Dentistry Courses in New Zealand

Studying dentistry in New Zealand

Dentists are healthcare professionals responsible for many things, such as -

Dentistry courses in New Zealand generally last five years and are demanding at both an academic and technical level. Dentistry students will study the cause, prevention, management and treatment of oral and dental disease, with the first year of study concentrating on basic medical and clinical knowledge in the areas of anatomy, physiology, oral biology and biochemistry. These academic studies will continue throughout the degree, but practical work under supervision will begin to be carried out towards the end of the first year.

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, the demand for dentists is projected to reflect a 6% growth from 2021-2031. This means that the demand for dentists is higher than average, which shows a great future career for students willing to go for the profession.

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Types of Dentistry Degrees in New Zealand

Undergraduate Dentistry Courses

Bachelor in Dental Surgery (BDS)

BDS is a five-year undergraduate full-time program that provides skills, knowledge, practice, and training in all aspects of dentistry. Students can also specialize in specific areas as per their interests. The NZQF level of the course is 7. To be eligible for BDS in NZ, one must pass and finish Health Sciences first year at Otago University. It prepares you for the health professional program. 

To get into the program, applicants must have a 70% or above rating in the University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand. The CBT allows the universities to choose candidates with the best suitable competencies to excel as future doctors and dentists. After completing BDS in New Zealand, students can enter general practice independently or work in clinics or hospitals (private/government). 

BDS (Hons)

BDS (Hons) is an undergraduate program in dentistry for students who have achieved a higher level of academic performance and excellence in dental studies. The curriculum for dentistry in New Zealand comprises requirements of the first, second, third, and fourth-year courses for the degree of Bachelor of Dental Surgery prescribed together with the fifth-year paper. Students will cover many disciplines, such as periodontics, oral surgery, oral pathology, growth and development, etc., along with research projects and clinical experiences. 

BDentTech Dental Technology

Also known as dental technicians, they work closely with the dental care team and don’t have direct contact with the patients. They design and construct artificial teeth in various forms and removable orthodontic appliances. This course provides training in the technical side of dentistry where a dental technician, under the supervision of dentists, creates any prosthetics or apparatus, such as artificial teeth. Dental technicians work with their hands and require precision and eye coordination. The person demands a high level of responsibility and accuracy.

BDentTech (Hons) Dental Technology

BDentTech (Hons) is an undergraduate program focusing on studying dental technology. The course involves designing, fabricating, and maintaining dental prosthetic devices and appliances, such as dentures, bridges, crowns, and orthodontic devices. The BDentTech (Hons) course curriculum usually includes courses in dental materials, dental anatomy, dental laboratory techniques, CAD/CAM Technology, dental ceramics, and more. Students are taught the technical skills needed to work in dental laboratories. 

Postgraduate Dentistry Courses

A postgraduate program in dentistry aims to provide recent graduates with broad multidisciplinary research experience and clinical practice. Specialities involve oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral medicine, endodontics, orthodontics, etc.

Master of Dental Surgery (MDS)

The MDS offers graduate training in different disciplines in dentistry. The program's main aim is to prepare graduates to become dental specialists. It involves developing critical analysis, research skills, and advanced clinical skills that will be recognized for specialist registration.

Master of Community Dentistry (MCom Dent)

MCom Dent is a degree designed for a person wishing to pursue a dental public health career. The program fosters the development of critical analysis and research competence, along with an advanced set of knowledge and skills. Students will learn about clinical skills, first in simulation classes in the Faculty of Dentistry’s cutting-edge simulation laboratory and then in inpatient sessions. The curriculum involves many clinical disciplines, such as periodontics, oral medicine, oral pathology, pediatric dentistry, etc. 

Master of Oral Health

Master of Oral Health is a full-time program where students learn about advanced knowledge, skills, and attributes in dental therapy and dental hygiene practice. Students will develop a high level of clinical research. The curriculum involves learning and developing specific technical and clinical skills to practice oral health therapy. The program teaches oral healthcare strategies, such as scaling, polishing, cleaning, and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. 

Master of Dental Technology (MDentTech)

The Master of Dental Technology is a dental technical degree program that studies dental technology. It consists of 500-level papers with a thesis. The curriculum teaches students about different prosthodontic techniques at an advanced level. 

Doctoral Dentistry Courses in New Zealand

Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent)

The Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry provides graduate training in orthodontics discipline in dentistry. The course curriculum comprises clinical research and practice that prepares students to be both advisory consultants or practitioners in their chosen area of specialization. The program consists of two papers with clinical practice and a schedule of supervised research, leading to the submission of the thesis. 

University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) for Dentistry

The University Clinical Aptitude Test or UCAT is an admission test used in the universities of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore selection process. The test is conducted to shortlist applicants for medical and dental degree programs, testing their sense of aptitude and attitude.

UCAT consists of five subsets, which include four cognitive tests and one testing your professional demeanour. The section is categorized into verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, decision-making, and situational judgment.

Exam pattern of UCAT



Questions/Test Time


Verbal reasoning

Evaluates comprehension and interpersonal skills

44/21 minutes


Decision making

Examines critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

21/31 minutes


Quantitative reasoning

Examines numerical and problem-solving abilities

36/25 minutes


Abstract reasoning

Assess logical and pattern-recognition skills

50/12 minutes


Situational judgment

Evaluates judgment and decision-making skills in real situations

69/26 minutes

Bands 1-4

Scholarships for Dentistry in New Zealand

Many universities in New Zealand offer numerous scholarships for international students, such as government-funded, university-specific, and private scholarships. However, applying for scholarships a few months before you start your academic year is advisable. Here are some top New Zealand Scholarships for Dentistry offered by different universities. 


Offered by


Helen Macmillan Brown Bursary

University of Canterbury

NZ$ 2500

Latin American Academic Achievement Scholarship

Victoria University of Wellington

NZ$ 5000

AUT Doctoral Scholarships

Auckland University of Technology

NZ$ 30000

AUT International Scholarships - South Asia

Auckland University of Technology

NZ$ 5000

Foo Chin Dental Student Scholarship

University of Otago

NZ$ 2000

Jobs and Careers

After completing their education in dentistry, students get a route to participate in plenty of career opportunities. As a dentist in New Zealand, you can work in plenty of different positions, such as solo partnership or private practice, or work in hospitals, defense, or clinics. Dentists usually work full-time. However, one can also opt for part-time or work in shifts. 


In the dental industry, the salary can vary depending on the following factors -

Here is a pay scale range for each designation -

Dental officers

NZ$ 124000 - NZ$190000 per year

Dental specialists

NZ$ 164000 - NZ$245000 per year

Newly graduates in dental education (in New Zealand Defence Force)

NZ$ 114000 per year

Dentists in Higher Ranks

NZ$ 254000 per year

Top Universities for Dentistry in New Zealand

Learn more about dentistry courses in New Zealand; find details on New Zealand universities that provide dentistry courses below:

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Dentistry in New Zealand FAQ

Which university is best for dentistry studies in New Zealand?

The University of Otago is the best for dentistry studies in New Zealand. The faculty of dentistry offers undergraduate, postgraduate, doctorate, and doctoral diplomas in various disciplines, such as dental technician, oral health, dental science, clinical dentistry, etc. 

Is studying dentistry in New Zealand worth it?

Studying dentistry in New Zealand for international students can be beneficial in many ways. NZ has high career opportunities and earning potential due to its dental care needs. Overall, plenty of opportunities are available for students pursuing dental education in NZ. 

How much does BDS make in New Zealand?

Candidates who have completed their BDS can earn depending on their experience and skills learned. However, the average annual salary for dentist jobs in New Zealand can range between NZ$140000 to NZ$160000.





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