Entry-Level Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene


The entry-level Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program:

  • Is for individuals who seek entry-level education in the dental hygiene field.
  • Prepares students for licensure and entry to the profession through two academic years of upper-level coursework.

Our dental hygiene students receive hands-on training in our industry-standard working clinic.

Program Overview Application Process

Entry-Level BSDH Program

Graduates in the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene will be able to:

  • Demonstrate clinical competence through successful completion of all clinical requirements.
  • Create an electronic portfolio that validates successful attainment of the Eastern Washington University Dental Hygiene Core Competencies for Entry into the Profession of Dental Hygiene.
  • Develop programs that promote the health and well-being of a diverse society.
  • Integrate principles of leadership and advocacy in the professional roles of the dental hygienist.
  • Synthesize theoretical, experiential, and empirical knowledge from dental hygiene, scientific, and humanistic disciplines into the professional roles of the dental hygienist.
  • Assess the role of the dental hygienist on an interprofessional healthcare team.

To be considered for admission, applicants must have the majority of the EWU breadth area core requirements (BACR) and graduation requirements completed and/or be able to complete all requirements prior to the fall semester entry into the program.

Dental Hygiene Priority Science Prerequisites

The following prerequisite priority science courses (or equivalent courses) must be completed or in progress prior to the February 1 application deadline and successfully completed by the end of winter quarter.

All science prerequisites and additional science requisite courses have a five-year shelf life and are required to have been completed within five years of the date of application.

It is recommended the Biology and Chemistry series be completed at one institution to assure continuity of coursework.  Online science courses will not be accepted.  Science courses must be completed in person or in hybrid format.

CHEM 161Inorganic Chemistry with Labwithin last 5 years
CHEM 162Organic Chemistry with Labwithin last 5 years
BIOL 232Anatomy & Physiology I with Labwithin last 5 years
BIOL 233Anatomy & Physiology II with Labwithin last 5 years
FNDT 356Nutritionwithin last 5 years

Two science or nutrition prerequisite courses may be repeated one (1) time for improved GPA on the application. (Minimum acceptable grade is a C+ or 2.3 GPA.)

Dental Hygiene Remaining Prerequisites

In addition to the priority sciences, each of the following courses or equivalent courses must be successfully completed with a grade of a C+ or 2.3 GPA or higher prior to the fall entry into the program. Failure to do so results in program acceptance rescinded.

CHEM 163Biochemistrywithin last 5 years
CHEM 163LBiochemistry Lab within last 5 years
BIOL 234Anatomy & Physiology III with Labwithin last 5 years
BIOL 235 Medical Microbiology with Lab within last 5 years
PSYCHOLOGYPSYC 100, 201, 301, 302, 305, 306, 307, 315, or 317
INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATIONSCMST 200, 210, 250, 312, 331, 340, or 342
EWU BACR & Graduation Requirements

All EWU Breadth Area Core Requirements (BACR) and graduation requirements — Math, English, Humanities, Social Sciences, Diversity, and Global Studies courses — must be successfully completed. Failure to do so results in program acceptance rescinded.

At the time of application, the EWU Credential Evaluators confirm these requirements are listed in the catalog.

EWU General Education Information

While in the program, dental hygiene students are required to be clinicians and patients, to deliver and receive injections of local anesthetic and to administer and receive nitrous oxide sedation for dental hygiene learning experiences. These activities are essential components of the dental hygiene curriculum.

Catalog Listing
Curriculum Map (PDF)

Our cohort of 40 students begins the program as juniors each fall semester. The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program is taught over five consecutive 16-week semesters, including an eight-week summer semester.

Courses for Major


Pre-requisites: admission to DNHY Program.
A detailed study of head and neck anatomy, including bones, musculature, blood, lymphatic and nerve supply.

Catalog Listing


Pre-requisites: admission to DNHY Program.
The course is a study of tooth anatomy, terminology, morphology and eruption. The following topics are covered: eruption, physiologic tooth form, collective tooth morphology, dental anatomy nomenclature and morphology, root anatomy, wax carvings, and specific anatomical features of selected permanent and primary teeth.

Catalog Listing


Pre-requisites: admission to DNHY Program.
A detailed study of oral histology and embryology focusing on the development of the face and oral cavity, along with microscopic anatomy of the oral cavity.

Catalog Listing

DNHY 310S. RADIOLOGY. 3 Credits.

