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Prospective Students: Here are your four years at a glance.

Whether you are considering the three-year associate’s program or want to add a fourth year to earn your bachelor’s, you are probably wondering exactly how the program will unfold, year after year. Here’s a brief summary of what you can expect from freshman year on.

If you still have questions after reading this page, simply contact one of the University’s admissions counselors at 1.800.342.5864 or make an appointment to meet with the Program Director, Sandy Palumbo, at

Freshman Year

This year in the dental hygiene program at UNH is very similar to the freshman year in any other major — your course load will include mostly prerequisites. You will, however, “get your feet wet” with Introduction to Dental Hygiene Concepts I and II. Since this year consists of mostly core classes required in order to graduate, transferring from another college is practically seamless.

Sophomore Year

You’ll have more dental hygiene courses this year. Your course work will include periodontology, dental hygiene concepts, oral facial structures, and radiology. This is also the year that you begin clinical work with patients, with clinic sessions starting during the fall semester. You’ll start learning infection control and then move on to learning proper instrumentation, using a typodont, and working with peer patients. In the spring semester, you’ll start working with patients in the community.

The Summer Between Sophomore and Junior Years

We keep the momentum going with a dental materials course and a dental hygiene concepts course during your first summer session. You’ll have clinical sessions two days a week and a dental materials class and dental materials lab once a week. This rigorous program helps prepare you for your junior year and provides additional, valuable contact with patients.

Junior Year

You’ll have clinic sessions not only at the UNH dental center but also at outside rotations. Each rotation offers a very different experience.

These are some of the clinical rotation sites that UNH currently partners with:

  • StayWell Community Healthcare Center, Waterbury
  • StayWell Community Healthcare Center, Phoenix, Waterbury
  • Driggs Elementary School, Waterbury
  • A U.S. military dental clinic
  • Yale-New Haven Hospital, Department of Dentistry
  • The VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven Campus

As a junior, you’ll complete a local anesthesia course that certifies you to administer local anesthetic. You’ll also take courses in general and oral pathology, pharmacology, public health, and advanced dental hygiene concepts. Once you receive your associate’s degree at the completion of your junior year, you are able to take your licensing exams and apply for licensure. After receiving your license, you are ready for employment as a Registered Dental Hygienist.

The Summer Between Junior and Senior Years

If you plan to continue your studies and earn your B.S., this summer gives you the chance to study abroad or away at one of our partner sites. These two-week intensive trips satisfy two of the classes needed to complete the bachelor’s degree. At the same time, you’ll gain valuable experience treating people of different cultures. Past study locations have included Romania, Honduras, and the Cherokee nations in North Carolina and Arizona.

Senior Year

The dental hygiene senior year is quite different from other programs’ senior years. You’ll have a lot of flexibility now compared to the previous three years. All of the bachelor’s degree completion courses are online courses, so you are free to earn your degree as a resident on campus or from any place you choose. You can set your own pace, taking as many or as few courses as you want. If you’re working or caring for a family, it’s ideal.