Our Postgraduate Diploma in Orthodontic Therapy will enable you to become a competent clinician with the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours to work as an Orthodontic Therapist.

As well as being able to register with the General Dental Council (GDC), you will gain the skills to modify practice throughout your career in response to scientific and technical advances in the field. As is standard for all new GDC registerable programmes, GDC approval will be confirmed after a successful inspection of the first cohort who joined the programme in January 2024.

From 2023, Bristol Dental School will be located in a £36 million purpose-built Dental School. You will have exclusive access to cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art facilities and experienced dental professionals. University of Bristol Dentistry is ranked 4th in the UK (Complete University Guide Subject Rankings 2024), with outstanding results for our research in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.

You will be taught pre-clinical skills in our brand-new training facilities prior to commencing your clinical training in your workplace under supervision of your clinical supervisor. You will benefit from a variety of teaching methods during your training that will help you to develop the confidence to deliver tailored advice and orthodontic care within the GDC scope of practice as an Orthodontic Therapist.

Programme structure

The Postgraduate Diploma in Orthodontic Therapy is a 1-year programme.

In your first month, you will attend intensive academic lectures and seminars alongside practical teaching. During the “Foundation to Practice” unit you will learn relevant dental anatomy and physiology, the principles of evidence-based practice, and an introduction to the operative and management skills needed to deliver high quality orthodontic care within your scope of practice.

Following this initial unit, you will commence clinical practice, treating patients in your workplace under the direct guidance of your specialist orthodontist clinical trainer, developing clinical skills and building a portfolio of treatment cases.

The workplace placement is arranged by you and your sponsoring practice, with quality assurance oversight from the School. The close working relationship between you and your clinical trainer facilitates confidence, engagement, communication and independence. Alongside the clinical placement, you will attend monthly study days to further develop your understanding of orthodontic mechanics and treatment delivery. As orthodontic knowledge builds, you will cover techniques for prevention and pathways for referral, alongside continued development of your full scope of clinical skills. You will also develop critical appraisal skills, attend regular journal club meetings and complete a critical appraisal project.

By the end of the year, you will be competent in treating patients under close supervision.

Qualification as an Orthodontic Therapist requires successful completion of our programme in conjunction with attaining the Diploma in Orthodontic Therapy from the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh. The Bristol programme will prepare you for the Royal College of Surgeons examinations.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our Postgraduate Diploma in Orthodontic Therapy.

Entry requirements

A UK National Diploma of Dental Nursing, and two or more UK Dental Nurse Post-Registration qualifications from the following list:
  • Certificate in Dental Radiography
  • Certificate in Dental Sedation Nursing
  • Certificate in Oral Health Education
  • Certificate in Orthodontic Dental Nursing
Applicants must have a secured UK-based clinical training practice that can provide a minimum of 24 hours a week of chairside direct clinical experience, supervised by an orthodontic specialist currently registered in this capacity with the UK General Dental Council.
Applicants must submit all required documents to the specifications detailed in the programme’s ‘Admissions Statement’ to be considered for review.
If your qualifications are not listed above, we may consider an alternative UK General Dental Council-registered qualification and alternative level 3 qualifications. Please see the programme’s ‘Admissions Statement’ for a full list or accepted alternative qualifications.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level B.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£12,000 (January 2024 entry) per year
UK: full-time
£13,000 (January 2025 entry) per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Once qualified you can register with the General Dental Council (GDC) and work in a variety of settings, including orthodontic specialist practices, hospital orthodontic departments, salaried dental services, and industry. You will be a vital part of any orthodontic team, able to work collaboratively and provide oral healthcare advice to a wide range of patients.