The School of Dental Hygiene Studies (formerly called School of Dental Health Science) at Pacific University offers two Bachelor of Science degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene and a Bachelor of Science in Dental Health. The BS in Dental Hygiene is an entry-level dental hygiene program that provides the education required to become a licensed dental hygienist. The BS in Dental Health is a degree completion program intended for current dental health professionals who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree at Pacific University.
Dental Hygiene Profession
Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental hygiene services directly to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve the patient’s oral and general health.
Dental hygienists must be licensed in each state in which they practice. Licensure requirements vary from state to state. In most states, candidates must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program, pass a national written board examination and pass a state or regional clinical board examination. The RDH credential stands for Registered Dental Hygienist and indicates that the dental hygienist is licensed to practice.
The scope of practice for dental hygienists varies from state to state. Most dental hygienists perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. In some states, dental hygienists can administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; prescribe preventive agents and medications related to dentistry; place temporary restorations; and place permanent restorations.
Clinical dental hygienists provide direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings that include private dental offices, public health clinics, managed care organizations, schools, hospitals and long-term care facilities. Dental hygienists with a bachelor’s or master’s degree have additional career options that include teaching dental assisting, dental hygiene and dental students in colleges and universities; administering public health and community-based programs; managing dental practices and health care facilities; and marketing dental supplies, products and equipment.
History of the School
The School of Dental Hygiene Studies was established by the Pacific University Board of Trustees in May 2005. The BS in Dental Hygiene program was granted initial accreditation status in 2006 and approval status in 2008 from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The first dental hygiene class enrolled in fall 2006 and graduated in August 2008.
The mission of the School of Dental Hygiene Studies at Pacific University is to provide an outstanding education for our students, compassionate care for our patients and exemplary service to the community and the profession.
The School of Dental Hygiene Studies at Pacific University will create and sustain a reputation of excellence in education, service and scholarship that is widely recognized and respected in both the profession and the community.
The goals of the School of Dental Hygiene Studies are to:
- Prepare dental hygiene professionals for leadership roles in clinical practice, public health, education, research, administration and advocacy.
- Provide patient-centered care that is culturally appropriate and based on current standards of practice.
- Foster an environment that promotes discovery, application and dissemination of evidence-based research.
- Promote a commitment to service through professional association involvement, community partnerships and interprofessional collaborations.
Policies: School of Dental Hygiene Studies
Students must protect the integrity of their work and maintain a high level of academic honesty. Cheating and plagiarism constitute serious academic offenses. Students involved in an act of academic dishonesty will be reviewed by the Academic Standards Committee.
Satisfactory academic progress in the School of Dental Hygiene Studies is defined as regular and prompt attendance, satisfactory academic performance, satisfactory clinical progress, safe clinical practice, appropriate professional conduct, effective interpersonal skills and compliance with policies and procedures. Students will be evaluated regularly in these areas according to established standards.
Students will be given regular feedback on their academic progress in the program. A student who is not performing adequately according to the standards will receive notification through written feedback and/or individual advisement.
Academic Standards Committee
Academic progress may be reviewed by the Academic Standards Committee at the conclusion of each semester, and upon request of a faculty member. The Academic Standards Committee consists of a faculty chair and two additional faculty members.
The Academic Standards Committee may be asked to review a student who:
- Has excessive absences that may adversely affect progress in the program.
- Is having academic difficulties in one or more courses.
- Is involved in an act of academic dishonesty or unprofessional conduct.
- Demonstrates unsatisfactory clinical progress or unsafe clinical practice.
- Provides dental hygiene treatment without faculty supervision.
- Falsifies, copies, or removes patient records.
- Discloses confidential patient information.
- Refuses to treat a patient due to the patient’s age, race, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, physical or mental condition.
