Students will find the policies below, and other information, in the Texas A&M University Graduate and Professional Catalog and in the Texas A&M University College of Dentistry Graduate Student Handbook.

Clinical Certificate Programs

Advanced education programs leading to a clinical certificate vary in their requirements for degree plans, semester hours, clinical experience, research experience, and duration of the program, according to the guidelines of their respective professional accreditation organizations. Consult your Program Director for details.

Students in clinical programs that do not require a graduate degree may elect to pursue one concurrently with their certificate. In this situation, the awarding of the certificate is not contingent on completion of the graduate degree; however the student must remain in residence until completion of the certificate and the graduate degree.

Students in a combined clinical certificate and graduate degree program are required to have their research complete and an acceptable draft of a thesis submitted prior to the awarding of the certificate. An acceptable draft of a thesis is defined as one that is complete to the extent that it can be used for the thesis defense (final examination). This fulfills the certificate research requirement. The graduate degree candidate is required to continue in residence at the College of Dentistry to meet the minimum residency requirement for their specific program. The graduate degree requirements for are given below and must be met, in addition to meeting the certificate requirements.

Students in clinical certificate programs generally pursue the MS in Oral Biology via the clinical track. Only students who are currently enrolled in a clinical certificate program have the option of the clinical track for the MS in Oral Biology.

Clinical Track MS in Oral Biology

Requirements for the clinically-oriented MS track include the following elements:

  • Successful completion of all non-course work requirements for the graduate degree. The MS must be completed within a timeframe of six consecutive calendar years (a one-year extension may be requested). The MS degree plan must contain a minimum of 32 semester credit hours of courses acceptable for graduate credit and dedicated to the graduate degree. Other specified coursework is dedicated to the specialty certificate.
  • Students in a combined clinical certificate and MS degree program must complete all of the clinical requirements and all of the MS degree requirements before the certificate and graduate degree are awarded.

Basic Science Track MS or PhD in Oral Biology

Students in the basic science MS program in Oral Biology receive training in one or more of the following fields of study in the oral health sciences: Anatomy, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neuroscience, Microbiology/Immunology, or Physiology/Pharmacology. Students in the PhD program receive training in the broad field of Oral Biology. Consult the Program Director in Oral Biology for specific details on requirements for the MS or PhD degree.

Resources for Graduate Degrees

The pages below highlight the basic steps toward fulfilling your degree requirements. What you need to do, when you need to do it, and who is involved in the process.

Selecting Your Graduate Committee

Choosing the faculty members of your thesis or dissertation committee is an important step in your graduate education. Work with your Program Director to establish your committee as a part of your degree planning process. The Graduate Faculty Search website can assist you in determining if the faculty you have selected are a current member of graduate faculty. If you have chosen someone for your committee who does not appear on the graduate faculty list or who is not on the faculty at the College of Dentistry, please contact the Office of Research and Graduate Studies for instructions on how to get someone added to the approved graduate faculty list.

Once you have selected your Graduate Committee, you must use the OGAPS Document Processing Submission System (DPSS) to officially request approval of your selection and record the membership. This is done in conjunction with entering your graduate degree plan online through DPSS. Any changes to the committee must be entered into and approved using DPSS. You must submit a degree plan at the same time you submit your committee membership.

Submitting Your Degree Plan

Each graduate degree student must submit an official graduate degree plan to OGAPS for approval. Your Program Director can give you the list of courses required for your graduate degree. Submission is made online through DPSS. DPSS must be updated if any changes are made to your approved degree plan. For specific rules on coursework and committee membership, see the Texas A&M Graduate Catalog. This degree plan submission is only for your MS or PhD coursework. Specialty certificate coursework is maintained by the Registrar’s Office at Texas A&M University and must follow a prescribed plan.

Your degree plan must be submitted to OGAPS prior to the deadline imposed by the College of Dentistry, which is by the end of the Fall semester of your second year for MS students and by the end of the Spring semester of your second year for PhD students. Any changes to your degree plan must be submitted no later than 90 days prior to the thesis defense date for MS students or 90 days prior to the date of the preliminary examination for PhD students, and according to the deadlines published in the OGAPS calendar. Once a degree plan is approved by OGAPS, any changes in degree, coursework, or committee membership must be requested by petition to OGAPS. Petitions are submitted online through DPSS.

Thesis and Dissertation Requirements

Thesis and Dissertation Services reviews each electronic thesis and dissertation for uniformity, consistency, and adherence to Texas A&M University guidelines for quality. In addition, they provide a wide range of preparation support and coordinate the timely release of the electronic thesis for public access. Policies, procedures, information on how to prepare your document, and how to submit it can be found on their website.

Calendars and Deadlines

It is important that graduate students stay on top of deadlines for their degree requirements. Students must understand that both University and program requirements exist. Keeping up with the deadlines become especially important at the end of your degree program. Each semester OGAPS publicizes a calendar which includes the deadlines by which graduate students must complete specific degree requirements.

