Baccalaureate and Graduate Degree Options

The majority of dental hygiene students in Canada are enrolled in two-year diploma programs at a community college. What happens, though, if you are interested in continuing with your education? Are there benefits to further education for dental hygienists? What further education route is the best? It really depends on the individual and his or her goals, aptitudes, and interests. Education beyond the diploma level would be a natural next step for dental hygiene students and dental hygienists who want to:

CDHA has created a position paper on the issue of dental hygiene education.

Guide to Degree Names

  • BDH—Bachelor degree in Dental Hygiene
  • BSc—Bachelor of Science
  • BDSc (Specialization in Dental Hygiene)—Bachelor of Science with a specialization in dental hygiene
  • MSc—Master of Science
  • MPH—Master of Public Health
  • PhD—Doctorate
  • EdD—Doctoral degree in education

Degree Programs in Dental Hygiene

The University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University and the University of Manitoba all offer programs where students can graduate with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. They also offer degree completion options for dental hygienists who have graduated with a diploma in dental hygiene and who wish to complete baccalaureate studies. Click here for more information.

Graduate and Doctoral Programs

At the University of Alberta (U of A), the Dental Hygiene Program, School of Dentistry offers a master’s degree in dental hygiene. It is the Masters in Medical Sciences (Dental Hygiene) and is offered through graduate studies in the Dental Hygiene Program, School of Dentistry. More details will be available soon for the first applicants to apply for September 2014. The School of Dentistry also offers the PhD in oral biology that is available to qualified dental hygienists. Graduate students may secure a research supervisor form the Dental Hygiene Program for specific research in dental hygiene.

Currently, there are no doctorate programs for dental hygiene in Canada, but graduate programs are available to dental hygienists in related fields. After graduating with a BDH, BSc or a BDSc, dental hygienists can enter at the master's level in the dentistry and dental hygiene-related fields in Canada. To get an idea of the master's and doctorate degrees that dental hygienists have obtained in Canada, see the list of theses and dissertations under Student Publications.

At the University of British Columbia (UBC), for example, in addition to the dental hygiene degree program, the Faculty of Graduate Studies offers graduate programs—the MSc in dental science, the combined master of public health and diploma in dental public health and the PhD in oral biology—that are open to qualified dental hygienists, thereby allowing dental hygienists with bachelor's degrees to study at the graduate-level in oral health sciences through the Faculty of Dentistry.

There are master's degree programs in dental hygiene in the United States: for example, an MSc in dental hygiene and an MSc in oral hygiene. A listing of U.S. dental hygiene graduate programs can be found at There are no doctorate dental hygiene programs in the United States, but students can obtain a PhD in a related field.