Why UNMC College of Dentistry Postgraduate Programs?

Supportive Learning Community  |  Diverse Patient Base  |  Extraordinary Opportunities

UNMC College of Dentistry Orthodontic Residency Program

The UNMC College of Dentistry has offered fully accredited advanced education programs in orthodontics since 1951. The program leads to a certificate of specialization in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. This certificate satisfies the requirements of the American Board of Orthodontics for eligibility to complete Phase I and take the Phase II written examination to become board eligible toward the ultimate goal of becoming a diplomate.

Length of Program: 30 months
Application Deadline: September 1
Start Date: July 1
Positions Available: 3
Location: UNMC College of Dentistry, Lincoln, Nebraska

Why study orthodontics?

Orthodontists experience the satisfaction, privilege and joy of enhancing their patients smiles to improve their oral function (biting, chewing, speaking) and appearance, and to increase their self-confidence. Orthodontics is a rewarding and challenging career that offers a wealth of benefits, including building relationships with patients, exercising creativity in daily work, working as part of a team, and helping to eliminate oral health disparities. Many orthodontists own their own businesses and every day have the privilege of transforming their patients’ lives by improving their oral health.

Why the UNMC College of Dentistry Orthodontic Residency Program?

Core Topics Covered

Comprehensive Physical Diagnosis and Treatment Planning, Craniofacial Growth and Development, Dentofacial Deformities, Orthodontic and Endodontic/Periodontic/Prosthodontic/Surgical Interaction, Principles of Mechanics, Research, Temporomandibular Disorders and Orofacial Pain

Skills Students Develop

Critical thinking and problem-solving, clinical diagnosis and treatment planning, clinical hand skills (fine motor skills), patient communication, practice management and research.

Career Opportunities

Private Practice, Practice Owner, Public Health (public health agencies, community health clinics and schools), Research, Teaching

Applicant Process 

Applicant Eligibility
Students accepted for postgraduate training in orthodontics must have a professional dental degree from an ADA-accredited college or school or from a non-U.S./Canadian students dental college or school. Provisional acceptance may be offered to candidates in the final stages of dental education.

Selection Factors
Preference is given to those who have adequate preparation and aptitude. Applications for the program are considered on the basis of the following factors:

  • Grade point average
  • Class standing
  • Pattern of academic achievement
  • National Board Examination Scores
  • Advanced education
  • Research experience
  • Recommendations
  • Meaningful extracurricular activities
  • State of residence
  • Personal statement of goals (include explanation for choice of graduate field, expectations for learning in your chosen field of study, and anticipated career goals)
  • Other supporting evidence such as a CV or resume

Applicants from countries where English is not the native language are required to score a minimum of 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to be eligible to apply for admission. Non-U.S. applicants must submit a financial data sheet.

Applicant Process

  1. Online application through the Postdoctoral Application Support Service (PASS), a central application service. With PASS, applicants complete one standard application which is then distributed to each of the participating programs to which the applicant wishes to apply. PASS deals with the initial stages of the recruitment process prior to the evaluation of applicants by the programs. PASS has been designed by and is administered by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).
  2. Submit supplemental application and $50 application fee. Instructions to submit online will be sent to you by email after you have submitted your application through PASS.
  3. Interviews of selected candidates.
  4. Matching of candidates and programs through the Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program - National Matching Services.

The didactic and clinical curricula are designed to allow an individual to develop skills required of the practicing orthodontist. ADA CODA approval granted as of February 1, 2008.

  • Introduction to Orthodontic Clinic
  • Cephalometrics
  • Principles of Mechanics
  • Clinical Orthodontic Seminar
  • Orthodontic Clinic
  • Project Planning and Design
  • Research
  • Clinical Management of Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Current Literature
  • Craniofacial Growth and Development
  • Biophysical Principles
  • Advanced Anatomy
  • Advanced Oral Biology
  • Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Dentofacial Deformities
  • Biostatistics
  • Practice Management
  • Temporomandibular Disorders and Orofacial Pain
  • Orthodontic and Periodontic Interaction
  • Orthodontic and Endodontic Interaction
  • Orthodontic and Prosthodontic Interaction
  • Orthodontic and Surgical Interaction
  • Advanced Dental Biomaterials
  • Advanced Oral Pathology
  • Postgraduate Seminar Series

Students must concurrently enroll in, and complete, the master of science degree program.

Master's Program
A requirement for the attainment of a certificate of specialization in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is the completion of the requirements for a master of science degree.

