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Health Sciences

Dental Hygiene diploma

Dental hygiene is a health service profession concerned primarily with the prevention of oral disease and the promotion of optimum oral health. The dental hygienist is an integral member of the health care team and strives to improve oral health by providing preventive services and educational information to the public. As a licensed professional, the dental hygienist's scope of practice is regulated by provincial legislation. The dental hygiene process of care encompasses treatment assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Registered dental hygienists work in various settings including general and specialty dental offices, dental hygiene practices, residential care facilities, hospitals, community health agencies and educational institutions. The scope of dental hygiene practice is expanding with increased opportunities for employment in non-traditional settings. Registered dental hygienists in B.C. may also practice as self-employed contractors or as an independent owner if they meet conditions for self-employment and current tax laws.

The UFV Dental Hygiene Diploma program is designed to prepare individuals to practice dental hygiene in both clinical practice and community-based settings. Graduates will have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to function within the scope of dental hygiene practice according to Regulations of the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia.

Graduates of the program must write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination to be eligible for registration and licensure with the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia. Opportunities exist to obtain registration and licensure in other provinces and countries. However, dental hygienists must fulfill the requirements of the respective licensing bodies.

UFV Dental Hygiene students may also apply to the University of British Columbia (UBC) to complete the fourth (final) year of the Bachelor of Dental Science (Dental Hygiene) program. For more information regarding the BDSc program as well as admission requirements and deadlines, please consult the UBC Faculty of Dentistry website at


The UFV Dental Hygiene diploma program is a two year full-time program offered over six semesters.


All Dental Hygiene classes will be offered on the Chilliwack campus with the exception of DHYG 101 which, depending on lab space availability, may be offered on the Abbotsford campus. Some clinical experiences may occur at a variety of agencies off campus.

Program structure

Program courses are offered in a variety of formats such as group work, multi-media approaches, lecture, lab simulation, and skill mastery. Clinical experiences may include placements in local dental offices. The clinical experiences encompass supervised practice, externship, and observational experiences.

During the program students will be assigned to practice sessions where they will perform a variety of dental hygiene treatments and procedures, including local anesthesia on each other. Students must be prepared to be a patient in these practice sessions.

Classroom experiences may include evening scheduling. Clinical experiences may include extended work days, evenings, and weekends.

The Dental Hygiene program is very demanding. Students should plan to set aside time for several hours of homework every evening. Additional time on the weekend to manage course work will also be required. It is strongly recommended that students do not work either full or part-time while in this program. The following factors contribute to success in this program:

 • effective time-management skills
 • computer skills
 • study skills
 • manual dexterity
 • meticulous attention to detail
 • the ability to multi-task under time restrictions
 • command of the English language
 • strong communication skills

Entrance requirements

Academic entrance requirements

Completion of first year university-level courses (30 credits minimum) with proof of a minimum letter grade of "C+" or higher in each of the following (it is strongly suggested that these university-level courses have been completed within five years prior to enrollment):

a. Human Anatomy and Physiology (with weekly labs); KPE 270* and KPE 370 or equivalent (* Please note that KPE 170, or BIO 111 and BIO 112, is a prerequisite to KPE 270)
b. CHEM 113 and CHEM 114 or equivalent (with weekly labs)
c. MATH 104 or MATH 106 or PSYC 110
d. ENGL 105 and one of ENGL 120 to 170
e. PSYC 101 and PSYC 102 or equivalent
f. One elective, if necessary to reach 30 credits

Other entrance requirements

1. A minimum of 40 hours of observational experience in a dental office or a minimum 150 hours of current (within two years prior to enrollment) work experience as a licensed Certified Dental Assistant.

2. You will be asked to write an essay at the information session explaining why you want to become a dental hygienist.

3. Two reference letters (work reference and personal reference).

4. A satisfactory interview with the program faculty, who will assess your:
   a. Knowledge of and motivation towards a career as a dental hygienist;
   b. Financial preparation;
   c. Communication skills;
   d. Experience with patients in the health-care field as a volunteer and/or employee.

5. Current Standard First Aid certificate (16 hrs). (Currency must be maintained.)

6. Basic Rescuer – Level C certificate. (Currency must be maintained.)

7. Identification documents – birth certificate, marriage certificate, verification of change of name, landed immigrant status.

8. Current criminal record check confirming the absence of a relevant criminal record. (Convictions for relevant offenses may preclude admission to the program and/or registration with the College of Dental Hygienists of B.C. after graduation.)

