The integrated DMD-PhD dual-degree program is designed to minimize redundant basic science and research coursework in order to reduce the time needed to obtain both degrees by 1-2 years, with a typical program taking approximately 7-8 years. Integration of these two programs will provide students with comprehensive training in both clinical dentistry and in PhD level biomedical research. Integration is enhanced by the centralization of the College of Dentistry, College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy within the Health Sciences Center.
For the first three years, students focus entirely on the DMD curriculum, thus providing a foundation in the basic sciences with exposure to the clinical setting, current dental treatment strategies and treatment planning. During this period, students pass the National Board Dental Examinations (NBDE) part I. Students officially enter the joint degree program in the Fall semester of their DMD senior year by beginning their formal PhD training in the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences. From this point on, students simultaneously maintain a foothold in the clinical arena by working for two half-days each week in the TEAM dental clinic. Students have four years to complete DMD degree requirements of the last two semesters (i.e., semesters 10 and 11) of the DMD program. These requirements include limited didactic courses, clinical experiences, clinical skills assessments and passage of NBDE part II. Students therefore learn to balance research with clinical duties, a skill vital for a successful career in academic research.
Upon entering the joint degree program, 24 credits in the DMD program are awarded toward the PhD degree. Reciprocal credits are applied toward the DMD degree. To help ensure that students continually progress in their dental professional development while pursuing the PhD degree, specific benchmarks are to be attained by the end of year 5. These requirements are equivalent to those in the DMD curriculum expected by the end of the Fall semester of the Senior year. By the end of year 7, students are to complete all clinical and didactic requirements for the DMD degree. However, students must satisfy all requirements for both degrees before either degree is awarded. Students requiring additional time to complete PhD requirements will continue working two-half days in the clinic to help prepare for the Florida State Dental Licensure Examination.