Dental Specialty Foundation Certificate

Two people in masks do a dental cleaning

Dental Specialty Foundation Certificate

Thank you for your interest in the Postdoctoral Dental Foundation Certificate Program. The Certificate Program is a 12-month, full-time postdoctoral certificate program for domestic and international dental school graduates. Applicants now have the option to limit their time in the program to a minimum of one semester. Only those who complete the one-year program will receive the certificate. However, applicants who limit their time in the program to a minimum of one semester may request a transcript for the courses taken for credit. Students who elect the one semester option will only receive a letter of attendance.

The objectives of the program are to provide additional experience to dentists who wish to enhance their knowledge and understanding of current educational and clinical approaches in dental specialty areas.

Completion of the program will prepare domestic and internationally trained dentists with foundational knowledge if the desire is to seek further clinical specialty education or PhD training in the US.

The curriculum includes graduate course work with postgraduate dental students and residents, observation and participation in the graduate clinics, and active participation in a research project under the mentorship of a full-time faculty member. The programs are structured to allow for personalized instruction.

The dental school currently accepts applications for postdoctoral externs in the advanced dental education programs in endodontics, operative dentistry and biomaterials, periodontics, and prosthodontics.

Admissions Information

Application Deadline: March 10/October 8*

*Depending on July 1/January 2 start date.

Applications for admission to the program are through the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School.

The Adams School of Dentistry does not employ “in-state” quotas; all candidates are reviewed on a competitive basis.

Admission criteria are applied equally to all applicants regardless of race, sex, color, national origin or religion. Minority students are encouraged to apply.

General questions may be directed to:

The UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School
200A Bynum Hall
CB# 4010
Chapel Hill NC 27599-4010

Phone: (919) 966-2611

Supplemental Materials

The following items MUST be provided for an application to be considered complete.

Item Description
Postdoctoral Certificate Program On-line Application
Three letters of recommendation Letters should come from faculty or other professionals in dentistry who can assess the applicant’s dental background, knowledge, character, and clinical skills and best evaluate whether the externship would be a positive experience for your future academic/clinical career.
Proof of English language proficiency Recognized English language test (TOEFL or IELTS) or transcripts or other documented evidence from an English language academic institution in the U.S. or another English-speaking country (Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and English-speaking Universities in Canada and South Africa of having attended full-time for at least one academic year within five years of arriving to UNC-Chapel Hill), or documented evidence of having been employed and having resided in the U.S. or one of the countries listed above for at least two years.

This requirement can be waived if:

  • The individual will transfer their current F-1 status to UNC-Chapel Hill from another U.S. institution, where the individual has met this requirement already.
  • The individual is a native or permanent resident of Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or English-speaking regions of Canada or South Africa.
Transcripts of all dental education completed Official transcripts of all dental education in the original language accompanied by a certified English translation are required.
Letter of interest This should be a statement of intent that specifies the clinical area of interest (endodontics, operative dentistry and biomaterials, periodontics, or prosthodontics), the proposed start date (January or July) and the goals for the program.
Curriculum vitae
Copy of a current dental license in the country of your residence If not in English, a translated and certified copy must also be submitted.


Admissions Requirements

All prospective students must hold a DDS, DMD or equivalent degree from a dental school.

International Students

Accepted applicants should allow at least three months for processing through the University and Visa materials.

International applicants must be eligible for an appropriate visa to enter the United States. International applications are required to complete the International Student Supplemental Application Form. For questions regarding visa eligibility, please contact the UNC-Chapel Hill International Student for Scholar Services directly by email or phone (919) 962-5661.

International students are required to take the TOEFL exam with a minimum of 90 on the internet-based test, or the IELTS with a minimum score of 7.5. The exam score must be less than two years old.

When you register for any tests, you should indicate the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School (institution #5816) as a score recipient. If you did not specify the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School as a score recipient at the time of taking the test, you must promptly ask ETS to send your scores to us (institution #5816). No departmental code is required.

Applicants should take the test no later than October to ensure that test scores arrive by the application deadline.

International applicants seeking admission must complete and upload an international student data form and financial certification worksheet, available here. Applicants may submit financial certificate documentation at any time during the application process or applicants may wait to upload the documentation until admittance notification is received from the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School. Please note these documents must be received and approved by the International Student and Scholar Services office before visa documents can be prepared.

International students should submit National Board Scores, if available, as Supplement Number 1 in the Graduate School application.

Program Status

The certificate program is sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Adams School of Dentistry. Attendance and completion records are maintained by the Adams School of Dentistry and are listed on the UNC-Chapel Hill Registrar’s records.

Completion is not the same as a postgraduate program certificate awarded to full-time postgraduate students in specialty programs as a qualification for recognition by the American Dental Association, nor is it considered in the United States as evidence of advanced study or recognition of specialty training.

Tuition, fees, medical insurance, and costs for housing and living expenses are the responsibility of the extern. No financial assistance is available or provided by the University. All externs must show evidence of health insurance to the limits required by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, prior to admission

Contact Us


Associate Dean for Advanced Dental Education