Dental students working on a phantom head

Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy BSc (Hons)

Gain the skills and experience to become a dental hygienist and/or dental therapist on this General Dental Council (GDC) accredited course. Become eligible to register with the GDC when you graduate and begin your dental career.

Key information

UCAS code:



This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

120-128 UCAS points from 3 A levels, or equivalent, including 40 UCAS points from a pure Science subject

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
Start date

Showing content for section Overview


Both dental hygienists and dental therapists help people maintain good oral health by providing treatments, carrying out procedures and giving dietary and hygiene advice.

The role of dental therapist is the same as a dental hygienist, however they can also carry out some of the restorative work dentists do, such as fillings and extractions.

This dual role BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy course, accredited by the General Dental Council (GDC), gives you the theory and practical skills required to register as both a dental hygienist and dental therapist with the GDC.

Experience studying Dental Hygiene Therapy at the University of Portsmouth

This dual role BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy course, accredited by the General Dental Council (GDC), gives you the theory and practical skills required to register as both a dental hygienist and dental therapist with the GDC.

Bhavin Dedhia: The course of dental hygiene, dental therapy is a 3-year degree course. End of which, you get BSc qualification and accreditation with the General Dental Council, which leads on to a very wide-range of career opportunities.

Once you qualify, you can practise as a dental hygiene dental therapist within the United Kingdom. You can also work in hospital care settings, community placements, or special care dental services as well.

This course is unique; we get to work alongside dentists, dental hygienists, and dental nurses, and get real-life experience working in a practice. You also get community outreach programmes where you go into schools, hospitals, and special care dental places as well.

The course topics are covered very broadly. We have clinical skills, which deals with all the clinical aspects that need to be within the scope of dental hygienists and dental therapists. As well as you learn some non-clinical skills like legal and ethical issues, communications, and behaviour management that underpin the role of dental hygienist and dental therapists.

The reason that students want to study this course at the University of Portsmouth is because we have excellent facilities. We have fantastic teaching team and personal tutors who will support the students throughout their course journey as well.

Course highlights

  • Practise your skills in our Dental Academy model clinical practice, with dental treatment bays and simulation technology, including our Phantom Head skill lab, new haptics suite and radiography equipment
  • Work in a dental team alongside practising dentists, dental nurses and other students, giving you a taste of your future work environment
  • Build your experience working as part of a dental team, studying alongside dental hygiene, dental nursing and dental students as well as qualified professionals
  • Work with the public through our community healthcare projects, providing additional patient-focused work experience such as working with the homeless community and our Brush Up programme.
Dental Academy photoshoot, 14th November 2018

NHS Learning Support Fund

At least £5,000 a year

Students on this course may be eligible for additional funding through the NHS Learning Support Fund bursary of at least £5,000 a year.



of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course

(HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19)

Accredited by:

This course is accredited by the General Dental Council (GDC). This allows you to register with the GDC when you complete the course.

The GDC continually assess the course to make sure it meets the standard required for accreditation, so you'll know you're getting the most relevant and up-to-date teaching available.


Liz's experience studying BSc Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy

Liz Wathen, a BSc Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy student at the University of Portsmouth, talks about her experiences at the Dental Academy.

Why did you choose to study Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy at the University of Portsmouth?

Liz: The facilities are really good at the Dental Academy. They have clinics on the campus. Above the clinics, you've got the phantom head labs which are just really up to date.

What is your favourite thing about the Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy course?

Liz: So my favourite thing about the course, I would say, is the practical sessions in the clinics. I enjoy learning about what we're actually going to do in practice and then putting that into practice on the phantom heads. 

What's the most exciting project you've worked on as part of the course?

Liz: Going in, doing the practical sessions and particularly working with the ultrasonic scalers. I was a dental nurse before I started this course, so I have seen dentists use the ultrasonic scaler. So to be able to come in and actually be able to use it myself was very exciting. 

After you graduate, what are your plans for the future?

Liz: I'm hoping to work a couple of days in a private practice, a couple of days in the NHS and I also worked as a dental nurse in the prison. I really would like to return to it as a therapist. 

What would you say to convince someone to study Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy at the University of Portsmouth?

Liz: The tutors, they don't just teach you to pass your course. They really care about you having a good information and knowledge base to be able to deal with your patients as a whole. It's just amazing.

