Oral Health: Bachelor of Health Science

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Oral health is a vital part of general health for all New Zealanders. As more is understood about the links between oral and systemic health in people, it has become vital that oral health and disease prevention messages are promoted widely to our communities. By successfully completing the AUT oral health degree you will become a dual-trained oral health practitioner (you can register as a dental hygienist and a dental therapist with the Dental Council of New Zealand). You will be at the forefront of the changing oral health profession.

AUT's degree in oral health provides you with both pre-clinical experience in our oral health simulation laboratory, as well as extensive clinical experience at AUT’s on-campus oral health clinic and Auckland Regional Dental Service (ARDS) clinics. You get to explore and understand the diverse field of preventative and rehabilitative oral health care, with a lot of real world application such as completing oral health promotion projects within communities around Auckland and undertaking a national or international community placement in your third year of study. At least half of your three years of learning is focused on clinical practice.

Want to enrol in a programme: Apply online

Quick facts

Code: AK3113
Level of study: 7
Points: 360
Duration: 3 years full-time
Venue: North Campus
Fees: General Course fees and Additional fees
Start date: 26 February 2018

AUT encourages early application. This qualification will remain open until all places have been filled.

Admission and entry requirements

Selection criteria

  • Preference will be given to applicants with the highest rank scores and/or accomplishments in the relevant field
  • Interview may be required
  • Secondary school subjects preferred for specific clinical areas are: Biology, Physical Education and one subject from Classical Studies, Drama, English, Geography, Health Education, History, History of Art, Media Studies, Social Studies


Below is a summary. For a comprehensive overview of the AUT oral health degree, please refer to the Academic Calendar

Year 1

You are introduced to basic human sciences and learn about health in Aotearoa New Zealand with an emphasis on communication skills, health promotion in general and specific oral health promotion and disease prevention messages. You will have the opportunity to learn and practise early pre-clinical skills in a simulation laboratory. Visits to our on-campus Oral Health Clinic and to the ARDS clinics will introduce you to the clinical environment. You will design and implement an oral health promotion project in a community of need.

Semester 1 papers
HEAL504 Lifespan Development and Communication
HEAL505 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
HEAL506 Knowledge, Enquiry and Communication
HEAL507 Health and Environment OR MAOH501 Māori Health, Development and Environment

Semester 2 papers

HEAL609 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
ORAH501 Introduction to Oral Health Practice
ORAH601 Oral Health Promotion

Year 2

You continue to study human sciences with particular emphasis on the oral cavity. Generic and discipline-specific pharmacology is introduced in Semester 1. Knowledge and skills around restorative and hygiene practice procedures are further extended in the pre-clinical laboratory. Assessment and treatment of patients in the AIH (Akoranga Integrated Health) Oral Health clinic starts from week 7 of Semester 1 and in Auckland Regional Dental Service (ARDS) clinics in Semester 2. Health research methods are introduced and you will undertake research and oral health promotion projects.

Papers (core or compulsory)
PHMY701 Pharmacology for Professional Practice
HEAL610 Methods of Research and Enquiry
ORAH602 Oral Health I
ORAH603 Oral Biology and Pathology
ORAH604 Oral Health Assessment

Year 3

Your pre-clinical training will be completed to allow you to undertake clinical activities both on and off site. Your clinical environments have been designed to closely mimic the oral health environments that you are likely to encounter once you graduate. To ensure 'work readiness', you will undertake your oral health papers as well as papers focused on health law and professional practice and ethics.

Papers (core or compulsory)
HLAW701 Health Law and Policy
HEAL708 Professional Practice and Ethics
ORAH704 Oral Health II
ORAH705 Oral Health III

You will also be required to undertake a 15-point elective paper that allows you to pursue an area of interest.

Te Ara Hauora Māori papers

There are Māori health papers available if you wish to seek a career with a Māori development perspective.

MAOH501 Māori Health, Development and Environment (instead of HEAL507 Health and Environment)
MAOH701 Māori Health Promotion
MAOH702 Applied Primary Māori Mental Health
HEAL710 Utilising Supervision in Practice

We will support Te Ara Hauora Māori students to form relationships with Māori health providers, industry stakeholders and communities, and AUT Māori staff and students.

Career opportunities

Graduates will be highly skilled as dual qualified oral health practitioners with the ability to practise in private and public health settings. Once registered with the Dental Council of New Zealand, graduates provide oral health services to people of all ages within the dental hygiene and dental therapy scopes of practice.

Career opportunities include roles at DHBs throughout New Zealand, in private, general or specialist practice,  specifically in the area of oral health promotion or in the education sector. Your qualification is recognised in Australia and dual-qualified graduates are in high demand.

Graduates and students of health science

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Last updated: 13-Dec-2017 3.47pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.