Applicants wishing to challenge the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE) must fulfill one of the following requirements:
I. Having completed or being, at the time of taking the Examination, in the final year of a dental specialty training program which, during the course of the candidate's enrollment, was accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) or an accreditation body with which CDAC has a reciprocal accreditation agreement; or,
II. Having completed or being, at the time of taking the examination, enrolled in a Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Program (DSATP) for internationally trained dental specialists which, during the course of the candidate’s enrollment in the DSATP, was a part of a specialty training program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada or an accreditation body with which CDAC has a reciprocal accreditation agreement, and having approval from the Program Director or the Dean, in the form of a letter, stating that the applicant is prepared academically to sit the examination.
Applications for either component of the NDSE will be reviewed to ensure that candidates’ credentials meet the current eligibility criteria established in the College By-laws. Upon credential and documentation review, eligibility may be granted for the applicant to either challenge the Component I and/or Component II Examinations. Such eligibility is considered valid for one examination cycle and only for the year in which it is granted.
All applicants who wish to write the NDSE in must complete the online application form, submit the required supporting documentation and make a full payment by the application deadline. To consult the dates and deadlines for the upcoming session, please click here.
Applicants who have graduated from an accredited dental specialty training program or the Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Program (DSATP) must submit proof of completion. Proof of completion may be submitted as one of the following: a letter from the Dean or Program Director confirming the dates when the program requirements were satisfied; an official transcript indicating completion; the original of the specialty certificate; or, a copy of the specialty certificate issued by the issuing institution. Electronic copies or those certified by a notary public will not be accepted.
If enrolled in the final year of studies at an accredited dental specialty program, the applicant must submit a letter from the Dean or Program Director confirming their enrollment in the program and expected completion date. If the applicant is registered in a DSATP, the letter must confirm enrollment and clearly state that the candidate is academically prepared to sit the Examination.
Yes. Candidates are welcome to challenge the NDSE in more than one specialty provided that their application(s) meet all of the eligibility requirements. However, the Component I Examination, a pre-requisite for Component II, is administered on the same day for all specialties once per year.
The NDSE is administered in both of Canada’s official languages, English and French. The language that applicants choose in the on-line application will apply to all future communications and both Components of the Examination. The language selected by candidates for the upcoming session cannot be changed after the application deadline.
There are two components in the NDSE; Component I is a written Examination administered in March and a pre-requisite for Component II. The latter is the oral component of the Examination, and takes place in June each year. For your specialty-specific examination structure, please visit www.rcdc.ca/en/examination/specialty-specific.
The College does not provide copies of examinations from previous years.
Specialty-specific examination structure, topics for review and study guides are available for each component in the specialty-specific pages. The study guides illustrate the format in which questions may be posed, but do not constitute a blueprint for the content that will be featured on the day of the examination.
During Component I, candidates may keep necessary personal items, such as medication, ear plugs, or tissues, at their desk provided that they are inside a clear ziploc bag that remains visible at all times.
During Component II, candidates may bring reading and/or study materials into the waiting room(s) provided that they are not stored on any type of electronic device. Candidates in certain specialties will be required to bring specific equipment and materials to complete their Examination.
Candidates challenging Component II in Orthodontics must bring a protractor and a ruler to take cephalometric measurements during the Case Analysis portions of their Examination.
Candidates challenging Component II in Oral Pathology and in the combined specialty of Oral Medicine and Oral Pathology must bring their own microscope in order to complete the practical microscopic examination. Candidates are responsible for the provision and operation of the microscope, and must be completely familiar with its operation and comfortable in making routine diagnoses with this equipment. Candidates must bring a spare bulb and be familiar with changing this bulb. Candidates should also bring any and all microscopic tools (e.g., polarizing lenses) that they believe they may need.
No communication and/or recording devices, including smart watches, are permitted on-site at any time. Candidates caught in the possession of prohibited devices or engaging in behaviour that contravenes the integrity of the examination process will be immediately expelled and disqualified from taking the NDSE for three years.
Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
Requests for special accommodation must be submitted in writing to the Admissions Department (email@example.com) by the application deadline, when possible, and include the appropriate supporting documentation. Last-minute requests may be difficult to arrange. Depending on the nature and extent of the request, supporting documentation may be submitted as a medical report, a detailed physician’s note or an official letter from the leader of a religious congregation that supports the candidate’s request.
The Registration Manager will review the requests, ensure their confidentiality, and discuss with the Director of Examinations, Executive Director, or Registrar, when required. Special accommodations will be granted only for the same cycle for which the Credentials Committee has reviewed and approved a candidate’s application.
Results will be posted to candidates’ myRCDC profile within 45 days of the Examination; only a Pass or Fail notice will be published. Candidates who are unsuccessful will receive a report outlining the domains and sub-domains requiring improvement.
Yes, unsuccessful candidates may initiate a Formal Review of their Examination in the event that significant procedural irregularities negatively impacted their performance. These requests must be received within 30 days from the communication of examination results, and include: i) a written statement that clearly outlines the alleged procedural errors, and ii) a certified cheque, money order, or bank draft in Canadian funds payable to The Royal College of Dentists of Canada for the $500 administrative fee.
As part of this review, the College will consider the candidate's statement outlining the alleged procedural irregularities, available documentary evidence such as observer records and examiner notes, and examination marks. The document entitled Statement of Policy and Procedure: Formal Reviews outlines in full detail the procedures associated with such requests.
Candidates who were unsuccessful in either component of the Examination should submit a completed application for any new attempts.
If Component II is failed three times, candidates will be required to re-sit Component I before re-taking Component II again.
If more than five years have passed following the successful completion of the Membership Examination, Part I of the Fellowship Examination or Component I of the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE), a candidate’s knowledge shall not be considered current. The candidate will therefore be required to successfully re-challenge Component I before being considered eligible to challenge the Component II.
In such a case, the candidate must complete an application to challenge both components prior to the application deadline. An application is considered to be complete when the Admissions Department has received:
The online application;
Payment for all prescribed fees, and;
The supporting documentation that would satisfy the eligibility requirements at the time of application to re-challenge the Examination.
Applications for either component of the NDSE will be reviewed to ensure that candidates’ credentials meet the current eligibility criteria established in the College By-laws. Upon credential and documentation review, eligibility is granted for the applicant to either challenge the Component I and/or Component II Examinations. Such eligibility is considered valid for one examination cycle and only for the year in which it is granted.
Candidates will have the opportunity to provide feedback through an online survey on a variety of topics following each component of the Examination. Individual responses will remain confidential, and results will be used to improve future examination sessions.