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - ABB-BBB
  • UCAS points - 120-128 points from 3 A levels, or equivalent, including 40 points from a pure Science subject. For A levels which include a separate science practical component, a pass is desirable and may strengthen an application (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit. Acceptable T Level Subjects:
    T Level in Healthcare Science (Acceptable Occupational Specialisms: Assisting with healthcare science), T Level in Science
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM  
  • International Baccalaureate - 29-30

Selection process

  • All shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview in support of their application. Shortlisting occurs up until the end of February and interviews take place between March and April.
  • Applicants must pass Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Occupational Health checks before starting the course. This includes screening to exclude infectivity with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

See alternative English language qualifications.

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Values and the NHS Constitution

We embed the principles and values of the NHS Constitution in all our health and social care courses. When you apply for this course, we’ll expect you to demonstrate how your values align with the values of the Constitution.

Find out more about the values we look for

Choosing to study Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy at the University of Portsmouth was a no brainer as the course is accredited by the GDC. Portsmouth is also a brilliant student city and absolutely beautiful in the summer!

Zahraa Khameery, BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy

Facilities and specialist equipment

Dental Academy photoshoot, 14th November 2018

Dental Academy

Hone your practical dental skills in our Dental Academy, which includes 2 patient clinics with 44 dental treatment bays.

Find out more about the Dental Academy

Dental Academy photoshoot, 14th November 2018

Phantom Head lab

Build your skills and your confidence using our realistic industry-standard phantom heads, designed to simulate working with real patients.

Explore the Phantom Head lab

18/05/2021.B-Roll - day 4..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.

Dental radiography

Learn how to take dental X-rays and explore dental imaging techniques in our dental radiography booths

Explore the Dental Academy

Take a tour of our Dental Academy at the University of Portsmouth, where we teach Dental Hygiene, Dental Therapy and Dental Nursing courses.

Careers and opportunities

Both dental hygienists and dental therapists provide oral care that helps patients maintain a healthy mouth, gums and teeth, but there's much more to the role than this alone. The treatments and procedures they carry out – such as scaling and polishing, and taking dental X-rays – are designed to support good oral health and prevent dental problems before they develop.

In addition to this, dental therapists are also trained to do some of the same work as dentists, including fillings, and extracting and placing preformed crowns on 'baby' teeth.

On adult patients, dental therapists can provide any dental work that doesn't require treatment to the nerve of a tooth, which makes them an essential support to dentists and a versatile and multi-skilled member of a dental team.  

Register as both a dental hygienist and a dental therapist

On this BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy degree, you'll develop the knowledge, skills and professionalism you need to take on either of these roles, both of which are in high demand throughout the UK, in the NHS and in the private healthcare sector.

After you complete this course, you’ll be able to register with the General Dental Council (GDC) as a dental hygienist and a dental therapist and embark on your dental career straight away.

Looking to study just dental hygiene? Take a look at our BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene degree.  

What areas can you work in with a dental hygiene and dental therapy degree?

When you complete the course, you'll be qualified to work in areas such as:

  • general dental practice
  • hospital dental services
  • the Armed Forces
  • the NHS
  • health promotion
  • owning and managing a dental business of your own

What jobs can you do with a dental hygiene and dental therapy degree?

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • dental hygienist
  • dental therapist
  • oral health educator
  • practice manager
  • practice owner

You could also continue your dental studies or do research at postgraduate level.

Our graduates have progressed in many areas within the dental sector including working within the Forces, HM Prison, community and hospital dental services and general practice. A number of our graduates have successfully set up their own dental practices and companies.

Sarah Barber, Associate Head (Innovation) at the Dental Academy

Potential salary

As an NHS dental hygienist in 2021, you could expect a starting salary of £25,655 moving up to £31,534 (Band 5).

With more experience, you could earn from £32,306 to £39,027 (Band 6) and with a role training others in dental hygiene, you could make up to £45,839 (Band 7).

As a dental therapist in the NHS in 2021, your starting salary would be between £25,655 and £39,027 (Bands 5-6). Once you have more experience, you could earn up to £45,839 (Band 7).

In private practice, hourly rates for dental hygienists and dental therapists range from approximately £16.56 to over £50.

Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

Work experience with patients in the community

To help you gain professional experience, you'll help to provide free dental health services to the public at the Dental Academy and work with patients in local community settings.

