Undergraduate Course

BSc Oral Health Science

BSc Oral Health Science

Overview

The details
Oral Health Science
B751
January 2025
Full-time
1 year
Southend Campus

We offer this course at either our Southend or Colchester campus. Apply directly on our website from 11 April 2023, with applications closing on 4 November 2023.

Are you a registered Dental Hygienist who wants to register with the General Dental Council as a Dental Therapist? Do you want to develop your role within your dental team while maintaining the flexibility to continue to work in your current role as a Dental Hygienist?

There's never been a better time to train as you can now apply for a £5000 grant that you won't need to pay back! There is also an extra £3000 funding available depending on your personal circumstances. You can find more information about eligibility and how to apply on the HSC Scholarships and Funding page.

Our BSc (Hons) Oral Health Science is a full-time, one-year course designed to meet an identifiable need for Dental Therapists within your dental team. There is currently much interest in the future role of the Dental Therapist in the delivery of oral healthcare in the UK, and our course enables you to register with the General Dental Council (GDC). This course leads on well from the University of Essex FdSc Oral Health Science programme, or from a dental hygienist qualification obtained elsewhere.

Here at Essex, we have one of the largest portfolios of oral health science courses in the East of England, putting us in a strong position to provide you with excellent training and education. We offer courses that both commissioners and employers believe in, and our training integrates NHS values and principles, meaning that your abiding focus is on helping people.

People are at the heart of all we do, and students are involved in the appropriate treatment of patients from early on within the programme. This allows you to develop and enhance crucial skills that prepare you to care for patients and clients in the workplace.

The School of Health and Social Care is proud to work closely with our Service User Reference Group (SURG). SURG is made up of service users, carers, and volunteers who generously share their first-hand experiences of health and social care. We work collaboratively with SURG to design our courses to ensure that we truly are putting the needs of patients and clients at the heart of what we do. SURG are involved as part of our course application processes and often form part of our interview panels. This helps us to be confident that we are selecting the right applicants for the course and their future careers. SURG members also support the delivery of our teaching sessions and research activity, which means you'll benefit from an insight into their lived experiences of living with a diagnosis, health condition, or circumstance. You'll find that not only does your clinical knowledge expand, but your empathy, compassion and ability to advocate develops also.

The cost of required uniform will be fully covered by the school.

Dental Therapists fit for the future

Your development from Dental Hygienist to Dental Therapist will occur through flexible study, including attendance both at our Southend Campus or Colchester Campus (depending on your chosen Campus) and within a primary care-based placement. This will ordinarily be the existing workplace environment where you currently work as a Dental Hygienist (minimum 14 clinical hours per week).

You increase your clinical skills in a dedicated, state-of-the-art dental skills laboratory at the University, experiencing the academic rigour of a Bachelor's Degree through structured learning that builds upon your existing knowledge.

Your academic study is integrated with other healthcare professionals to promote excellence and understanding of your role in general health. You benefit from small group teaching and personalised feedback and further develop the skills and competencies required of a Dental Therapist in the primary care environment.

Benefits to Dental Practices

Even for industry leaders, keeping pace can be a challenge. So when considering the latest investments, it can be easy to overlook your most valuable resource – your staff. Because above all, your patients need to know they're in good hands.

Our course provides you with the opportunity to be closely involved in the professional development of a valued member of your team. Enrolling a student on our course will increase the clinical skill set available within your practice, putting you in an advantageous position in terms of skill mix in anticipation of changes in how dentistry is delivered in the future.

As the programme is taught through flexible study including university and work based teaching, the student will continue to work in practice whilst studying.

Location

Whilst this course is offered at both our Southend and Colchester campuses, we recommend that you consider which location would suit you best and apply for that campus. If you apply to multiple campuses, you will only have one interview. If you pass the interview and we are able to offer you a place, you will be offered your first campus choice if available. If that campus is full, you will be offered the other campus. This is the same for applicants who only apply to one campus.

