Join a flexible MSc in Special Care Dentistry you can study online.

Learn to provide holistic dental care for patients with special care needs.

Join our Institute of Dentistry online to develop your theoretical knowledge, clinical expertise, and confidence in special care dentistry.

No need for a career break

This flexible online degree is designed to fit around your existing practice. Teaching is delivered part-time online, in combination with in-practice learning.

You’ll be encouraged to put your learning into practice immediately, effectively improving your way of working.

With our support, you’ll develop your skills and understanding in:

  • special care dentistry
  • the patient-centred approach to care
  • a range of conditions and disabilities
  • critical thinking, care planning and delivery from evidenced sources
  • research and appraisal.

Outstanding expertise

In this robust and established degree, you’ll learn from professionals who are delivering special care dentistry services day-to-day, all highly experienced specialists in the field.

Grow your professional network

Peer learning and networking are central to this degree. You’ll have access to academic staff from the Institute of Dentistry, as well as the opportunity to learn from and share your experiences with other dental professionals on the programme.

Start with a postgraduate certificate or diploma in Special Care Dentistry

In this modular degree, busy dentists can choose to study for a one-year postgraduate certificate, two-year postgraduate diploma, or a full MSc in Special Care Dentistry.

You can work your way up through these qualifications at a flexible pace. You have six years to complete the full MSc programme, and can take breaks along the way.

Who can join this MSc in Special Care Dentistry?

This distance-learning degree is designed for qualified, registered dentists.

You need to be working in practice currently, as you’ll use your experiences in current practice as part of your learning.

By the end of this degree, you’ll be able to...

  • Provide the highest quality of special care dentistry.
  • Establish principles that promote self-criticism and monitoring.
  • Assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of care.
  • Apply an evidence-based approach to your clinical practice.
  • Reflect critically on the relationships between theory and practice.
  • Gather relevant data and literature from a range of sources.
  • Carry out critical assessments of relevant literature.
  • Evidence that you have contributed to professional development at both a personal and local level.

Choose the University of Aberdeen for online special care dentistry courses

Fits around full-time work

This degree fits around full-time work, with flexible hours and 24/7 study access.

Over 525 years of excellence

You’ll graduate from the fifth-oldest university in the English-speaking world, founded in 1495.

NHS and alumni discounts

NHS staff get 10% off this online degree. University of Aberdeen alumni get 20% off.

What you’ll study

You’ll study the following courses that make up the 180 credits of this Masters degree.

You can also choose to exit early, earning a:

  • Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), or
  • Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits).

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance-learning special care dentistry degree is delivered flexibly, 100% online.

You can learn with us anywhere, no student visa required, and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

Teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of online resources available, including:

  • videos
  • pre-recorded video lectures
  • live online sessions
  • workbooks
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with your tutors and peers
  • online access to our libraries, including the award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Live online sessions

You’ll have live online sessions, which are spaced throughout your studies. These sessions are a great place to meet and share experiences with fellow professionals, as well as academic staff.

They’ll feature breakout rooms, presentations and discussions. Attendance is mandatory, and some sessions will be recorded for later viewing.

In-practice learning

Through in-practice learning, you’ll build your clinical experience and put your online learning into practice. You’ll prepare reports based on clients you’ve seen and submit these as part of your studies. You’ll also carry out interviews with patients and carers.

Your tutors

This online degree is delivered by the Institute of Dentistry with our School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, including:

Dr Lois Gall

Lois is a Senior Clinical Lecturer based at the Institute of Dentistry. Lois also works as a Senior Dental Officer for NHS Grampian, specialising in Special Care Dentistry.

View Lois’ profile

Dr Iain Bovaird

Iain is a Senior Lecturer in our Institute of Dentistry. He has been working in special care dentistry since 1994.

Iain works clinically with special care patients in Aberdeenshire and is the Clinical Lead for the NHS Grampian Managed Clinical Network for Oral and Dental Health.

View Iain’s profile

This degree is assessed online.

We’ll use several types of assessment throughout your studies, including:

Formative assessments

  • A patient pathway for a Special Care group
  • A health promotion programme
  • Literature review of a topic of interest

Summative assessments

  • Case studies of two patients you have seen during the course within your own practice
  • Review of a log book of 5-10 patients you have seen during your studies
  • A single best answer paper

Live online sessions

Live sessions will take place throughout each academic year. The number of teaching days featuring live sessions each year will be:

  • PgCert year: 20 days
  • PgDip year: 13 days
  • Dissertation year: 6 days.

