Oral Health Science

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(FdSc) Foundation Degree of Science
Oral Health Science
University of Essex
University of Essex
Health and Social Care (School of)
Southend Campus
Foundation Degree
Health Studies
Health Studies
Health Studies


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.

Admission criteria

UK entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics and English C/4. Acceptable alternatives to our GCSE Maths and English requirements are listed further down this page.

GCSE Science C/4 is also required if you are applying with a National Dental Nurse Certificate or Diploma in Dental Nursing.

Plus one of the following:

  • A-levels: CC to include a core science (Biology, Chemistry, Applied Science or Physics)
  • BTEC: MPP in a science-related subject.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma in a science-related subject - 45 level 3 credits at Pass or above.
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core in a science-related subject
  • National Dental Nurse Certificate or Diploma in Dental Nursing, along with:
    • a minimum of two years' experience from either pre- or post-qualification employment (please list employment details carefully on your UCAS application); and
    • GCSE Science C/4 – can be single Science, Biology, Chemistry or Physics

If you are taking or have achieved any qualifications that are not listed here, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

GCSE/level 2 requirements

All applicants must have, or be working towards, acceptable level 2 mathematics and English qualifications such as GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent.

  • We can accept a number of OFQUAL regulated level 2 maths qualifications in place of GCSE Maths C/4, including Functional Skills level 2, Key Skills level 2 or numeracy units taken as part of an Access to HE Diploma.
  • If you do not require a Student visa and are either a first language English speaker or have a lived in the UK for over three years, we can accept a number of OFQUAL regulated level 2 English qualifications, including Functional Skills level 2, Key Skills level 2 or literacy units taken as part of an Access to HE Diploma, in place of GCSE English C/4.
  • If you have not listed a suitable maths or English qualification in your application this may form part of any offer given to you.

Additional requirements

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. Please contact our DBS team if you have any questions relating to this.

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.

Application process

If you are shortlisted for interview, you will be invited to attend a compulsory interview via Zoom.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each component.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Mrs Beverley Bishop

Head of Birmingham School of Dental Hygiene and Therapy

BCHC NHS Foundation Trust

Ms Emily Banks

Lecturer in Dental Hygiene and Therapy

Cardiff University

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HS710-4-AU-SO  Personal Effectiveness  Core  15  15 
02  HS711-4-SP-SO  Clinical Governance and Patient Safety  Core  15  15 
03  HS736-4-SP-SO  Biomedical and Psychosocial Science for Dental Practice  Core  30  30 
04  HS722-4-SU-SO  Health Policy, Law and Ethics 1  Core  15  15 
05  HS730-4-AU-SO  Introduction to Oral Health and Disease  Core  30  30 
06  HS731-4-SU-SO  Promotion of Oral Health and Prevention of Oral Disease  Core  15  15 
07  HS729-4-FY-SO  Development of Practical Skills, Practice Supervisor Report 1  Core 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HS735-5-AU-SO  Health, Illness and Disease for Dental Practice  Core  30  30 
02  HS734-5-FY-SO  Critical Appraisal and Research Skills for Dental Practice  Core  30  30 
03  HS732-5-SU-SO  Management of Oral Diseases  Core  30  30 
04  HS733-5-SP-SO  Special Needs  Core  30  30 
05  HS738-5-FY-SO  Development of Practical Skills, Practice Supervisor Report 2  Core 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • Develop professionals who are able to meet the current dental health needs of individuals and society Foster the habit of life long learning to enable continuing professional development to meet the future needs of patients and society
  • Widen access to professional education so that individuals who aspire to become dental hygienists can practice as registered practitioners safely and competently
  • Create flexible, inter-professional learning pathways to bridge the skill gaps of the NHS dental workforce while meeting the learning needs and aspirations of individuals
  • Develop and sustain personal effectiveness by developing self awareness, confidence, autonomy and the habit of life long learning and reflective practice

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: Significant understanding of the theories, principles and concepts underpinning the range of clinical skills necessary to practice as a dental therapist

A3: A critical understanding of dental research to enhance evidence based dental practice

A4: Advanced understanding of the theories and practice of reflective learning and its role in personal and professional development.

Learning methods

A1-A6 Face to face teaching to introduce material in a structured manner with opportunity for class discussion.

On-line learning of new material and on-line exercises to test understanding.

Individual assignment and group work, utilising inquiry based approaches.

A5 is supported by directed personal reflection on personal experience and through tutorial support and supervision

A6- is achieved through group work, two short exercises and a literature review

Assessment methods

A1- A8 are assessed by course work

A1 and A2 are further assessed by written tests and OSCE

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: Use theoretical knowledge gained by critically reviewing the evidence to reach sound clinical decisions and promote evidence-based practice

B3: Write well structured, critically analytical reflective accounts of clinical practice

B4: Practice in ways that draw heavily on reflection of practice and responsibilities

Learning methods

B1 to B5 are achieved through a combination of group and individual activities.

Face to face teaching and WebCT are used to introduce new material and explore within a group setting and online discussion.

WebCT provides structured learning at the students own pace and enables the student to deepen and strengthen this learning through enquiry based learning

Assessment methods

B1 to B5 are assessed by course work, MCQ, written tests, OSCE and a literature review

C: Practical skills

C1: Demonstrate the ability to assess, plan, implement and evaluate patient centered oral healthcare in primary care by acting autonomously and inviting feedback from others to inform this process

C2: Be competent in undertaking the full range of clinical procedures undertaken within the competence of a dental therapist.

C3: Perform their role safely and take responsibility for the range of clinical procedures undertaken with minimum supervision

C4: The acquisition of a wide range of skills including analytical and problem solving skills in relation to patient care, communication, teamworking skills

C5: Plan and present work in an appropriate manner; eg by using word processing packages

Learning methods

C1 to C3 are achieved through on-line problem based learning, practical demonstration and role play

Assessment methods

C1-4 are assessed by SATs, written assignments, OSCE’s, portfolios
C5 is assessed through demonstration of its application in class presentations, written work, SATs, OSCE’s and portfolio’s

D: Key skills

D1: Promote and demonstrate effective written, verbal and non-verbal communication in a variety of clinical and non-clinical environments.

D2: Use contemporary methods of electronic communication and information management to inform knowledge, enhance communication and promote and improve patient care

D3: Read and interpret tables of data and statistics; use statistics to analyse data

D4: Identify problems emerging from theory and practice to find solutions to a range of clinical problems acting in the best interests of patients at all times

D5: Work effectively as part of the dental (and wider healthcare) team to promote patients oral and general health, and to enhance safe clinical practice

D6: demonstrate independence in learning; use reflective skills for the development of own knowledge and skills; development of critical thinking skills in the synthesis of theory to practice

Learning methods

D1-D4 and D6 are achieved through on-line problem based learning, D5 is developed through practice based learning

Assessment methods

D1-6 are assessed through SAT’s, written assignments, OSCE’s, portfolio’s


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 a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or 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 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.


If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing admit@essex.ac.uk, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing pgadmit@essex.ac.uk.

If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing crt@essex.ac.uk.