Time Limitations for Completion of MS and PhD Degrees

The maximum time allowed to complete an MS or PhD at the College of Dentistry are:

  • MS Degree - six consecutive calendar years
  • PhD Degree - nine consecutive calendar years

If all requirements are not fulfilled within that time, a one-year extension may be requested by the student. The request must be approved by their Program Director, Department Chair, and by the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. The request for a one-year extension should be made at the beginning of the sixth year for MS students or the ninth year for PhD students. The term of the extension will not exceed one calendar year. In all cases, seven calendar years for MS students and ten calendar years for PhD students is the maximum time limit for completion of all degree requirements. Coursework is valid for seven calendar years or ten calendar years, respectively, after the end of the semester in which it is taken. After that, it may not be used to satisfy degree requirements.

Full-Time / Part-Time Status

In order to be considered in full-time status, a graduate student (domestic or international) must take a minimum nine hours in the spring and fall semesters and six hours in the summer semester. All College of Dentistry programs require full-time enrollment.

Deviation of the Full-Time Status for College of Dentistry Graduate Students

The exceptions to this rule are when clinical graduate students engage in clinical activity in addition to their credit hour enrollment. These students are always full-time.

Financial Aid Related to Enrollment Hours

Graduate students must be enrolled at least half-time to receive student financial aid and be eligible for deferral of loan repayment. Half-time enrollment is considered five hours in the fall and spring and three hours in summer. Consult the Student Financial Aid office for specifics.

International Students and Enrollment Hours

Students who are in the United States on a visa should contact International Student Services before registering for hours less than full-time. Failure to maintain full-time hours can negatively impact your immigration status.

Continuous Enrollment Policy

The Continuous Enrollment Policy requires that all graduate students maintain a minimum of one semester hour enrollment at the College of Dentistry following completion of their degree plan course work until they complete the requirements for their certificate and graduate degree and until the degree has been awarded. For MS and PhD students, completion of requirements includes final clearance from Thesis and Dissertation Services. While the certificate may be awarded when a defendable draft of the thesis or dissertation is submitted to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies (with approval by the Program Director), the graduate degree will not be awarded until OGAPS has cleared the student.

Students who have completed their prescribed course of study as defined in their degree plans and are candidates for the MS or PhD and who are in their final semester, may enroll for one semester hour (one time only) and be recognized as being in a full course of study. Should such a student fail to graduate at the end of the semester, they will have to return to enrolling for the minimum number of semester hours required of their individual situation. Students on a visa must submit their request and have it approved by International Student Services. Students with financial aid should be aware they must be enrolled at least half time to continue to be eligible for deferral of student loans.

PhD Examinations

PhD students must be registered during the semester they take any part of the preliminary examination and final examination. MS students must be registered during the semester they take the final examination. Students who are attempting to hold an examination between semesters must be registered in the semester immediately preceding the exam in order to be eligible to take the exam.

Not Registering for Courses in Graduating Semester

If an MS or PhD student has completed ALL degree requirements, including being cleared by Thesis and Dissertation Services, by the last day to add courses for a semester, the student is not required to register for courses but must apply for graduation and play the graduation and diploma fees. This rule does not apply to students on assistantships, scholarships, or fellowships.

Leave of Absence

Students who will be out of attendance for a non-scheduled break in their coursework of more than ten class days are required to have an approved Leave of Absence request or they will be administratively withdrawn from the College of Dentistry. For more information on how this affects your financial aid, please contact the Scholarships and Financial Aid office at 979-845-3236.

Under unusual circumstances, a graduate student may petition for a leave of absence. The official request is made through DPSS. The entire thesis committee, if formed, and the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies must approve the petition and send it to the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. If the Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies approves the petition, the registration requirement will be set aside during the period of leave. Leaves will be granted only under conditions that require the suspension of all activities associated with pursuing the degree. For certain types of approved leave, such as medical, the time period for the completion of the degree will stop with the leave and begin when the student returns to the program. Other types of leave may not stop the time limit for the degree. A student should refer to the sections on Time Limits for master’s and doctoral programs. A leave of absence is granted for one year. In case of extenuating circumstances, the leave of absence can be extended by the student’s committee and the Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies. A student who returns to the University after an approved leave of absence will not be required to submit an application for readmission to the Office of Graduate Admission.

An international student should visit with an International Student Services advisor to find out how a Leave of Absence may impact his/her stay in or his/her re-entry into the US.

Degree Plans

Degree plans for the MS must be submitted online via the Document Processing Submission System (DPSS) by the end of the Fall semester of the student's second year. Registration for subsequent semesters will be blocked until the degree plan requirement is met. Changes in course work or committee membership may be requested by submitting a long petition through DPSS. A final, approved degree plan must be on file at least 90 days prior to the final thesis defense. 