9. Attendance at an Information Session in preparation for entry into the program

10. Signed medical certificate indicating physical fitness and emotional stability. (Form will be provided at information session.)

11. Document certifying completion of an immunization program. The Hepatitis B immunization will be required after entry into the program, but may be completed prior to entering the program. (Form will be provided at information session.)

12. Signed Dental Oral Health certificate. (Form will be provided at information session.)

Students who do not meet these requirements might consider the Science Studies program path.

When to apply

Applications are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year. Qualified applicants are considered for the next intake in which there is space. See Continuous application process for more information.

How to apply

1. The following documents must be submitted to the Admissions and Records office, along with the application fee in order to process your application:

• UFV application form
• Dental Hygiene application form (which includes instructions regarding the documentation of your dental office observation/work experience, community volunteer experience, management/leadership experience, references, and the personal essay)
• Documented proof of completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum C+ in each course

Once all these forms and academic documents have been received by the Admissions and Records office, an application date will be recorded and your application will be forwarded to the Dental Hygiene program.

2. Submit all remaining documents to the Health Sciences Centre, Chilliwack campus.

Documents required in order to achieve “complete applicant” status:
• UFV application form
• Proof of completion of first year university-level courses as outlined in the academic admission requirement section
• Dental Hygiene program application form which includes:
    • Two reference letters
Verification of 40 hours of current dental office observational experience OR minimum 150 hours current experience as a licensed, practicing CDA
    • Verification of volunteer experience and/or management/leadership experience (if applicable)
• Official identity documents
• Valid Standard First Aid certificate
(includes Basic Rescuer – Level C certificate)
• Completion of ESL Advanced Speaking, Listening, and Writing course sequence (if required)

3. Attendance at a program information session and interview with the program faculty is required for all applicants who have achieved complete status. You will be contacted when the date for the information session has been established. The personal essay will be written at the information session and you will schedule your interview at this time.

4. Applicants achieving the highest number of points will be given priority for program seats. If points achieved are equal, date of application to the program will determine order of acceptance.

5. You will be notified in writing regarding your acceptance. Upon acceptance to the program, you will be provided with registration information. A deposit is required by a specified date in order to reserve a seat in the program. This money will be applied toward your tuition fees. If you do not register for courses and pay the deposit, your seat will no longer be held for you.

6. If you meet the minimum requirements but are not selected for the class, your application will be held for consideration for the next intake. If you are not selected for a second intake, you will be required to re-apply.

Basis for admission decision

Students will be rated based on the points achieved on the applicant rating form. Points will be awarded for performance on the following:

1. Academic prerequisites: The higher the applicant GPA on the required prerequisites, the more points awarded.

2. Work/volunteer experience: Points will be allocated for additional relevant dental office work experience according to duration. Volunteer experience in the community will also be awarded points, again according to the nature and duration of the experience. (Examples would include coaching a sports team, youth group leadership, etc.) Both must be above and beyond the required 40 hours of dental office observation or 150 hours of dental office work experience prerequisite for the program. In addition, evidence of a management or leadership role in the work force will be rewarded.

3. Persistent efforts to upgrade: Applicants will be awarded a point for persistent interest in the program as evidenced by efforts to upgrade, and repeated applications.

4. Letters of reference: Applicants will be awarded points depending on the content of their letters of reference.

5. Application essay: Applicants will be awarded points based on their writing skill and for meeting the designated criteria.

6. Interview: Applicants will be given points related to their knowledge of dental hygiene, organizational skills, financial plan, management of commitments, communication skills, knowledge of their own learning, and problem-solving skills. The interview is intended to help determine readiness to enter the program, and reflects the skills necessary to practice dental hygiene.

Applicants with the highest number of points will be given priority for program seats.

Fees and additional costs

See the Fees and Other Costs section.

Additional major costs (approximate only — subject to change):

1. Textbooks and coursepacks — $2000

2. Uniforms, lab coat, safety glasses, duty shoes, name tag — $400

3. Instruments, lab fees — $2550

4. Magnifying eyewear — $1100

5. Examination/Professional fees — $500 (National Dental Hygiene Certification Board Exam — compulsory for licensure in B.C.)

Upon completion of the UFV Dental Hygiene diploma program, and prior to practicing as a registered dental hygienist, graduates will need to register with the College of Dental Hygienists of B.C. (Check the CDHBC website at for more information)

Financial assistance

UFV has a comprehensive financial assistance program including scholarships, loans and bursaries. Details are available from Financial Aid and Awards.