Once your place is confirmed, requests to change campuses are not possible due to the restrictions on numbers.

Placement Opportunities

The primary care based placement where you develop your skills, will ordinarily be an existing workplace environment where you currently work as a Dental Hygienist (minimum 14 clinical hours per week).

You will need to identify two clinical supervisors (clinical educators) who will support your learning within the placement.

DBS and Occupational Health Checks

This course requires a satisfactory Occupational Health Check and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (including child and adult barred list check) - both of these are organised by the University. Please contact our DBS team or Occupational Health team if you have any questions in relation to these checks.

A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more. Further information about how to obtain an Overseas Criminal Record check can be found on the Gov.uk website.

We continue to recommend Covid and flu vaccination to all of our students. This is to protect both yourself and the vulnerable people that you may meet throughout your placement.

Professional accreditation

The General Dental Council quality assures and approves qualifications for registration, for the following registrant groups: Dentists; dental hygienists; dental therapists; dental nurses; clinical dental technicians; dental technicians; and orthodontic therapists.

Why we're great.
  • 97% of our School of Health and Social Care UG graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023).
  • You'll learn clinical skills in our dedicated, state-of-the-art dental skills labs.
  • You are involved in the treatment of patients right from the beginning of the course.

Our expert staff

A unique feature of our School is that you will be taught by a team of specialist clinicians with over 250 years of experience in dentistry. This enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and real-life practice.

The programme lead is Dr Mick O'Regan. Mick has thirty years experience working as a dentist in general practice. He has thirteen years experience as an educator and has been awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. The course is taught by Mick alongside the rest of the oral health team who are registered dentists or dental therapists.

The emphasis throughout the course is on the teaching of evidence-based dentistry, and all staff are regular attenders at CPD events to ensure that this is provided. Clinical experience throughout the course is gained in a general dental practice under the supervision of suitably trained clinical educators. This provides “real-life” training in an everyday dental surgery setting. The programme has two dedicated link lecturers, Dr Stephen Pitt and Dr Kieron Craine. Both are dentists who, as well as their work in the oral health team, have many years of experience in dental practice. They visit each of the placements several times during the year to liaise with clinical educators and monitor student progress.

Full details of our staff can be found on the HSC Staff Profiles.

As a School, we specialise in applied, multidisciplinary research that addresses issues of national and international concern to health and social care policy and practice and related fields. We also host the NIHR Research Design Service for the East of England.

Specialist facilities

The School of Health and Social Care is located at two sites; in the Kimmy Eldridge building at our Colchester Campus and in the Gateway Building at our Southend Campus.

In Southend, the Oral Health Science facilities are located in the Gateway Building. In Colchester, the Oral Health Science facilities are located at our Bromley Road Academic Dental Clinic. We offer clinical laboratories with the very latest equipment and IT facilities - in particular, a state-of-the-art dental skills lab with the latest simulation ‘phantom heads' to practise on. View our image gallery and find out more about our .

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Please be aware that we are not able to accept applications for deferred entry for this course.

You should have:

  • current registration with the GDC as Dental Hygienist
  • evidence of your existing dental hygiene qualification
  • evidence of core training in or extended skills training in infiltration and ID block analgesia, dental radiography and dental impressions (if these competencies were not part of the applicant’s dental hygiene qualification)
  • current IR(ME)R CPD certification regarding dental radiography (as part of CPD cycle if appropriate)
  • for those students for whom English is not your first language, you would also need to successfully complete the IELTS testing with a score of 6.5 or above

Please note:

You must also have:

  • You must also have a satisfactory Occupational Health Check and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (including child and adult barred list check) - both of these are organised by the University. A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more.

Interviews

As part of the selection process, you will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and a good understanding of the scope of work that a Dental Therapist is required to undertake. If you are selected for interview you may also be required to sit a Literacy & Numeracy test.