Degree plans for the PhD must be submitted online via the Document Processing Submission System (DPSS) by the end of the Spring Semester of the student's second year. Registration for subsequent semesters will be blocked until the degree plan requirement is met. Changes in course work or committee membership may be requested by submitting a long petition through DPSS. A final, approved degree plan must be on file at least 90 days prior to the preliminary exam.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum is a demanding academic requirement consisting of intensive study in the basic sciences and integrated clinical sciences. Individual advanced education programs require successful completion of certain core courses. Consult the individual specialty training program for details.

  • Certificate-only degree plans must include the satisfactory completion of six core courses.
  • Students in a combined certificate / MS degree program must satisfactorily complete eight core courses.

Core Courses

PROS 647

OBIO 631

OMFP 619

OBIO 621

OBIO 671

OBIO 640

OBIO 641

OBIO 670

OMFS 610

OBIO 630

OBIO 672

OBIO 674

OMFS 620

OBIO 673

OMFR 611

OMFS 615

OBIO 632

AEGD 604

OBIO 611

OBIO 660

Advanced Dental Materials

Advanced Human Craniofacial Development & Craniofacial Anomalies

Advanced Oral Pathology

Applied Biostatistics

Applied Medical Physiology

Cellular and Molecular Biology of Oral and Craniofacial Tissues I

Cellular and Molecular Biology of Oral and Craniofacial Tissues II

Clinical Pharmacology

Conscious Sedation

Growth and Mechanisms of Development

Head and Neck Anatomy


Internal Medicine

Oral Microbiology

Oral Radiology

Physical Diagnosis

Physical Growth and Maturation

Practice Management

Research Design and Methodology

Teaching Skills

Information on curriculum, credit requirements, and recommended courses for the basic science track Master of Science in Oral Biology can be found on the Biomedical Sciences Departmental webpage.

Information on curriculum, credit requirements, and recommended courses for the PhD in Oral Biology can be found on the Biomedical Sciences Departmental webpage.

Add/Drop Courses

For programs in which an opportunity exists to add or drop courses the following definitions apply.

When a student wishes to add or drop a course, an Add/Drop form must be obtained by the student’s department from the Office of Student Affairs. The student’s department is responsible for completing the form and returning it to the Office of Student Affairs for processing.

International students should check with the Office of International Services before dropping courses. Dropping below full-time registration may adversely impact a student's legal immigration status in the United States.

International Student Services (ISS)

View the ISS website to learn more about immigration regulations, funding opportunities, and other helpful information.


Register for courses through Howdy.

Information on registration requirements.

Academic Due Process

In accordance with the law and in the interest of fairness, the College of Dentistry has established guidelines designed to ensure the right of due process for the student. As they relate to the College of Dentistry, the students' responsibilities are classified in five broad areas, which are as follows:

  • academic performance;
  • academic integrity;
  • professional conduct;
  • conduct associated with the College of Dentistry, but not directly related to academic or professional training of the student; and
  • off-campus conduct, not associated with the College of Dentistry, which may reflect adversely on the image and reputation of the College of Dentistry.

Different guidelines exist for the assurance of due process, based upon whether the student difficulties are academic or disciplinary. Academic penalties result from failure to attain a required level of scholarship and performance and disciplinary penalties arise from violation of prescribed institutional as well as civil and criminal codes of conduct.

Academic matters related to academic performance and some aspects of professional conduct. Nonacademic (disciplinary) matters related to integrity, professional conduct and conduct not directly related to academic or professional training of the student.

Student Grievances and Appeals Procedures

Specific procedures at Texas A&M University allow graduate students to pursue a grievance for any of the problems, issues, or concerns listed in this table. Graduate student academic and conduct due process issues are addressed above under “Academic Due Process”.

Tuition Waivers and Payments

Many graduate assistants are eligible for a non-resident tuition waiver that allows payment of in-state tuition rates. One requirement for a tuition waiver is that a student be registered for full-time hours. While most of the clinical programs do maintain full-time registration hours, in the event they should not, a clinical certificate student would still be eligible to receive a tuition waiver. Clinical students engage in clinical activity in addition to their credit hour enrollment and are always full-time. Basic science MS or PhD students must maintain full-time registration hours as they do not engage in clinical activities.

Workshops and Tutorials

The Office of Graduate and Professional Services offers many workshops and on-line tutorials that you will find helpful. You can view deadlines and subscribe to the OGAPS calendar.

Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS)

Larry L. Bellinger, PhD 
Regents Professor and Associate Dean

Kim Luttman
Graduate Studies Program Manager

Jill Newsom
Administrative Associate

Texas A&M University Contact Information

Office of Graduate and Professional Studies

Thesis and Dissertation Services

Office of the Registrar

Student Business Services