Pre-requisites: admission to DNHY Program.
Clinical and physical principles of x-ray production, hazards and safety procedures, with an orientation to oral anatomy and completion of acceptable full-mouth surveys, panoramic, occlusal, periapical, and bitewing radiographs on dental clients of all ages.

Catalog Listing

DNHY 330S. PRE-CLINIC. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: admission to DNHY Program.
This course introduces the basic principles for clinical dental hygiene treatment using the dental hygiene process of care. Focus is on the integration of didactic and clinical skills.

Catalog Listing


Pre-requisites: admission to DNHY Program.
This course introduces current theories, knowledge, and evidence-based practices of oral health education, nutrition and disease prevention.

Catalog Listing


Cross-listed: HSCI 477S.
Pre-requisites: admission into Dental Hygiene or Health Science.
This course focuses on the development of leadership skills and personal attributes needed to fulfill the professional roles of the allied health care professional.

Catalog Listing

Application Process

The selection process involves a competitive ranking of major and minor factors.

Major Factors
  • Grade point average of prerequisite science courses through fall quarter/semester
  • Cumulative grade point average in all college coursework completed through fall quarter/semester
  • Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) score
  • Score received during the interview
  • Holistic Review (MultiCriteria Documentation Forms within the DNHY application)
Minor Factors
  • Completion of AA-DTA degree at time of application
  • Completion of a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts or Master of Science degree
  • Full-time college coursework (15 credits or more per quarter/semester)
  • EWU student (completion of 45+ credits at time of application)
Evaluation of Qualified Applicants

After the Feb. 1 application deadline, qualified applicants are initially ranked based upon:

  • 40% of the application value is the GPA in the five (5) priority prerequisite sciences through fall quarter/semester.
  • 20% of the application value is the score on the HSRT (Health Sciences Reasoning Test).
  • 15% of the application value is the cumulative GPA in all college coursework through fall quarter/semester.
  • 10% of the application value is the score in the Holistic Review.
  • Minor factors (as noted).

Based upon initial ranking, applicants are invited for a formal interview in April. After the April Interview Day, applicants who interviewed are ranked based upon:

  • 40% of the application value is the GPA in the five (5) priority prerequisite sciences through winter quarter/fall semester.
  • 20% of the application value is the score on the HSRT (Health Sciences Reasoning Test).
  • 15% of the application value is the cumulative GPA in all college coursework through winter quarter/fall semester.
  • 15% of the application value is the score received during the interview.
  • 10% of the application value is the score in the Holistic Review.
  • Minor factors (as noted above).

In mid-April, the 40 top-ranked applicants are accepted to the program and notified by email. The following 10 ranked applicants are put on an alternate list and notified of their position by email.

NOTE: Because enrollment in the program is limited to 40 and the admissions process is competitive, no assurance is given that all applicants who complete the prerequisite coursework and are accepted by EWU will be admitted to the program.

Each online Information Session will be limited to the first 30 individuals who sign up. Sessions will be canceled if less than ten individuals are registered.

Who: Required for all applicants. Parents and high school students considering a career in dental hygiene are encouraged to attend to assist in academic planning.

Where: A detailed email will be sent to registered attendees 24 hours before the session date.  The detailed email will contain exact location for the in-person session and the ZOOM link for the online sessions.

What: The session covers admissions requirements, essential functions of the dental hygienist and bloodborne pathogens. A question and answer session and tour of the dental hygiene facilities will follow.


  • Tuesday, October 18th, 5pm, Health Science Building, Spokane WA
  • Tuesday, November 1st, 5pm, Health Science Building, Spokane WA
  • *FULL* Tuesday, November 29th, 5pm, ZOOM
  • *FULL* Tuesday, December 6th, 7pm, ZOOM
  • *FULL* Tuesday, January 10th, 5pm, ZOOM
  • Tuesday, January 17th, 5pm, ZOOM
  • Tuesday, January 31st, 5pm, ZOOM

Register Now

Complete Observation Hours

Regardless of applicants employment experience, all EWU Dental Hygiene applicants must complete the same observation hour requirement.

Please download the EWU DNHY Observation Form to document hours.

Observation hours are valid for 2 consecutive admission cycles.

Apply online to EWU and pay the $60 application fee.

