About the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Program
The Master of Science degree in Dental Hygiene at Idaho State University (ISU) is designed to accommodate non-traditional graduate students around the world. Through the convenience of web-based instruction, the program allows students to earn a graduate degree while maintaining their current residence, career, and life style. Graduates of the program are prepared for progressive leadership roles in dental hygiene including education, research and rural and community health.
Students are provided an opportunity to visit the campus on several occasions throughout the curriculum. An initial program orientation in August, and a one-week seminar course in May are the on-campus learning experience.
Applicants can take our Online Readiness Survey to determine whether they are ready for a fully online curriculum. Students are encouraged to view our Computer and Software Requirements to make sure you have the technology needed to complete this program.
Goals of the MSDH Program at ISU
- Assume leadership roles in academics, rural and community health settings, research, professional associations and commercial industry.
- Develop advanced clinical abilities that improve oral health and access to dental hygiene care.
- Acquire research abilities that contribute to the scientific dental hygiene body of knowledge.
- Assume responsibility for professional development through life-long learning capability.
- Provide a foundation for future doctoral education.
Reasons why students choose the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Program at Idaho State University
- Faculty are nationally and internationally recognized exports in the field.
- Program offers opportunity to specialize in dental hygiene education or community health.
- Students may attend on a full or part-time basis with in-state tuition rates.
- Program is 97% online so no need to relocate.
- Students conduct thesis research and professional activities such as publications and presentations that make them highly desirable for future in employment in a variety of settings.
"The Graduate Dental Hygiene Program at Idaho State University has provided me a new perspective on my career and the skills to transform public health policies and the profession!"
"I chose the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene program at Idaho State University for a variety of reasons including the online format, reasonable cost and the education track. But I have to say that while those reasons are valid, nothing can compare to the education I received at ISU, which also afforded me many networking and employment opportunities. Attending the MSDH program at ISU was the best decision I made with advancing my career options."
Required Foundational Coursework/Undergraduate Degree/Licensure
Students must have graduated from an accredited entry level dental hygiene program, hold a Bachelor's degree in dental hygiene or a related field, and have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in upper division and dental hygiene coursework.
Students must have a current dental hygiene license in good standing. A photocopy of this license will need to be provided to the Department of Dental Hygiene as part of the application process.
Previous education in local anesthesia and nitrous oxide administration is not a requirement for admission, but is preferred. If previous education in these pain control methods has been completed, students must provide evidence of successful completion of classroom and clinical experiences in local anesthesia and nitrous oxide administration. Evidence could include transcripts, course descriptions, expanded functions or continuing education certificates.
Students must have taken an undergraduate statistics or biostatistics course. A minimum of a "C" grade is required. If students have not had a statistics course, they may take an on-campus or online course at the institution of their choice. A graduate level course in statistics may be used as a 3 credit elective for the MSDH Program.
Students must submit completed applications and supporting materials no later than:
Fall Admission Deadline: April 1
Spring Admission Deadline: November 15
Completion of an Undergraduate Degree
Applicants must complete a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited in the U.S. or its equivalent from a school in another country. This degree may be in progress during the application process, but must be completed prior to beginning the MSDH program. The applicant's degree can be from dental hygiene or any related field.
Apply to ISU Graduate School
Admission Requirements for the Graduate School at ISU
- Complete the Graduate School application.
- Send supporting documents
- Photocopy of license to provide evidence of current dental hygiene licensure in good standing.
- Evidence of previous education in local anesthesia and nitrous oxide administration is preferred. Provide evidence of successful completion of classroom and clinical experiences in local anesthesia and nitrous oxide administration. Evidence could include transcripts, course descriptions, expanded functions or continuing education certificates.
- Pay associated $55.00 application fee to ISU.
- Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Graduate School.
- One recommendation must be completed by an individual who has personal knowledge of the applicant's clinical skills such as a faculty member from a dental hygiene program, employer, or colleague. Recommender can mail, fax, or e-mail the completed form.
- Second recommendation must be completed by an individual who has personal knowledge of the applicant's academic and professional qualifications for graduate study such as a faculty member, officer of a professional association, or colleague. Recommender must mail, fax, or e-mail the completed form.
- Send results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) to the ISU Graduate School. Refer to test websites to find testing locations and times. The minimum standards (GPA calculation based on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work) are:
- GPA 3.5 or higher - No standardized test (GRE/MAT) required
- GPA 3.0-3.499 - Must score in the 40th percentile on at least one area of the GRE OR 40th percentile on the MAT
- GPA 2.5-2.999 - Combined Verbal/Quantitative score of 1000 (prior to 8/1/11) or 300 (post 8/1/11) on GRE or 45th percentile on the MAT
- Below 2.4999 - No admission
- Complete a telephone or personal interview with Dr. JoAnn Gurenlian.
JoAnn R. Gurenlian, RDH, PhD
Graduate Program Director and Professor
Department of Dental Hygiene
Division of Graduate Studies
- Approval of admission by the Dean of the Graduate School
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Requirements
Students whose native language is not English must take the GRE and achieve at least the 50th percentile on the Verbal section. Additionally, the applicant must complete the TOEFL Examination with a total score of 550 (paper based) and 213 (computer based). The score of Section I of the exam must be 55 (paper based) and 21 (computer based).
