Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene

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The Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene is a two-part program that is projected to begin in Fall 2025. Please monitor the Dental Hygiene webpage for updated information. The application for Fall 2025 is projected to be open from February 1st to April 1st of 2025.

PART I: Lower Division Coursework

The bachelor’s degree requires completion of one of the following general education patterns prior to applying for the program:

  • Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC)


  • CSU General Education Breadth Requirements

Completion of the following prerequisite science courses within your general education preparation is required (5-year recency):

  • A&P 200 Human Anatomy
    OR A&P 150 Introduction to Human Anatomy
  • A&P 201 Human Physiology
    OR A&P 151 Introduction to Human Physiology
  • Chemistry- Chem 100
  • Nutrition- HO 152 Normal and Therapeutic Nutrition
  • Microbiology- MICR 200

The acceptance of college work previously completed is at the discretion of Cerritos College and the Dental Hygiene department. Factors such as elapsed time since the course was completed and grades will be used in determining whether a previously completed course can be accepted towards fulfillment of the graduation requirement. Five years is the maximum elapsed time for the required science courses.

It is the student’s responsibility to verify equivalent prerequisites, and other courses required in the program.  If not presently enrolled in courses at Cerritos College, individuals may apply for admission to the college at the Admissions and Records Office in the Administration building or online at Applicants will be assigned a student number which will be needed to make an appointment with a counselor, attend a “Drop In” session with a counselor or make an appointment with a Health Sciences & Wellness Learning & Career Pathway (LCP) counselor.

A valid CPR certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) is required prior to enrolling in the Dental Hygiene Program and must be kept current. The requirement for CPR certification in Basic Life Support can be met by completion of either: an American Heart Association (AHA) or American Red Cross (ARC) course in Basic Life Support or a Basic Life Support course taught by a provider approved by the American Dental Association’s Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP) or the Academy of General Dentistry’s Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE).

Prerequisite Coursework 

All prerequisite courses must be passed with a “C” or better.  A minimum science GPA of 3.0 and an overall GPA of 2.5 is required.

Course Units
CHEM 100 Introductory Chemistry 4
ENGL 100 Freshman Composition 4
OR ENGL 100S Enhanced Freshman Composition (4.5)
MATH 112+Elementary Statistics 4
OR MATH 112S Enhance Elementary Statistics (4.5)
OR PSYC 210 Elementary Statistics (4)
OR ECON 210 Applied Introductory Statistics for Economics (4)
A&P 200 Human Anatomy 5
OR A&P 150 Introduction to Human Anatomy (5)
READ 103 Critical Thinking and Academic Literacy 3
OR ENGL 103 Critical Thinking and Argumentative Writing (4)
OR ENGL 110 Critical Thinking Through Literature (4)
OR COMM 103 Argumentation, Persuasion, and Critical Thinking (4)
OR PHIL 103 Philosophical Reasoning: Critical Thinking in Philosophy (3)
OR PSYC 103 Critical Thinking in Psychology (3)
COMM 100 Introduction to Communication Studies 3
OR COMM 120 Interpersonal Communication (3)
OR COM 130 Public Speaking (3)
OR COMM 132 Small Group Communication (3)
A&P 201 Human Physiology 5
OR A&P 151 Introduction to Human Physiology (4)
PSY 101 General Introductory Psychology 3
SOC 101 Introductory Sociology Principles 3
MICR 200 Principles and Applications of Microbiology 5
HO 152 Normal and Therapeutic Nutrition 3
HIST 102 Political and Social History of the United States: 1500S to 1876 3
OR HIST 103 Political and Social History of the United States: 1877 to Present (3)
Additional CSU GE or IGETC units 9-12
Total Prerequisite Coursework 54-57

PART II: Upper Division Coursework

After applying AND being accepted to the Dental Hygiene program, there will be two years of upper division dental hygiene major coursework and general education courses, which includes one summer session.  

Once enrolled into the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program, dental hygiene major curriculum is planned sequentially, and students are required to maintain a grade of “C” or higher in each dental hygiene and dental education course to progress in the program.  Courses are designed to prepare the student to successfully complete program competencies.  The program requires the student to take as many as seven courses during any one semester.  Consequently, commitment to a rigorous study schedule is imperative.  Grade requirements of the college must be met for all courses.

