BDS Gateway to Dentistry (A208)

2024 entry | view 2025 entry

Course summary

Gateway to Dentistry is aimed at students who have the potential to become dentists but do not meet the academic entry criteria to apply directly to our five-year undergraduate BDS Dentistry course. Our Gateway courses are widening participation initiatives for UK students who fulfil specific criteria and wish to apply for a clinical course in dentistry, medicine or veterinary science.

During the Gateway year, students will learn alongside each other, benefiting from shared interprofessional insight and the unique community of Bristol's medical, dental and veterinary schools. Students will be taught by academic teachers who are scientists and clinicians.

The Gateway course builds on core basic sciences underpinning clinical subjects (chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology, anatomy and physiology). It encourages reflection and places emphasis on personal and professional development; strengthens practical, statistics, research and library skills; and considers attributes and behaviours that enable successful transition to university study. Successful completion of the Gateway year allows automatic progression onto BDS Dentistry.


This course is open to applicants from specific schools and colleges in the UK only and/or to those who have spent three months or more in care. For further information, visit contextual offers.

International students may be eligible for the International Foundation Programme for Dentistry.

The University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT, formerly UKCAT) is required for admission to this course. You may be eligible for a UCAT bursary to cover the cost of taking the test; please visit for more information. The course admissions statement will provide full details and will be available online by September 2023.

Health and Disclosure and Barring Service check

Certain health conditions may be incompatible with careers in dentistry. Before starting your degree you will need to complete a health assessment questionnaire and pre-course screening for blood-borne viruses; find out more about pre-course occupational health information.

In accordance with General Dental Council guidelines on fitness to practice, all dental students are required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, in line with other health-related courses in the UK.

Please note that as part of your training you will come into contact with human and animal cadaveric material.

Course structure

Your studies will include:

  • basic cell biology, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the healthy human/animal;
  • fundamental principles of chemistry;
  • numeracy skills and statistics relevant to health sciences programmes;
  • clinical professional attributes;
  • clinically-relevant work experience.
Full details about the course structure and units for this course can be viewed in the programme catalogue.

Go to programme catalogue

Entry requirements

We accept a wide variety of qualifications and welcome applications from students of all backgrounds. Below is a guide to the typical offers for this course.

BBC including B in Biology or Chemistry. Applicants with predicted or achieved grades of AAB or above (or points equivalent), or with A in Chemistry, are not eligible for this course.
DMM BTEC Extended Diploma Applied Science (RQF): Grades DDM or DMM, including five specified Biology or Chemistry units in any combination. Applicants with predicted or achieved grades of DDD or above cannot be considered for Gateway programmes but could be considered for the five-year standard entry course instead.

Find out more about BTEC entry requirements
29 points overall with 14 at Higher level, including 5 at Higher Level in Biology or Chemistry. Applicants with predicted or achieved grades of 33 points overall including 16 at Higher Level, or with 6 at Higher Level in Chemistry, are not eligible for this course.
Advanced Higher: BB including Biology or Chemistry, and Standard Level: BBBBC. Applicants with achieved or predicted Advanced Higher grades of AA, or with Chemistry at A grade, are not eligible for this course.
Not accepted for this course. Access to HE students are instead welcome to apply to the standard Dentistry course.

More about Access to HE entry requirements
Requirements are as for A-levels, where you can substitute a non-subject specific grade for the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate at that grade.
Requirements for principal subjects are as for A-level, where D1/D2 is A*, D3 is A, M1/M2 is B, and M3 is C.
More about UK qualifications.