Doctoral (PhD) Orthodontics

The PhD Orthodontics program provides the academic and clinical experience for a successful private practice or academic career. Program completion will depend on fulfilling program requirements including; coursework, clinical case completion, seminars, and successful defence of research findings (thesis). There may be an opportunity to present the results at scientific meetings or seminars. 

The PhD students are required to complete the same core courses as the MSc students, but additional courses related to their specific area of research may be required.

Graduate students in this program are provided with knowledge to challenge the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE) national specialty examination.

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Application Information

Applications open: May 1

Applications close: September 1

For Admission to the Fall term in the year following the application deadline.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all required documents are received by the application deadline noted above or the application will not be considered for admission. 

Once you submit and pay for your application, you can use the GSMS Portal (Not Bear Tracks) to check the status of your application, determine if references have been received, replace referees, and upload documents. To access the portal, please sign in using the e-mail address and password initially used when you created your account.

Once you submit and pay for your application, your referees will receive a notice from the online application system requesting that their reference be submitted within two weeks of receiving the request. 

NOTE: Students enrolled in the PhD in Orthodontics program will not have the option of transferring to the MSc in Orthodontics program, but they could transfer to the MSc in Dentistry as an option without orthodontic clinical training. 

Admission Requirements

Meet the eligibility requirements established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Graduate Orthodontic Program Admission Subcommittee, and the Medical Sciences Graduate Program Committee.

An academic record that satisfies the basic entrance requirements does not necessarily guarantee admission. Enrollment in this graduate program is limited and the number of qualified applicants greatly exceeds the number of positions available. Admission will be based on demonstrated academic excellence, community involvement, quality of letters of recommendation and a successful interview.

Completion of a DDS & Master's Degree and Minimum GPA

The School of Dentistry requires the completion of a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or equivalent degree and Master's degree is required, with a minimum admission GPA of 3.4 on a 4-point scale or equivalent.

A Master's is required except in exceptional cases, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Admission GPA will be calculated using the last *60 of graded coursework completed, or on the equivalent of the last two years of full-time graded coursework.

For education completed outside of Canada, see the Minimum Academic Requirements by Country for equivalent qualifications.

Dental Experience and Licensure

Completion of significant clinical experience as a licensed dentist or in a clinical graduate/postgraduate program within 36 months from the application date.

Although a current Albertan dental license is not a requirement to apply, preference may be given to candidates who have successfully completed the National Dental Examining Board of Canada's (NDEB) Certification Process.

English Language Proficiency (ELP)

English is the primary language of instruction and communication at the University of Alberta. All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission either by:

  • Possession of an undergraduate degree or its academic equivalent from an academic institution recognized by the University of Alberta, in which the language of instruction is English, or;

  • A satisfactory score on an approved English language examination as described below.

    • TOEFL internet-based minimum score of 95 and the following minimum score on each of the individual skill areas:

      • Listening - 22

      • Reading - 22

      • Speaking - 26

      • Writing - 24

    • IELTS (Academic) minimum score of 7.5 with at least 7 on each band

    • CAEL minimum score of 80 with at least 70 on each subtest

Test scores must be valid and verifiable. Test scores cannot be more than two years old.

For application purposes, unofficial test results may be submitted. If admitted to the program, official standardized test results must be issued directly from the testing office.

Required Documents

All required documents must be received by the application deadline.

Applicants should submit supporting documents though the online application portal. Please confirm that your documents meet the Application Requirements for Academic Documents. Documents that are not in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Unofficial transcripts of all academic work in progress or completed at all post-secondary institutions attended.

  • Degree Certificate(s) must accompany transcripts that do not clearly indicate that a degree has been conferred/awarded/granted; and the date on which the degree was conferred. Degree certificates must include the date of conferral, the registrar's signature, and a post-secondary institution stamp or seal.

  • A letter from your Dental School noting your graduation ranking (it should includee the number of students in your graduating class and your ranking within the class) is expected if available. Stronger consideration may be given to those that provide such ranking. The letter can be either uploaded directly to your online application as a single pdf document or the Dental School can send the letter directly to

  • Letter(s) of good standing from current and all previous licensing bodies. For candidates not licensed yet but in a GPR program, a letter from the Program Director stating they are in good standing with no professional conduct issues is required. Letter(s) can be either uploaded directly to your online application as a single pdf document or the licensing bodies can send the letter(s) directly to

  • Proof of English Language Proficiency.

  • The names and contact information of three professional referees who need to provide their recommendation letter before the stated due date.

  • Curriculum vitae (resume) which includes education, qualifications, publications, community involvement, and previous professional and research experience.

  • Letter of intent describing why you wish to pursue graduate studies at the University of Alberta.

