Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences - Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program

Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences - Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program



In concert with the School of Graduate studies, the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences offers a doctoral program that must include the in-depth study of at least two disciplines. Students in the Oral and Craniofacial Sciences program can choose to participate in any of the department's three areas of research focus:

• Biomaterials/Bioengineering of Biological Tissues and Replacements
The overall goal of this program is to apply an integrated approach involving innovative computer modeling and organic synthesis, novel biocompatibility evaluation, comprehensive materials characterization, and mechanistic development of improved dental biomaterials. One component of this program is an engineering component that emphasizes micro- and nano-structure/property characterization of natural biomaterials such as bone, dentin, and enamel as a tissue engineering approach to the development of replacement materials.

• Mineralized Tissue Biology
This program is aimed at determining basic biological mechanisms and the cause and treatment of disease of bone and teeth during development and in the adult. Approaches include the use of basic in vitro methods combined with genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, and transgenic technology.

• Translational and Clinical Research
Translational and clinical research involves results from clinical observations translating into basic research and incorporates basic research findings into clinical assessment and practice. The identification, characterization and synthesis of materials for clinical use requires the combined efforts and expertise of clinical scientists, biostatisticians, bioengineers, geneticists, life scientists, chemists, physicists, and computer scientists.


The length of the program is dependent on the academic background and abilities of the applicant and may vary from three to five years. The program culminates with an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Oral and Craniofacial sciences degree and the designated co-discipline or co-disciplines.

Student Learning Outcomes

The developed program of study will meet the student’s individual needs and research interests, satisfy discipline-specific requirements, and assure upon graduation that students are able to:

  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the link between scientific research and clinical health care practice.
  • Conduct thorough literature reviews based on an understanding of periodical databases and scholarly journals in the health sciences; have the aptitude to assess the validity of literature and determine how it may be applied in both research and clinical settings.
  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare and conduct original research projects, drawing on an understanding of the current literature, appropriate study design, methodologies, and data analysis.
  • Develop the capability to produce written materials that are clear, well-organized, insightful, and drawn from evidence-based research.
  • Employ the communications skills needed to successfully convey important scientific and clinical concepts in oral presentations and communications.
  • Apply and practice professional ethics with the highest standards of integrity in all facets of research and clinical practice.


An applicant must meet the minimum general requirements for admission to Interdisciplinary Ph.D. study at UMKC and must satisfy grade point average requirements as stated in the admission requirements section of the Academic Regulations and Information of Doctor of Philosophy Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. To advance to candidate status, the student must successfully complete written and oral comprehensive examinations relevant to their primary and co-discipline(s).

Coursework Requirements

The Discipline Coordinator/Oral and Craniofacial Sciences Program Director serves as the academic advisor for oral & craniofacial sciences Interdisciplinary Ph.D. students. In accordance with the general requirements for the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, a Ph.D. student must prepare a coursework plan of study in conjunction with the discipline coordinator/program director and co-discipline coordinator. A student's plan of study must include coursework in oral and craniofacial sciences as well as in at least one other discipline.

Coursework must satisfy all discipline-specific requirements and may include additional courses as appropriate to the student's research focus. Course selection will be made in conjunction with the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences Director of Graduate Research Programs and the General requirements are listed below:

  • The Plan must include coursework from all of the student's disciplines
  • No more than 60 percent of the total coursework taken at UMKC and included on the Ph.D. Plan of Study, exclusive of dissertation hours, may be from any one discipline
  • Coursework from disciplines other than the ones to which the student has been admitted may be included on the Coursework Plan of Study and counted in the total percentage
  • No more than 25 percent of the total coursework may be from disciplines not formally participating in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program
  • The Plan must include at least 30 didactic hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, exclusive of dissertation research hours, in courses taken at UMKC or in courses taken at another institution which are approved for transfer by the Discipline Coordinator/Program Director
  • The Plan must include a minimum of 9 credit hours, exclusive of dissertation research hours, in a co-discipline area to which the student has been admitted
  • The Plan must include at least 12 hours of dissertation credits

Compatible Co-disciplines

Biomedical and Health Informatics, Cell biology and biophysicsentrepreneurship and innovation,  molecular biology and biochemistry, pharmacologychemistryphysicsengineeringcomputer scienceelectrical and computer engineering, telecommunication and computer networking, and  public affairs and administration (public health emphasis).

Admissions Requirements
In addition to the general minimum requirements for admission to interdisciplinary Ph.D. study, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree, (2) an M.S degree, or (3) a D.D.S. or equivalent degree. In general, an applicant will be expected to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale for previous education programs, including dental school (if applicable).

Applicants must also meet the following minimum GRE requirements:


Score Scale





Analytical Writing


The TOEFL is required for all international applicants, who must have a score of at least 80. An IELTS score of 6.0 or above may be accepted in place of the TOEFL.

All application materials should be submitted prior to March 1 for students wishing to begin their study in the fall semester; however, applications will be accepted throughout the year. Evaluation criteria include the following:

  • Transcripts. Analysis of transcripts from all prior institutions is required.
  • Letters of recommendation. Three letters of recommendation are required from current or former teachers who are familiar with the applicant's past achievements and research ability.
  • Personal statement from applicant. The applicant must submit a letter describing why he or she is interested in pursuing an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. study in oral and craniofacial sciences, how the experience of the program may be used by the candidate in the future, and a list of potential research interests.
  • Interviews. Interviews are not required; however, interviews are preferred and will be arranged upon the candidate's request. Successful interviews may enhance the candidate's chance of acceptance.


Note on Recommendation Letters
Recommendation letters may be addressed to:
Dr. M.P. Walker, Director of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences Graduate Programs
UMKC School of Dentistry
650 East 25th Street
Kansas City, MO 64108-2795

Application Deadlines
The Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences has a rolling deadline and accepts Interdisciplinary PhD applications year round.

Application Procedures
To learn more about the application process, click here.

Information Resources

Financial Aid
International Student Admissions
Residency Status
School of Graduate Studies
Student Housing
Dental School Housing Resources Link

Cost of the Program

Domestic applicants can also view tuition/fee information here:

International applicants can consult additional tuition/fee information here:

Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program Overview
Program Guidelines

Additional Information
Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences Faculty
Check out our Ph.D. Students.

Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Research Advisor and Supervisory Committee
The student's dissertation advisor will be the chair of the dissertation committee and should be an Oral and Craniofacial Sciences faculty member. A majority of the members of a student's supervisory committee must be from disciplines certified as eligible to participate in the Ph.D. program. The student's research advisor must be a regular doctoral faculty member from the student's coordinating unit discipline.

The advisor assists the student in identifying other members of the doctoral faculty to form a supervisory committee appropriate to the student's research goals. A request for appointment of supervisory committee is included as part of the written proposal for the student's Ph.D. plan of study.

The supervisory committee shall consist of at least five members of the doctoral faculty, with a maximum of three from any one discipline and at least one from each chosen discipline. An outside reader may also be included on the supervisory committee as a non-voting member.

UMKC is An Equal Opportunity/Access/Affirmative Action/Pro Disabled & Veteran Employer

Contact Info

Dr. M. P. Walker
Director of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences Graduate Programs

Please contact us at for information and further assistance.

Important Dates