Master of Science in Dental Hygiene
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 lifestyle. 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 experiences.
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 ensure they have the technology needed to complete this program.
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 copy of this license must 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 includes transcripts, course descriptions, expanded functions or continuing education certificates.
Students must have taken an undergraduate or graduate statistics or biostatistics course. A minimum of a "C" grade is required. If students have not taken a statistics course, they may take it online or in-person at the institution of their choice. A graduate level course in statistics may be used as a 3-credit elective for the MSDH Program.
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.
Students must submit completed applications and supporting materials no later than:
Fall Admission Deadline: April 1
Spring Admission Deadline: November 15
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 includes transcripts, course descriptions, expanded functions or continuing education certificates.
- Pay $60.00 application fee.
- Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Graduate School.
- Submit two letters of recommendation:
- 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.
- 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 testing websites for test 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
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 skills 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 (minimum of 6 credits), will be required for degree completion. Requirements include 10 courses (26 credits) in the core curriculum, a practicum experience (2-4 credits), 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. A thesis is required because the Moster of Science degree in Dental Hygiene is the terminal degree in the discipline and o research foundation is imperative to advance the theoretical knowledge base of the profession. To enhance the breadth of knowledge, students ore required to complete 3 credits of electives selected from related graduate coursework offered outside the Department of Dental Hygiene.
The program is an online graduate curriculum with on-campus visitations required for DENT 5596 Graduate Seminar I (orientation), and DENT 6619 Graduate Seminar II. 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 3-7, 2020 - A one-week, on-site program on the ISU main campus in Pocatello, Idaho. Students complete online modules through the Moodle system.
Graduate Seminar II
May 18-22, 2020 - A one-week, on-site program on the ISU main campus in Pocatello, Idaho.
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 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 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.
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 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 6623 Leadership and Health Policy: Application of leadership theory and health policy to professional issues, policy development, increasing access to care for diverse populations, advocacy, coalition building, translating and communicating in a policy making environment, and emotional intelligence.
DENT 6626 Dental Hygiene Practicum: Individualized experience designed to apply principles and theories in dental hygiene education or service-learning experience applying theories in rural and community health to improve access to care. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. Graded S/U. PREREQ: DENT 6620, or DENT 6610 and DENT 6632, or departmental approval.
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 6640 Independent Study in Dental Hygiene: Specific problems selected on the basis of interest and preparation. Individualized student effort under the guidance of the instructor. May be repeated up to 6 credits.
Students have the option to take DENT 6646: Health Research or CSD 6600: Principles of Research in Communication Disorders:
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 or graduate statistics or biostatistics course.
CSD 6600 Principles of Research in Communication Disorders: Methodology including quantitative or qualitative appeoaches to research and use of evidence-based practice. Use of informational resources to develop a research proposal. PREREQ: Statistics or permission of instructor.
DENT 6650 Thesis: Research project under supervision of a graduate research committee. May be repeated. Minimum of 6 credits required. Graded S/U. PREREQ: DENT 6646 or permission of program director.
MSDH Program Goals
- Promote oral health of individuals and populations by engaging in activities related to management, leadership, and advocacy while maximizing interprofessional opportunities.
- Acquire research and scholarship abilities contributing to the dental hygiene scientific knowledge base.
- Demonstrate professional development through enhanced knowledge, values, and actions.
- Develop instructional and administrative knowledge, values, and practices to prepare future generations of learners.
- Develop, implement, and evaluate community or rural programs to advance the oral health of underserved populations.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 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. A one-week orientation in 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?
|Full-Time Tuition (9 credits or more)||$3,936.00 per semester|
|Graduate Fee (9 credits or more)||$1,026.98 per semester|
|Graduate Total Full-Time Tuition (9 credits or more)||$4,962.98 per semester|
|Part-time (8 credits or less)||$504.97 per credit|
In addition, there is an $157 professional fee assessed per credit hour. Thesis students are assessed a $271 professional fee per credit hour.
