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Advanced Dental Therapy MSADT

About The Program

The Master of Science in Advanced Dental Therapy (MSADT) program is the first of its kind in the country with Minnesota recognized as a national leader in oral health care. The dual licensed graduates of Metro State’s Advanced Dental Therapy program have created a meaningful solution to the problem of dental access for underserved communities by providing care in both the dental hygiene and dental therapy scopes of practice for diverse populations.

Program accreditation

Metro State's Master of Science in Advanced Dental Therapy Program, part of the Department of Dental Hygiene, is approved by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry.

Learn more about our dental hygiene programs at a Zoom information session.

All Dental Hygiene Department educational programs are based on academic excellence, and the values of community involvement, ethical conduct and social responsibility. The MSADT program provides the theoretical and applied skills necessary for licensure as a dental therapist and certification as an advanced dental therapist as defined by Minnesota statute. This graduate program for students studying advanced dental therapy and dental hygiene requires a full-time commitment for five semesters and prepares baccalaureate educated, licensed dental hygienists for advanced practice to enhance the oral and general health of underserved communities.

Pew Center on the States reports the demand for oral health care services is increasing due to the Affordable Care Act, which expands dental insurance to millions of children in the United States. This demand is coupled with Pew's prediction that the new dental team member with dual licensure as a dental hygienist and a dental therapist can boost the productivity and profits of private dental practice settings. In essence, the employment of dual-licensed providers makes good business sense while improving the oral and general health of underserved Minnesotans.

The MSADT program is a full-time graduate program combining classroom-based, web-enhanced courses with simulation and clinical learning environments. This program engages students in interprofessional educational experiences with members of the broader health care team as well as members of the dental care team.

Program mission

The mission of the Metro State Advanced Dental Therapy program is to prepare licensed dental hygienists for advanced dental therapy jobs and to enhance the oral health of underserved and diverse populations. The program is built upon academic excellence and supports the value that advanced education is essential to the delivery of quality, safe, accessible, cost-effective oral healthcare. The program is committed to collaborative community involvement, emphasizing ethics and social responsibility.


The program includes advanced dental therapy and interprofessional coursework which focuses upon three primary educational phases for a total of 42 graduate credits:

The science of health care delivery phase focuses on:

  • Working within diverse communities
  • Communication across cultures
  • Understanding health care needs and the incidence of disease across populations
  • Advancing safe, quality oral health care

The clinical practice development phase focuses on: 

  • Advancing assessment and evaluation skills and knowledge 
  • Simulation and clinical experiences 
  • Collaborative care provision skills unique to advanced dental therapy 

The leadership and synthesis phase concentrates on:

  • Extending health system and public policy knowledge
  • Developing leadership skills 
  • A capstone project focused on the evaluation of a relevant clinical question 


Student outcomes

Graduate students studying dental hygiene and dental therapy learn to demonstrate:  

  • Critical thinking in dental therapy and advanced dental therapy 
  • Competence in dental therapy and advanced dental therapy practice 
  • Leadership in improving the delivery of health care 

Students also learn to: 

  • Apply principles of ethical decision making and cultural competence in dental therapy and advanced dental therapy practice 
  • Work in partnership with a collaborative management agreement dentist and other health care professionals 
  • Use a process of scholarly inquiry in dental therapy and advanced dental therapy practice

Thinking an Advanced Dental Therapy degree is right for you?

If you are ready to become a full-time graduate student studying advanced dental therapy and dental hygiene, Metro State can provide you with the necessary skills and curriculum to receive licensure as a dental therapist and certification as an advanced dental therapist in the state of Minnesota, which opens a bevy of dental therapy job opportunities. 

How to enroll

Program eligibility requirements

The Dental Hygiene Department evaluates applications for evidence of undergraduate scholarship, professional experience, and commitment to the program mission. Class size is limited to six students, and the admission process is competitive.

The following requirements are necessary to be considered for admission to the MSADT program.

