Please note: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will now be called "UT Health San Antonio."

D.D.S./Ph.D. Program

The D.D.S./Ph.D. programs gives students the opportunity to obtain a D.D.S. degree and Ph.D. in the focus area of Craniofacial Oral-biology through the School of Dentistry and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The goal of this program is to train students to become interactive, competitive clinician scientists who can perform sponsored research in dental and craniofacial-related areas as members of a dental school faculty. The Ph.D. degree will be earned in the Graduate School. 

The COSTAR Training Program is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and has been in existence since 2002. Only 17 universities in the country have COSTAR programs. This national program focuses on creating the next generation of clinician scientists to ensure the future of the nation's oral health.

For more information about COSTAR and the application process, visit our website. To read an article about the program, click here

Admission Requirements

- Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for COSTAR funding

- Must be accepted to UTHSCSA dental school and to a Ph.D. program offered by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

How to Apply

The application to the COSTAR D.D.S./Ph.D. has multiple components. You must complete all steps to be considered. 

Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must apply to and be accepted separately to both the UT Health Science Center School of Dentistry and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

General Instructions

COSTAR D.D.S./Ph.D. Applicaton Form

Application Instructions

Personal Statement

Recommendation Form (You must submit three recommendations.)

- Submit your prior research experience, publications and research interests. (CV).

Program Information 

The program requires that trainees spend the first three years focusing on the graduate Ph.D. component and to enter the customized dental school training component only after completing the Ph.D. qualifying exam and making significant progress with their dissertation research. 

The remaining requirements of the Ph.D. program (dissertation research and preparation) will be conducted concurrently with requirements of the D.D.S. curriculum. It is anticipated that the combined program will take at least seven years to complete.


The D.D.S./Ph.D. program requires that trainees spend the first three years focusing on the graduate Ph.D. component. By the time the students enter the customized dental school training program they will have completed the qualifying exam, all Ph.D.-related laboratory research rotations, have selected a thesis topic and major advisor, and made extensive progress with their research. 

In year four, trainees will begin the dental school curriculum. Limited time for pursuit of thesis research activities will be available throughout the dental school curriculum (exempted courses, summers). The amount and specifics of time available will be determined on an individual trainee basis through consultation with the trainee major advisor, COSTAR Leadership Council and, if appropriate, with the Altered Curriculum Committee of the Dental School. It is anticipated that the DDS/PhD program will take at least seven years to complete.


Candidates accepted to the UTHSCSA D.D.S./Ph.D. program can apply for funding through COSTAR. Currently, the stipend from the NIH for predocs is $23,376. However, the actual amount they receive is $26,000, which includes a supplement from the mentor/department. The stipend for predoctoral students changes almost every year based on tuition. This funding will include a stipend, tuition, travel and other training-related expenses. COSTAR pays 60 percent of tuition and fees and 100 percent of insurance. The mentor/department pays 40 percent of tuition and fees. In the event that the student’s program lasts longer than the duration of the grant, the responsibility for funding additional years will be that of the student’s major research advisor. This support is limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 

Advisory Commitee

When selected for the COSTAR Track I D.D.S./Ph.D. program, each student will be assigned a member of the Leadership Council as an advisor. This individual will work closely with the student and the assigned Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) of the department in which the student is pursuing the Ph.D. until such time that the student chooses a major advisor. At this time the COSTAR Leadership Council Advisor will work closely with the major advisor and appropriate departmental COGS.


For a list of program graduate faculty,  click here.

Contact Information:

For research related questions:
Kenneth Hargreaves, D.D.S., Ph.D.  
Professor & Chair, Endodontics
Director of COSTAR Training Program

For program related questions:

Aries Okungbowa-Ikponmwosa

Program Coordinator

Application Deadline:

School of Dentistry: October 1 / Integrated Biomedical Sciences: January 15 (priority) or March 15 (regular) / Translational Science: November 1

Want to learn more about students in the program?