Graduate Program in Pediatric Dentistry

The Graduate Program in Pediatric Dentistry is a three-year program, which provides both a certificate and a degree.

Graduate Program in Pediatric Dentistry

The Graduate Program in Pediatric Dentistry has an established record of combined curricula with other disciplines in public health and the basic sciences. Dual or combined programs can be structured to accommodate a non-dental master’s degree, a postdoctoral fellowship, an individual dental scientist award or a doctoral degree. The most popular degree options are the Master of Science in Dentistry, the Master of Public Health and the PhD. There is no certificate-only option.

Each graduate student completes several experiences focused on developing skills in scholarship and structured academic research.

The clinical education of pediatric dentistry is a critical part of the Graduate Program in Pediatric Dentistry. Clinical experience is obtained in facilities located at the Adams School of Dentistry and UNC Hospitals, the Durham County Health Department, the Alamance County Health Department, the Gateway Educational Center, and the IHS Cherokee Indian Hospital.

A major aim of our program is to prepare graduates for roles of leadership in the professional community, the academic arena or in government service. A special emphasis is placed upon the recruitment and career development of individuals prepared to address the oral health issues of children in the coming decades.

The Graduate Program in Pediatric Dentistry is approved and accredited by the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association.

Admissions Information

Application Deadline: September 15

Applicants must utilize the Postdoctoral Application Support Service (PASS) administered by the American Dental Education Association and the Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program (MATCH).

Click here to access the PASS application materials and instructions. Click here to access the MATCH application materials and instructions.

Application to the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School is not required until after students have been selected for the program. This application typically opens on or after August 1. 

Admissions Requirements

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

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


International Students

In addition to the above items, international applicants must include the following in their PASS application:

  • Foreign transcripts evaluation
  • TOEFL examination scores

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 May to ensure that scores arrive by the application deadline, unless listed here as an exception.

When requested to do so by the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School, international applicants must submit official academic records bearing the signature of the registrar or another academic official and either a raised or ink stamp or seal of the issuing institution. Records must be issued in the original language and be accompanied by certified English translations. International applicants must also submit verification that the degree has been awarded or a copy of the degree award.

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 they may wait to upload the documentation until they have received your admittance notification 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.

We encourage applications from non-U.S. citizens and we have a proud record of international alumni Greece, Iceland, Thailand, China and more. However, financial support for international students is sparse. Typically our international students are sponsored by their native countries through government support or university scholarships. Along with their living expenses, international students must be prepared to pay tuition expenses at the level of non-North Carolina residents (see above) for three years of study and training. No stipend support or grants are available for international students unless they are U.S. citizens.

Tuition, Stipend Support and Benefits

The cost of attending graduate school includes tuition, fees, and health insurance, for which the student is billed directly. Tuition and fees for the master’s programs in the Adams School of Dentistry are available through the University Cashier.

Graduate students must pay tuition and fees during all years of study and training. These charges are subject to change at any meeting of the NC Board of Trustees and a yearly increase of 5-10 percent should be anticipated each year. Estimates for living expenses are available through the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

Out-of-state students and international students with permanent resident status (“green card”) are encouraged to establish legal residence in North Carolina and to apply for classification as a state resident for tuition purposes. Guidelines and application forms for establishing residency are available from the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School.

Regardless of the availability of stipend support, teaching responsibilities are required as a part of the program.

Extramural Rotations

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry is committed to providing dental care to children living in underserved areas. We also believe that understanding working with these populations is an important part of educational training. Therefore, residents are required to rotate through a variety of extramural sites.

Durham County Department of Public Health

Residents provide dental care for children at the Durham County Health Department under the mentorship of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry faculty. This rotation offers residents the opportunity to work as part of a community dental team. Most patients in this program are healthy children between 5 and 15 years of age.

Cherokee Indian Health Service Hospital

Graduate students provide care and assist DDS students in the provision of care for young Native American Cherokee children who often have extensive restorative and surgical dental needs. The week-long clinic is located in the modern Cherokee IHS Hospital in remote western North Carolina on the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

Gateway Education Center

This is a clinical rotation wherein students provide care for patients with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities, most of which are related to traumatic head injuries.

Combined Certificate and Master of Public Health Program

This dual training program is designed to prepare pediatric dental residents for positions that require a breadth of knowledge of the field of public health. All requirements of the degree must be completed within five years from time the student first matriculates in the MPH program.

Applicants first must be accepted as a candidate for the dual program by the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and also must be granted admission to the SPH. Following the results of the MATCH, applicants that have been approved will be asked to apply for SPH admissions.

In addition to the courses in specialty of pediatric dentistry, residents in this program will take 13 courses at the Gillings School of Global Public Health (SPH) and participate in a practicum or field training experience. Each graduate student is expected to complete a research project.

Since this program is a true combined program and SPH courses are integrated into the pediatric dentistry schedule, there are no additional tuition costs. There are additional practicum and professional fees.


Click here for the course catalog. If the page does not automatically direct you, click “PEDO” at the top.

North Carolina Licensure/Intern Permit

Students who are not graduates of an ADA-accredited dental school must complete a simulation exam as part of their NC intern permit process. Such candidates must pass and complete the simulation exam within two months of their formal matriculation in the program. If a candidate does not pass the simulation exam within the two-month interval, they cannot advance in the clinical program and will be subject to dismissal from the program.

Contact Us


Elyse Crawford, Educational Programs Coordinator, Pediatric and Public Health
Phone: 919-537-3785