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Dental Hygiene Programme

The dental hygienist examines, diagnoses and provides treatments for preventing tooth decay and tooth loss. The work takes place both at dental clinics and in outreach activities, such as homes for the elderly and at child health centres. To promote dental health, a dental hygienist must therefore be good at communicating with people of all ages. The programme at the Sahlgrenska Academy entails three years of full-time studies.

How the body functions

The first year is dominated by basic courses in biology. The schedule includes such subjects as anatomy, biochemistry and microbiology, as well as oral subjects such as cariology, parodontology and odontologic material science. The students obtain knowledge of how the teeth are built and learn to remove plaque and bacterial coatings.

Through courses in communication and counselling methodology, the students learn to convey security and confidence. During the course in radiography, the students meet their first patients when they take x-rays of the patients' teeth under supervision. Practical elements and patient contacts are then included in every semester.

In semesters three, four and five, the students study subjects such as clinical nutrition and dietetics, adult dental care and paediatric dental care. The students also get to learn how to apply anaesthetic and take microbiological tests. Preventive treatments and examinations of the elderly at homes for the elderly are often done by dental hygienists.

In a special course in gerodontology, the students therefore learn how age-related diseases and medicines can affect the dental health of the elderly. The students also do a clinical placement at a home for the elderly. In the final semester of the programme, the students obtain in-depth knowledge of diabetics, anorectics, substance abusers and other patient groups with special needs. The students then also do a degree project.

Theory and practice

The students have scheduled instruction around 25 hours per week, but the programme also provides a great deal of time for self-study and reflection. Lectures are common.

The programme also takes place in the form of seminars, demonstrations and clinical practical application. Work placement takes place both at the programme's own clinics and at external clinics in dental care and medical care. Most of the courses are examined with a written or oral examination.

In some cases, the students are asked to demonstrate that they have learned a certain component. Once all requirements for the Higher Education Diploma in Dental Hygiene are met, a licence is issued by the National Board of Health and Welfare.


The Sahlgrenska Academy is considered to be one of the world's leading odontological research centres and the programme provides a broad base for research in the field of odontology. For students interested in research, there are opportunities to participate in research projects. As of 1 July 2007, an additional year of second-cycle education is required before graduate dental hygienists meet the entry requirements for doctoral studies.

Application, entrance requirements and selection

The dental hygiene programme in Gothenburg has 30 places. Admission takes place in the autumn semester. This programme is conducted in Swedish.

General entry requirements are:

  • Swedish 3 or Swedish course B or Swedish as second language 3, with at least a Pass grade, or the Test i svenska för universitetsstudier, Tisus (Test in Swedish for higher education). For upper-secondary education that was completed before 1 January 2010, it is necessary to have at least Swedish B.
  • English course A with at least a Pass grade or the equivalent knowledge.
  • Mathematics course A with at least a Pass grade or the equivalent knowledge. For upper-secondary education that was completed before 1 January 2010, it is not necessary to have Mathematics A.

If you have an IB degree from 2013 or earlier and received a diploma you have basic eligibility for higher education in Sweden, if you have sufficient knowledge in Swedish and mathematics.

For general admission, you must have:

  • Swedish A1 or A2. If you completed your secondary education prior to January 1, 2010, it is enough with grades in Swedish B. You can also meet the requirement of Swedish with the Swedish upper secondary school courses: Swedish 3 or Swedish as a second language 3. Swedish B or Swedish as Second Language B issued before 2013-07-01 or Test in Swedish for University Studies (Tisus).
  • Whoever has the IB diploma meet normal requirements in mathematics for basic eligibility, otherwise required Mathematics course A or Mathematics 1a/1b/1c. If you completed your secondary education prior to January 1, 2010 mathematics is not required for general admission.

 And specific entry requirements:

  • Mathematics B, Natural Science B, Social Science A ( field-specific entry requirements 16 ) or Mathematics 2a/2b/2c, Natural Science 2, Social Science 1b/1a1+1a2 (field-specific entry requirements A14).

Selection: grades (66%) and the Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (34%).

Study Counseling

Margareta Andersson

Page Manager: Anette Nilsson|Last update: 9/28/2016

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