Bachelor of Oral Health

Course 841AC (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Year and Campus: 2010 - Parkville
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Undergraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 300 credit points taken over 36 months full time.


Professor Mike Morgan


Melbourne Dental School

4th Floor, 720 Swanston Street

Telephone: +61 3 9341 1500


Course Overview:

The Bachelor of Oral Health is a fixed, three-year, full-time program. It has a combined vocational outcome of hygiene and therapy and its curriculum reflects the latest developments in oral health.

The course has four main components:

Dental science: dental/oral health science subjects provide a theoretical background to the procedures used in providing dental care, including the structure and function of normal and abnormal tissues of the body and principles of treatment of disease.

Social science and preventive dentistry: subjects concerned with preventing dental disease in the community. Community studies and oral health promotion are a major feature of this component, but it also includes ethics, psychology, sociology and research methods.

Clinical dentistry: subjects related to dental auxiliary practice which are common to dental hygienists' and dental therapists' activities. They include infection control, instrumentation, dental materials, examination procedures and record taking as well as operative procedures such as fluoride application, impressions and oral radiography.

Vocational clinical practice: in this component the student follows either the dental therapy stream or the dental hygiene stream. The therapy stream focuses on managing dental decay in children, adolescents and young adults and the delivery of restorative dentistry within the public dental programs. The hygiene stream focuses on the conservative management of periodontal conditions.


On completion of the course, students should be able to:

1. Be able to:

a) demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills in primary, secondary and tertiary oral health care including oral examination, diagnosis, treatment planning and clinical therapeutic skills, in order to practice those aspects of dental therapy and dental hygiene permitted by the legislation governing the practice of dentistry in Australia;

b) relate the scientific basis of health and clinical sciences to the technical and vocational aspects of oral health therapy practice;

c) deliver oral health care in an holistic fashion which takes cognisance of the social, cultural and economic environment in which people live;

d) demonstrate a capacity to design, implement and evaluate preventive interventions at the individual or community level;

e) demonstrate an ability and the confidence to collaborate with all members of the dental team and professionals from other areas such as health, welfare and education;

f) demonstrate an ability to refer patients whose dental care is beyond the scope of the dental hygienist and dental therapist through appropriate referral networks;

g) understand and apply the principles that underpin the ethical codes and legal requirements governing the practice of dentistry;

h) provide care for people that protects their dignity, autonomy, cultural and social values;

i) demonstrate an approach to professional practice incorporating intellectual integrity, self evaluation, development and lifelong learning and a commitment to the oral health therapy community;

2. Have developed:

a) critical, analytical and problem solving skills;

b) the skills to acquire, synthesize and adapt knowledge to a variety of situations;

c) a high level of written and oral communication skills;

d) the capacity for rational inquiry, self directed learning and the integration of new knowledge;

e) the ability to use various mediums to communicate and collaborate with patients and their families;

3. Have the ability:

a) and self confidence to comprehend and respond to complex concepts;

b) to plan work and use time effectively;

4. Possess the knowledge and skills required to advocate for, and promote, the oral health of individuals and groups in both clinical and community settings, especially disadvantaged individuals and groups;

5. Comprehend the principles of population oral health approaches in the contemporary Australian context.

To perform satisfactorily in the course, students must be able to achieve, at least to a satisfactory level, all of the objectives above.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Students in the Bachelor of Oral Health will develop all the technical skills required for practice as Oral Health Therapists (which includes both dental hygienist and dental therapist practice). The course comprises four main components:

  • Oral health sciences;
  • Social sciences and health promotion;
  • Preventive and clinical dentistry; and
  • Vocational and clinical practice.

Over the three year program, students will undertake the following subjects:

Year 1

511-103 Society and Health 1A

511-105 Oral Health Sciences 1A

511-104 Society and Health 1B

511-106 Oral Health Sciences 1B

511-107 Oral Health Practice 1

Year 2

511-214 Health Promotion 2A

511-216 Oral Health Sciences 2A

511-215 Health Promotion 2B

511-217 Oral Health Sciences 2B

511-218 Oral Health Practice 2

Year 3

511-304 Oral Health Therapy Research

511-305 Oral Health Practice 3

Subject Options: None

First Year

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Second Year

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Third Year

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Entry Requirements:

Entry to the Bachelor of Oral Health will require completion of the final year of secondary schooling and the following subjects or approved equivalents:

  • Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Units 3 and 4 - a study score of at least 25 in English/English Language, Literature or at least 30 in ESL and at least 25 in one of Biology or Chemistry;
  • An ENTER of 70 or above; and
  • The Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT).

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Graduate Attributes: A list of attributes of the Melbourne graduate can be found at:
Generic Skills:
  • Problem solving and decision making skills;
  • Communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Experience in program design and implementation;
  • Evaluation and advocacy;
  • Planning and time management skills;
  • Capacity and motivation for continuing independent learning;
  • Appreciation of, and sensitivity to, cultural diversity;
  • Leadership skills; and
  • Respect for intellectual integrity and scientific truth.

Download PDF version.