BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Dental Hygiene

UCAS codeB752

full time3yrs

Develop your knowledge, skills and practical experience in dental hygiene

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Dental Hygienists are a vital part of the dental team, providing primary dental care to patients in a variety of dental environments.

This three-year BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene undergraduate programme develops your theoretical knowledge and practical clinical experience in dental hygiene and your academic skills.

The course also develops the knowledge, skills and professionalism you need to get professional registration with the General Dental Council (GDC) and the right to practice as a dental hygienist.

Values and the NHS Constitution

We endeavour to recruit students to our health and social care courses who have the right values base and demonstrate appropriate behaviours. We embed the values of the NHS Constitution throughout our admissions processes and they are an essential part of the curricula. Find out more about the values we look for.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Study with dental therapy, dental nursing and dental students, so you build effective team-working skills
  • Undertake a range of dental procedures and patient management techniques in our purpose-built Dental Academy
  • Put your learning into action during outreach activity, which you can do in a variety of community settings
  • Develop independent learning and decision making skills, carry out a research project and work with other DCPs to lead and manage an innovative business project

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course meets the standards required for accreditation with the General Dental Council (GDC). As a new degree the GDC will assess the programme as it develops.

Once you complete this course, you will be able to register with the GDC and work in the dental care sector.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • General dental practice
  • Hospital dental services
  • The armed forces
  • The NHS
  • Health promotion
  • Learning and teaching
  • Dental practice owner



Dental Hygiene

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth including:

  • The practical team-based approach to dentistry that helps prepare you for life beyond university
  • The fantastic facilities and real-life learning that simulate work in a real dental practice
  • The enthusiastic lecturers who offer great support in a friendly environment
  • The great range of outreach opportunities that allow you to put your learning in to practice

Browse all courses in Health Sciences and Social Work

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

The first year of the programme introduces core subjects related to dental hygiene.

Core units in this year include:

  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Introduction to Human Science
  • Introduction to Behavioural Science
  • Foundations of Clinical Practice
  • Pre-Clinical Periodontal Practice
  • Introduction to Periodontal Practice

Year two

In the second year of the programme, you will develop your clinical skills, applying theoretical knowledge to the care and treatment of patients. You will also develop a research proposal.

Core units in this year include:

  • Professional Development and Teamwork
  • Advanced Human Science
  • Advanced Behavioural Science
  • Dental Radiography and Dental Imaging
  • Periodontal Practice

Year three

In the third year of the programme you will develop management, leadership, independent decision-making and research skills to deliver evidenced-based clinical care.

Core units in this year include:

  • Researching Professional
  • Oral Surgery and Oral Medicine
  • Advanced Communication and Behavioural Management
  • Management and Leadership for DCP Practice
  • Advanced Periodontal Practice

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


Staff teach this course through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical laboratory work and guided reading.

Our academic staff have expertise in clinical practice and research, and we provide a student-centred approach to teaching, with all units fully supported by online lecture and study materials.


On this course there is a balance of formal examinations and coursework assessment. You will complete coursework throughout the year, whereas exams take place at the end of the academic year.

Assessment methods include:

  • Written examinations
  • Computer examinations
  • Presentations
  • Coursework

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Facilities & Features

The Dental Academy

We have built the optimal environment for you to study dental practice. Offering a balance of state-of-the-art teaching and clinical facilities, here’s a taste of what you will have access to:

  • two clinics (44 dental treatment bays)
  • two individual surgeries
  • a phantom head room
  • decontamination suite
  • radiography suite
  • four radiography booths

Working as a Team

Our Dental Academy is a training ground for undergraduate King’s College London Dental Institute students as well as you and others on your course. So with dental care professionals and undergraduate dentists under the same roof, you will really get a feel for what it’s like to be part of a dental team working within a primary dental care setting.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

We provide you with three sets of scrubs (clinical clothing) and a name badge at the start of the course. Extra or replacement scrubs can be ordered at £8 per set or £4 for individual items. Replacement name badges can be ordered at £7. You will need to purchase your own visor frame (available from the Dental Academy for £8) and a pair of black shoes which enclose the foot (not clogs). You will also need to pay £30 for the use of a model skull (with extra fees if not returned). Locker keys require a deposit of £10.  There are a variety of outreach locations that you will need to attend to support your study which will incur travel costs.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

When you complete the course, you will be qualified to become a valuable member of a dental team, delivering a range of treatments on prescription from a dentist.

Roles our graduates may take on include:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Oral health educator
  • Practice manager
  • Practice owner
  • Dental sales representative
  • Dental hygiene tutor

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

To broaden your range of experience and widen your skill base, some learning can happen outside of the University in the community.

Locations may include:

  • Outreach activity in community surgeries and maxillofacial departments in local hospitals
  • Oral Health Promotion
  • Supervised tooth brushing in infant schools
  • Helping staff to develop oral care plans in residential homes
  • Working alongside others in the dental team in a variety of settings, to improve access to oral healthcare

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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