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Australian Dental Schools

  • Overview - Australian Dental Schools in Australia
  • Charles Sturt Dental School
  • Griffith University Dental School
  • James Cook University Dental School
  • UQ Dental School

James Cook University Dental School in Australia

Program Overview - Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)

Click here to apply to the JCU Dental School
University and Faculty: James Cook University (JCU)
College of Medicine and Dentistry
Program: Bachelor of Dental Surgery
University/Campus Location: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
City Population: 150,000
Student Population: Cairns campus: 4,000
Campus Location: Cairns, Queensland
Program Duration: 5 years
Semester Intake: February each year
Next Intake: February 2020
Est. Indicative Annual Tuition: $64,960 AUD (2019)
Est. Indicative Total Tuition: $324,800 AUD (based on 2019 fees)

James Cook University Dental School offers the Bachelor of Dental Surgery program, a five-year, undergraduate degree that provides students with the knowledge and skills they require to become a competent practitioner of dentistry. The dental program aims to promote improved oral health care delivery, particularly to people living in rural, remote and tropical regions of Australia. The curriculum integrates the basic sciences with dental clinical sciences and preventative oral health strategies.

It is a broad-based program which includes all aspects of dental practice but also has a special focus on issues of special concern to the northern Australian region, particularly those relating to tropical, rural and Indigenous practice.

James Cook University dental school students will have early exposure to clinical practice, with an increasing proportion of the course dedicated to clinical skills in the later years. The first three to four years of study are based on the Cairns Campus, and the final year is devoted to developing students' clinical skills during placements in public and private dental clinics across northern Queensland including Mackay, Proserpine, Atherton and Thursday Island.


Unique Features of the Program

JCU Dental School is one of only three schools in Australia located outside a capital city. JCU's dentistry establishment was funded by a grant of $52.5M from the federal government and includes a new building on the Smithfield Campus of JCU with state-of-the-art facilities, including an 80-seat dental simulation laboratory, prosthodontics and science laboratories, and student home group rooms.


Professional Certification/Accreditation Information

The JCU BDS has been accreditated by the Australian Dental Council. After graduating you will be eligible for professional registration with all dental boards in Australia and New Zealand and be able to enter dental practice.

Additionally, the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) recognizes the reciprocal agreement between the Australian Dental Council and the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada, which allows accredited graduates of either body to practice dentistry in Australia or Canada. For Canadian students studying in accredited Australian dental programs, this means they will return home and follow the same process as Canadian domestic graduates with licensure being granted after successfully sitting the National Dental Examination Board of Canada.


Why Canadians Love this Program

Read what OzTREKK students have to say about the JCU dentistry program!

"I like the facilities and can't think of anything I don't like. JCU Dentistry is an amazing program with top of the class facilities. You begin in the sim clinic in the first year and are exposed to hands on experiences very early on in the program. The professors want you to do well. The program requires a lot of hard work and determination but it is definitely worth it in the end. The JCU dental program has one of the highest number of hours spent in the clinic working on patients which is incomparable to many dental schools in Australia. I'd do it all again if I had to. I would highly recommend you apply to JCU dental school and have the chance of living in not only a beautiful country but the tropical city of Cairns."

"I really like the program and how it exposes you to the clinical aspects of dentistry right away in first year of the program. However what I disliked was the unorganization that I felt that was present at times within the program. It's a great program! The university is very well known and the dentistry program is rated highly by the ADA. It is still a brand new program at JCU and many adjustments and changes continue to be made."

"its great "hands on" university and getting into the clinical setting in first year is a wonderful opportunity"

"Like: the approachability of the lecturers, the community feeling the school provides, small easy to navigate campus, surrounded by nature, the school dedicates a 24hr building to the dental students which is much appreciated when studying. Dislike: nothing -both professors and students make a point of including the Canadians -Australia is very similar to Canada in a lot of ways (kindness of the people and culturally--except for the slang"

"It was not as big of a transition as I had expected (Canada and Australia are very similar) The coffee!!! Like: 1) Small program - They focus on you personally and want you to do well and succeed. They also try to help you if they see that you are falling behind 2) Beautiful dental facilities and building - it comforts me that we are learning from the latest technology and facilities 3) Beautiful campus - situated near the rainforest. Rivers and wildlife constantly flow through campus JCU Cairns is a beautiful and unique university. The JCU Dental Surgery program has recently been enacted and has the best and most up-to-date facilities in Australia. The professors are kind and knowledgable, and the location is amazing."

"a university that has amazing dental facilities. The faculty are very approachable and always willing to help. I love the dental facilities available to us at James Cook. The clinics and labs are very nice. I also like that our program feels very personal. We know the instructors very well approachable and interested in your well being. They also have placed us in small home groups to ensure we meet people and develop relationships with other students in our program. I dislike the fact that we have many guest lecturers. I also find the schedule very disorganised at times. Class start times, location and planning are not very well coordinated. I would tell them to apply to Australian schools and to consider James Cook as an option if they are interested in Dentistry. The fees are very high but I believe the experience is worth it."

"I like that the dental facility is new and the government has invested a lot in new technology and our learning environment."

"I love that I am able to be travelling here while doing my degree. It makes the experience of becoming a Dentist much more exciting than staying back in Canada. I like that my program is dentistry specific, and I do not have to do as much general study as I would have to in Canada. Also, the facilities are amazing at my University, I am very lucky to be here! JCU Cairns is quite small but the dental buildings are fantastic! So far the difficulty of my program is comparable to first year university in Canada. Maybe a bit harder. Later years become more dentistry specific which I am looking forward to."

