DIS732 Dental Programmes Dissertation

The aim of the Dental Programmes dissertation is to enable students to demonstrate evidence-based dentistry skills including: clinical question formulation; evidence acquisition, appraisal and synthesis; clinical decision-making and critical reflection skills.

The dissertation project

The Masters stage of the postgraduate dental programme consists of one 60 credit module in which students write a dissertation. This is an extended literature review employing systematic, explicit and transparent methods to ensure that the work is comprehensive and reproducible. The methodology includes a suite of systematic review tools to ensure that the review is rigorous and abreast with the latest advances in the field of knowledge synthesis. Students choose the topic of their review, linking it to a specific case in their clinical practice. This gives the review relevance to their field of dentistry, and to patient care.

Evidence based dentistry

Upon successful completion of the module, students will be equipped with essential evidence based decision making skills that will enable them to remain up to date in their field, able to critically evaluate new research and deal effectively with contradictory evidence.

Mode of teaching and supervision

The teaching of the dissertation module takes place online and offers a blend of online plenaries, workshops and opportunities for formative feedback. Students are supported throughout the project by two supervisors who are experts in the field of knowledge synthesis and in the appropriate field of dentistry. Regular two-to-one supervision meetings offer guidance in the critical analysis of the evidence, as well as in academic skills and in project management.

Publishable quality

After conducting a high quality and thorough review, students have the option to publish their work in a dental journal of their choice. For students who go on to publish, this marks the culmination of their three years of study and is a proud accolade in addition to their MSc certificate. Students take the lead on authorship, but continue to be supported by their dissertation supervisors in producing a manuscript tailored to their chosen readership.

Recent examples of successful publications

MSc Oral Surgery

Shibl, M., Ali, K., Burns, L. (2020)

Effectiveness of pre-operative oral corticosteroids in reducing pain, trismus and oedema following lower third molar extractions: a systematic review. British Dental Journal. (Link coming soon)


Mohammed Shibl talks about publishing his systematic review in the British Dental Journal. 

 Mohammed completed his MSc in Oral Surgery in 2019 with his dissertation entitled “Are oral corticosteroids effective in reducing pain/trismus/oedema following lower third molar surgical extractions if given as a single dose pre-operatively?”

Completion of Masters at Peninsula Dental School


Students who have successfully completed a postgraduate diploma on an equivalent programme may be eligible to join the third year of our dental programmes. The Peninsula Dental School has collaborated with the Faculty of General Practice (UK) to allow progression from the FGDP(UK) PG Dip Restorative Dentistry to the Masters here at Plymouth.