Program regulations

Standing required for continuance

The dental hygiene courses for each semester are prerequisites for the coursework in the next semester.

To maintain status as a student in the Dental Hygiene program, a 70% (B-) minimum must be achieved in all dental hygiene theory courses. Dental Hygiene clinical courses require a 70% (B-) minimum in the didactic component and a minimum grade of “B” in the clinical component. Any student who does not receive the minimum grade (70%) for one or more courses will be required to re-write the final exams for those course(s). If a student fails to achieve the required minimum percentage on their re-write exams, the student will be required to withdraw from the program. All exam re-writes must be completed prior to the start of the next semester.

Note: A change to the continuance requirements is being considered. Please check with the department for details.

Required to withdraw

Students who have been required to withdraw from the Dental Hygiene Diploma program may continue to take course work at UFV but will not be allowed to take any other dental hygiene courses.


Students requesting re-admission to the Dental Hygiene Program must document their request in writing to the director of Health Sciences. The letter of request must include a description of the circumstances related to their withdrawal from the program, an explanation of previous areas of difficulty and an outline of plans to improve their opportunities for successful completion of the program.

Requests for re-admission for either the September or January semester must be received at the Health Sciences Centre by June 1.

The Student Selections Committee will review all re-admission requests and based on faculty recommendations (from the last semester in which the student was enrolled) will decide on the appropriate placement in the program. Factors influencing the final decision for re-admission include availability of seats, length of absence from the program, previous academic achievement (theory and clinical courses) and potential for success.

An interview with the director is required of all students requesting re-admission. All applicants for re-admission will be informed in writing regarding the decision and conditions for re-entry into the program.

The Dental Hygiene program reserves the right to stipulate conditions for re-admission. Re-admission into the program may necessitate the successful completion of dental hygiene courses previously passed; if in judgment of faculty, the length of absence from the program and/or the reasons for withdrawal would render the applicant inadequately prepared for the subsequent semester.

Appeals for re-admission

Students who fail or withdraw from the dental hygiene program may reapply to the program according to the Dental Hygiene Program Readmission Policy.

Standing on re-admission

Each student in the program will receive a UFV Dental Hygiene Program Student Guidelines and Policies manual, which further explains the requirements of the program.


Upon completion of the UFV Dental Hygiene program and prior to practicing as a registered dental hygienist, graduates must write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination to be eligible for registration and licensure with the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia.

Program outline

Year 1

Academic Term 1 (Fall)

Course Title Credits
DHYG 101 Microbiology for Dental Hygiene 3
DHYG 110 Head & Neck Anatomy 3
DHYG 120 Dental Anatomy 2
DHYG 150 Principles and Issues I 3
DHYG 160 Clinical Theory & Practice I 6
Total   17

Academic Term 2 (Winter)

Course Title Credits
DHYG 102 Pathophysiology for Dental Hygienists 3
DHYG 121 Oral Embryology & Histology 1
DHYG 125 Periodontology I 1
DHYG 130 Radiology I 2
DHYG 140 General Dentistry Introduction 2
DHYG 151 Principles and Issues II 3
DHYG 161 Clinical Theory & Practice II 5
Total   17

Academic Term 3 (Spring)

Course Title Credits
DHYG 126 Oral Pathology I 2
DHYG 128 Nutrition I 1
DHYG 162 Clinical Theory & Practice III 4
DHYG 190 Community Dental Health I 1
Total   8

Year 2

Academic Term 4 (Fall)

Course Title Credits
DHYG 210 Pharmacology I 2
DHYG 226 Oral Pathology II 2
DHYG 228 Nutrition II 1
DHYG 230 Radiology II 2
DHYG 250 Principles and Issues III 1
DHYG 260 Clinical Theory & Practice IV 6
DHYG 290 Community Dental Health II 2
Total   16

Academic Term 5 (Winter)

Course Title Credits
DHYG 211 Pharmacology II 2
DHYG 225 Periodontology II 3
DHYG 227 Oral Pathology III 1
DHYG 251 Principles and Issues IV 2
DHYG 261 Clinical Theory & Practice V 6
DHYG 291 Community Dental Health III 2
Total   16

Clinical (Spring)

Course Title Credits
DHYG 262 Clinical Theory & Practice VI 4
Total   4
Program Total 78

Course listings

For complete details on courses see the course descriptions section.