You'll have the chance to offer preventative and educational dental support within institutions such as school clinics and hostels for homeless people, enabling you to gain a better understanding of the social impact of good dental care.

Our community work experience projects 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
  • providing dental screening to offenders in the probation service
  • providing dental check ups to elite athletes, including first team players from Portsmouth Football Club

Portsmouth FC players get a check up at the Dental Academy

Thanks to a collaborative partnership with Portsmouth Football Club, our undergraduate dental students gave first team players Clark Robertson and Liam Vincent a full oral health assessment at our Dental Academy.

Check ups like these are an opportunity to catch any potential issues early, such as dental trauma from the sport, tooth decay from a diet that’s often high in carbohydrates and sugars, or dental erosion caused by acidic sports drinks.

Professor Chris Louca: Today we are resurrecting a collaboration between the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Football Club. So in this case, we've got final year Dental Hygiene students who are looking at the Portsmouth Football Club players and they're carrying out a full oral health assessment.

This is a really big area of interest, looking at the link between oral health and the performance of elite athletes. There's a growing body of evidence to show that there is a link between these two areas.

Francesca Lee: So an athlete's diet consists of high sugar, so the advice I'd give to athletes is to minimise eating sugary foods and drinks and if they're going to have it, eat it in one sitting rather than snacking throughout the day.

Liam Vincent: I've just had a check up and they've removed some decay off my teeth. My teeth are a lot better now!

I never really considered the health of my teeth before, as much as I will do now.

Clark Robertson: I didn't really think about it too much in relation to actually playing football, but it's something I'll be more aware of moving forward.


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules in this year include:

  • Foundation of Evidence Based Practice (Dental) – 20 credits
  • Foundations of Dhdt Professional Practice – 40 credits
  • Fundamentals of Dental Hygiene & Therapy Practice – 20 credits
  • Science Informing Practice (Dental) – 40 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Applied Dental Hygiene and Therapy Professional Practice – 40 credits
  • Communication For the Dental Team – 20 credits
  • Dental Radiography – 20 credits
  • Engaging With Service Improvement (Dental) – 20 credits
  • Evidence Based Decision Making (Dental) – 20 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Behaviour Management – 20 credits
  • Enhancing Dental Hygiene and Therapy Professional Practice – 40 credits
  • Leading Safe and Effective Care (Dental) – 20 credits
  • Project – 40 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written exams
  • practical exams
  • coursework

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The tutors, they don't just teach you to pass your course. They really care about you having a good information and knowledge base to be able to deal with your patients as a whole. It's just amazing.

Liz Wathen, BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • pre clinical simulated practice and live patient clinics
  • guided reading
  • supervised clinical sessions
  • practical workshops

In the second and third year, there are student clinics within the school to develop skills and apply knowledge for up to 2 days a week.

Our academic staff have expertise in clinical practice and research, and you'll be fully supported face to face and online with the appropriate study materials.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as tutorials, lectures, practical classes and workshops and guided independent study sessions. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

Due to the clinical elements of the course and the professional, regulatory and statutory body requirement of the General Dental Council, the Dental Academy (UPDA) term dates will differ from the standard University dates, meaning you'll need to attend campus from early September to the end of July.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £25,400 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional funding – at least £5,000 a year

Students on this course may be eligible for additional funding through the NHS Learning Support Fund of at least £5,000 a year. The bursary is non-repayable and is in addition to any other support you are eligible for, including Government student loans.

For more information, including eligibility criteria, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

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


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.

You’ll get 2 sets of scrubs (clinical clothing) and a name badge at the start of the course. You can order extra or replacement scrubs at £11 per set. You can also order replacement name badges for £7.

You’ll need to buy your own visor frame (available from the Dental Academy for £12) and a pair of black shoes which enclose the foot (not canvas or clogs).

You’ll need to bring your own 40mm padlock if you use our locker facilities.

You’ll attend outreach locations to support your studies, and you’ll need to cover travel costs. The NHS may meet some of these costs through its Learning Support Fund.

Optional conference trips will cost in the region of £100–£200. You may have the opportunity to engage in the Erasmus programme, which will incur additional costs.


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – B750
  • our institution code – P80

 Apply now through UCAS


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.