Bachelor of Science Degree Completion

About the Program

The College of Health Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene through our Degree Completion Program.  A graduate of the fully online program is qualified to be any of the following:

  • a Clinical Dental Hygienist
  • and a Dental Hygiene teacher,
  • or administrator among other options.

Settings in which the graduate may practice include: educational programs: local, state, and national, voluntary and governmental health agencies, hospitals, clinics, and the armed forces.  


The Intended Program and Learning Outcomes are:

  • to provide a vehicle by which graduates of the AAS Program may earn a BS degree in dental hygiene while employed as practitioners.

  • to provide opportunities for students to explore various occupational settings such as:

    1. Public Health: Community Health programs are typically funded by government or nonprofit organizations. These positions often offer an opportunity to provide care to those who otherwise would not have access to dental care. Educational requirements vary. As more community health programs emerge, the need for dental hygienists with advanced education and training is necessary. Typically these positions require a bachelor’s degree. Examples of clinical employment settings include:
      1. Clinician
      2. Rural or inner city community clinics
      3. Indian Health Service
      4. Head Start programs
      5. School sealant programs
      6. Administrator
      7. State Public Health Officer
      8. Community Clinic Administrator
    2. Clinician:  Dental hygienists in a clinical role assess, diagnose, plan, implement, evaluate and document treatment for prevention, intervention, and control of oral diseases, while practicing in collaboration with other health professionals. Educational requirement is an entry-level (associate or bachelor) degree. Examples of clinical employment settings include:
      1. Private dental practices
      2. Community clinics
      3. Hospitals
      4. University dental clinics
      5. Prison facilities
      6. Nursing homes
      7. Schools
    3. Educator: Dental Hygiene educators are in great demand. Colleges and universities throughout the U. S. require dental hygiene instructors who use educational theory and methodology to educate a cadre of competent oral health professionals. Corporations also employ educators who provide continuing education to licensed dental hygienists. Typical education requirements are listed below. Examples of dental hygiene educators include:
      1. Clinical Instructors:  Must possess a bachelor degree.
      2. Classroom Instructors:  Must have a bachelor or graduate degree.
      3. Program Directors:  Must have a graduate or doctoral degree.
      4. Corporate Educators:  Education requirements vary by corporation.
    4. Administrator:  Dental hygienists in administrative positions apply organizational skills, communicate objectives,identify and manage resources, and evaluate and modify programs of health, education and health care. Educational requirements vary by position; however, most require a graduate or doctoral degree. Examples of administrative positions held by dental hygienists include:
      1. Clinical Director, statewide school sealant program
      2. Program Director, dental hygiene program
      3. Executive Director, state association staff
      4. Research Administrator, university
      5. Director, corporate sales
    5. Corporate:  Corporate dental hygienists are employed by companies that support the oral health industry through the sale of products and services. Leaders throughout the dental industry often employ dental hygienists due to their clinical experience and understanding of dental practice. Educational requirements vary. Some corporate dental hygienists may have an associate degree with 2 years experience; however, a bachelor degree is preferred. Examples of corporate positions include:  
      1. Sales Representatives
      2. Product Researchers
      3. Corporate Educators
      4. Corporate Administrators
    6. Researcher: Research conducted by dental hygienists can be either qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative research is the process of collecting and analyzing numerical data to find patterns, make predictions and test relationships. Qualitative research is the study of phenomena and helps answer questions about behaviors. Education requirement is a bachelor degree; however a graduate or doctoral degree is preferred. Examples of employment settings for dental hygienist researchers include:
      1. Colleges and universities
      2. Corporations
      3. Governmental agencies
      4. Nonprofit organizations
      5. Researcher 
    7. Entrepreneur: By using imagination and creativity to initiate or finance new commercial enterprises, dental hygienists have become successful entrepreneurs in a variety of businesses. Educational requirement is an entry-level (associate or bachelor degree) Some examples of business opportunities developed by dental hygienists include:
      1. Practice Management Company
      2. Product Development & Sales
      3. Employment Service
      4. CE Provider or Meeting Planner
      5. Consulting Business
      6. Founder of a Nonprofit
      7. Independent Clinical Practice
      8. Professional Speaker/Writer
  • provide opportunities for further study at the graduate level.


Applicants for this program must already be a Registered Dental Hygienist.  

Acceptance into the Degree Completion Program may be accomplished by:

  1. Meeting the requirements for admission after completion of the 79 credit hours associated with the AAS degree in Dental Hygiene at TSU
  2. Meeting the requirements for admission after graduating from another Commission on Dental Accreditation, (CODA) accredited AAS degree program in dental hygiene. 

All applicants must submit the folloawing data ( Applicaiton Pack et) to the department of Dental Hygiene by the final application deadline June 15th

  1. A 2.5 grade point average in clinical dental hygiene courses and a minimum overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. (Applicants with grade point averages higher than the minimum may be given priority in acceptance.)
  2. Two letters of recommendation from dental hygiene faculty persons who taught the applicant. One letter must attest to the clinical competencies of the applicant.
  3. Official college transcript (s).
  4. A complete health evaluation on the official forms provided by the Department of Dental Hygiene.
  5. The following advanced Dental Hygiene courses require National Board Certification and/or licensure: DHYG 4200, 4210, 4340, 4350, 4420, 4430 and 4999 before enrollent in these courses will be permitted.

  In order to apply for the B.S. Completion program, you must first graduate from an Associates Program and successfully pass your National and Regional Dental Hygiene Board exams and acquire your Dental Hygiene License.  Students may not schedule any core DHYG courses in the Bachelor Completion program before being accepted into the B.S. Completion Program.

Curriculum Map

View Curriculum Map


All applicants for the online BS Degree Completion must submit the following data to the department of Dental Hygiene by the final application deadline June 15th.

*Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene must successfully completed all course work in an AAS program in dental hygiene. See the courses listed in the TSU plan for AAS Degree in Dental Hygiene.

Direct Correspondence to:

Prof. Gary Lewis, Program Chair

Prof. Janice Williams, Faculty

Prof. Gwendolyn Battiste, Faculty

Prof. Illean Brandt, Faculty

Prof. Toya Stoudemire, Faculty 


The Dental Hygiene Associate of Applied Science Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (and has been granted the accreditation status of "approval without reporting requirements"). The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.

Statement of Affirmative Action 
Tennessee State University, in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex in any of its policies or procedures. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, persons needing assistance with these materials should contact the Department of Dental Hygiene.