- Receives a final grade of D, F or No Pass in any dental hygiene course
The Academic Standards Committee will review the student’s academic progress and make a recommendation to the Director. Recommendations may include no action, remediation, academic probation, suspension, withdrawal, or dismissal from the program. The Director will make a final decision based on the recommendation of the committee and notify the student in writing of the final decision.
Remediation may be recommended for a student who needs additional time to address academic difficulties, complete course requirements or demonstrate satisfactory clinical progress. A written action plan with timelines will be developed to direct the remediation process. Failure to successfully complete remediation may result in dismissal from the program without the option for re-admission.
Academic probation is an academic standing that indicates serious concerns about the student’s progress in the program. Students who are on academic probation will meet with their advisor on a regular basis to discuss their academic progress. Students who are on academic probation are not in good academic standing and are not eligible to participate in specified School activities. Academic probation typically lasts one semester. A student who is on academic probation is considered to be not in good academic standing.
Leave of Absence
Most students will be enrolled in this program continuously and without interruption until they complete the program. However, circumstances may arise that prevent a student from being continuously enrolled in this program. Students may request a leave of absence from the program for up to one year, and then return to the program without applying for re-admission. Upon returning to the program, the student may be required to demonstrate continued competency in didactic knowledge and clinical skills.
Students who are considering withdrawing from the program should meet with the director to discuss options and initiate the withdrawal process. Students who need to withdraw due to health emergencies or other emergency reasons may be granted an Administrative Withdrawal by the Dean of Students. A statement from a healthcare provider or other documentation is typically required for an Administrative Withdrawal.
Students who receive a final grade of D, F or No Pass in any dental hygiene course or fail to meet the terms of their remediation or academic probation may be academically dismissed from the program. Students who are academically dismissed from the program may apply for readmission. Students who are dismissed for unsatisfactory clinical progress, unsafe clinical practice or unprofessional conduct are not eligible for readmission to the program.
Students who are academically dismissed from the program may apply for readmission. Students who are dismissed for unsatisfactory clinical progress, unsafe clinical practice or unprofessional conduct are not eligible for readmission to the program.
Re-admission to the program is not guaranteed. Students who wish to be considered for re-admission to the dental hygiene entry-level program must submit a request for re-admission letter to the Director by the established deadline. The letter should:
- Reflect insight into the reasons for academic difficulty
- Present a comprehensive plan for future academic success
- Include goals and specific steps to achieve these goals
- Address potential obstacles and plans for dealing with them
- Be typed with no grammar or spelling errors
Requests for re-admission will be reviewed by the Director and the faculty. The decision regarding re-admission will be sent to the student in writing.
Re-admitted students must repeat all courses from the previous year in order to maintain academic and clinical competency. Re-admitted students must:
- attend all class sessions
- demonstrate clinical competency by passing all skill evaluations
- complete additional requirements per individual contract
- comply with program, department and university policies and procedures
- follow all agreed upon steps as outlined in a request for re-admission letter
Students who are re-admitted to the program will be considered to be on academic probation for the semester when they are re-admitted. Continuance to the following semester in the program is dependent upon: 1) a minimum grade of C in all courses; 2) demonstration of continuing clinical competency; 3) recommendation of the faculty.
Program decisions regarding academic standing are final. A decision may be appealed only if the student can show that 1) there was an error in procedure; 2) there is new evidence sufficient to alter the decision; or 3) the sanction imposed was not appropriate to the severity of the violation. For information on academic appeals, see the Bylaws of the Pacific University College of Health Professions.
Regular and prompt attendance is essential for academic success. Therefore, attendance at all scheduled lectures, laboratories, clinic sessions and affiliation assignments is required. Absence does not excuse a student from responsibility for coursework or assignments that are missed. Students who have excessive absences may be reviewed by the Academic Standards Committee for possible dismissal from the program. Lateness causes inconvenience to patients, instructors, staff and fellow students. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner by being prompt in meeting their professional obligations.
Full-time enrollment is defined as 12 semester credits or more; half-time is 6 credits or more.
