Students/residents may find all of the policies below, as well as much more information, in their Texas A&M College of  Dentistry Graduate Student Handbook, which can be found under Student Resources on the college's intranet.  

Requirements for Completion of Advanced Education Programs

Time Limitations for Completions of M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees

Full/Part Time Status

Financial Aid

Continuous Enrollment

Leave of Absence

Degree Plans

Core Curriculum

Course Auditing


Academic Due Process

Graduate Faculty Search

TAMU Graduate and Professional Catalog

Requirements for Completion of Advance Education Programs

Certificate Programs

Advanced training programs leading to a clinical certificate vary with respect to requirements for courses and semester hours, clinical and research experience, and duration according to the requirements proscribed by the respective professional accreditation organizations. Consult the individual specialty training program for details. 

Students in clinical programs who are either required to work toward both the certificate and graduate degree (M.S. degree) are required to have their research and an acceptable draft of a thesis completed prior to  the awarding of the certificate.  An acceptable draft of a thesis is defined as one that is complete to the extent that it can be used for the thesis defense examination.  This fulfills the certificate research requirement.  The graduate degree candidate is required to continue in residence at the College to meet the minimum residency requirement for their specific program. Students in clinical programs that do require a graduate degree may elect to pursue a graduate degree concurrently with the certificate and, while the award of the certificate is not contingent on completion of the graduate degree, must remain in residence until completion of the graduate degree.

Students in clinical certificate programs generally pursue the M.S. in Oral Biology via the clinical track. Only student who are currently enrolled in clinical certificate programs have the option of the clinical track for the M.S. in Oral Biology.

Clinical Track M.S. in Oral Biology

Requirements for the clinically-oriented M.S. track includes the following elements:

Minimum of two years in residency as a full-time student

Minimum of 32 semester credit hours of courses acceptable for graduate credit and dedicated to the MS degree

Successful completion of all required course work on the degree plan

Successful completion of a Master's degree

Master's degree must be completed within in time frame of 6 consecutive calendar years (a one-year extension may be requested)

Students in a combined clinical certificate and professional graduate program must complete all of the requirements of the clinical program and of the M.S. before the certificate and degree are awarded.

Basic Science Track M.S. and Ph.D. in Oral Biology

Students in the basic science M.S. Program in Oral Biology receive training in one or more of the following fields of study in the oral health sciences: Anatomy, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neuroscience, Microbiology/Immunology, and Physiology/Pharmacology. Students in the Ph.D. Program in Oral Biology  receive training in the broad fields of Craniofacial Biology or Stomatology or Dental Materials. Consult the Graduate Program in Oral Biology for specific details on requirements for the Master's Degree or Ph.D. Degree.

Time Limitations for Completion of M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees

Candidates for an M.S. or Ph.D. degree are expected to complete the thesis and all requirements for completion of the respective degree within a maximum period of time.  The maximum limits at the College of Dentistry are:

Master's Degree - 6 consecutive calendar years

Ph.D. Degree - 9 consecutive calendar years

If all requirements are not fulfilled within that time, a one-year extension may be requested by the student and approved through the Department Chair and Program Director by the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. The request for a one-year extension should be made at the beginning of the 6th year for M.S. students or the 9th year for Ph.D. students.  The term of the extension will not exceed one calendar year and, in all cases, 7 calendar years for M.S. students and 10 calendar years for Ph.D. students is the maximum time limit for completion of all degree requirements.  Coursework is valid until 7 calendar years or 10 calendar years, respectively, after the end of the semester in which it is taken.  Graduate credit for coursework which is more than 7 calendar years or 10 calendar years, respectively, at the time of the final examination (oral or written) may not be used to satisfy degree requirements.

Full-Time/Part-Time Status

Government regulations provide for full-time status for undergraduate students based on a full-time load of 24 semester hours per academic year and 12 semester hours per semester. The definition of full-time students for graduate programs is left to the institution. Using the guidance of the undergraduate regulations as the method used to derive full-time status for our clinical and graduate programs, the policy is as follows:

A graduate student/resident is considered full-time based on the program in which the student is participating.  The College of Dentistry academic year for clinical graduate students includes the summer term and is not optional. Therefore the full-time equivalent is 9 semester hours or greater during a fall or spring semester, 6 semester hours or greater during the summer term.

