Shepherd University (DentSTEP)

Rising sophomores at Shepherd University (SU) who are recommended by SU may apply for potential early provisional admission to WVU’s D.D.S. program. Individuals who complete their first year at SU and aspire to earn a dental degree are eligible to apply to DentSTEP.

Admission to DentSTEP is available to a maximum of two students annually through a competitive application and interview process. West Virginia residents receive priority consideration. Because the WVU School of Dentistry values diversity and recognizes its importance in addressing access to quality oral health care, individuals from populations that are under-represented in dental school, including African American, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, first-generation college and economically disadvantaged, are encouraged to apply. 

Shepherd University is responsible for DentSTEP student recruitment since enrollment at SU is a key program requirement. DentSTEP students participate in pre-health professions seminars and community service activities while enrolled at SU.

DentSTEP applications are available to all SU students who meet the specified criteria (see below).  

For the Shepherd University/WVU School of Dentistry DentSTEP brochure, please click here.

DentSTEP Admission Requirements

Students admitted to DentSTEP must:

  • Have completed a minimum of 30 semester hours and a maximum of 75 semester hours, with a minimum of a 3.60 GPA, to include at least two of the required biology, chemistry and math core courses each semester. 
  • Complete one chemistry, one biology and one math core course per semester during their freshman year.
  • Complete the physics core courses by the completion of their sophomore year.

Prior to admission to DentSTEP, students must have at least 10 hours of documented observation in at least one general dental practice.

Upon acceptance to DentSTEP, students sign a commitment statement affirming their intention to satisfy program requirements and participate in DentSTEP activities. 

DentSTEP participants typically are expected to complete all course work required for enrollment in the WVU School of Dentistry D.D.S. program and earn their undergraduate degree at SU within four years.

DentSTEP Ongoing Requirements

To continue participation in DentSTEP while enrolled at Shepherd, students must:

  • Maintain 3.60 overall and science GPAs.
  • Maintain standards of honesty, integrity and citizenship.

Students accepted into the SU/WVU School of Dentistry DentSTEP program will be guaranteed conditional admittance to the WVU dental program if they:

  • Successfully complete all prerequisite courses for dental school admission and all other requirements, including immunizations and criminal background clearance.
  • Possess overall and science GPAs of 3.60 or above at SU.
  • Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and score at or above the average Academic and Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) scores achieved by the previous WVU entering dental class.
  • Fulfill preparatory community service (minimum 50 hours) and dental shadowing requirements (minimum 50 hours in various general dental practices).
  • Successfully complete dental school application and interview requirements.
  • Demonstrate honesty, integrity, leadership and citizenship.
  • Individuals who receive provisional acceptance to the WVU School of Dentistry educational programs must pass a Criminal Background Investigation (CBI) at their own expense prior to final acceptance to the WVU School of Dentistry.

Students interested in Shepherd and DentSTEP should also visit Shepherd University online regarding college admission requirements.

The DentSTEP application period is Feb. 1-March 15.