  • Completed online Graduate Programs Admission Application to Metropolitan State University and paid Application Fee
  • Completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Applicants whose degrees are from a non-US college or university shall have their degrees evaluated by a credentials evaluation service to determine equivalency to a US baccalaureate degree
  • 2,000 hours of clinical dental hygiene experience
  • Official Academic Transcripts from all institutions attended after high school including transcript(s) reflecting completion of Bachelor’s degree. This includes credit for prior learning transcripts for Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), International Baccalaureate (IB), etc
  • Goals Essay
  • Two Professional References
  • Evidence of current unencumbered Minnesota dental hygiene license and nitrous oxide and local anesthesia certifications
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 (calculated from all college coursework)
  • Successful completion of DENH 420 Restorative Functions (4 credits) or documentation of its equivalent

Completion of the prerequisite course does not guarantee entrance into the program. The program has limited enrollment and Metropolitan State reserves the right to determine admissions status.

    Application instructions

    We are currently accepting applications for the cohort beginning Summer term on space available basis. Please apply promptly. All application items must be submitted electronically through the Applicant Portal.  

    The selection process is based on cumulative GPA, prerequisite grades, references, applicant essay, interview, and portfolio evaluation. The Department of Dental Hygiene Admission Committee will begin review of completed applications once the application deadline has passed.

    Application file

    Create your Application File by first applying online using the online Graduate Programs Admission Application. Once you've applied online you can login to the Applicant Portal using your StarID and password at any time to upload your remaining documents, and check on the status of your application. All application materials become the property of Metropolitan State University and are not returned.

    Application Steps:

    1. Complete the online Graduate Programs Admission Application.
      • You will use your Minnesota State StarID to complete the application.
      • If you don't have a Minnesota State StarID, you will create one at the beginning of the application.
      • If you encounter difficulty with the online application please email
      • If you do not have or choose not to provide your Social Security number (SSN) please follow the No SSN instructions to activate your StarID.
      • Pay the non-refundable application fee online using the online application. The current fee of $20 is waived for graduates of Metropolitan State.
    2. Submit official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
      • At least one transcript must reflect a baccalaureate degree or equivalent earned from an accredited institution with grade-point average or narrative description describing courses completed.
      • Transcripts are required from all institutions attended including accredited and non-accredited colleges/universities, College in the Schools (CIS) institutions, and institutions where credit was not earned. This also includes credit for prior learning transcripts for Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), International Baccalaureate (IB), etc.
      • All transcripts from non-U.S. schools must be evaluated (course-by-course) by either ECE (preferred) or WES.
      • Electronic transcripts (preferred) sent to graduate studies.
      • Paper transcripts sent directly from the sending institution (preferred)
    3. Upload Goals Essay
      • A word-processed, double-spaced narrative of 750-1000 words, with your name at the top of each page. Please address the following:
      • Describe the area of dental therapy practice you envision for yourself after completion of the MSADT program.
      • Explain how this practice will contribute towards the two goals of our dental therapy mission: to prepare licensed dental hygienists for advanced practice and to enhance the health of underserved and diverse populations.
      • Describe and explain life, work, or academic skills, knowledge and/or experience you presently hold that contribute towards these two goals and can be applied in future practice.
    4. Provide two distinct professional references
      • Submit reference contact information in the Applicant Portal.
      • Select from two of the three categories:
        • A faculty member
        • A supervisor/employer
        • A professional peer or colleague
      • Once the two distinct references have been received in the Graduate Studies Office the remaining reference item listed in the applicant portal will disappear.
      • Once submitted, references will receive a "no reply" email from Minnesota State with a link to the recommendation form.
        • References should check junk mail if the email is not in their inbox.
        • The link is good for 60 days, however, the application deadline may be sooner.
        • Applicants should remind their references of the application deadline when speaking with them.
    5. Upload evidence of unencumbered license
      • Evidence of current unencumbered dental hygienist license that meets Minnesota licensure requirements.
      • PDF or an image file of your license or state board login page showing unencumbered license.
        • showing unencumbered license.

