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Dental Hygiene

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Graduate Dental Hygiene Online - Curriculum & Prerequisites

Course Descriptions

Year 1, Fall 

  • Foundations of Dental Hygiene, Education, and Health Care:  This course provides an overview of the current and future trends impacting oral health, dental hygiene, higher education, and health care services. The role of individuals and organizations in addressing health disparities, preparation of future workforces, and promoting change will be addressed.
  • Research Principles and Application:  In this course students will attain an understanding of evidence-based practice, scientific methods and analysis of research findings.  Emphasis will be placed on types of research, formulation of research question and hypothesis, research planning and design, data collection, statistical concepts, and synthesis of the scientific literature.  This course will guide students through the stages of developing a proposal and will culminate with each student presenting a draft research proposal

Year 1, Winter

  • Oral Health Sciences:  In this course students will focus on an integrated review of the literature in radiology, periodontics and oral medicine as related to dental hygiene teaching.  Analysis and application of oral health sciences in the dental hygiene curriculum is included.
  • Evidence Based Practice:   This course builds upon foundational skills learned in Research Principles and Application.  Through judicious critical appraisal of current clinical and scientific literature, students will learn how to combine a thorough evaluation of the literature with their own clinical expertise in order to formulate best evidence-based patient care decisions.  The research thesis process will be elucidated such that each student will be prepared to commence their individual mater’s level research project.  This course will end with each student developing an individual research proposal.

Year 1,  Spring – Summer

  • Educational Concepts and Strategies:  In this course will focus on the study of theory, principles, and research related to teaching and learning, development of ethical reasoning, critical thinking and reflective judgment, development of curricular frameworks, outcomes and competencies, and course delivery methods.
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention:   This course will examine determinants of health and apply principles of health promotion and behavior change to foster health for individuals and communities.  Risk assessment, identification of needs and strategies to enhance communication will be examined.  The importance of inter-professional collaboration in promoting health in the current and future healthcare system will be examined.

Year 2,  Fall

  • Practicum in Pre-Clinical/Clinical Teaching:  This course provides the student with guided experiences in teaching foundation and advanced clinical skills. The seminar will focus on the theory and practices of clinical instruction and  clinical supervision, as they relate to psychomotor skill development, competency-based evaluation systems, student mentoring and remediation.
  • Foundations of Oral Health Services:  This course examines issues and policies affecting health care and oral health services. Factors influencing access to care and provision of care to underserved populations are included. Elements of program planning and implementation in community health will be covered.

Year 2,  Winter

  • Practicum in Didactic Teaching:  This course provides the student with guided experience in didactic teaching. Students will use applicable educational theory and teaching principles to develop and deliver information to diverse student populations. Seminar topics will include academic integrity, instructor/course evaluation, classroom management, utilization of available resources and literature integration.
  • Applied Biostatistics:  This second course in statistics is intended to provide students with the skills necessary to carry out statistical analysis commonly employed in health sciences. Students will identify the scientific objectives of their research projects and develop a statistical analysis and presentation strategy appropriate for those objectives. Various statistical software packages will be used to manipulate the data into an analyzable form.

Year 2,  Spring-Summer

  • Leadership and Administration:  There are many potential roles for the dental hygienist and this course is designed to provide the knowledge and experience for career advancement.  Students will apply leadership theories and models to a variety of educational and healthcare settings.  Emphasis is on the application of administrative concepts in organizations including program planning and development, advocacy, and managing change.  Students will be prepared for pursuing careers in academia.
  • Thesis:  Independent research leading to the advancing of a new point of view.  Students must complete the thesis and thesis defense prior to confirmation of the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene.

Program Prerequisites

  • Certification in local anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia is a requirement and must be completed before year 2. This can be completed prior to enrolling in the Online Program or during the course sequencing, through Continuing Dental Education or through any other accredited dental hygiene program or continuing education program.
  • Students are required to complete a graduate level biostatistics or statistics course prior to applying to the program. Students should complete the course by December of the year before program entry. A grade of “B” is required. Transcripts showing the course grade should be sent directly to the program director.
  • Biostatistics courses must be approved by the graduate program director.