Academic Catalog


Master of Science Dental Hygiene with a Concentration in Research (MS)

Master of Science - Dental Hygiene


Denise M. Claiborne, PhD, RDH, Graduate Program Director

The challenge of effecting change in the scope and direction of dental hygiene and health care requires competencies in collaborative problem solving, evidence-based ethical decision making, and leadership.

Recipients of the Master of Science degree in dental hygiene develop skills to meet complex national and global health challenges in interprofessional education, knowledge-generation, information transfer, and health care for all members of society. Within a multidisciplinary, multicultural curricular framework that integrates theory, research, and practical experience, the competency-based program links goals and career aspirations of the student with relevant learning experiences, technologies, and resources to facilitate career advancement. Through specialized skills training, graduates are prepared to assume leadership roles necessary for quality professional dental hygiene care and advancing knowledge and practice.

Solutions to complex health problems need the participation of dental hygienists educated in community health, research, management, education, public policy, and advocacy, just to name a few. Therefore, the program offers distinct specialty areas in which students may specialize: education, administration/management, research, marketing, community health, global health and modeling and simulation. Although graduate education focuses on developing a specialty, such specialization is viewed as secondary to generating evidence-based knowledge and theory through research. Demand for master’s level dental hygienists in these key areas of specialization continues to be strong and students are able to develop competencies essential in today’s employment market.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the graduate program director to obtain additional information regarding requirements, experiential credit, cognate offerings, travel abroad, practica and externship opportunities. The program is available on campus, online, or as a hybrid of the two. Up to 12 approved graduate credit hours may be taken at another university and applied toward degree requirements, making this program one of the most flexible in the nation. The student-focused, nationally and internationally recognized faculty are committed to the educational preparation of dental hygienists leading to degrees at advanced levels; and the opportunity to segue to doctoral education in health services research within the College of Health Sciences. This program is available on-campus and online.