Letter of Introduction
While not required, all applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of introduction outlining their interest in the field, work experience, personal goals, and specific skill they believe will help them be successful in an online graduate school and in their profession. This letter should be sent as an e-mail attachment to Dr. JoAnn R. Gurenlian, Graduate Program Director, at email@example.com.
A total of 37 credits, including a thesis, is required for program completion. Requirements include 7 courses in the core curriculum, 4 courses in an area of emphasis, and 3 credits of electives.
The core courses advance the theory and practice of dental hygiene and prepare students in research methodology to apply during the thesis process and future work. In addition to the core curriculum, students complete an area of emphasis in Dental Hygiene Education or Rural and Community Oral Health. Two required dental hygiene courses in the emphasis area, coupled with a practicum experience and a related elective course, provide a strong basis for advanced study and thesis work.
To enhance the breadth of knowledge, students are required to complete a minimum of 3 credits of electives selected from related graduate coursework offered outside the Department of Dental Hygiene. A maximum of 9 credits may be transferred officially to Idaho State University.
A thesis is required because a research foundation is imperative to advance the theoretical knowledge base of the profession.
August 6-10, 2018- on-site program at Pocatello, Idaho ISU campus. Students complete online modules through Moodle system.
Graduate Seminar II
May 8-12, 2017- on-site program at Pocatello, Idaho ISU campus
MSDH Program Course Descriptions
DENT 5596 Graduate Seminar I: This seminar uses web based activities and on-site campus activities to assist students in developing skills and abilities essential for successful participation in the MSDH Program.
DENT 6605 Program Development and Evaluation: An overview of general principles of teaching, learning and evaluation in academic and community oral health programs. Emphasis on assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of programs.
DENT 6612 Administration and Management of Healthcare Organizations: This course combines theoretical knowledge with practical application of principles and techniques for managing a health care environment and employees associated with providing care. Emphasis on organizational structure, human resource management, financial management, quality assurance, policy development, information management, grant writing and business planning.
HCA 5599 Business of Health Care:
DENT 6615 Progressive Dental Hygiene Theory: Critical analysis of the dental hygiene process of care related to advanced preventive and therapeutic interventions to various population groups, technology and outcomes.
DENT 6618 Leadership Strategies to Improve Health Care: Application of leadership and management theory related to professional issues, policy development, legal and ethical principles, professional associations, strategic planning, conflict resolution, and professional advancement.
DENT 6619 Graduate Seminar II: This course provides students with experiential learning in dental hygiene practice, research, education, and innovations in technology. The course will culminate in an updated portfolio that addresses career goals within and beyond graduate education.
DENT 6646 Health Research: Introduction to the research process and the use of scientific literature to define a theoretical basis for future research. Requires gathering evidence, searching databases, analyzing and synthesizing literature to write a literature review. Application of principles of problem and research question formulation, sampling, design and methods, reliability and validity, and applied statistics in dental hygiene. Requires preparation of a research proposal. Prereq or coreq: Undergraduate statistics or biostatistics course.
DENT 6650 Thesis: Research project under supervision of a graduate research committee. May be repeated. Minimum of 6 credits required.
DENT 6620 Advanced Educational Theory and Methods: Study of theory, principles, and research related to the faculty role in active teaching and learning, development of ethical reasoning, critical thinking and reflective judgment, development of curricular frameworks, outcomes and competencies, and course delivery methods. PREREQ: DENT 6605
DENT 6621 Dental Hygiene Clinical Instruction and Admin.: Theory and practices of clinical instruction and supervision, related to psychomotor skill development, competency-based evaluation, student mentoring and remediation. Examination of organizational and administrative philosophy and practice in curriculum planning, implementation and evaluation based on accreditation standards. PREREQ: DENT 6620 OR DEPARTMENTAL APPROVAL.
DENT 6625 Dental Hygiene Education Practicum: individualized experience in applying principles and theories in dental hygiene education to didactic, preclinical and clinical instruction. This course may be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.
DENT 6610 Special Care Populations: Concepts related to providing oral health care for special care populations. Emphasis is on assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of care for individuals with transient or lifelong physical, mental, medical or social health needs.
DENT 6632 Community and Global Health: A study of population groups that are at increased risk of poor health and a familiarity with policies and programs designed to reduce health inequalities. Emphasis on the ability to plan, implement, and evaluate an oral health program to increase access to care in an underserved target population.
DENT 6635 Rural and Community Health Practicum: individualized experience in applying principles and theories in community and rural health (public health) to address the oral health care needs of a targeted community or rural population. This course entails the implementation and evaluation of a public health project planned in DENT 6630, Community and Rural Health Programs. This course may be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.
How can I determine if taking classes online is for me?
Online learning is designed to provide place-bound students with the same educational opportunities as students who attend classes on campus. Online courses take place during the same semester time frame as classes on campus and provide opportunities to interact with other students in the class through discussion room interactions. The Online Readiness Survey is an assessment tool designed to help you evaluate if online learning is for you. The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete and provides essential online learning considerations.
