A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Advanced Specialty Education Program in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

Program Director
Joseph M. Caruso, DDS, MS, MPH
Joseph M. Caruso DDS, MS, MPH
Associate Dean, Strategic Initiatives and
Faculty Practices
Professor and Chair Orthodontics and
Dentofacial Orthopedics

Associate Program Director
V. Leroy Leggitt, DDS, PhD, MS
V. Leroy Leggitt, DDS, PhD, MS
Professor of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

For a list of other Faculty for the Advanced Specialty Education Program in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, click here.

General Information

Accreditation status: "Approval" (next accreditation: 2016)
Length of program: 27 months in residence
Number of applicants accepted each year: Six (6)
Applications accepted as of: January 1st each year
Application deadline: August 1, 2016
Program start date: June 26, 2017

Application Method

Loma Linda University application: An LLU online application is mandatory
PASS application: Not applicable
Match application: Not applicable

Contact Information

Program phone number: (909) 651-3055
Clinic phone number: (909) 558-4616
Fax number: (909) 651-3093
E-mail: orthodept@llu.edu

Center for Dentistry and Orthodontics (CDO)
The Center for Dentistry and Orthodontics (CDO).

Program Description

The program is designed to prepare clinicians for a specialty practice in orthodontics and/or a career in dental education. Candidates apply for admission to the Master of Science (MS) degree track and later have the option of applying for a certificate as well. The content of the program conforms to the standards established by the American Board of Orthodontics, and graduates are educationally qualified for board certification.

The goals of the Advanced Specialty Education Program in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics are:

Goal 1 Students will have course work in biomedical sciences that is intended to provide the knowledge required to practice orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics as defined by our proficiency standard.
Goal 2 Students will have a clinical experience that is varied and demanding that will prepare them for the clinical practice of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics with emphasis in bioprogressive principles.
Goal 3 The student must perform research with the intent of providing the student an experience involving problem solving, critical thinking, research methodology, and scientific writing.
Goal 4 Students will be exposed to and participate in a teaching experience.
Goal 5 Students will be exposed to professional venues that encourage continued professional growth.

Graduate orthodontic clinic waiting room
J. Milford Anholm Graduate Orthodontic Clinic waiting room

Reception desk
J. Milford Anholm Graduate Orthodontic Clinic reception desk

Application and Admission Process

Advice to Applicants:

  • Start the application process as soon after January 1 as possible.

  • To ensure that your required documents can be linked to your file promptly and properly, submit an online application before requesting transcripts and test scores.

  • Request supporting documents early. It can take months for test scores, recommendation letters and other documents to be received, and all documents must be in by August 1.

  • Note that official documents (including transcripts and translations, test scores, IDP certificates, and letters showing GPA and class rank) must be sent directly from the issuing institution to Loma Linda University to be considered official; the applicant cannot personally mail or deliver such documents.

  • An application is not considered complete until all required supporting documents have been received. Only completed applications go to committee for consideration. This policy holds true for both U.S. and non-U.S. applicants. So please apply early.

Application Fee: $60 (paid online)

Invitation to interview - The departmental admission committee considers all applicants whose files are complete by the August 1 deadline and who meet the admissions requirements listed below. The committee selects candidates to interview,  and then the program director presents the candidates for review by the graduate admissions committee. The top candidates are invited for interviews, which typically take place in mid- to late October.

Admissions decisions -Candidates are notified of a decision as soon after interviews as possible.

Acceptance - Candidates offered admission are required to confirm their acceptance by submitting a non-refundable electronic deposit of $1,000. These funds will be applied towards tuition and fees for the first quarter of study.

Background check - Accepted students must undergo a background check in order to register and begin the program.

Health Clearance Information and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) Training - In order to register and begin the program, accepted students must receive health clearance from LLU's Student Health Service and must document that they are certified in healthcare provider CPR. Student Health clearance requirements include passing tests for PPD (tuberculosis), Hepatitis B and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).

Information regarding policies on blood-borne and infectious diseases is available as follows:
Federal OSHA (www.osha.gov) In search menu type: Bloodborne Pathogens 1910.1030
State Cal/OSHA (www.dir.ca.gov) In search menu type: Bloodborne Pathogens Standards 5193

Additional applications: After matriculating, students are required to submit a Faculty of Graduate Studies application (Form A) and an application to the certificate track (including a $60 application fee).

Operatory inside the J. Milford Anholm Graduate Orthodontic Clinic
One of 24 operatories in the J. Milford Anholm Graduate Orthodontic Clinic

Graduate orthodontics students study area
Graduate students' workstations

Admissions Requirements

Many documents may be submitted electronically via the online application system. Documents sent by mail should be addressed to one of the following offices.

