Support for dental students

Bursary available for those who need to repeat a year.

A bursary of up to £6,750 will be offered to dental students who will have to repeat a year.

The support will help mitigate the financial impact on students following the necessary decision taken by Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow Dental Schools to defer graduation.

Due to the restrictions introduced to protect people from Coronavirus (COVID-19) final year dental students have not been able to gain sufficient clinical experience of aerosol generating procedures to allow them to graduate this year. Aerosol generating procedures were restricted as they often result in the release of airborne particles.

Graduation for students at Dundee and Glasgow Dental Schools will be deferred until summer 2022 with all current year groups repeating the 2020-21 academic year.  Graduation for students in final year at Aberdeen will be deferred until Christmas 2021 and all other students will repeat the 2020-21 academic year.

Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon said:

“This difficult but necessary decision by Scotland’s Dental Schools will be extremely disappointing news for dental students across the country. This is not their fault and that is why the Scottish Government is doing all we can to support them and ensure they do not suffer financially.

“Due to the potential risk of spreading COVID from aerosol generating procedures, dental training has had to be restricted and many students have not gained the necessary clinical experience this year which has resulted in the difficult decision to defer graduation. To ensure dental students who have to repeat a year are supported, we are giving each student an extra year’s bursary to the value to of their normal student loan of up to £6,750.

“Aerosol procedures are common in dentistry placements and unusual in other student placements. Therefore we are assured that despite the wider impact on clinical placements for other controlled entry university subjects, such as medicine, nursing and midwifery, students on those courses will not be required to repeat a year and any extensions to their programmes will be covered by other arrangements.

“The quality and calibre of dental treatment in Scotland is outstanding and it needs to be protected by taking the appropriate measures in education to ensure future dental professionals have reached the General Dental Council’s standard of clinical competence and can enter the workforce with confidence.”


Students should contact their Dental Schools for further guidance.

To help mitigate the impact of repeating a year of study, dental students who will have to repeat a year will have the opportunity to apply for a bursary to the value of their normal student loan award which varies depending on household income, from £4,750 to £6,750. 

Students with particular circumstances will continue to be eligible for other sources of bursary support such as the Dental Student Support Grant and SAAS bursaries. Students can also apply for a student loan if they wish.

Scottish Ministers have accepted a recommendation from the Deans of the Dental Schools at the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow that Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) controlled-entry students will not be graduating this summer.  This difficult decision has been reached following an assessment of the students’ access to clinical experience during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This has been assessed by the Deans as being insufficient to reach the level of clinical expertise necessary for General Dental Council registration, and, more importantly, for safe practice. 

The Scottish Government have been assured by the Scottish Medical Schools that all medical students will graduate in Summer 2021, apart from a few who may not be able to do so because of personal circumstances.


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