The program leading to a M.S. degree is awarded by the Graduate College through the College of Dentistry in the Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area (MSIA) graduate program. The program consists of expanded course-work, the conduct of an approved research project, the submission of a formal thesis and of a publishable article to a refereed journal. The program usually requires a minimum of 30 months to complete.

The M.S. degree program is administrated by the Graduate College and is not administratively related to the certificate program; there is no clinical component, and extra course work may be required depending on the student's area of study. However, the certificate of specialization program completion is contingent on completion of a M.S. degree program.

An application to the Graduate College for the M.S. program must be completed by the student to take the graduate degree program concurrently. Applicants are required to seek a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) so they must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College and the MSIA Program. 

Ph.D. Program
A program may be designed that combines a certificate and a Ph.D. through the Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area in one of the participating departments, such as Oral Biology. Extra time will be needed to meet the requirements of the Ph.D. degree. This program is structured for an individual planning on a full-time career in academics and research.

Program Requirements 

In addition to the program of study required by the Postgraduate Education Committee, the following are expected to be satisfactorily completed during the training program and prior to the granting of the Certificate of Specialization in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

Professional Presentations
During the Spring Semester of the first year, each student will be required to present at the annual session of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). During the Spring Semester of the second year, each student will be required to present at the annual Midwest Student Biomedical Research Forum, at the College of Dentistry's annual Student Scientific Program and at the AAO annual session. In the second year, students will be encouraged to present at the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research. In the Fall Semester of the third year, each student will be required to present at a designated meeting of the Lincoln Orthodontic Society.

Emergencies and Pain Control
The College of Dentistry has determined that a course in Emergencies and Pain Control and participation on the CODE BLUE team and the After Hours Emergency Care Program are parts of the academic program for all postgraduate students who are eligible for licensure in Nebraska and who accept GME funding. The course will be scheduled during the first year as a required course for all new postgraduate students.

An objective standardized clinical examination (OSCE) will be given to students annually in order to help monitor their progress and identify strengths and deficiencies. A departmental clinical comprehensive examination will be given to all third-year residents during the Fall Semester. Details of the examination procedure will be available at least six weeks prior to the scheduled time and will follow a format similar to that of the American Board of Orthodontics.

Participation in undergraduate teaching is a required activity for second year postgraduate students. A regular or temporary Nebraska Dental License is mandatory for postgraduate students who are eligible for licensure in Nebraska. Teaching experience under the supervision of faculty will be available to students who graduated from Non-U.S./Canadian dental schools and are not eligible for licensure in Nebraska.

Research Project
A research project is required. The project is part of the requirement for an advanced academic degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) and the complete M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation must be received and approved by the Graduate College before the Certificate of Specialization will be awarded.

Off-Site Education
Clinical experiences for students include a periodic rotation to participate with the Boys Town National Research Hospital Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Team where students will evaluate and plan treatment for children with craniofacial birth defects.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry policy requires that all entering students in programs requiring patient contact must be vaccinated or exhibit active immunity to tetanus, measles, mumps, diphtheria, chicken pox, polio, rubella and hepatitis B and have had a TB skin test within the last six months, unless the student has a previous positive test/medical contraindication. Each entering student must verify at the time of matriculation that he or she has completed the accepted routine of vaccinations. An immunization record is required in order for the student to be registered. Anyone born after 1957 is required to have two measles shots to assure immunity, with the second one given after 1980.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Each student is required to be certified and maintain certification in basic CPR. A copy of the valid certification in basic CPR must be maintained at the College of Dentistry.

Stipend and Employee Status 

Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding allocations by UNMC must be established before resident stipends for the year can be established. Residents will be assigned a 1.0 FTE status which makes them eligible for a flexible benefit package which includes choices among health, life and disability insurance. Future income is contingent upon continued availability of federal funds and, therefore, is subject to change at any time.

Tuition Scholarships
GME-eligible postgraduate students are considered full-time employees of the University and, as such, are eligible for employee tuition scholarships for graduate credit hours. This permits the GME-eligible student to enroll for up to 15 credit hours per year. No more than 6 credit hours may be taken in each of the fall and spring semesters, and three credit hours may be taken in the summer. Established postgraduate fees for the postgraduate program will continue.

Student Loans and Loan Deferment
Postgraduate students are considered students of the College of Dentistry for financial aid purposes. Postgraduate students may get financial aid information from the UNMC Financial Aid Office. Student loan payments for postgraduate students can be deferred.