    International Students Only

    International applicants in the U.S. or abroad, on any type of visa, are required to provide this information for admission to the university:

    • Proof of English proficiency (official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score)
      • Minimum scores: TOEFL 80 IBT, 213 CBT, 550 PBT, IELTS 6.5, or Duolingo 105-110
      • IBT=internet based; CBT=computer based; PBT=paper based
    • Financial statement (F1 visa only)
    • Immunization records
    • Copies of passport, visa, I-94, and international home address and phone numbers

    Pre-admission interview

    Eligible applicants will be invited for an interview as a final step in the application process. Your professional portfolio, which you will present at the interview, will exhibit your efforts and achievements in the following areas:

    • Career goals/philosophy statement
    • Resume including work/career experience in the field of dental hygiene
    • Current dental hygiene license and certifications
    • Degrees/Diplomas/Academic accomplishments, awards, and/or recognitions
    • Continuing education/professional development and lifelong learning
    • Involvement in professional organizations
    • Community service and volunteer activities
    • Please create an index of the above components for ease of portfolio review

    Questions about applying to the Master of Science in Advanced Dental Therapy program?

    Admissions questions regarding the online application, fee, transcripts/transcript evaluations, online recommendation form, and document upload feature can be sent to (preferred) or call 651-793-1302.

    Direct other questions to (preferred) or call 651-793-1373.

    Courses and Requirements


    Before MSADT students begin clinical dental courses, the following must be provided:

    • Appropriate documentation of an active Minnesota dental hygiene license;
    • Evidence of current dental hygiene professional liability insurance;
    • Evidence of required immunizations;
    • Evidence of current CPR certification;
    • Evidence of HIPAA training;
    • Evidence of successful background study; and
    • Evidence of current health insurance.

    Program orientation

    Once you have been fully admitted to the program, you will be required to attend a graduate program orientation session and develop a plan of study.

    Academic Standing

    You must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. To remain in good standing, you must maintain a term and cumulative GPA of 3.0.

    You will be admitted as part of a cohort for the MSADT competency-based dental courses and must adhere to the program progression published at the time of your admission. If you are unable to progress with the assigned cohort, you may make a written request to join a subsequent cohort, provided you have made satisfactory academic progress to date and space is available. Permission to join a subsequent cohort is determined by the MSADT Program Coordinator and Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

    Student licensure

    Before beginning patient care in spring semester of year one, you will be required to apply for resident dental therapy provider licensure through the MN Board of Dentistry. More information will be presented prior to the start of spring semester. Licensure to Practice as a Resident Provider


    or equivalent transfer course. Minimum 3 semester credits

    + Requirements (42 credits)
    + MSADT competency

    DENH courses are taught in sequence using a cohort model that begins in the fall semester. Courses are taught at Metropolitan State University locations in St. Paul and Maplewood. Clinical courses with community practice components require students to travel to clinical sites throughout the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area for course completion.

    This course focuses on the effect of systemic and oral diseases related to ADT care. Students learn to prioritize and modify treatment plans to meet patient needs. Students implement a comprehensive, patient-centered, problem-solving approach to clinical assessment and treatment planning. Students develop critical thinking and clinical judgment in consideration of socio-cultural, familial, environmental, and developmental influences across the lifespan. Topics include epidemiology, health-promotion, disease-prevention, and the management of common oral health problems. Case-based studies and initial exposure to clinical patient care are incorporated

    Full course description for Assessment and Treatment Planning

    This blended/hybrid course is designed to prepare the Masters of Science Advanced Dental Therapy (MSADT) student with the pharmacology knowledge and skill necessary to think critically when providing patient-centered care. Effective care begins with sorting through the patient's medical/dental health status and pharmacological report. Based on a comprehensive analysis, the student will discern appropriate treatment modifications and necessary drug prescriptions/interventions to ensure optimal and safe patient care. Drug classes, pharmacologic effects, adverse reactions, drug contraindications and interactions will be addressed practically and reinforced through case-based learning.

