Dental Hygiene

Opportunities for health care professionals are becoming available as a result of the changes in health care delivery formats. To prepare dental hygiene graduates to meet the rapidly changing oral health care environment, the University of Pittsburgh’s College of General Studies and the School of Dental Medicine offer a course of study that leads to a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene. This completion degree is intended for those students who have graduated from accredited dental hygiene programs with a certificate or associate’s degree such as the School of Dental Medicine Associate of Science Dental Hygiene program. The CGS Dental Hygiene BS degree enhances already-completed professional training and provides important exposure to the liberal arts, giving dental hygienists additional career opportunities in business, sales, education, and research.


The following program requirements must be met to receive the Bachelor of Science degree:

  • Students must earn a minimum of 131 credits to complete the Bachelor of Science degree. These 131 credits are comprised of transfer credits and credits completed at Pitt. Of the 131-credit total, 30 credits must be at the 1000 (junior/senior) level. The courses must be completed within five years of enrolling in the program.
  • Students who are transferring from Pitt's associate degree hygiene program to the College of General Studies (CGS) dental hygiene Bachelor of Science degree program complete 40 credits of CGS general education, dental hygiene track, and elective course work.
  • At least 30 of the 40 credits must be completed at the University of Pittsburgh in order to fulfill the CGS residency requirement.  
  • Contact Krista Stokes, CGS dental hygiene academic advisor, for information about transferring credits from other institutions or if you completed your dental hygiene certificate at Pitt before 1995.

Dental Hygiene Tracks

As a dental hygiene bachelor’s degree student at CGS, you may choose one of three concentration tracks. Online course offerings are marked with (Web) or (Hybrid).

Track 1: Health Management (6 credits)
Format: Web
Format: Web
Track 2: Education (6 credits)
Format: Web
Format: Web
Track 3: Research (6 credits)

Select two courses from the list for a total of six credits.


Formerly: PSY 0035 Research Methods, 4cr.

  • Elective - Topic and subject will vary


Approved electives include: HRS 1006 Introduction to Nutrition (Web), LEGLST 1410 Introduction to Legal Research (Web), PS 0700 Research Methods in Political Science, PSY 0205 Psychopathology (F2F and Web), PUBSRV 1305 Health, Law and Ethics (Web), SOC 0150 Social Theory, SOC 0473 Sociology of Globalization and Health.

Program Planning Checklist

Use the Dental Hygiene BS checklist (PDF) to plan and track your progress in the major.

General Education Courses

To satisfy the general education component of the program, students take courses in the following general education categories:

Writing (6 credits)

Two Writing Intensive Courses (6 credits if not overlapped with other General Education requirements)

Writing-intensive courses (W-Courses) are designed to teach writing within a discipline through writing assignments that are distributed across the entire term. In these courses, students will produce at least 20-24 pages of written work. A significant portion of this work should be substantially revised in response to instructor feedback and class discussion. All students must complete two courses that are designated as W-Courses. Students should satisfy one of these requirements by taking a W-Course in their major if it is available. Students may not transfer credits in to satisfy this requirement. W-courses can be overlapped with other General Education courses (except for Professional Communication).

Mathematics (3 credits)

Mastering college-level algebra (3 credits) is required for all students. These skills are foundational for student success in other general education courses.

Students are exempt from having to take Algebra if they earned 620 on the SAT Math or 27 on the ACT Math. Students who do not meet these criteria must earn a C- or higher in MATH 0020, MATH 0025, MATH 0031, CS 0004, or CS 0007. Given the importance of establishing a sound foundation in mathematics, all students are required to satisfy the Algebra requirement by the time they have completed 30 credits in enrollment.

Diversity (3 credits)

Diversity courses focus centrally and intensively on issues of diversity, and do so in a manner that promotes understanding of diversity. They provide students with analytical skills needed to understand structural inequities and the knowledge to be able to participate more effectively in our increasingly diverse and multicultural society. The courses may address, though not be limited to, such issues as race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religious difference, and/or economic disparity.

All students must complete one course (3 credits) that is designated as a Diversity course but may take this course within their major field of study, if available. Diversity courses may also be courses that fulfill other General Education Requirements. (3 credits if not overlapped with another General Education course).

 Please work with your CGS advisor to identify the most appropriate course.

Humanities and Arts, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences (15 credits)

  • 6 credits in 2 courses that satisfy 2 of the 3 following general education requirements: The Arts, Creative Work, Philosophical Thinking or Ethics.
  • 3 credits in a course that satisfies the Social Science general education requirement (can be satisfied through an Intro to Sociology course that many students transfer in).
  • 3 credits in a course that satisfies the Literature general education requirement.
  • 3 credits in a course that satisfies the Historical Analysis general education requirement.
Global Awareness and Cultural Understanding (9 credits)
  • 3 credits in a course that satisfies the Global Issues general education requirement.
  • 3 credits in a course that satisfies the Specific Geographic Region general education requirement.
  • 3 credits in a course that satisfies the Cross-Cultural Awareness general education requirement.

General Education Program Notes:

  •  9 to 15 credits of the courses above must be at the 1000-level, depending on the student's area of concentration in the major. One of the courses must also satisfy the General Education Diversity requirement. These credits, when combined with the 15 credits for DENHYG 1544, 1545, 1547, 1549, and 1689 completed in Pitt's dental hygiene program, meet the CGS requirement for 30 credits of 1000-level course work. For a complete list of approved general education courses, see: CGS General Education Catalog (PDF).
  • If you were admitted to the CGS Dental Hygiene Program prior to Fall 2018, your general education requirements are listed in the undergraduate catalog here.  See also the CGS Comprehensive Course List (PDF) for courses that satisfy your General Education Requirements.

Need Advising for This Program

Requirements are subject to change. Check with a CGS academic advisor before registering.