Statement to Prospective Applicants Regarding Covid-19

In determining our policies regarding assessment of the 2019-2020 academic year, we consulted with professional school and university colleagues across Canada, examining how undergraduate students may have been impacted by the disruption of their studies and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We learned that some students did not have an option to receive alpha or numeric grades (i.e. received credit/no credit only), some students were not able to participate fully in online learning due to limited resources, and some students had in-class lab, practicum or work term requirements for their degree adversely affected, resulting in a significant impact on grade calculations for the Winter 2020 semester.  We also learned that some students did well academically with the transition and had the opportunity to receive alpha or numeric grades. 

Each dental school establishes criteria for academic average calculation differently.  Schulich Dentistry uses the academic average of only the 2 best undergraduate years with full-time studies and at an appropriate course level. We do not use a cumulative or weighted calculation across years for consideration. Our thresholds are reset annually based on the competitiveness of the applicant pool.  

With over 70 universities in Canada alone, determining a solution for how to assess grades was not considered lightly, particularly since applicants come from a variety of institutions and countries, and the impact of COVID-19 affects applicants both within and outside of Canada.  Allowing variable academic standards suited to an individual applicant’s situation within their university and country would be difficult. Consequently, our Dentistry Admissions Committee deliberated to ensure that an equitable academic standard could be set for everyone.

The Committee decided that with the variability in grade reporting, the inequities to those students who are marginalized, and the impact of COVID-19 being variable across universities and countries, in fairness to all applicants the Winter 2020 term would not be used for academic average calculation.  Instead of discounting the entire 2019-2020 academic year completely from eligibility or using varying criteria for individual applicants, the Committee decided that the most reasonable academic standard would be to allow the grades from the Fall 2019 semester to be eligible for academic average calculation. 

We recognize that this decision may be disappointing to applicants who received alpha or numeric grades in Winter 2020, but we encourage applicants to consider their individual academic situation within the context of Schulich Dentistry’s method of calculation which is based on achieving an academic average threshold within each of your two best undergraduate years, as described in our Admissions Requirements webpage.

The Committee also decided to remove the in-class lab component of the Organic Chemistry prerequisite, as well as  to change the criteria for determining successful completion for each of the Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Human or Mammalian Physiology prerequisite subject areas.  Effective the 2020-2021 application cycle, successful completion of each of the prerequisite subject areas requires a pass or credit designation, regardless of whether the prerequisite was taken outside Winter 2020 term. 

For detailed information about the updated requirements for our prerequisite subject areas, as well as how the 2019-2020 academic year will be assessed with regards to academic average consideration, please visit the Admission Requirements webpage.


The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry offers an exciting four-year program leading to the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. Our commitment is to ensure that our graduating Doctors of Dental Surgery are lifelong learners, socially responsible, compassionate, ethical, and passionate about delivering oral health care to their respective communities.

Learn more about the program: