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Home › Examinations › Dental › Diploma in Special Care Dentistry (DSCD)

Diploma in Special Care Dentistry (DSCD)

Exam overview

This leading dental diploma is a self-directed, distance learning programme assessed via written assignments, clinical portfolio and examination.

 The diploma is suitable for specialty trainees and dentists who wish to develop the clinical skills required to treat patients with a range of complex needs. 

Part A

Candidates may apply for the DSCD Part A all year round. The cost for the Part A distance learning course is £310.

Part A of the Diploma in Special Care Dentistry (DSCD) is assessed by written assignments based on a syllabus divided into seven modules. 


In addition, to be eligible for the award of the diploma all candidates must: 

  • Demonstrate that they are working in the field of Special Care Dentistry
  • Possess a primary dental qualification that is acceptable to the Council of The Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  • Have complied with all the regulations, and have signed, in the presence of an officer of the College, a declaration of compliance with the ordinances of the College.

Exemptions from Module 1 

  • holders of Part I MCCD
  • holders of Part A old style MFDS or Part 1 old style MFGDP (UK).
  • holders of Part 1 of new MFDS offered by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh or The Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow.
  • holders of MJDF Part 1.
  • holders of Primary FDS.
  • holders of Part 1 MFD of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
  • Those who have received exemption from Part 1 Diploma in GDP.
  • Those who have completed Part 1 of the MGDS exam.


A self-directed learning programme from a set syllabus divided into seven modules.

One assignment must be completed from each of the seven modules and it is advised that they are submitted in numerical order (Note exemptions from Module 1).

Each assignment must achieve a pass mark before the next assignment is submitted. Every assignment involves a topic report which answers specific questions and should be 2000 - 2,500 words. (Each module will offer a choice of two questions).

All assignments must be submitted within a five-year time period starting from when candidates register for Part A. Part A must be passed before sitting Part B.


  • Module 1: Oral Sciences of Relevance
  • Module 2: Knowledge & Understanding of Conditions leading to Impairment & Disabilities
  • Module 3: Behavioural Sciences & Sociology of Health, Impairment & Disability
  • Module 4: Law, Ethics and Health & Safety
  • Module 5: Provision of Comprehensive Oral Care
  • Module 6: Developing Services in a Community Setting
  • Module 7: Clinical Effectiveness

Part B

Part B of the Diploma in Special Care Dentistry (DSCD) is assessed by clinical portfolio and examination.


  • Candidates must provide evidence of satisfactory completion of supervised education in the field of special care dentistry.
  • This must be a minimum period of two years full-time or equivalent part-time experience over a maximum period of five years. The experience must have been gained within five years prior to sitting Part B of the exam.
  • Evidence will be accepted from current or previous employers, or from the relevant tutor supervising the education.

In order to assess your eligibility for Part B, you must submit to the Examinations Department two copies of your:

  • Portfolio
  • Log Diary
  • 10 cases

The Portfolio and Log Diary should come with internal verification to confirm the authenticity of your work, i.e. the signature of your director or manager. This must be submitted at least eight weeks before you intend to apply for Part B.

You will receive a feedback form from the College, which will inform you whether or not the portfolio is satisfactory. There will be constructive comments if appropriate and the form will clearly state whether or not you are eligible to apply for Part B of the DSCD exam.

Once you are deemed eligible to apply for the Part B exam you are then required to submit two hard-copies of each of the two case presentations.


The Part B exam covers all seven modules. It consists of the following:

(i) A Multiple Short Answer (MSA) and Clinical Scenarios question paper of two hours duration.

(ii) A simulated clinical examination of 15 minutes followed by an oral examination of 15 minutes duration.

(iii) A general oral examination of 15 minutes duration of subjects related to special care dentistry.

(iv) Two clinical case presentations on which there will be an oral examination of 30 minutes duration.

Documents for download

Exam dates

All applications must be received by 5pm on the closing date. Please read the exam guidance page before applying for any exam.

Title Applications and Fees Due Written and/or MCQ Papers Practicals and Orals Exam Fee Completion Fee
DSCD Part B 6 May 2016 4 July 2016 5 July 2016 £560 £230
DSCD Part B 5 May 2017 3 July 2017 4 July 2017 TBC* TBC*

*2017 fees to be confirmed 

Completion fee

There is a £230 completion fee for those completing an FDS Royal College of Surgeons of England diploma. This fee will be collected once you have passed the exam.