Each year, United States dental schools get ranked to determine which dental schools are the best in the country. In this article, you'll learn about the current rankings for best dental schools in the U.S. in 2023. You can compare these rankings to last years rankings here.
While this focus is on U.S. dental schools, there are also rankings for the best dental schools in the world. Regardless, the best dental schools in the U.S. are also some of the best dental schools in the entire world.
It's important to note that these rankings are not based national board exam scores, board exam passing rates, clinical readiness of graduates, or other factors. The ranking factor for these rankings can be found at the bottom of the article.
Here are the top ten ranked dental schools in the U.S., as ranked by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, now known as Shanghai Ranking:
10. NYU College of Dentistry
Located in New York City, New York, NYU's dental school ranks #10 in the United States and #17 in the world. NYU's College of Dentistry is the third oldest dental school in the United States, and has the largest dental school class size out of all of the other dental schools in the United States. NYU's college of dentistry is also one of the most expensive dental school by tuition in the country, according to 2020 statistics.
9. Iowa College of Dentistry
Located in Iowa City, Iowa, Iowa's College of Dentistry ranks #9 in the United States and #16 in the world. The average DAT from candidates who received acceptances was a 23 Academic Average and a 23 Total Science Score. The average accepted GPA for Columbia's dental school was a 3.7 GPA for the class of 2022. Over 90% of their class typically pursues postdoctoral studies in specialities, or advanced general dentistry residencies. Columbia is also the 5th most expensive dental school by tuition. You can learn more about the cost of dental school, and some of the most expensive dental schools in this post.
8. University at Buffalo, SUNY School of Dental Medicine
UB's School of Dental Medicine ranked #8 in the United States and #10 in the world, having decreased by one position in world rankings, compared to previous years. Along with Stony Brook's School of Dental Medicine, It is one of the two public dental schools in the state of New York.
7. University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) College of Dental Medicine
UPenn's College of Dental Medicine, one of the few Ivy League dental schools, ranks as #7 in the United States and #8 in the world. It is known for it's curriculum, research opportunities, and ivy-league status. Penn Dental Medicine is also one of the most expensive dental schools to attend.
6. University of Washington School of Dentistry
Located in Seattle, Washington, UW School of Dentistry is the only dental school in the state of Washington, and one of 9 dental schools located on the west coast. University of Washington's School of Dentistry has kept its spot as #6 in U.S. rankings for the past two years, and places in #7 for best dental schools in the world.
5. UCSF School of Dentistry
Located in San Fransisco, California, UCSF's School of Dentistry lost their spot as the fourth best dental school in the U.S. to UCLA this year. The dental school prides itself on research, diversity, and community outreach amongst other things, and commonly ranks in the top-5 best dental schools in the United States.
4. UCLA School of Dentistry
Located in Los Angeles, California, UCLA's School of Dentistry has ranked as the #4 best dental school in the United States, and as the fifth best dental school in world, in the 2022 rankings. This is an improvement from last year's ranking, in which UCLA's School of Dentistry placed in #5 best dental school in the United States, and #6 best dental school in the world. In terms of admissions statistics, UCLA School of Dentistry's Class of 2025 had an average GPA of 3.72 and an average DAT of 22.
3. Harvard University's School of Dental Medicine
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard has ranked as the #3 best dental school in the United States, and #4 best dental school in the world. Harvard's School of Dental Medicine is known for their Pathways curriculum, team-based academic style, and excellence in research. Harvard's School of Dental Medicine is the only dental school in the United States that requires its students to conduct research during dental school, and also has the smallest class size of any dental school.
2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC Adams School of Dentistry
Located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the UNC Adams School Dentistry is the #2 dental school in the United States, and the second best dental school in the world, based on 2022 data. UNC is one of the public schools in North Carolina, and the dental school gives preference to North Carolina residents.
1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor School of Dentistry
Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Michigan's School of Dentistry has become ranked the #1 dental school in the United States, and the #1 dental school in the world, in the 2021 rankings, albeit not the most competitive dental school to gain admissions to. For the Class of 2023, 1,747 applicants applied for 109 available seats. The Class of 2023's average GPA was 3.69.
While these schools are considered the best dental schools in the U.S. based on the criteria mentioned below, these rankings do not mean that these are the best dental school for everyone. There are many other excellent dental schools. Students should research each school's curriculum, faculty, clinical opportunities, and overall reputation to determine which program is the best fit for their individual needs and goals. After all, there is not an objective way to rank schools based on practice-ready graduates or how successful the graduates will be at treating patients.
Criteria used to rank the best dental schools in the United States:
The ranking system used to rank the best dental schools is primarily based on research output, research influence, international collaboration, research quality, and international academic awards. These rankings do not consider the GPA or DAT of current dental students at the dental school, or how competitive the dental schools are to get accepted to, based on admissions statistics. In summary, research, not clinical experience or other factors, primarily determine the rankings listed above.
How to Choose the Right Dental School For You
Choosing the right dental school for you to attend is an important decision that requires careful consideration. While some factors that you may consider include accreditation, curriculum, and clinical experience, there are many other factors to consider as well. More of those factors to consider when choosing the right dental school for you can be found in this post on how to choose the best dental school to attend for you.
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About the Author: Andrew Ghadimi
Andrew has served as a member on the AADSAS Advisory Group and the National Pre-Dental Liaison for the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the same organization that runs the dental school application, ADEA AADSAS. He also served as the California Pre-Dental Chair for the ADEA Council of Students, Residents, and Fellows. Ghadimi was accepted to some of the most competitive dental schools in the world, and matriculated at UCLA's School of Dentistry. He founded Predenting because of his passion for helping other pre-dentals get accepted into their dream dental schools, and his unique admissions knowledge and insider information from working with current and former admissions officers. He has helped 300+ pre-dentals on their journey to dental school over the past 4+ years.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to UCLA School of Dentistry, the American Dental Education Association, or any other organization.