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Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry


Why study at The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry?

The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry brings together two venerable teaching institutions: St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which dates back to 1123, and The London Hospital Medical College, which was the first purpose-built medical school in England and Wales, founded in 1785, the oldest medical school in England and Wales. The hospitals lie in two very different parts of London, the City and the East End, exposing you to a greater diversity of people and their health problems than at almost any other medical and dental school in the UK.

This combination of the scientific excellence mentioned above, and the unmatched medical and dental opportunities that flow from our location, means that we are in an unrivalled position to offer you the very best experience as a student, shaping the sort of dentist you will become and the rest of your life.

We are a friendly and supportive School, with exceptionally good pastoral care. Our curriculum is modern, integrated and well paced, and our location in east London means that you’ll serve a population of great diversity and encounter a wide range of disease, including some of the more unusual oral cancers. 

With an intake of approximately 70 new students each year, we are still a relatively small dental school. Our size and location mean that there is a strong sense of community and that we are never short of patients. Dental students also have the opportunity to study at a variety of outreach clinics, gaining experience within different clinical settings.

The Dental School contains a clinical skills laboratory, which closely simulates the real clinical experience and is an invaluable learning facility, helping new students prepare for patient care work. You will also be able to work in our fantastic outreach clinics at Barkantine, near Canary Wharf, Southend-on-Sea and the newest clinic Sir Ludwig Guttmann centre in the Olympic park.

Clinical Facilities

The BDS programme is based at the Institute of Dentistry, attached to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.  Students will also  undertake extended outreach periods in a number of locations in the Docklands, Southend Outreach and the new dental outreach clinic at the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Centre in the former Olympic Polyclinic in Stratford.

The Institute of Dentistry moved to new accommodation in the Alexandra wing of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel in April 2014. Costing in the region of £78m, it is the first new dental school to be built in the UK for over 40 years, and houses state-of- the-art facilities providing, we believe, the most modern learning environment for dental education of any UK dental hospital. Designed with clinical functionality at its core, and complemented by cutting-edge technology, our staff, students and their patients benefit from an enhanced teaching and learning experience, enabling improved quality of care, underpinned by world-class research.

The Institute of Dentistry provides a wide range of services and operates as a major centre for the local community and for patients who need specialist treatment. Experience of dental practice outside the Institute also forms an important part of your learning.

  • 11 dedicated seminar rooms and a student learning centre
  • 92 production laboratory spaces
  • Digital imaging and two cutting-edge cone beam CT machines
  • A PC in every operatory with ‘slave screen’ on chair for viewing images and discussing results with patient
  • Modern facial-scanning equipment
  • Facilities and services for 72 ‘phantom’ heads.


Since the days of the Phoenicians in 300-400BC, people have valued an attractive smile and healthy teeth. Improving appearance and function has a real and positive impact on the quality of people’s day-today life. However, dentistry is about much more than fillings and scaling teeth – it is a major branch of medicine, encompassing teeth and all the related structures of the head and neck. You will study the care of the mouth for both children and adults, including the prevention and treatment of the dental diseases, screening for oral cancers, managing trauma (eg, the results of road accidents or violence), orthodontics and oral surgery. As a dentist, you will need to be versatile and multitalented. You must be academically gifted, able to undertake precision work in adverse conditions, and an excellent communicator, who can explain options and procedure to your patients, and reassure those who are frightened. You must also enjoy science: dentistry is a constantly evolving profession and lifelong learning is essential.

The five-year course leading to Bachelor of Dental Surgery has been redesigned in 2012 to allow a modern curriculum which provides a globally aware, student-focused, integrated, multidisciplinary approach to acquisition and use of knowledge, which:

  • Promotes oral health and provides patient-centred, evidence-based care
  • Develops knowledge, skills values, attributes and behaviours of a dental professional
  • Recognises the need for lifelong learning and professional development
  • Promotes the awareness of knowledge creation

These provide the means to gain the appropriate knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding of scientific and clinical principles so that you are able to apply them to the prevention, alleviation and treatment of oral diseases. Great emphasis is placed on the acquisition of clinical skills and professional attributes by working closely with your teachers, peers and other members of the dental team. You will provide patient care in a range of settings, exposing you to a diverse population group and a variety of opportunities for professional development.

The renewed curriculum has five themes running through all the years, with some themes having a greater presence in the early years. The themes are:

  • Scientific basis of clinical practice: more dominant in Years 1 and 2 but will run throughout the programme
  • Clinical practice: more dominant from Year 2 onwards
  • Teamwork, professionalism and social responsibility: runs as a continuum throughout all years
  • Evidence-based dentistry, dental public health, global health and research: all years
  • Academic advising and graduate attributes: overarching support of individual development through feedback, monitoring and career development throughout all years.

Teaching and Learning

Our dental programme equips you with a broad knowledge of all relevant aspects of medicine and dentistry and the application of this knowledge to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of oral and dental diseases and abnormalities. Important features of teaching are listed below: 

  • Practical sessions – sessions take place in our laboratories, IT labs, clinical skills labs and clinics. The Dental School has recently installed a state-of-the-art clinical skills laboratory and newly refurbished clinical treatment areas. Many of the courses taught in the laboratory are part of extended blocks of teaching allowing total immersion in a particular area of study, prior to patient treatment in the clinics. 
  • Seminars – provided to small groups of 8-10 students 
  • Lectures and symposia – on the dental programme symposia aim to integrate multidisciplinary learning by focusing on all aspects of a particular topic and making important connections 
  • Outreach clinical teaching – outreach clinics allow students total immersion in dentistry within a primary care setting 
  • Communication skills – you will have practical training in interviewing techniques and special sessions devoted to communication between doctors or dentists and their patients 
  • E-learning – students have access to a large amount of teaching material via the university online environment – an intranet-based facility which enables you to revisit lectures and review other teaching materials whenever is convenient.


A range of innovative methods is used to assess your progress and acquisition of knowledge and skills. We are moving away from the ‘finals’ examination that was once the traditional climax of a dental student’s programme. You accumulate a varying proportion of your marks as you progress throughout the programme. All assessments are focused on you demonstrating the integration of knowledge and its application in practice. Prompt and effective feedback is always provided following such assessment. You will receive details of all assessments in a handbook given to students at the start of the programme and on the virtual learning environment for instant access.

Continuous assessment

This measures your progress throughout the programme and comprises in-course summative examinations, project and elective modules (using E learning, libraries, internet, laboratory or clinic as sources of information). A progress review is carried out twice a year, informed by your electronic portfolio – essentially a diary. This helps you reflect on your daily experiences and achievements and, with the help of personal tutors, devise personal action plans and targets. 

Annual assessments

Annual examinations using a range of assessment methods allow you to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes you have developed throughout the programme. These assessments will also contribute to your final degree result. 

Formative assessments

Throughout the programme, you will also be given formative assessments that are designed to help you appreciate the effectiveness of your own learning. These do not count towards your final marks or grading, but allow us to identify whether you need additional help with your studies. 

Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)

OSCEs are used to test your abilities across a wide range of areas by assessing your clinical and communication skills. In OSCEs you move through a series of stations and will be assessed on your ability to interact with clinical simulations, effectively accomplish tasks and communicate or interact with both real and simulated patients.

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