As part of the interview process, your proposed clinical educator from your work based placement will also be required to attend on the interview day. Your proposed clinical educator should be a different person from either of your referees.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

Structure

Course structure

By the end of our BSc (Hons) Oral Health Science you will be able to:

  • Treat dental caries and place restorations in permanent and primary teeth
  • Extract primary teeth under local anaesthesia
  • Fit preformed metal crowns on primary molars
  • Perform pulp therapies on primary teeth
  • Use fluoride therapies to reduce dental caries
  • Take and interpret dental radiographs
  • Provide holistic care, prevention and oral health advice
  • Appreciate the role of the Dental Therapist within oral health care and the wider health care community

Our programme is full-time over 45 weeks. Term dates do not coincide with our normal University term dates due to this requirement. Any time missed by non-attendance, through sickness or other personal reason, will need to be made up in order to successfully complete the programme.

To ensure that you have a good basis from which to develop, the first four weeks of the course are full-time at our Southend campus. After this initial period there are a number of mandatory study days which will be held on Thursdays and Fridays when you will be expected to attend University.

The dates for holiday breaks are timetabled throughout the programme and these cannot be changed for individual students. The planned holiday periods include time at Easter, summer, Christmas and New Year.

These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.

We’re reactive, we’re pioneering, we never stand still, so modules might change from year to year in response to new developments and innovation. Those listed below show how a typical course might look, but more detail on course structure, including details of all optional modules, is available on our Programme Specification.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Extending Oral Health Practice
(30 CREDITS)

Gain the foundation knowledge and skills to manage plaque related diseases, including the management of dental caries and non-carious tooth surface loss. You study both restorative techniques and preventative strategies, learning to employ balanced, evidence-based arguments judged on the patient’s medical, social and dental history, as well as clinical examination.

View Extending Oral Health Practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Extending Oral Health Practice
(30 CREDITS)

Gain the foundation knowledge and skills to manage plaque related diseases, including the management of dental caries and non-carious tooth surface loss. You study both restorative techniques and preventative strategies, learning to employ balanced, evidence-based arguments judged on the patient’s medical, social and dental history, as well as clinical examination.

View Extending Oral Health Practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Developing Professional Practice
(30 CREDITS)

Using clinical practice as a focus for study, students will focus on scholarship, research and enquiry to enhance effective clinical practice. Clinical placement, alongside lectures and tutorials, in a relevant clinical environment will develop clinical skills, as well as providing opportunities to demonstrate competence in the module’s learning outcomes.

View Developing Professional Practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Developing Professional Practice
(30 CREDITS)

Using clinical practice as a focus for study, students will focus on scholarship, research and enquiry to enhance effective clinical practice. Clinical placement, alongside lectures and tutorials, in a relevant clinical environment will develop clinical skills, as well as providing opportunities to demonstrate competence in the module’s learning outcomes.

View Developing Professional Practice on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Managing Oral Care of Children and Adolescents Part 1
(0 CREDITS)

You develop existing child psychology and behaviour management skills to an advanced level, enabling you to provide clinical and restorative treatment to young children and adolescents. You explore a wide range of topics pertaining to the managing children and adolescents, including behavioural management, diagnosis and treatment.

View Managing Oral Care of Children and Adolescents Part 1 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Managing Oral Care of Children and Adolescents Part 1
(0 CREDITS)

You develop existing child psychology and behaviour management skills to an advanced level, enabling you to provide clinical and restorative treatment to young children and adolescents. You explore a wide range of topics pertaining to the managing children and adolescents, including behavioural management, diagnosis and treatment.

View Managing Oral Care of Children and Adolescents Part 1 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Comprehensive Oral Healthcare Part 1
(0 CREDITS)

Building on theory gained from previous experience and modules, you integrate knowledge of tooth morphology, pulpal physiology and clinical radiology with cavity design, restorative techniques and dental materials. This enables you to develop a comprehensive, patient-centred, problem-solving approach to clinical assessment and treatment planning. You also enhance other key skills such as communication, anxiety management and dealing sensitively with patients.

