Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


School of Dental Medicine, 1899


Tufts School of Dental Medicine came into existence 1899 with the acquisition of the Boston Dental College by Tufts. For a number of years prior to Tufts' acquisition of the school, students at the Boston Dental College were able to enroll in first-year science courses at the Tufts Medical School. When, for a number of reasons, the Boston Dental College faced insurmountable difficulties in supporting its curriculum as desired by the faculty and trustees of that institution, overtures were made to Tufts and the union was made in short order. By the resulting agreement, Tufts acquired the assets, materials, facilities, and human resources of the Boston Dental College, which became the foundation on which the School of Dental Medicine was built.

The Boston Dental College was established in 1868 in quarters on Tremont Street in Boston. By 1880 the College had graduated 152 students. The curriculum placed considerable emphasis on the interrelationships between medicine and dentistry, with half of the professors holding medical degrees and a course of study requiring anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry, therapeutics, and dissection.

Upon its creation in 1899, the School of Dental Medicine operated in close coordination with the Tufts School of Medicine. Harold Williams, dean of the medical school, was appointed dean of the dental school, and several faculty held joint appointments in both schools. Close instructional ties were maintained between the medical and mental schools. Basic science classes were taught to medical and dental students separately but by the same faculty. For many years the medical and dental schools shared the same dean.

By 1912, the Dental School was the twelfth largest in the United States, and its graduates had attained the highest percentage of successful examinations - with a less than five percent failure rate - of any school before the state Boards of Examiners.

The absence of an endowment presented ongoing difficulties, with little funding available to support research or scholarships. Tuition revenues served as the main source of income for the school.

Admission required a high school education until 1921, when criteria were changed and one year of college work was required. To addressthe problem of underprepared entering students, a pre-dental program was established at Tufts in1921 to bring Tufts into line with the requirements of accrediting agencies. In 1927, in response to continued outside criticism of the pre-dental program, and its pre-medical counterpart, admission requirements were raised again to the level of a bachelor's degree and both preparatory programs were phased out, with the last students completing the course in Spring 1929.

The dental school's course of study was three years, though expanded to four years in 1900.It has remained a four year curriculum except in the 1970s when a three year course of study that enrolled students year-round was tried. It was discontinued in 1981.

The school confers the degree of Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.).As of 1998, the school had granted a total of 9,434 doctoral degrees.

The dental school moved with the medical school to the new building constructed for the purpose on Huntington Avenue in 1900, and subsequently to the current downtown Boston location. The School of Dental Medicine is located at One Kneeland Street on Tufts' Boston campus in a facility constructed to house the school in 1973.

Source: LOH 1; LOH 2; FB

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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