Colleges and schools may impose additional semester credit hour requirements for students holding assistantships or fellowships which exceed the minimum state above.  Graduate residents engaged in a clinical program are considered full-time as a result of their credit hours enrolled as well as the clinical hours which are an integral part of their program.

Deviation of the Full-Time Status for Graduate Students

The exceptions to this rule are when residents engage in clinical activity in addition to their credit hour enrollment or exclusively in clinical activity as the sole activity of their program (e.g., OMS & AEGD). These residents are always full-time.

These programs have long been accredited by CODA and our residents have been recognized as full-time students by the amount of clock hour time which accrues in these clinical settings. Further, the U.S. Congress, during the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Acts in 1992, recognized the peculiar nature of dental residency and chose to reaffirm the student nature of participants in advanced education programs in dentistry.

Financial Aid

Graduate students/residents must be enrolled at least half-time to receive student financial aid and be eligible for deferral of loan repayment.  Consult the Student Financial Aid office for specifics.

Continuous Enrollment Policy

The Continuous Enrollment Policy requires all graduate students maintain a minimum of one semester hour* enrollment at the College of Dentistry following completion of their degree plan defined course work until they complete the requirements for their Certificate and Degree and until the degree has been awarded.  Completion of requirements includes final submission of an approved thesis copy and successful electronic submission to ProQuest. While the Certificate may be awarded when a defendable draft of the thesis is submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies (with approval by the Program Director), the Master's diploma will not be awarded until ProQuest has notified the Office of Research and Graduate Studies that the electronic submission process has been completed.   

Students who have completed their prescribed course of study as defined in their degree plans and are candidates for the M.S. or Ph.D. degree in their final semester, may enroll for one semester hour one time only and be recognized as being in a full course of study.  Should such a student fail to graduate at the end of the semester, they will have to  return to enrolling for the minimum number of semester hours required of their individual situation.  

*Students with financial aid should be aware they must be enrolled at least half time to continue to be eligible for deferral of student loans.

Leave of Absence

Students who will be out of attendance for a non-scheduled break in their coursework of more than 10 class days are required to have an approved Leave of Absence request or they will be administratively withdrawn from the College.  For more information on how this affects your financial aid, please contact the Scholarships & Financial Aid office at 979-845-3236” 

Degree Plans

Advanced education students or residents who are enrolled in certificate or degree programs having a course curriculum itemized and on file in the College of Dentistry Office of the Registrar must follow that degree plan.

Degree plans for the Master's Degree must be submitted online via the Document Processing Submission System (DPSS) before by the end of the Fall Semester of the student's second year. Registration for subsequent semesters will be blocked until the degree plan requirement is met. Changes in course work or committee membership may be requested by submitting a long petition through DPSS. A final approved degree plan must be on file at least 90 days prior to the final thesis defense. 

Degree plans for the PhD Degree must be submitted online via the Document Processing Submission System (DPSS) before by the end of the Spring Semester of the student's second year. Registration for subsequent semesters will be blocked until the degree plan requirement is met. Changes in course work or committee membership may be requested by submitting a long petition through DPSS. A final approved degree plan must be on file at least 90 days prior to the final thesis defense.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum is a demanding academic requirement consisting of intensive study in the basic sciences and integrated clinical sciences.  Individual advanced education programs require successful completion of certain core courses. Consult the individual specialty training program for details.

  • Candidates for an M.S. degree are required to take eight of the core courses.
  • Certificate-only candidates must take six of the core courses.  

Core Courses

AEGD 5205 Practice Management
BIMS 5V04 Head & Neck Anatomy
BIMS 5V40/5V42 Cellular & Molecular Biology of Oral & Craniofacial Tissues I & II
BIMS 5V73 Advanced Human Craniofacial Development & Craniofacial Anomalies
BIMS 5V75 Physical Growth & Maturation
BIMS 5221 Research Design & Methodology
BIMS 5222 Applied Biostatistics
BIMS 5251 Immunology
BIMS 5269 Growth & Mechanisms of Development
BIMS 5312 Applied Medical Physiology
BIMS 5350 Oral Microbiology
DM 5220 Advanced Dental Materials
HPED 5225 Teaching Skills
OD 5250 Oral Radiology
OMFP 5V21 Advanced Oral Pathology
OMSF 5214 Clinical Pharmacology
OMSF 5218 Conscious Sedation
OMSF 5221 Internal Medicine
OMSF 5233 Physical Diagnosis

Course Auditing

Audit students are those who desire to attend class(es) without receiving academic credit. Fees are assessed for audit registration.  The Academic Department should identify which courses are available for audit.

