Program in Dentistry, the Social Sciences, and Health (DeSH)

Frequently Asked Questions

What applications do I have to submit in order to apply to DeSH?

To apply to DeSH, you must submit applications to one or more PhD program in the social sciences at the University of Chicago and a separate application to the DeSH program via the Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS) website. View the application instructions here.

Will I have to take any standardized tests?

Almost certainly. Most PhD programs in the social sciences require the GRE. Applicants need to check the application requirements of the University graduate programs to which they plan to apply.

Can I apply to DeSH if I am enrolled in a dental school outside of Chicago?

Yes. We welcome applicants from the U.S. and around the globe. Graduate training will take place on the University of Chicago campus, so accepted students must be able to relocate to Chicago for the years they are enrolled in a PhD program.  

What is the timeline for completing both a DDS/DMD and a PhD degree for students in the Dental Student Track?

Accepted students will work with both of their doctoral programs as well as the DeSH faculty to develop a personalized training timeline. We expect that some students will complete two years of a PhD program and then two years of dental school. These students will then return to UChicago to complete the PhD before finishing dental school. Other students, who have already completed their first two years of dental school, may choose to complete their PhD at UChicago in one stretch of four years and then return to finish dental school.

Can I apply to more than one PhD program?

Absolutely. In fact, if more than one PhD program seems to be relevant to your interests, you are encouraged to apply to multiple PhD programs. This may improve your chances of acceptance to a PhD program and will provide more opportunities to receive a desirable financial aid package for your PhD studies. Please list all the PhD programs to which you are applying on the DeSH application.

Can I apply to a PhD program in the biomedical sciences?

DeSH provides tuition and stipend support for students earning a PhD in the social sciences. Students interested in the biomedical sciences are not eligible for DeSH funding but may apply on their own to a PhD program at UChicago.   

What mentorship will I receive through DeSH?

After gaining admission to DeSH, students will be paired with a mentorship team consisting of 3-4 faculty at the University of Chicago. Mentorship teams will include an MD-PhD faculty member, a mentor from the student’s graduate program, and a faculty member with expertise at the interface of oral health and the social sciences. With extensive experience in mentoring PhD and MD-PhD students in the social sciences, faculty directors David Meltzer, MD, PhD, and Kathleen Cagney, PhD, oversee DeSH training. In addition, they both lead innovative research projects examining oral health within a social context. For students in the Dental Student Track, DeSH faculty and staff will also work with the student’s dental school to ensure smooth transitions and cohesive training between the two programs.