Even though our program is 97% online and you are charged in-state tuition, your bill will always show out-of-state resident tuition costs followed by a waiver which will credit your bill. The final cost will be the in-state resident cost each semester.
To assist you with financing your education, you are encouraged to access 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's institutional membership for free.
How long is the program?
Students have eight years to complete the program, and you may attend full- or part-time. It takes about 3 years to complete the program depending on the type of thesis work. 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?
Upon 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 are 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 must 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 must take a course prior to taking DENT 6646 Health Research. You may 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 classroom experience.
What are the technology requirements for this program?
Because this is vastly an online program, it is imperative you have compatible equipment to progress through your studies.
Below you will see a list of the platforms you will need reliable access to as well as the links to verify your system will operate/support these needs:
Zoom: You will use Zoom to connect with your thesis advisor team, and eventually to present thesis practices and defense. Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems.
Moodle: You will use Moodle ISU when engaging with online materials and course information. It is recommended to utilize broadband internet (e.g., DSL, Cable, etc.) as some courses include video and large media files that require extra bandwidth to function properly. Assessment activities (i.e., quizzes, assignments, etc.) can be unreliable if taken on a low bandwidth or wireless network environment (on or off campus). Plan accordingly if you wish to have a positive experience.
ISU technical support says that Mozilla Firefox should be used when working in Moodle ISU. You can download Firefox for free from the Mozilla website. The latest version of Firefox is the best browser to use for Moodle ISU, especially in avoiding browser-related issues.
For technical support to students: call (208)-282-HELP (4357), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website to find the most updated information.
Options: While you likely have access to some version of Microsoft Office, it is suggested to verify your version is updated. ISU is supported by Google/Gmail, giving you access to ISU’s G-Suite. Here are the system requirements and browsers:
Additional Option to consider:
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 to develop an individualized program of study reflective of your personal interests and professional goals. Please contact us at (208) 282-2482 or email email@example.com if you have questions regarding the program. We look forward to hearing from you.
Publications and Presentations
Graduate Student Achievement
13th edition of Wilkins' Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist features many contributions from the MSDH Program and its alumni:
Lauren Mirsky and JoAnn Gurenlian published “Caring for Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder” in the February 2018 issue of Decisions in Dentistry. They also authored “Treating Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder” published in the February issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.
Toni McLeroy was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor in the Department of Dental Hygiene at the State College of Florida.
Toni McLeroy, CRDH, MS, won the ADHA/Sigma Phi Alpha Journalism Award in the graduate category.
Leciel Bono, RDH, MS was the recipient of the Olav Alvares Award for Early Career Scholars Who Published Outstanding Articles in 2018.
Kristen Stephens successfully presented her doctoral proposal today entitled, "An Evaluation of the Incidence and Perceptions of Incivility Among Dental Hygiene Students and Faculty". Kristen is a doctoral student in the School of Education at Concordia University Irvine. She will conduct her study this Fall, 2019
Kristen Stephens and JoAnn Gurenlian published “An Evidence-Based Look at Off-Label Drug Use” in the January 2018 issue of Decisions in Dentistry.
Leciel K. Bono published “Post-Graduation Effects of an Advocacy Engagement Project on Alumni of a Dental Hygiene Program” in the February issue of the Journal of Dental Education. Coauthors included Ellen J. Rogo, Kathleen Hodges and Alan C. Frantz.
Vicki Martin was the recipient of the Olav Alvares Award at the 2018 ADEA Annual Conference in March.
Kristen Stephens and JoAnn Gurenlian published “The Ethics of Off-Label Drug Use” in the March 2018 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.
Karen Portillo, Tammy Sanderson and JoAnn Gurenlian published “Caring for Patients who Consume Cannabis” in the March 2018 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.
Kristen Stephens and JoAnn Gurenlian published “Ethical and Legal Considerations of Off-Label Drug Use” in the March 2018 issue of Decisions in Dentistry.
Karen Portillo, Tammy Sanderson and JoAnn Gurenlian published “Oral Health Care for Marijuana Users” in the March 2018 issue of Decisions in Dentistry.