Approval to audit or visit a course is permitted, subject to completion of an audit application, seating availability and approval by the course instructor, department head and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Auditing normally conveys only the privilege of observing and does not include submitting papers, taking tests or participating in laboratories or fieldwork. An auditing student will pay an audit fee appropriate for the course(s). Late registration fees are not charged. Audit application forms can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar and all component Student Affairs offices.

Academic credit is not given for an audited course. Should the individual wish to receive credit for the course, she/he must register, pay and retake the course.  Students may not change to "audit" status after the Add/Drop period, but must remain in the course or with draw through normal withdrawal procedures.
There is no limit on the number of courses an individual may audit. The instructor may limit the number of students in the class who are taking the class as an audit. On the official class rolls, grade sheets and student transcript, "N" or appropriate remark will appear adjacent to the name of the student who is auditing that course.  The refund policy for audit courses is the same as it is for regular courses.

Add/Drop Courses

For programs in which an opportunity exists to add or drop courses the following definitions apply.  These definitions assume the student has submitted registration through their department and may or may not have already paid all tuition and fees.

Adding is defined as registering for an additional class by a currently enrolled student.

Dropping is defined as canceling a class from the schedule of a currently enrolled student after the first day of class.

When a student wishes to add or drop a course, an Add/Drop form must be obtained from the department where the student is enrolled.  The student must complete the form and secure the required signatures.  The form is returned to the department staff member responsible for enrollment of students. The original is sent to the Office of Admissions and Academic Records (OAAR)  The OAAR processes the form and sends a copy to the Office of Business Services.  This office generates a charge or refund to the student as appropriate.

If a student drops a course prior to the end of business on the census date for the term, no record for the course is produced.  When a course is dropped after 60% of the class days have passed, the course instructor has the option of submitting a W or WF dependent upon the student's progress in the class.  The census date for fall and spring terms is the 12th class day.  The census date for our six or seven week summer sessions is the 4th class day.

The OAAR must receive request forms to add new courses by the date listed on the college Academic Calendar as the "census date".  In this event no late fee is assessed and no transcript record results.  If the student adds a course prior to the census date, the student incurs only the cost of the additional tuition and fees.  Adds or drops past the census date must be approved by the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and incur a late add/drop fee of $50 if the action results in a net addition of semester credit hours for which the student is enrolled.

International students must check with the Office of International Services before adding or dropping.  Add/Drop action may adversely impact a student's legal immigration status in the United States.

Academic Due Process

In accordance with the law and in the interest of fairness, the College of Dentistry has established guidelines designed to ensure the right of due process for the student.  As they relate to the College, the students' responsibilities may be classified in five broad areas, which are as follows:

  1. academic performance;
  2. academic integrity;
  3. professional conduct;
  4. conduct associated with the College, but not directly related to academic or professional training of the student; and
  5. off-campus conduct, not associated with the College, which may reflect adversely on the image and reputation of the College.

Different guidelines exist for the assurance of due process, based upon whether the student difficulties are academic or disciplinary. Academic penalties result from failure to attain a required level of scholarship and performance and disciplinary penalties arise from violation of prescribed institutional as well as civil and criminal codes of conduct.

Academic matters related to academic performance and some aspects of professional conduct. Nonacademic (disciplinary) matters related to integrity, professional conduct and conduct not directly related to academic or professional training of the student.


Larry L. Bellinger, Ph.D. 
Regents Professor
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies

Richard Cardenas
Program Manager

Kim Luttman
Program Manager
Graduate Studies and International Liaison

Jill Newsom
 Administrative Assistant


Phone: 979.845.3631
Fax: 979.862.1693

Other OGAPS Contacts

Thesis and Dissertation Services

Graduate Records Processing Services

Degree Plan & Committee Submission


Office of the Registrar

Student Business Services

Other Resources

 TAMU Graduate and Professional Catalog
 College of Dentistry Graduate Catalog