Applicant should ask the issuing institutions to send official documents such as transcripts and transcript translations, GPA and class rank letter, test scores (GRE, NDBE, TOEFL, ect.) and IDP certification directly to:

Admissions Processing
11139 Anderson Street
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350

1.  Transcript(s)- Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions from which the applicant received credit are  required- regardless of whether the course pertained to a degree program. Transcripts must be sent directly by the issuing institution to Admissions Processing at the address given above.

Transcripts that are hand-carried or mailed by an applicant cannot be considered official even if in a sealed envelope and will continue to be recorded as missing.  

Applicants who have transcripts from non-US dental schools must submit a translated course-by-course transcript report from one of the following agencies listed below. (See International Transcript Information):

2.  GPA and class rank specified in a dean's letter- A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is required. Applicants must request that the dean of their dental school provide a letter indicating the applicants official GPA and class rank. This letter must be sent directly by the issuing institution. It may be submitted electronically using the online recommendation form. Note: The recommender will be sent a link directly to their e-mail to fill out the recommendation form online.

3.  Graduate Record Examination (GRE)- GRE scores from within the past five years are required for all applicants. Scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to Admissions Processing at the address given above.  When requesting GRE scores, please use the LLU Institutional Code: 4062. Applicants are advised to request results as early as possible; it can take 6-8 weeks for them to be received.

For information, test dates and locations, go to (ETS) at www.ets.org.

4.  National Board Dental Examination (NBDE)- Successful completion of the NBDE, Part I and Part II (when available) is required of all applicants, including dentists trained outside the US. Scores for Part I are due by August 1. Scores for Part II are to be submitted when taken. Applicants must have their scores sent directly from the American Dental Association to Admissions Processing at the address given above. Applicants are advised to Request NBDE scores as early as possible; it can take as long as two months for them to be received. Note that NBDE scores reported in a dean's letter cannot be accepted as official, except for LLU students and alumni.

5. Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores- An official DAT score report is required for all applicants. If the applicant has never applied to LLU before, he or she must go to the ADA website (www.ada.org) and request DAT scores to be released to our university. We will not be able to receive DAT scores electronically until the applicant releases them to us, as well as providing our office with their DentPIN also. Please complete this early as to allow time for the ADA to process the request.

6.  Letters of recommendation- Three letters of recommendation from individuals who have known and worked closely with the applicant are required. Letters must be program specific (i.e., support an applicant for the particular program to which he/she is seeking admission) and are valid for no more than two consecutive years. Note that the dean's letter (required in order to document your GPA and class rank) can count as one of the three letters of recommendation. Recommenders may submit letters electronically via the online application process.

7.  Curriculum vitae- Applicants must provide their curriculum vitae and have the option of submitting it electronically via the online application process..

8.  Dental license- All applicants to the Orthodontics Program who are not currently enrolled in a U.S. or Canadian dental school must have a current U.S. or Canadian dental license.

9. English proficiency examination- Regardless of nationality or citizenship, an applicant whose native language is not English or whose secondary education was given outside the US is required to pass one of the following English proficiency tests.

  • TOEFL: Scores are valid for two years from the test date. LLU's institutional code is 4062. The minimum acceptable score for the internet-based test is 80. For the hardcopy test, the minimum score is 550, including a final score of at least 5.0 on the Test of Written English (TWE portion).
  • IELTS: Scores are valid two years from the test date. The minimum acceptable score is 6.5.
  • MELAB: The minimum acceptable score is 77.

10. International Dentist Program (IDP)- All graduates of dental schools not accredited by the American Dental Association must complete an accredited International Dentist Program. *Applicants who have received an IDP certificate should have it sent directly from the issuing institution to Admissions Processing at the address given above. Interested applicants will find information on LLU's International Dentistry Program website page.

*The graduate orthodontic admissions committee reserves the right to waive this requirement if the applicant can demonstrate a contractual commitment to teaching in a dental school or college of dentistry that is not accredited by CODA. The graduate orthodontic admissions committee also reserves the right to waive this requirement if the admissions committee determines that the applicant has completed equivalent dental training.

11. National Board Medical Examination (NBME) Comprehensive Basic Science Exam- Applicants are encouraged (but not required) to take the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Exam. Applicants who have Pass/Fail National Board Dental Examination (NBME) results and/or cannot report a dental school GPA are strongly encouraged to take the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Exam. Applicants that include NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Exam results in their application may be given stronger consideration. Official NBME reports must be received before the application deadline (August 1). Please visit the NBME website for further information: http://www.nbme.org/students/Subject-Exams/subexams.html.

*The orthodontics program reserves the right to admit selected students to the certificate program, which would require submission of a second application and a $60 application fee.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for the 2015-16 academic year (effective July 1, 2015) are $15,862.00 per quarter.  Tuition is adjusted annually every July 1st. These fees do not include additional required expenditures for instruments, textbooks, laptop computer, camera set-up, organizational memberships, travel to conferences, etc.

Required courses for Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedic Program can be found in the University Catalog.

Program Completion 

Study may extend beyond 27 months to meet the thesis requirement.