"I love JCU! The campus is extremely modern, and the dental facilities are state of the art. Overall, I am very impressed. In terms of the program, I am really enjoying it. The professors are wonderful :) So far, there is nothing that I dislike. I feel so fortunate to have such a strong connection with the Canadian Dent students. They are all so amazing! We have all become very good friends, and it really helps to have a wonderful support network, especially far away from home. I would tell other Canadians that making the big move to Australia from Canada is an incredible, once in a lifetime, life changing experience! I only have positive feedback with regards to JCU campus. I would tell prospective students that the campus and all facilities are very modern and the professors are outstanding. In terms of the campus, its like being in the middle of a tropical rainforest - amazing experience!"

"Seems a little disorganized and lacks consistency throughout program/courses. Great facility (dental clinic). Passionate and highly specialized profs. Innovative approach to training prospective dentists. Program still has a long way to go in terms of refinement, being such a new program."

"Firstly it's a small university. This has advantages and disadvantages. The great thing is that you can really develop a good rapport with your profs and it's easy to get one on one time if you need it. The disadvantage is that there may not be all the same resources of a larger university. Also the way of doing things seems to be much different that how it's done back home. There is definitely a much slower pace when it comes to getting something done which can be frustrating at times. The main issue is there seems to be a lack of communication within the administration. This means that sometimes certain things can fall through the cracks. For example, twice it happened that no prof showed up for an 8 am dental science class. I put a lot of effort into succeeding. I study late, I get up early and I show up at every class. It's frustrating when the university drops the ball like this, especially when I'm paying so much money to be here. I will say that the material is very interesting and the lecturers are good. I'm still happy to be here. The most striking feature of the dental program are the facilities. It really is impressive. We'll be learning in a state of the art environment. There really is a very big WOW factor. I would tell them (future students) it's a good choice. The dentistry program here focuses on integrated learning and lots of hands on experience. That's what I'm most looking forward to. There's a lot of self guided study to be done - it's all about how much you put into it that will decide how much you get out of this program. There seems to be a fair amount of academic support. The university is really committed to helping me succeed in this program and then later on to become a great health care professional. All this in a brand new, modern, high tech facility. It's located at the base of a tropical forest. It's a great place to study. Main thing is, students need to be patient and keep their eyes on the prize. When I'm done here I get to go home and be a dentist. That's pretty amazing."

"The length of the program is 5 years which leads to a Bachelor of Dental Sciences, I would rather do it in 4 years since I have done an undergraduate and Master degree already. I believe many Australian dental schools are moving towards the 4 years degree instead. I do believe at least 2 years of solid basic science before entering into a professional dental degree is more beneficial than straight out of high school. Students would be more mature and have had some time to explore some other option. JCU dental school is very young and innovative with a beautiful and state-of-the-art clinic for students to practice their dental skills before entering into the real world. Cairns is a great place to be, with lots of the wet tropics to enjoy and it is a little paradise away from home while doing your studies."

"The best aspect of this dental program is that students are put into clinical setting from 2nd year, which no other university does. By year 3 students are already seeing their first patient and performing irreversible procedures. The biggest challenge for me is to adjust with younger students (peers) in my class as I am a mature student with a lot more experience (life and academic). JCU is at the forefront of research and academics. They're making big strides to be the best university in the country, if not the world. So far they have been doing extremely well - new equipment, new facility, excellent faculty, and great ongoing mentoring program."

"Likes: -warm and wonderful climate -exceptional faculty staff -fast/promt response from staff members regarding any questions you may have -professors are very approachable -dentistry building along with clinic and other high tech equipment is exceptional, brand new technology and state of the art facility Dislike: - poor behaviour of aboriginals (i.e. street behaviour, screaming and calling you names, especially when they are drunk) -particularly to Cairns, some locals are very racist and at times sexists. University of Toronto, faculty of dentistry can only dream about such facility and high tech equipment!"

"What I Like: - Very good program - Staffs and instructors are very helpful and friendly - Profs are willing to meet and assist student outside of classes What I dislike: - The city is very small and also the university campus - The business hour of library is way too short (both weekday and weekend) - The cafeteria definitely need to improve their food quality and selections. It's a very good program. We are the only school in Oz that has student surgeon. What does that mean? That means under the supervision of professors, we are able to perform irreversible procedure on patients. And it starts at 3rd year!!!! Very excited!!"



Admissions Criteria/Entry Requirements for Canadians

Students can enter into the JCU Bachelor of Dental Surgery from

1. High School

These qualifications are considered on an individual basis, subject to satisfying prerequisite requirements.

  • A minimum of 92% average from grade 12 subjects.
  • Completion of prerequisites in English, calculus, and chemistry at a Grade 12 level or higher.

2. Partially or fully completed undergraduate degree

A high level of academic standard is required for entry.

  • Students need to have met the prerequisite subjects at least at the high school level to meet the prerequisite requirements.
  • A minimum of 80% cumulative average across all university studies is required.

Please see the JCU International Admissions Guide 2020 for more information.


Total Number of Places in the Program: approximately 80

Number of Places Available for International Students: 15

Application Deadline: August 30, 2019

OzTREKK Admissions Officer: Alexa Graham

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