(Effective Fall 2013)

This curriculum offers the theoretical and clinical education needed for a variety of dental hygiene careers. The major provides a diversified background to prepare students for licensing exams, immediate employment, and lifelong learning.

Career Opportunities

Dental hygienists are employed in private dental practices, research, government health agencies, school systems, hospital and public health clinics, military services, and in dental hygiene education programs.

Recommended High School Subjects

Because of the strong emphasis on science in this major, applicants are encouraged to complete one year of high school biology, two years of high school algebra, and chemistry with a laboratory.

Special Admissions Requirements

Acceptance into this competitive major is based on an admissions ranking process. To view acceptance criteria, testing requirements, performance expectations, and the admissions ranking system, consult the detailed special admissions information

Special Equipment Needs

Upon admission to this major, additional expenses will be encountered for uniforms, personal protective equipment, and instruments. Refer to the list of tools, uniforms, and supplies.

Remediation Strategies

Developmental math, reading, and English needs, as identified by placement testing, must be remediated prior to acceptance into the major. Chemistry must be satisfied prior to admission to the major. Applicants not having a "C" or better in high school chemistry with a lab within the past 10 years must pass one of the following: CHM 100, or CHM 108 or higher, or an adult education chemistry course at an approved high school prior to admission to the Dental Hygiene major.

Transfer Procedures

Students in this major can transfer to the bachelor's degree in Dental Hygiene or Applied Health Studies. This major will subscribe to the transfer standards established by the College.

International health credentials/licensure, sciences courses, and most math courses will not be accepted to satisfy requirements of this major. Please see additional information for international students applying to Health Sciences majors.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:
  • demonstrate professional and ethical conduct consistent with current dental hygiene standards of care.
  • develop the knowledge and skills necessary to apply the dental hygiene process of care to diverse populations in all age ranges.
  • promote oral health within the community.

Performance Standards

Students must earn a minimum grade of 'C' in each DEN course. Failure to do so will result in termination from the major.

The following grading system applies to all dental (DEN) courses in this major. There is no rounding of grades:

A= 90-100
B= 80-89.99
C= 75 –79.99
F= 74.99 and below


First Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
FYE101 First Year Experience 1 .50 1.50 S REQ
DEN103 Dental Hygiene I 4 2 6 M REQ
DEN104 Preventive Dentistry 2 1.50 1.50 M REQ
DEN107 Orofacial Anatomy 3 2.50 1.50 M REQ
DEN108 Oral Histology 1 1 M REQ
BIO115 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4 3 3 S REQ
ENL111 English Composition I 3 3 S REQ
Second Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
DEN123 Dental Radiology 3 2 3 M REQ
DEN126 Dental Hygiene II 5 2 9 M REQ
DEN130 Introduction to Periodontics 2 2 M REQ
DEN211 Oral Health and Nutrition 2 2 M REQ
BIO201 Microbiology 4 3 3 S REQ
BIO125 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4 3 3 S REQ
Summer Session Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
MMM Math Elective (MTH151 or Higher) 3   S MMM
Third Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
DEN202 General and Oral Pathology 2 2 M REQ
DEN204 Pharmacology 2 2 M REQ
DEN212 Periodontics II 1 1 M REQ
DEN214 Dental Materials and Specialties 3 2 3 M REQ
DEN216 Dental Hygiene III 6 2 12 M REQ
PSY111 General Psychology 3 3 S REQ
Fourth Semester Credits Notes Lecture Lab/Clinical M/S Type
DEN220 Community Dental Health 2 2 M REQ
DEN224 Dental Law and Ethics 1 Writing Enriched Requirement 1 M REQ
DEN227 Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice 5 1 12 M REQ
DEN240 Techniques in Pain Control 2 1 3 M REQ
CSC124 Information, Technology, and Society 3 3 S REQ
SPC101 Fundamentals of Speech 3 3 S REQ
FIT Fitness and Lifetime Sports Elective 1   S FIT
SSE Social Science Elective 3   S SSE

Notice of Conviction

Child abuse clearance and criminal background checks are required by some agencies involved in fieldwork and/or capstones. Agencies can bar students from their sites if a criminal record exists or a positive drug test is noted. By virtue of contract for Penn College students to be at clinical sites, agencies have the right to ask for random drug testing. The Pennsylvania Board of Dentistry advises that a drug-related conviction and/or conviction of a felonious act can result in denial and/or revocation of a license to practice dental hygiene. Inability to gain clinical or fieldwork or intern education experiences results in inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. For additional clarification, students can speak with their program director.


The associate degree program in dental hygiene is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of APPROVAL (without reporting requirements). The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678. The Commission’s web address is: http://www.ada.org/en/coda