Session times will be organised flexibly. Your course coordinator will consider everyone’s circumstances and time zones before setting up session times.

Hours for taught courses

Each 15-credit course that’s part of this degree totals approximately 150 hours of study and assessment time. That’s around 10 – 15 hours per week.

This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes. This includes time for independent study, as well as teaching and assessments.

You can largely set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.

Activities at fixed times

There will be some activities scheduled at fixed times, including live sessions and assessments with deadlines. But otherwise, you can access and work through each course at your convenience.

Hours for 60-credit dissertation

A 60-credit dissertation is around 600 hours of study time. That’s around 20 hours per week per term.

You’ll work on your dissertation part-time over three terms.

Presenting your dissertation on campus

Approximately six weeks before the final submission date, you’ll join us on-campus in Aberdeen to present your dissertation findings and results so far.

You need to attend this session in person if you live in the UK. If you live outside the UK, you can attend remotely if personal attendance is not possible.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your tutors via MyAberdeen and email. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.

We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.

When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.

But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.

Your most important commitment will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.

Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your studies each week:

  • Be realistic
  • Create a weekly schedule as a guide

If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.

We’re a member of the Access scheme run by the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL).

Access study spaces, books and journals in your area

The SCONUL Access scheme allows you, as a University of Aberdeen student, to access books and resources at university libraries across the UK and Ireland, or visit them for a quiet place to study.

You’ll be able to use study spaces, books and journals at over 150 university libraries which belong to the scheme.

Find out about the SCONUL Access scheme for libraries.

Your support team

Our friendly team are here to answer any queries you have before, during and after your studies.

Dr Iain Bovaird

Iain is the degree coordinator. He’ll be on hand to answer questions about degree content before you start and to help you throughout your studies.

Mithila Mohan

Mithila is part of the School’s postgraduate teaching support team. She’ll be there throughout your studies to answer any of your non-academic queries.

Get in touch

The online education team is here to answer any questions you have right now about this qualification, or about studying online.

Ask us a question

Where this will take you

Your MSc Special Care Dentistry qualification

You’ll graduate with a respected MSc in Special Care Dentistry from the University of Aberdeen, one of the UK’s six ancient universities.

Your degree title will not mention online or distance learning.

Your MSc qualification will be recognised by employers and educational institutions around the world.

Careers in special care dentistry

Your qualification in Special Care Dentistry will help you move into or progress within a career in this growing area of dentistry.

The public dental service will often look for a postgraduate qualification when looking to appoint senior dental officers.

Through your studies, you’ll have grown your professional network, making career connections along the way.

And you’ll have developed your skills, knowledge and confidence in delivering a patient-centred approach to care.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

You’ll receive a table of your activity during each year of your studies, which will have all the appropriate data to enable it to be used as verifiable CPD for the General Dental Council

Other employers or professional institutes may also recognise this programme for CPD. Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Lifelong career support

Our career support doesn’t stop when you graduate.

You have access to our free careers service while you study, and beyond.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

Fees and funding

The fees quoted above are based on you starting your studies with us in the 2024/25 academic year.

We have confirmed that our fees will rise by 5% for the 2025/26 academic year. Our indicative costs include a 5% fee rise each year.

Pay as you go

This is a pay-as-you-go degree.

You do not have to pay the full tuition fee upfront.

You can spread the cost and pay as you go, term by term.

How it works

  • You decide how many credits to study for each term.
  • At the start of term, you pay only for the credits you’re taking that term.
  • This gives you control over your costs and workload for each term of your degree.

Your personalised cost breakdown

Use the degree scheduler to plan your studies and see your cost breakdown, term by term.

Learning resources

Access to all the essential books and resources you need are included in your tuition fee. They’ll be made available to you online and you do not have to buy your own copies.

We also provide optional recommended reading lists. Many of these resources are available electronically through our library, although purchases may be required if you wish to read the full list.

On-campus dissertation presentation

If you are based in the UK, you’ll need to join us on campus at the University of Aberdeen at the end of your studies to present your dissertation. You will have to pay for your own travel and accommodation to attend if required.


You may want to set aside a small budget for printing, depending on how you like to work.