Application Tips
  • Current EWU students do not have to reapply to EWU.
  • Transfer students, please select the application type “Apply as a Transfer.” Do not apply as a freshman.
  • Select Fall semester for your entry term.
  • Applying before December could result in Dental Hygiene applicant having to reapply to EWU.
  • Set up your EWU student email.

The EWU Dental Hygiene application for the Fall 2023 cohort is now available.  We will begin accepting Fall 2023 Applications on December 14th, 2022.

2023 EWU DNHY Fall Application

The 2023 EWU DNHY Fall Application is a PDF fillable and requires no editing from the applicant.  Make sure you are accessing the application through a device that has Adobe Acrobat.

Completed application packets and supporting documents were due no later than Feb. 1, 2023 at 3 p.m. in PDF format. Applications submitted past the deadline will not be accepted. It is the applicants responsibility that all documents are completed. Failure to include all required documents will affect your consideration for the program.

Applications for the Fall 2023 cohort will be due no later than Feb. 1, 2023 at 3 p.m. in PDF format.

If you have any questions or concerns about the application process, please contact the Dental Hygiene Program Specialist at dentalhygiene@ewu.edu.

Qualified applicants who are selected for the interview will receive an email on or after February 15, 2023. Formal admission interviews are tentatively scheduled for the March 4, 2023 via in person at our Dental Hygiene Clinic in Spokane. Attendance is mandatory for continued eligibility. Professional dress is advised.

Due to COVID-19, the location and date of the interviews is subject to change.

Once notified of acceptance to the program, applicants must:

  • Notify the Department of Dental Hygiene of their acceptance of the offer. 
  • Pay the $100 non-refundable dental hygiene deposit upon acceptance. The deposit is applied to first-year fall semester course fees.

Students on the alternate list are ranked and should stay in close contact with the Dental Hygiene Program Specialist if they’re interested in remaining active applicants. Alternates should complete all prerequisite courses as planned. If a candidate on the accepted list withdraws, alternate candidates are contacted.

All applicants for the dental hygiene program must have the following in order to enroll fall semester:

  • Required to have a social security number or have obtained a social security number prior to Aug. 1.
  • Ability to pass state and federal background checks per Washington State law prior to treating children and elderly patients. Prior criminal convictions may prohibit a graduate from obtaining a license to practice dental hygiene.Clinical sites may require students to complete additional background checks.  Depending on the clinical sites background check requirements, a social security number (or TIN) may be required.  EWU will work with students who do not have a social security number (or TIN) to find an alternative clinical site but cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.  This could result in delays or an inability to progress in your program to graduation.
  • Current immunization records for mumps, measles, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, varicella and Hepatitis B. Annual flu shots are required prior to each influenza season.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Statement:  A majority of clinical sites require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. When not fully vaccinated it can be difficult to find clinical placement sites that allow you access to their facilities. EWU will work with students who have medical or religious accommodations to find sites that do not require full COVID vaccination but cannot guarantee that we will be able to find a site. This could result in delays or an inability to progress in your program to graduation. As a future healthcare worker, it you are not fully vaccinated you may find reduced job opportunities because of employer and state/federal mandates. This can result in difficulty finding a position post-graduation and/or limited career opportunities, at least at the present time.
  • Completed all remaining dental hygiene prerequisites, EWU BACRs and graduation requirements by the end of summer quarter. Dental Hygiene students may not take any quarter-based courses while in the semester-based dental hygiene program.

Failure to provide documentation of the above by Aug 1 may result in an admission rescind. 

The EWU Dental Hygiene application for the Fall 2023 cohort is now available.  2023 EWU Dental Hygiene Application are due by February 1st, 2023 at 3pm.

We welcome applicants with the following requirements who are eligible for application:

  • Attendance at a dental hygiene information session
  • Completion of the observation hours requirement
  • Apply to EWU
  • Complete the Dental Hygiene application
  • All priority prerequisite science classes completed by the end of winter quarter of the year applying
  • Minimum grade of a C+ or 2.3 GPA in all dental hygiene prerequisites
  • If invited, attend a formal interview
  • Ability to complete all of the dental hygiene prerequisites and EWU Breadth Area Core Requirements (BACR) and graduation requirements prior to the fall entry into the program

Things to Consider

The dental hygiene program at Eastern Washington University is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. A Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene signifies the holder is prepared for entry to the dental hygiene profession. The Department of Dental Hygiene has adopted the following essential functions for admission, promotion and graduation for its entry-level professional program. Dental Hygiene is an intellectually, physically and psychologically demanding profession. During the rigorous two-year curriculum, the student begins to develop the qualities needed to practice dental hygiene. Students acquire the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors needed throughout the dental hygienists’ professional career. Those abilities that dental hygienists must possess to practice safely and in a professionally competent manner are reflected in the essential functions that follow.