Kristen Stephens and JoAnn Gurenlian coauthored “Treating Patients with Anxiety Disorders” in the April 2018 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.
Rachelle Williams, Ellen Rogo, JoAnn Gurenlian and Karen Portillo co-authored an article, “An Evaluation of a School-based Dental Sealant Program”, published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, May 2018.
Darlene Swigart presented a poster presentation at the ADHA Annual Conference entitled, “Dental Hygiene Diagnosis: A Qualitative Study of Dental Hygienists" with coauthors JoAnn Gurenlian and Ellen Rogo.
Cathy Wilson presented a poster presentation at the ADHA Annual Conference entitled, “Head and Neck Flexion among Dental Hygiene Students and Clinical Faculty Using Two Types of Magnification Loupes: A Comparative Study," with coauthors Tara Johnson, Kandis Garland and C. Seiger.
Sarah Jackson and colleague, Lori Speer, presented the continuing education course "Utilizing Evidence-Based Feedback Techniques to Foster Student Self-Assessment" at the ADHA Annual Conference.
Dr. Ellen Rogo who has just been named by Dimensions of Dental Hygiene as one of the "Six Dental Hygienists You Want to Know" for her work in Academia. Dental Hygiene has seven theoretical models, among her many contributions to our profession, Dr. Rogo is responsible for authoring or co-authoring four of those seven. Dr. Rogo will be recognized for her work in Academia in the December issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.
The Journal of Dental Education has two publications with our Assistant Professor and Junior Clinic Coordinator, Jessica August, as coauthor. These include: "Perceptions of Dental Hygienists About Thesis Completion in Graduate Education" with co-authors Christina Coruth, Linda Boyd and Amy Smith, and "Attributes of Effective Clinical Teachers in Dental Hygiene Education" with co-authors Dayna Artim, Dianne Smallidge, Linda Boyd, and Jared Vineyard.
JoAnn Gurenlian presented “An Overview of General and Oral Pathology” at the Delaware Technical and Community College Continuing Education Day in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 13, 2018.
Kandis Garland was a feature columnist in the Ask the Expert Column writing “Reducing the Risks Posed by Ultrasonic Aerosols” in the February 2018 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.
JoAnn Gurenlian presented “Screening and Providing Care for Patients with Oral Cancer” and “Oral Medicine: Linking Systemic Disease with Oral Health Care” at the 12th Annual Dental Expo – Harcum College” in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on March 3, 2018.
JoAnn Gurenlian co-presented with Maria Goldie “Dental Hygiene: Applications to Clinical Practice” a Live webinar sponsored by FA Davis on March 15, 2018.
Ellen Rogo and Leciel Bono presented a faculty development workshop entitled “Embrace the Future: Envision an Interprofessional Identity in 2030” at the ADEA Annual Session on March 18, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.
Kathleen Hodges published “Ultrasonic Instrumentation Tips for Premolars” in the April 2018 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.
JoAnn Gurenlian co-presented with Tom Viola “Cancer: An Interprofessional Approach to Care”, a Live Webinar sponsored by Colgate Oral Health Network on April 4, 2018.
JoAnn Gurenlian authored two book chapters: Chapter 3: Risk Assessment in “Prevention across the Lifespan” and Chapter 7: General Pathology in Blue C (ed). “Darby’s Comprehensive Review of Dental Hygiene” 8th edition.
JoAnn Gurenlian presented "Creating a Framework to Support Doctoral Dental Hygiene Programs: Getting from "A" to "PhD"!” at the International Dental Hygiene Educators Forum.
JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, PhD, received the prestigious President’s Citation Award from the American Dental Hygienists’ Association for her continuous, outstanding contributions to the organization and her dedication to the advancement of the dental hygiene profession.
Reasons students choose the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Program at Idaho State University
- Program is 97% online so no need to relocate.
- Students may attend on a full- or part-time basis with in-state tuition rates.
- Students conduct thesis research and professional activities such as publications and presentations that make them highly desirable for future employment in a variety of settings.
- Faculty are nationally and internationally recognized experts in the field.