There are several ways you may be able to get help funding your studies:

Find out more about funding options.

Student card

All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.

20% Alumni discount

You’re entitled to 20% off our postgraduate taught degrees and short courses if you have a degree from the University of Aberdeen. View Alumni discount details.

10% NHS discount

NHS staff receive 10% off online postgraduate degrees and short courses offered by our School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition; our School of Psychology; and our ILM leadership courses. View NHS discount details.

How discounts work

Discounts are applied during your application process. Only one discount can be used per application. If you are eligible for more than one discount, we will apply the largest discount for you.

Choose the University of Aberdeen for flexible online dentistry courses

Earn as you learn

We fit around full-time work, so you can earn qualifications while you keep earning a salary.

You’re in expert hands

We’ve been delivering online and distance learning for decades.

Learn anywhere

On smartphone, desktop and laptop, with no need for a student visa.

Entry requirements

MSc, PgDip, PgCert

This degree is for qualified dentists with interest and experience of treating patients with a special care need.

To join us for this degree, you should:

  • hold a BDS or equivalent dental degree
  • have been qualified for at least four years
  • be working in practice currently
  • be registered by the General Dental Council (or equivalent in your country) and have appropriate clinical experience.

You apply through our online Applicant Portal. It allows you to upload relevant qualifications and documents.

There is no application fee for our online degrees.

Documents you’ll need to apply for this degree

  • Personal statement
  • CV / Resume
  • Degree transcript
  • Degree certificate
  • Employer reference
  • Evidence of registration with the General Dental Council, or equivalent in your country


You will need a reference from your current or most recent employer stating their support and your suitability for attending this degree. If self-employed, the reference is not necessary.

Apply now

Start with our step-by-step guide. It explains degree transcripts, what to write in your personal statement and how to use our Applicant Portal.

Apply as early as you can. This is so we have time to review your application and get a decision to you. We also want to ensure you have time to enrol before teaching starts.

September 2024 intake

For our September 2024 intake, the application deadline is 8 September 2024.

You will need to accept your offer and provide any outstanding documents to meet the conditions of your offer by 15 September 2024.

Teaching starts on 23 September 2024.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

See the minimum entry requirements above. If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check equivalent qualifications from your country.

Visa requirements

You do not need a student visa to study online with us.

English language requirements

Teaching is delivered in English.

If English is not your first language, use our English requirements checklist to see if you need to provide evidence of your English language skills when you apply.

English language tests and scores

If you do need to provide English language test scores, these are the tests and minimum scores we accept.

These are our Postgraduate Higher requirements.

IELTS Academic, IELTS UKVI Academic, and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)

  • 6.5 overall
  • 5.5 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition

  • 90 overall
  • 17 for listening
  • 21 for reading
  • 20 for speaking
  • 21 for writing
  • TOEFL DI code is 0818

Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency

  • 176 overall
  • 162 for listening and speaking
  • 169 for reading and writing

LanguageCert Academic/LanguageCert Academic SELT

  • 70 overall
  • 60 for listening and speaking
  • 65 for reading and writing

LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken) – Online / In-centre

  • Overall High Pass
  • 33 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 38 for writing

Oxford ELLT Digital – English Language Level Test Online

  • 7.0 overall
  • 5.0 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

PTE Academic (online test not accepted)

  • 62 overall
  • 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing

For more information about language qualifications see our English Language Requirements page.

You will need access to:

A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

Most teaching materials are smartphone- and tablet-friendly. But we recommend a proper laptop or desktop for completing assignments comfortably.

Reliable internet access

We recommend:

  • a wired connection
  • a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps so you can take part fully in live sessions.

Speakers or headphones

  • We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
  • A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one for some interactive sessions.


We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.

If your course requires specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

See our detailed IT requirements for more information.

Try our degree scheduler

Choose your courses

Choose your courses

See all the courses that are part of this degree and choose what you want to study.

Manage your study schedule

Manage your study schedule

Control the pace and cost of your degree. Decide how much you want to study each term.

Save to your wishlist

Save to your wishlist

Save your schedule to your wishlist so you can view and edit anytime.

Customise your degree

Master of Science

180 credits


This indicative cost is based on 180 credits of study over three years, starting in September 2024.

Apply for this programme

Start month

This indicative cost is based on 180 credits of study over three years, starting in September 2024.

Apply via our Applicant Portal
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