Students may audit courses with permission of the Director. Students who audit courses are required to enroll in, pay for, and attend classes, but are not required to complete assignments or take examinations. No credit is awarded for audited courses.
Students from another dental hygiene program will be considered for transfer into this dental hygiene program only after careful review of all available information. Transferred dental hygiene courses must be completed with a grade of C or better and should be completed within the past three years. At least 30 of the last 40 credits of the dental hygiene program must be completed at Pacific University.
Time Limits to Program Completion
Students are expected to complete the degree with their cohort. Exceptions may be granted for extenuating circumstances. A student may take up to four years to complete the two year dental hygiene program. All forms of leave (voluntary withdrawals, administrative withdrawals, or leaves of absence) may be extended to a maximum of 24 months total (either consecutive months or cumulative time) with approval from the Director. A student may be dismissed from the program four years from his/her start date if he/she has not completed program requirements.
Concurrent Enrollment in Other Academic Programs
The dental hygiene program includes two years of full-time study in a professional curriculum. Students who are enrolled in this program are expected to be fully engaged in the didactic, laboratory and clinical portions of the curriculum and meet all program requirements. Students who enroll in another academic program concurrently (at the same time) must also meet the requirements of that academic program. Students who are enrolled in the dental hygiene program must obtain written approval from the Program Director in order to enroll concurrently in another academic program at Pacific University or at another institution. Students who enroll in another academic program without this approval may be dismissed from the dental hygiene program.
A = 92 & above
B = 82 – 91
C = 75 – 81
D = 66 – 74
F = below 66 or academic dishonesty, unprofessional conduct, unsatisfactory clinical progress, unsafe clinical practice
P = Pass
N = No Pass
Continuance in Program
A final grade of C or above (or Pass) must be attained in each dental hygiene course in order to continue to the following semester in the program. Students who receive a final grade below C (or No Pass) in a dental hygiene course will be reviewed by the Academic Standards Committee for possible dismissal from the program. Students must earn a 2.0 or higher GPA each term and maintain a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA in all coursework.
Work in Progress Grade
When unanticipated situations arise that prevent the student from completing all course requirements, the course instructor may choose to allow the student additional time to complete the work by issuing a work in progress (WP) grade to the student. A work in progress grade will only be issued if the majority of the course requirements have been completed at a satisfactory level, the student has been making satisfactory clinical progress and the student has demonstrated safe clinical practice. The student must make arrangements with the course instructor to complete the course requirements before the end of the following semester. When the student completes all course requirements at a satisfactory level, the course instructor will submit a Grade Change Request form to the Registrar’s Office to change the WP grade to the earned grade. If the student does not complete all course requirements at a satisfactory level by the end of the following term, the WP grade will change to an F (or No Pass) grade and the student will be dismissed from the program.
When unexpected illness or emergency prevents the student from completing all course requirements, the course instructor may choose to allow the student additional time to complete the work by issuing an incomplete (I) grade to the student. An approved Incomplete Grade Contract must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. The student must make arrangements with the course instructor to complete the course requirements before the end of the following semester. When the student completes all course requirements at a satisfactory level, the course instructor will submit a Grade Change Request form to the Registrar’s Office to change the I grade to the earned grade. If the student does not complete all course requirements at a satisfactory level by the end of the following term, the I grade will change to an F (or No Pass) grade and the student will be dismissed from the program.
Courses may be counted only once towards graduation requirements. If a course taken at Pacific University is repeated at Pacific University, only the higher grade is used in computing the Pacific GPA. If a course taken at Pacific University is retaken at another institution, the Pacific grade still is counted the GPA.
Tuition and Fees : School of Dental Hygiene Studies
|Per semester, Fall and Spring
|Audit, per credit hour
|Instrument kits & supplies (juniors)
|Instrument kits & supplies (seniors)
|Professional Assoc. Fees
Calendar: School of Dental Hygiene Studies
ProgramsBachelor of Science
CoursesDental Hygiene Studies