View Comprehensive Oral Healthcare Part 1 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Comprehensive Oral Healthcare Part 1
(0 CREDITS)

Building on theory gained from previous experience and modules, you integrate knowledge of tooth morphology, pulpal physiology and clinical radiology with cavity design, restorative techniques and dental materials. This enables you to develop a comprehensive, patient-centred, problem-solving approach to clinical assessment and treatment planning. You also enhance other key skills such as communication, anxiety management and dealing sensitively with patients.

View Comprehensive Oral Healthcare Part 1 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Managing the Oral Care of Children and Adolescents Part 2
(30 CREDITS)

Bring together your knowledge of primary tooth morphology, pulpal physiology and clinical radiology with cavity design, restorative techniques and dental materials. Combining clinical skills with behavioural management, you learn to provide clinical restorative treatment to young children and adults, using a patient centred, evidence-based and holistic approach.

View Managing the Oral Care of Children and Adolescents Part 2 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Managing the Oral Care of Children and Adolescents Part 2
(30 CREDITS)

Bring together your knowledge of primary tooth morphology, pulpal physiology and clinical radiology with cavity design, restorative techniques and dental materials. Combining clinical skills with behavioural management, you learn to provide clinical restorative treatment to young children and adults, using a patient centred, evidence-based and holistic approach.

View Managing the Oral Care of Children and Adolescents Part 2 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Comprehensive Oral Healthcare Part 2
(30 CREDITS)

Consolidate your knowledge and fine-tune your skills in a clinical setting. You draw upon your acquired knowledge of medical histories, clinical examinations, ionising radiography, diagnosis and treatment planning, advanced restorative procedures and possible complications, dental materials, oral therapeutics, pathology and medicine, as well as the social aspects and medical conditions related to aging and adolescence.

View Comprehensive Oral Healthcare Part 2 on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Comprehensive Oral Healthcare Part 2
(30 CREDITS)

Consolidate your knowledge and fine-tune your skills in a clinical setting. You draw upon your acquired knowledge of medical histories, clinical examinations, ionising radiography, diagnosis and treatment planning, advanced restorative procedures and possible complications, dental materials, oral therapeutics, pathology and medicine, as well as the social aspects and medical conditions related to aging and adolescence.

View Comprehensive Oral Healthcare Part 2 on our Module Directory

Teaching

BSc Oral Health Science students are on-campus for the whole month of February – 5 days per week. Following this you will be on campus 2 days per week. You will be on placement for 14 hours per week. There are 45 weeks of learning over the year.

  • Teaching methods including problem-based learning, tutorials, e-learning and seminar-based teaching
  • Teaching takes place with other health students to promote multidisciplinary learning and working
  • Communication and clinical skills are taught in our state-of-the-art laboratory
  • You undertake placements in six different clinical settings

Assessment

  • Academically and clinically intense, your progress on this course will be continuously assessed throughout the programme

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£28,850

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

Applying

Applications for this course should be made directly to the University.

Interview

Undergraduate students who apply for our health-related courses are required to pass a compulsory interview before an offer can be made. If you are shortlisted for interview based on your application, you will be invited to interview with us via Microsoft Teams. We use the interview as an opportunity to get to know you, to find out about your ambitions, and assess how prepared you are for the course. It's important for us to be sure that you know what you're signing up for, so we'd expect you've done some research about the course and the associated careers it may lead to. We have some more information about how to demonstrate you have what it takes at the bottom of our undergraduate page

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Visit Southend Campus

Want to live in a central city location, with state-of-the-art facilities at your finger tips? Southend is the perfect environment for living and learning in a close-knit international community.

If you're joining our School of Health and Social Care, East 15 Acting School, or Essex Business School, you may well be studying at our Southend Campus.

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Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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