Vacation/Sick Leave
Postgraduate students who accept stipends shall have ten (10) scheduled working days of paid leave per year. Leave includes vacation and sick leave. Leave in excess of ten (10) days per year must be taken as Leave Without Pay from the College or as Family Leave. Students who do not have stipends shall have ten (10) scheduled working days of leave per year for vacation and/or sick leave with provision for Family Leave as per University policies. Leave requests must be submitted as per the policies of the program and the College. Students have additional vacation days that do not count toward the 10-day limit when the University is closed (e.g., the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, but not including spring break or spring/summer semester break).

Private Practice
Private practice of dentistry is not permitted under any circumstances at any time while a postgraduate student is in this postgraduate program unless there has been specific approval from the Program Director and the Director of Postgraduate and Graduate Dental Education.

State of Nebraska Residency
As employees of the University, GME-eligible postgraduate students are considered to be residents of the State of Nebraska. Ordinarily students who are not GME-eligible may be considered not residents of the State of Nebraska.

Non-U.S./Canadian Degree Students
Foreign-trained dentists (non U.S./Canadian dental degree) may apply for the postgraduate program. The following financial stipulations normally apply for foreign-trained dentists who are accepted and enrolled in the postgraduate program. They are not eligible to receive a GME funded stipends or benefits. An individual who moves to Nebraska primarily to enroll in a post-secondary institution will be considered a nonresident for tuition purposes for the duration of his or her attendance.

Program Costs 

2020-21 Program Costs

For postgraduate students with a U.S. or Canadian dental degree, and Nebraska residents.

Clinical Fees
$2,806 Fall Term (July 1-December 31)
$2,806 Spring Term (January 1-June 30)
$5,612 Per Year

Equipment Assessment
$2,050 Per Year

Orthodontic Course
$2,500 Per Year

$10,162 Per Year

One time $30 fee for background check.

Residents are expected to provide their own Canon EOS Rebel XSI (12mp) camera equipped for intra-oral high-quality photos (Mini Macro Ring and Point Flash) by the beginning of clinic during fall of the first year in the program.

Professional Liability 

The University of Nebraska has professional liability insurance covering all students within the College of Dentistry. Current coverage is $1,000,000 per person, per occurrence, with a $100,000 deductible. The University provides self insurance for the $100,000 deductible through the University's general and professional liability insurance program.

Nebraska Licensure 

Postgraduate students who are eligible for licensure in Nebraska and who accept GME funding are expected to obtain a Nebraska Dental License (temporary or regular) and federal and state DEA licenses before October 15 of the year of the commencement of their program so that they can participate in the After Hours Emergency Care Program. The postgraduate student must document efforts to obtain licensure to the Postgraduate Admissions Office by July 15. Failure to obtain Nebraska Dental License and federal and state DEA licenses by October 15 may result in a reduction of duties and reduction or elimination of stipend.

It is possible for a student who has graduated from an ADA-accredited (American or Canadian) dental school to obtain a temporary Nebraska dental license during the time he or she is enrolled as a full time postgraduate student. The temporary license is only for practice-related activities within the College of Dentistry and does not allow extramural private practice. After acceptance into the postgraduate program, licensure information may be obtained from the State of Nebraska Department of Health, Bureau of Examining Boards.

For a regular license, the State Board accepts the results of the clinical examination given by the Central Regional Dental Testing Service. The State Board also has provisions for licensure by credentials for individuals licensed in other states.

Statement of Equal Educational Opportunity 

In accordance with University policy, UNMC prohibits the denial of admission or of Medical Center privileges to students or applicants on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability or religious or political beliefs. These privileges include but are not limited to admission, class assignments, scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, and financial aid, as well as housing and recreational facilities. Furthermore, student organizations must base their selection of students for membership in criteria which will not include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.

Admittance to UNMC programs will not be denied to otherwise qualified disabled individuals solely by reason of their disability. Qualified disabled persons are those who meet the academic and technical standards for each program. These nonacademic skills are essential to successful program completion.

In summary, UNMC policies are in accord with:

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972
  • Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Sections 799A and 854 of the Public Health Services Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The objective of the University of Nebraska Medical Center is to recruit and retain persons of high moral and ethical character. In accordance with this objective, the University of Nebraska Medical Center reserves the right to review a candidate's suitability for admission.


Meenakshi (Minnie) Vishwanath, BDS, MDS, MDentSc
Interim Program Director
UNMC College of Dentistry
4000 East Campus Loop South
Lincoln, NE 68583-0740

Postgraduate Dental Programs
Julie Buss
UNMC College of Dentistry
4000 East Campus Loop South
Lincoln, NE 68583-0740