Students must be able to meet the following minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements.

A. Visual Acuity

  • Must be able to read small printed labels on medications and other pertinent supplies.
  • Must be able to read small numbers on instruments.
  • Must be able to determine detail in small areas of the mouth varying from <5mm to several cm.
  • Must possess adequate depth perception to evaluate size, shape and texture in small areas with minimal contrast
  • Must be able to determine very slight variations in color.

B. Speaking Ability

  • Verbal expression must be clear and distinct enough to enunciate dental terminology while wearing a face mask.
  • Must be able to express thoughts clearly in English.

C. Motor Skills

Must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients including:

  • The ability to directly operate foot controls using fine movements.
  • The ability to operate hand and mechanical dental hygiene instruments around the teeth and structures in the oral cavity.
  • The ability to perform palpation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers and procedures.
  • The ability to transfer and position disabled patients and to physically restrain patients who lack motor control.
  • The ability to position and reposition self around patient and chair in a sitting and standing position.

Must have coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and integrated use of the senses of touch and vision to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients as detailed above.

D.  Adaptive Ability

  • Must be able to successfully complete required tasks/functions under stressful conditions.
  • Must be able to perform with minimal supervision.
  • Must be able to interact appropriately with all members of the dental team, patients, patient representatives (e.g. parents, guardians, family members, interpreters, etc.).
  • Must be able to function in a structured environment with time constraints.

E.  Language Ability

  • Must be able to read, write, speak, record and report in English.
  • Must be able to comprehend written and oral directions given in English and carry them out.
  • Must be able to have conversations in English on the telephone and one-on-one.

F.  Observation

  • Must be able to observe demonstrations in lecture, clinical and laboratory settings. Observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing and somatic sensations.

G.  Communication

  • Must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, and patient representatives (e.g. parents, guardians, family members, interpreters, etc.), as well as perceive nonverbal communications.
  • Must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the dental team and health care community to convey information essential for safe and effective care. Communication includes: speech, language, reading, writing and computer literacy.

H.  Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

Must possess the ability to effectively solve problems:

  • Must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information in a timely fashion. For example, the student must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate the relevant aspects of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective treatment plan.
  • Must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand spatial relationships of anatomical structures.

I.  Behavioral and Social Attributes

Must possess the psychological ability required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities to include the exercise of good judgment:

  • The prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of clients.
  • The ability to demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others.
  • Interest, motivation, and development of mature, sensitive, empathetic, and effective relationships with patients.
  • The ability to give, receive, and positively respond to constructive feedback.
  • The ability to work within the context of a group or a team of peers.
  • The ability to demonstrate interpersonal coping skills.
  • Must maintain a professional appearance and hygiene.
  • Must have the ability to be timely and dependable.
  • Must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress.
  • Must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.
  • Must demonstrate professionally ethical behavior, including the ability to comply with rules, regulations, professional Code of Ethics and policies of the College and Clinical Affiliates.

J.  Curriculum Requirements

  • Must be able to successfully complete, with or without reasonable accommodation, all required essential components of the curriculum.

K.  Tests and Evaluations

  • Must be able to successfully complete both written and practical periodic examinations which are employed by the dental hygiene program as an essential component of the curriculum to evaluate competence.
  • Must demonstrate successful completion of these examinations as a condition for continued progress through the curriculum.

L.  Clinical Assessments

  • Must be able to successfully demonstrate, with or without reasonable accommodations, competence of clinical skills in both laboratory and clinical settings.

Dental hygienists are responsible, by law, to the people of the State of Washington for specific standards of dental hygiene conduct:

By law WAC 246-815-160: “The standards of dental hygiene conduct or practice identify minimum responsibilities of the registered dental hygienist licensed in Washington in health care settings as provided in the Dental Hygiene Practice Act, chapter 18.29 RCW, and the Uniform Disciplinary Act, chapter 18.130 RCW. The standards provide consumers with information about quality care and provide the secretary of health (of the department of health), guidelines to evaluate safe and effective care. The dental hygienist assumes the responsibility, public trust and obligation to adhere to the standards of dental hygiene practice”. 18.130.010 “Intent. It is the intent of the legislature to strengthen and consolidate disciplinary and licensure procedures for the licensed health and health-related professions by providing a uniform disciplinary act with standardized procedures for the licensure of health care professionals and the enforcement of laws the purpose of which is to assure the public of the adequacy of professional competence and conduct in the healing arts.”

