JU’s School of Orthodontics, already attracting some of the brightest minds from across the globe to one of the country’s largest Orthodontics advanced certification programs, is adding a Master of Science in Dentistry that will make its curriculum among the most valued for professionals seeking to advance their careers and credentials.
Currently, the school, part of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences, offers the elite Advanced Specialty Education Program in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. The 24-month program allows dental professionals to earn a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (C.A.G.S) in order to become orthodontic specialists.
Starting in July, a new 27-month program will combine the C.A.G.S., which includes full-time academic, clinical and research components, with an MS in Dentistry, which requires an additional semester for students to complete advanced research and a thesis.
“This gives our students the opportunity to acquire additional credentials, while taking advantage of the MS program’s research resources that will allow them to complete and publish their research,” said Dr. Mark Alarbi, Associate Dean and Program Director. “It enhances their visibility in the marketplace, whether in private practice or academia.”
The new degree, which already has full ADA accreditation and is pending approval of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), is expected to enhance the appeal of the school to future students, who complete the program in 15-member cohorts. It will also allow for further community service initiatives, and build on the school’s already impressive four-year, 100 percent pass rate on the American Board of Orthodontics written exam, leading JU Ortho to have a nationally unparalleled post-graduation full board certification rate.
“Adding the MS to your Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry means you’ve undertaken deeper academic and research training, and you have an advantage if you decide to join academia and become a professor,” Alarbi said. “We will be able to keep attracting excellent students and raise our academic profile even further.”
To accommodate the new offerings, additional full-time faculty are being recruited, facilities are being renovated and space restructured to add new space for research labs and study areas.
Dr. Christine Sapienza, Dean of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences, added that “the School of Orthodontics has a prominent presence in our college, and the MS addition is further evidence of our strategic growth plan for the development of the healthcare workforce.”
JU’s School of Orthodontics provides free screenings to more than 2,000 patients annually and provides effective and affordable treatment to an average of 1,000 new patients each year, including children in the “Small Smiles” program which offers free care to foster and disadvantaged children.