Are there on-campus obligations?
Students are provided an opportunity to visit the campus on several occasions throughout the curriculum. An initial program one-week orientation during August and a one-week seminar course in May are the on-campus learning experiences.
What is the current fee structure for the MSDH program?
See semester and credit hour fees. There will be a course fee attached to each course that will assist in supporting the conduct and administration of the program. This fee is set at $85.00 per credit for professional courses and $170.00 per credit for thesis. Also, there is an eISU fee assessed at $35 per credit.
To assist you with financing your education, you are encouraged to look at the American Dental Hygienists' Association and the American Dental Education Association websites for scholarship information for students pursuing a graduate degree in dental hygiene. Students accepted into the program can join ADEA under ISU institutional membership for free.
How long is the program?
Students have eight years to complete the program so you can attend full- or part-time. It takes about 2.5 to 3 years to complete the program depending on the type of thesis work that is of interest. Some students prefer to pace themselves more slowly, taking into consideration their family and work commitments. It is up to you to decide the best approach.Will ISU serve students in my state?
Will a graduate student orientation be available?
After acceptance into the MSDH program, a series of online orientation modules will be completed as part of DENT 5596 Graduate Seminar I each Fall. Students will learn about Idaho State University's library system, how to obtain research articles or books and how to utilize Evidence-Based Decision Making. Additionally, modules related to plagiarism and writing styles will be addressed at the on-campus orientation, along with advanced technology. The modules are self-paced and can be repeated as needed.
Is a statistical methods course required?
You will need to demonstrate completion of an undergraduate or graduate level statistics or biostatistics course within the past seven years. If you did not take statistics as part of your entry-level dental hygiene education, or it has been more than seven years since you completed a statistics course, you will need to take a course prior to taking DENT 6646 Health Research. You can begin the program even if you have not completed this requirement. Many part-time students take statistics in the summer between their first and second year. The course can be an online or in classroom experience.
We invite you to contact us with any questions regarding the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene program. We want to work collaboratively with you and develop an individualized program of study reflective of your personal interests and professional goals. Please contact us at (208) 282-2482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions regarding the program. We look forward to hearing from you.
Mary Bossart's published manuscript representing her thesis research. The paper is "A Pilot Study of an HbA1c Chairside Screening Protocol for Diabetes in Patients with Chronic Periodontitis: The Dental Hygienist's Role" was published in the May issue of the International Journal of Dental Hygiene. Coauthors include: Kristin Calley, Dr. JoAnn Gurenlian, Barbara Mason, Dr. Ferguson and Teri Peterson.
Colleen Stephenson received the first place award for the oral presentation of her thesis research, Consumer Perceptions of Oral Cancer Screenings Compared to Other Cancer Screenings, at the ISU Graduate Student Research Symposium.
Kellen Fuller was selected as the 2016 Division of Health Sciences Outstanding Clinician.
Susan Bistline was selected for the 2016 Division of Health Sciences Professional Achievement Award.
Denise Bowen, Professor Emeritus, published a manuscript in the Linking Research to Clinical Practice section of the April Issue of the Journal of Dental Hygiene. This paper is entitled "Effectiveness of Professionally-Applied Silver Diamine Fluoride in Arresting Dental Caries".
Kathleen Hodges published "Addressing Patient Discomfort During Ultrasonic Instrumentation" in the April issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.
Kandis Garland served as the "Ask the Expert" for the April issue of the Dimensions of Dental Hygiene addressing "Protocol for Post-Exposture Management."
The faculty were well-represented at the 2016 American Dental Education Association meeting in Denver, Colorado, March 12-15, 2016.
Dr. Ellen Rogo and Karen Portillo presented a workshop entitled, "It Takes A Village to Build a Synergist Online Community."
Dr. JoAnn Gurenlian presented "Advancing Dental Hygiene Research" as part of the the ADHA workshop.
Tammy Sanderson presented a workshop entitled, "Coaches Rewind: Teaching with Video in the Clinic."
Leciel Bono presented a poster "Shaping Tomorrow: Igniting Advocacy Through a Legislative Educational Unit."
Jacque Freudenthal presented a poster "Reflecting on Eight Years of Interprofessional Education Clinical Experiences."
Tammy Sanderson also presented a poster entitled, "Effect of a Video-Recorded Clinical Session in the Training of Dental Hygiene Students."
Kandis Graland had an article published in the March issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene entitled, "Create a Culture of Safety."
Krista Beaty has co-authored the paper, "Treating Patients with CREST Syndrome," which appears in the February issue of Dimensions Dental Hygiene.
Alumnus Debbie Johnson, Dr. JoAnn Gurenlian, and Jacque Fredudenthal published an article entitled " A Study of Nutrition in Entry-Level Dental Hygiene Education Programs" in the January issue of the Journal of Dental Education. This represents the culmination of Debbie's thesis study.
Kandis Garland has an article entitled "Tips for Successfully Serving as Infection Control Coordinator" in the January issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.