The dental hygiene program at Eastern Washington University addresses all issues and concerns related to bloodborne pathogens, such as Human Immunodeficiency (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in order to protect patients, students, faculty and staff, as well as protect the rights of our patients who may have a bloodborne infectious disease. Students treat all patients assigned. As a result, the potential exists for transmission of bloodborne and other infectious diseases during patient care services.

Additionally, students may experience exposure to hazardous chemicals or substances, accidental injury, neuromuscular problems, radiation and allergic reactions to latex, anesthetic agents or other chemical agents. Students enrolled in the dental hygiene program are provided with in-depth instructions on OSHA and WISHA safety and infection control policies employed in the program.

Our Bloodborne Pathogen Policy/Exposure Control Plan minimizes the risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens as well as minimizes the risk to other environmental hazards. Policies are reviewed annually and changes implemented accordingly.

Latex is an integral part of dentistry; although latex free gloves are used in clinic, rubber dams, suction tubes, etc. may contain latex. Individuals with a history of some prior allergic condition, such as hay fever, environmental allergies and drug allergies, may be at risk for latex hypersensitivity. Individuals with a documented latex allergy must submit clearance from a physician prior to participation in pre-clinical or clinical activities.

In accord with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; The Washington State Law Against Discrimination, RCW 49.60; and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, as amended, which prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability, Eastern Washington University strives to make appropriate accommodations for students with documented special needs. Students with disabilities must register with the EWU Student Accommodations and Support Services (SASS) office which is located in Tawanka 124 if they require special accommodations. Additional information about reasonable accommodations is contained in EWU Policy 402-03, Accommodating Persons with Disabilities.

Determining what is a reasonable accommodation for students in the Eastern Washington University dental hygiene program is an interactive process which the student will need to initiate with the Chair of the Dental Hygiene Department and SASS. For more information, students can contact SASS by telephone at 509.359.6871.

It is important to note that the essential functions for the academic portion of a professional program are different than the essential functions for clinical practicum or professional testing. The ability to perform certain skills within a specified time frame is part of the skills that are an essential function of a profession. As a result, the request for accommodations for an extended time in clinical practicum or professional skills testing will be assessed on different essential functions than in the academic setting. In other words, in these settings, you may not receive the same time extension that may be deemed reasonable in a different academic setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Not all of the required prerequisite coursework needs to be completed by the application deadline. Priority science prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of winter quarter of the year you are applying.

All remaining coursework may be in progress as long as it is completed prior to beginning the dental hygiene program.

There are five priority prerequisite science courses:

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Anatomy & Physiology II
  • Nutrition

Yes. Prerequisite coursework can be completed at a regionally accredited college or university. Coursework should be verified by the online transfer guides or by contacting the Dental Hygiene Department.

Yes, all prerequisites must be completed with a C + or 2.3 GPA or higher. Admission to the program is highly competitive — we encourage students to consistently strive for academic achievement.

The priority prerequisite science courses are 40% of the value of the dental hygiene application. Cumulative GPA in all college-level coursework is worth 15% of the application value.

All of the science coursework must be completed within five years of the date of application (including nutrition). Remaining program and EWU graduation requirements do not have an expiration date. All coursework is evaluated for transfer prior to admission. Applicants should contact the Dental Hygiene Department early in their coursework to ensure transfer of courses.

We do have an alternate list for the same year of entry. If an applicant from the alternate list is not admitted, the alternate list does not carry over. Applicants must complete the admissions process the following year to be reconsidered for admission.

If the applicant has completed all the prerequisites for the EWU dental hygiene program and is not accepted for admission, they are encouraged to apply to the fully online EWU Bachelor of Science in Health Science program.

The EWU BSDH degree is a two plus two program. Students complete two years of program and university prerequisites and two years (five semesters) of dental hygiene coursework. Students who are prepared for college courses can easily achieve this. Prerequisite coursework equivalencies are accepted from other regionally accredited institutions.