    Full course description for Principles of Pharmacology and Medical Emergencies

    This course focuses on theoretical and laboratory principles of operative dentistry utilizing direct placement restorative materials in the permanent dentition for adults. In a simulation laboratory setting students practice operative dentistry techniques that restore form, function, and esthetics to teeth with the purpose of contributing to both oral and general health. Emphasis is placed on the basic principles of cavity preparation and restoration design, as well as the appropriate selection and application of direct restorative materials. Students complete at least 150 hours in simulated restorative practice.

    Full course description for Restorative Dentistry I

    This course builds upon the concepts and skills learned in Restorative Dentistry I. Emphasis is placed on restorative procedures for the pediatric and adolescent patient carried out in a simulation laboratory setting. Course concepts and strategies include comprehensive pediatric ADT dental care within the context of the collaborative agreement. Focus is also placed on the recognition and indications for professional referral/consultation to provide comprehensive patient care.

    Full course description for Pediatric Dentistry

    This course focuses on further refining skills in providing primary preventive and restorative services to patients across the lifespan in a clinical setting. Concentration is on competency in assessment and patient-centered treatment planning and care. Students implement the full advanced dental therapy scope of practice in consultation with faculty providers. Students complete approximately 190 hours in clinical restorative practice.

    Full course description for Restorative Dentistry III

    This course will address health literacy and cultural competency within the context of providing oral health care for individuals, families and communities representing diverse backgrounds. The dental therapy student will be able to recognize barriers and implement appropriate strategies to provide equitable care for populations that may have experienced barriers to receiving care.

    Full course description for Oral Health Literacy and Communication

    This course provides the Advanced Dental Therapy student with their first offsite clinical experiences in delivering restorative and preventive oral healthcare services to underserved and under-represented patients across the life span. The student will provide primary preventive and restorative Advanced Dental Therapy services in various specialty dental settings in collaboration with dental preceptors. Students will complete approximately 100 hours in clinical restorative practice

    Full course description for Community-Based Externship I

    This course is the culmination and synthesis of the educational and clinical experiences for the Advanced Dental Therapy student. Students provide primary preventive and restorative dental care in order to demonstrate integration and application of independent critical thinking, problem solving skills, professional attitudes, and sound clinical judgment. This course includes planning and preparation for dental therapy board licensure exams. Competence Statement: The student will demonstrate the integration and application of independent critical thinking, problem solving skills, professional and sound clinical judgment in the provision of primary preventive and restorative advanced dental therapy skills in collaboration with supervising faculty.

    Full course description for Advanced Dental Therapy Clinic

    In this course students will demonstrate sound clinical judgement while providing oral health care services to underserved patient populations across the life span at partner clinics. The focus of this course is competent, professional dental treatment requiring in-depth understanding of comprehensive patient-centered management of oral health problems within the scope of advanced dental therapy practice in collaboration with preceptor providers.

    Full course description for Community-Based Externship II

    This course focuses on the integration and application of independent critical thinking and problem solving in oral health care. The student will develop a research topic on a subject relevant to advanced dental therapy practice which will culminate in one of the following: a scholarly research review paper, an original demonstration project or original research project. A public presentation of the research topic will demonstrate the student¿s knowledge of their subject, provide an opportunity to define their scholarly process and offer peer and professional project evaluation.

    Full course description for Scholarly Seminar

    + MSADT Interprofessional didactic

    These courses may be taken prior to or during completion of the MSADT competency-based dental courses.

    This course examines the social, cultural, economic, and political variables that influence the development of health policy and the strategies that can be used to develop or revise health policy. Students study the present U.S health system to determine ways in which it may be modified to enhance population health and better meet the needs of underserved populations. Competence Statement: Knows principles and concepts related to leadership and health policy well enough to demonstrate leadership in improving the delivery of health care to diverse populations

    Full course description for Health Policy and Leadership

    Course sequence