The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry is the only dental school in the United States with a decades-long track record of offering a year-round, accelerated three-year DDS program. Our graduates develop the tools they need to adapt to an ever-changing world, where new skills and knowledge will be required to keep pace with advancing technology and the challenges faced by an increasingly diverse population. The outstanding clinical training our students receive has earned the Dugoni School national prominence, but technical instruction is just one part of what makes our school unique.

Our DDS program is built around a humanistic model of instruction that stresses the dignity of each individual and his or her value as a person. Students are referred to as "doctor" from day one, and faculty members are encouraged to act as mentors, not just instructors. In turn, students are expected to take responsibility for their instruction and practice the professionalism that will be required of them when caring for patients.

Other school hallmarks include the innovative Pacific Dental Helix Curriculum, which places a strong focus on active learning and critical thinking by integrating multiple disciplinary areas using small-group, case-based learning. We closely link foundational knowledge to clinical practice. From our state-of-the-art preclinical Simulation Laboratory to our small-group private practice model in the clinics, students learn what it takes to become "practice-ready" dental professionals trained for a rewarding career.

DDS '26 Stats

The thirty-six month curriculum leading to the degree of doctor of dental surgery begins in July and is divided into 12 quarters, each consisting of 10 weeks of instruction, one week of examinations and a vacation period of varying length (between one and four weeks).

During the first quarter, students practice use of dental instruments and materials, working position and posture using direct and indirect vision, and basic dental laboratory procedures. They also are introduced to study and test-taking skills and methods of time management that will assist them in succeeding in the professional curriculum.

In the first eight quarters, students take courses in the biomedical sciences, including: human anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and microbiology. Those courses are followed by instruction in clinical topics such as the importance of saliva, tissue aging, nutrition, and infection control. Throughout the curriculum, students learn application of basic sciences to biomedical problems of dentistry using the scientific method of inquiry.

During the preclinical instruction in the first four quarters, students learn to work from a seated position in a state-of-the-art preclinical simulation laboratory and with a chair-side assistant in conjunction with pediatric dental practice. Students begin working with patients in their second year.

  1. Three-Year Program: We are the only dental school in the United States with a decades-long track record of offering a year-round accelerated three-year DDS program; our graduates enter general practice or begin specialty education one year earlier than those from other dental programs.
  2. Clinical Excellence: Nearly all students indicate that the strong clinical orientation of the school is a major factor in their decision to attend Pacific.
  3. Curriculum: The school is also the originator of curricular innovations including comprehensive patient care and competency-based education. Our students enjoy the integration of basic and clinical sciences that begins on the first day of class.
  4. Dugoni School Family: Students become part of the Dugoni School family on the first day of school. They enjoy the interaction with dental school alumni and being treated as a peer by all.
  5. Superb Facilities: Our state-of-the-art facilities set us apart from the competition.
  6. Quality Faculty, Staff and Administrators: Applicants are impressed by faculty availability and the quality of instruction. Students and applicants alike praise our faculty and staff for being friendly, helpful and supportive.
  7. Leadership Opportunities: From its highly involved student government to its strong ties to organized dentistry, Pacific develops some of the highest profile leaders in the dental profession.
  8. Research and Innovation: The dental school maintains a strong presence as a clinical research center for businesses and foundations. Major breakthroughs include clinical research on Invisalign®, the invisible braces for adults created by Align Technology.
  9. Community Involvement: Our students have many opportunities to give back to the community — from participation in health fairs to outreach events at senior centers, elementary schools and non-profit agencies.
  10. Location: One of the most vibrant and diverse cities of the West Coast, San Francisco is a thriving center for the arts and culture, as well as home to some of the most innovative companies and organizations in the world. Pacific Dugoni students have the opportunity to explore a rich array of intellectual and cultural pursuits both in and out of school. 
dental students working on a patient
Pacific Pathways
Jumpstart your dental career

First-time college student? University of the Pacific’s Pre-Dental Advantage Program will help you start your career as a doctor in a dental clinic or a private practice sooner. You will earn both a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of the Pacific and a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. 

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Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
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San Francisco, CA 94103

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