First Semester

Course Units
DH 310 Preventive Dentistry I 2
DH 311 Infection Control and Dental Office Emergencies 2
DH 312 Dental Hygiene Radiology 2
DH 315 Dental Hygiene Clinical Sciences I 2
DH 315C Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene I 2
DH 316 Head & Neck Anatomy 2
DH 319 Dental Embryology, Histology, & Anatomy 2

Second Semester

Course Units
DH Preventive Dentistry II 2
DH 325 Dental Hygiene Clinical Sciences II 2
DH 325C Clinical Dental Hygiene II 3
DH 326 General and Oral Pathology 3
DH 328 Management of Pain 2
DH 329 Applied Periodontics 2
PHAR 327 Principles of Pharmacology 3


Course Units
DH 350 Clinical Dental Hygiene IIA 1
COMM 320 Intercultural Communication 3

Third Semester

Course Units
DH 432L Dental Materials  3
DH 434 Dental Care for the Special Patient 2
DH 435 Dental Hygiene Clinical Sciences III 2
DH 435C Clinical Dental Hygiene III 4
DH 438L Community Outreach I 2
DH 439 Dental Hygiene Biostats & Research 2

Fourth Semester

Course Units
DH 444 Ethical and Legal Practices 2
DH 445 Dental Hygiene Clinical Sciences IV 2
DH 445C Clinical Dental Hygiene IV 4
DH 448L Community Outreach II 2
DH 449 Principles of Community Oral Health 2
PSY 410 Advanced Statistics 4
Total Major Coursework 66
Total Bachelor’s Degree Coursework

Considerations before Applying

Before you apply, please consider the following information regarding the field of dental hygiene. We believe in providing you with comprehensive information about the dental health profession of dental hygiene to help you make an informed decision about your career path. 

Potential Exposure to Contagious Diseases and Bloodborne Pathogens

In the course of performing dental hygiene duties, you will come into contact with bodily fluids, including blood, and various contagious diseases. This exposure is an inherent part of the profession, and it is crucial to understand the work environment of the career that you have chosen, and the measures that must be taken to protect yourself and others.

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Infection Control Protocols: Our program adheres to strict infection control protocols recommended by health authorities. These protocols include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), proper sterilization and disinfection procedures, and vaccination requirements.
  2. Education and Training: You will receive comprehensive education and training on infection control measures and best practices to minimize the risk of exposure. This includes learning about proper hand hygiene, use of barriers (such as gloves and masks), and the correct handling and disposal of potentially infectious materials.
  3. Immunizations: As a dental health professional, certain immunizations may be required to protect you and those around you from preventable diseases. Our program will provide guidance on recommended vaccinations.
  4. Health and Safety: Our commitment to your health and safety extends beyond the classroom. We have established protocols for managing exposure incidents, should they occur, and we provide ongoing support to ensure your well-being.

Dental Hygiene Student Life

The dental hygiene program is full time and requires many classroom hours, multiple exams in the same week, many projects, time consuming assignments, financial commitment, and significant outside studying time.  You will have as many as seven (7) classes at once that require organization, focus, and attention. 

  1. The first semester is held on the Cerritos Campus and is filled with practical “hands on” lab classes held generally from 8:00am-5:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesday and Thursdays consist of lecture classes from 8:00 am to possibly 9:00 pm, from one (1) to three (3) hours each. It is recommended to commit 2-3 hours of study time for each hour of class.

    Example: if you have a 2-hour class, you should study 4-6 hours for that class.

  2. Summer session is a 4–6-week clinical rotation at outside clinics and an additional general education class.
  3. Semesters two, three and four will be filled with hands-on clinical experience that requires driving to a variety of offsite dental clinics on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. These facilities are anywhere from 10-25 miles away from the Cerritos College campus and range from South Central Los Angeles, Downtown LA, El Monte, Pomona and Long Beach, to name a few. Tuesdays and Thursdays are filled with on-campus lecture classes from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on select days and semesters. Some courses may be until 9:00 PM.
  4. Due to the amount of offsite learning experiences required, you must be prepared with adequate transportation.

The schedule information above is a general overview of what is expected but is subject to change.

Please be committed to the financial and personal demands of the program, any intense professional program will require your attention and dedication to be successful.

Keeping this information in mind, please decide if this is a good choice for you now.

We believe that an informed decision is the foundation of a successful, rewarding, and happy educational experience, which leads to a fulfilling career.