The World’s Top Dental Schools: 2018 Edition

Richard Gawel


As undergrads begin preparing for their Dental Admission Test (DAT), they also need to narrow down where they will be sending their applications. To help them, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has released its 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018: Dentistry. The survey company calculated its list of the 50 best dental schools in the world based on their academic reputation, employer reputation, and research citations per paper.

The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Dentistry took the top spot for the third year in a row, followed by King’s College London Dental Institute at number two. The University of Michigan School of Dentistry slipped from its second place showing last year to third this year. Next, the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam and Tokyo Medical and Dental University rounded out the top five. 

European schools dominated the top 10, with the United States following in force. The Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, the University of Washington School of Dentistry, and the New York University School of Dentistry comprised the eleventh through the fifteenth slots, and the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Dental Medicine, came in eighteenth. 

The University of Hong Kong

“I am most delighted to learn that our faculty has been ranked the top dental school for three consecutive years. It reaffirms the global recognition of our achievements in offering quality academic programs for training professional dentists,” said Thomas Flemmig, DMD, MBA, dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong. 

The school attributes its success to its focus on research, education, and knowledge exchange. It engages teaching and research professionals from 17 countries as well as students from Hong Kong, mainland China, Asia, and elsewhere around the world. Its undergraduate, research postgraduate, and taught postgraduate programs include the applied oral sciences, dental public health, endodontics, operative dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontology, and prosthodontics.

“Being the sole dental school in Hong Kong, we have great responsibility for training and providing the best dental professionals for Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. To address the shortage of dentists, especially dental specialists in Hong Kong, we look forward to increasing the number of undergraduate and postgraduate students in the year to come,” said Flemmig. 

King’s College London

“Maintaining our position as the top school in Europe but also rising to second in the world in the global rankings reaffirms our position as a world-class institution and reflects the dedication, commitment, and innovation of our academic and professional staff, our students, and our alumni,” said Mike Curtis, BSc, PhD, King’s College London Dental Institute executive dean. 

Recent research at the Dental Institute has explored how dentists can play a role in detecting eating disorders and other gastro-intestinal issues; why some people suffer from tooth erosion while others don’t; how a tiny population of cells can provide new stem cells during rapid tooth growth; how tooth loss contributes to musculoskeletal frailty in those over the age of 50; and how a drug for Alzheimer’s disease can be used to stimulate growth in dentine and pulp.

“Excellent researchers, outstanding teachers, and exceptional students create our Dental Institute, one of the foremost dental academic health science centers in the world. Together, we focus on understanding disease, enhancing health, and restoring function,” said Curtis. “Our ambition, as that of King’s, is to deliver impact locally, nationally, and globally through discovery, innovation, and education that ultimately leads to tangible improvements in patient care, population health, and societal wellbeing.”

University of Michigan

For the fourth consecutive year, QS has rated the University of Michigan the top dental school in the United States. With an emphasis on research, the school received more funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in fiscal 2017 than any dental institution in the country. The $16.3 million total funded projects related to childhood caries prevention, head and neck cancer, and regenerating tissue lost to disease, injury, or congenital disorders.

“Rankings like the annual QS report help us confirm our tradition of excellence at the School of Dentistry,” said Laurie McCauley, DDS, MS, PhD, dean of the school. “From the school’s early days, the founders and first professors aspired to lead the profession of dentistry. That’s a part of the historical fabric of the school, always trying to improve upon the many aspects of clinical dentistry and the related research.” 

In 2017, the School of Dentistry considered 2,178 applications and enrolled 109 students, along with three DDS/PhD students. They had an average GPA of 3.63 and an average DAT score of 21. Plus, 62 of them were residents of Michigan, while 47 were from out of state, including students from Canada and China. Biology and the biomedical sciences were the most common majors. And, 52% of the new students were female, while 48% were male. 

Other Schools

“All of us at the University of Washington School of Dentistry are gratified by our ranking in the 2018 QS report, especially our improvement to number 4 in the United States,” said James D. Johnson, DDS, MS, interim dean of the school. “The credit goes entirely to our outstanding faculty and staff, including our researchers. All of these people have played a central part in making this a school of distinction.”

In total, 12 schools from the United States made the list. Other schools included:

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