Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
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