  • Applicants to the PhD Orthodontics program must identify a willing faculty supervisor, a potential thesis topic, and potential funding prior to submission of your application. Please use the Potential Supervisors listed in the section below to secure a Supervisors which you have common research interests with. Please note that it is beneficial to include a research proposal when contacting individual faculty members. Once you have confirmed a Supervisor, you are required to complete the Applicant/Supervisor Checklist and submit this as part of your application. Please note that this form requires the signature of your confirmed supervisor.

Official documents (transcripts, degree certificates, etc.) may be required upon receiving the conditional offer of admission letter. Documents must be sent directly from the post-secondary institution to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research office.

Selection Process
Applications for the PhD in Medical Sciences (Orthodontics) will be reviewed by all full-time faculty members of the Orthodontics Graduate program. Suitable candidates will be invited to interview. 

The interview committee may include full-time Orthodontic Academic staff, an Orthodontic Graduate student, Affiliate Academic staff and a representative from the Orthodontic Alumni/Mentorship Association. 

Interviewed candidates (also including the MSc interviewed applicants) will be ranked and offers of admission made. If determined eligible for admission, the candidate will be offered a second interview with the Department of Dentistry Graduate Studies subcommittee. This subcommittee has to also support admission.

Admission to the PhD in Medical Sciences (Orthodontics) is dependent upon the recommendation of the Graduate Orthodontic Program Admission Subcommittee, Department of Dentistry Graduate Studies subcommittee and the Medical Sciences Graduate Program Committee. The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research makes the final decision. 
Tuition & Fees

Candidates should be prepared to support themselves for the duration of their selected program. Applications for funding from scholarships and studentships may be obtained through a competitive basis and are encouraged prior to or during the tenure of the program.

Information on the tuition and fees for Graduate students can be found on the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Website.

Information on the cost of living in Edmonton can also be found here.

A cost-recovery clinical operation fee of $9,767/year (every year that the student is registered in the program) and an equipment and an instrument-rental fee of $12,023/year (only when registered in the clinical courses) are required in addition to regular instructional and non-instructional fees which can be accessed here.

*Please note that all fees are subject to change. This is a cost-recovery program and therefore both International and Domestic students pay the same program fee per year.

Program Information

Program Information

Completion of the following courses is required:
  • DENT 542 (Research Methodology) 
  • DENT 543 (Introduction to Research methods and Data Analysis)
  • DENT 635 (Seminars in Oral Health I)
  • DENT 636 (Seminars in Oral Health II)
  • DENT 530 (Orthodontic Techniques & Biomechanics)
  • DENT 532 (Growth and Development)
  • DENT 546, 547, 548 (Orthodontic Seminars)
  • DENT 512, 513, 518 (Orthodontic Clinics)
  • DENT 560, 561 (TMD/Orofacial Pain Seminars)
  • DENT 565 (Evidence-Based Dentistry)
  • DENT 567, 568 (Systematic Reviews in Dentistry)
  • DENT 607 (Advanced Oral Radiology)
  • OBIOL 500 (Oral Biology I)
  • OBIOL 501 (Oral Biology II)
  • DENT 551 (Introduction to Applied Statistics)
  • DENT 552 (Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis)
  • DENT 646, 647, 648 (Orthodontic Seminars)
  • DENT 612, 613, 618 (Orthodontic Clinics)
  • DENT 746, 747, 748 (Orthodontic Seminars)
  • DENT 712, 713, 718 (Orthodontic Clinics)

More courses may be taken over and above what is required for the program based on requirements set by the supervising committee. Any courses being taken over and above what is required for the program should be registered for with the assistance of the Graduate Program Administrator.

The maximum time permitted to complete the program as set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is six years. Students are required to reside in Edmonton for the entirety of their Clinical training. Residency for the remainder of the program is dependent on discussions with your Supervisor, requirements of research, and course offerings. Oral examinations may be required to be in-person. 


Students are required to complete research, usually within the established research focus of the program, and to complete a paper format thesis. Students should have their research results ready to submit to peer reviewed journals for publication. It is anticipated that all student research projects will result in publication. Students may also have an opportunity to present their research results at an international scientific meeting prior to completion of the program.

Most of the research will be completed and the student has to pass the PhD candidacy examination before starting the clinical training component. The thesis supervisory committee may determine what additional milestones will need to be met prior to beginning the clinical portion of the program.

Clinical Assessments

Oral assessments are completed during the clinical training. Full-time academic staff will assess diagnosis and treatment planning skills. Feedback from this assessment will serve to identify weak areas in the student's progress that will permit the development of specific improvement objectives before the next annual assessment. Failure to overcome the limitations will require the student to extend their program or may imply a failing grade in the clinical course(s).

If offered admission to the program, an Education and Research license is required from Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA&C). This documentation is due prior to starting the program in the fall term. Candidates who already possess a full license from the ADA&C do not need to obtain additional licensure.

Potential Supervisors

 Faculty contact information can be found under Our Researchers

  • Dr. Carlos Flores-Mir (Program Director)
  • Dr. Paul Major
  • Dr. Manuel Lagravere Vich
  • Dr. Tarek El-Bialy