The Dental Nursing Diploma develops and enhances your capabilities as a dental care professional. Completion of the first year (with the award of CertHE) will enable you to register with the General Dental Council, to practise as a Dental Nurse and use the title.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
Blended Learning
Degree Qualification
24 months
Study Mode
Part Time
Start Month
Location of Study
Degree marketing image

This comprehensive programme integrates clinical teaching (on and off campus) with face-to-face learning, to educate and train Dental Nurses. The programme includes anatomy, physiology and human disease, materials, instrumentation and patient management.

The DipHE Dental Nursing offers you the opportunity to study whilst employed as a trainee dental nurse, facilitating learning and removing the need to re-locate.

On completion of the first year you will be awarded with a CertHE which enables you to register with the General Dental Council, to practise as a Dental Nurse and use the title.

In year two of the Diploma you will undertake additional training in more complex nursing procedures which have been identified as being within the scope of practice of the modern dental nurse, for example radiography, sedation and management of the Special Care patient.

Applications are now open for entry to the programme commencing September 2021.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

  • Foundations of Dental Nursing (SCQF Level 7) - explains the theoretical components required to maintain health and safety by adhering to current infection control and radiation protection guidelines.
  • Biomedical Science (SCQF Level 7) - explains the principles of the physiological effects on major systems of the human body.
  • Patient and Public Safety (SCQF Level 7) - students study how to assess and implement medical care in an emergency situations.
  • Core Skills of Dental Nursing (SCQF Level 7) - students build and reflect on the supervised clinical experiences they have completed.
  • Professionalism, Leadership and Management (SCQF Level 7) - examines the GDC's ‘Standards for the Dental Team’ to allow students to justify how they conduct behaviours and attitudes towards the care of patient.
  • Foundations of Oral Health Promotion (SCQF Level 7) - examines the socioeconomic barriers to dental health that prevents access to care.
Year 2

Year 2

The DipHE Dental Nursing Course is designed to enable Students to choose courses that are specific to their role. Courses within year 2 will include:

  • Oral Health Education and Promotion (SCQF Level 8)
  • Inhalation Sedation Dental Nursing (SCQF Level 8)
  • Intravenous Dental Nursing (SCQF Level 8)
  • Special Care Dental Nursing (SCQF Level 8)
  • Dental Implants (SCQF Level 8)
  • Dental Impressions (SCQF Level 8)
  • Dental Radiography (SCQF Level 8)

Students will also complete a Quality Improvement course (Mandatory Module) for all students completing DipHE.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

A broad range of teaching methods are used throughout the course both online, on campus and within the student’s working environment.

  • There will be a regular supervised practical sessions held at the Institute of Dentistry.
  • Students will be supervised within their own dental practice which is reviewed by programme staff. This material will be used to build a portfolio of cases.
  • You will have regular online lectures and seminars to attend
  • There will be distance learning materials and tasks to complete at home.

Learning Methods

  • Clinical Learning
  • E-learning
  • Individual Projects
  • Peer Learning
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Formative and Summative Assessment are used throughout the 2 years of the course. These tend to be the practical elements and relate to particular practical procedures. Assessments are in the form of Observed Structured Clinical Exams, discussion boards, oral presentations, essay and short answer questions. Portfolios is in the form of the employer / mentor Workplace Observed Procedures (WOP) record.

Why Study Dental Nursing?

  • We are the only University in Scotland offering a qualification in Dental Nursing.
  • The programme is taught by experienced dental educators.
  • The second year of the programme will enhance your CV by providing you with additional skills such as radiography and management of special care patients.
  • The programme is delivered via blended learning allowing you to study while you work.
  • Practical assessments are completed within the Institute of Dentistry, there is no need to complete these in your place of work.   
  • You will gain a professional qualification that will provide opportunities for career progression.
  • You will be able to put things into practice immediately that you learn on the programme, effectively changing your way of working by applying the things you are learning straight-away.
  • Evidence-based content will give you the confidence to know that you are doing the best for your patients. 
  • You will have networking opportunities with others on the programme and in the institute building as well as the opportunity to learn from other dental professionals’ experience.
  • The programme is delivered via a combination of in-practice and on-campus learning which is designed to fit around your work and life.  
  • We are ranked 1st in the UK for Dentistry (The Guardian League Tables, 2020).

Entry Requirements

All students must be employed as a trainee dental nurse working in a GDC registered dental practice (evidence of their employment contract and a reference from their employer will be required).

Entry qualifications for University-level qualification (access to University course), standard entry requirement, including specified subjects:

  • Passes in two subjects at SQA National 5 (C or above), which will include English and a science subject. Applicants without traditional entry qualifications (above – point 1) but with appropriate relevant experience will be considered by the Admissions Team.
  • English should be the student’s primary language or IELTS 6 equivalent.
  • Satisfactory employer documentation.

Applications will be accepted from March 2020 for entry in September 2021. An application form will be available from the Institute of Dentistry's website:

As part of the application process, satisfactory applications will be offered a place subject to references. The programme lead will discuss with employers / mentors the requirements of the course, IT requirements and explain the vital role that they play as a supervising registrant. A workplace checklist will be completed by the employer to confirm that the student will have access to specific procedures to ensure completion of the portfolio. Following acceptance to the programme, supervisors will sign an educational agreement with UoA and also receive mentoring support and training throughout the academic year, which will provide CPD.


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Dentistry degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.

English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fitness to Practice Guidelines

Students undertaking Education, Medicine or Dentistry programmes must comply with the University's fitness to practise guidelines.

Fees and Funding

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Dental Nurses work in NHS and Private dental practices and may also work in a dental school, community or hospital dental services which include the Maxillofacial department.

Dental nurses support patients through dental procedures provided by the wider dental professional team and with additional skills the dental nurse is able to carry out additional duties within their Scope of Practice; Taking and processing dental images, taking dental impressions for study casts and providing oral health information within the community.

Further skills can be developed where dental nurses support clinicians and consultants within more specialised areas of dentistry e.g. Maxillofacial for implants and oral surgery and supporting anxious patients attending for conscious sedation procedures.

There are opportunities also for dental nurses to progress their careers to a more senior role of team leading, practice management and dental education.

Industry Links

General Dental Council

British Association of Dental Nurses

Institute of Dentistry

Staff and students from the Institute of Dentistry give an overview of the teaching and research in the institute.

Watch Now

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No 1 in the UK

We are ranked 1st in the UK for Dentistry (The Guardian league tables 2020)

Our Experts

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers and tutors.

Donna Strachan is currently the lead dental nurse heading this programme. Donna is also part of the team teaching the Bachelor of Dental Surgery students and Dental Laboratory Technicians in Medical Emergencies and Infection Control.

Programme Coordinator
Donna Strachan RDN

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


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Foresterhill Health Campus

Foresterhill Health Campus

The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

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Library facilities

Library facilities

A dedicated Medical Library on the Foresterhill Health Campus and the fantastic facilities in the Sir Duncan Rice Library at King’s College, are complemented by online access to the key medical and health sciences journals and textbooks.

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World-class facilities

World-class facilities

The Institute of Dentistry is one of the newest purpose built Dental Hospitals and Schools in the UK.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition
University of Aberdeen
AB25 2ZR