degree research must be presented to the student’s research committee either in traditional thesis form, or as a manuscript that will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. The research committee must approve the thesis before the student submits the thesis electronically to the IUPUI digital archive, IUPUI ScholarWorks. Students must also submit a bound thesis to their major and minor departments. If the manuscript option is selected in lieu of the thesis, the research committee and the research mentor must approve both the manuscript and the journal it is intended for before the manuscript can be submitted to the journal.


While every attempt is made to provide accurate and current information in this bulletin, Indiana University reserves the right to change without notice statements in the bulletin series concerning rules, policies, fees, curricula, courses, or other matters.

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