Europe is an ageing population, with many older adults living longer due to advancements in health and standard of living. These substantial improvements in life expectancy should be coupled with an improvement and maintenance of health and associated quality of life.
Dentistry is also reflecting these developments with larger numbers of older adults retaining more of their natural dentitions. These trends are eliciting more interest in the aging mouth in order to mitigate the ever-increasing prevalence of chronic oral diseases and health inequalities. Ageing societies will require adaptation in order to tackle these emerging challenges. The course intends to address these experiences by preparing dental professionals in this rapidly evolving area of Dentistry.
The programme is structured over a three-year academic period, inclusive of 2 semesters per year and two summer periods of eight weeks each. The student will be exposed to the theoretical and scientific foundation of the profession of gerodontology and also become skillful in clinical practice within the professional environment of the teaching clinics and other settings, in a timely and structured manner as follows:
1st year: The first year will provide students with introductory knowledge on the gerodontology and specific areas of dentistry and medicine. The latter two areas will lay down the foundations for clinical practice. In parallel, students will perform clinical/laboratory treatment. Clinical treatment will be provided in a dental clinic set-up. Students will engage in the review of literature related to gerodontology and associated disciplines.
2nd year: Students will further develop intellectually by receiving in-depth knowledge focused on specific areas of gerodontology, including domiciliary services and gerontology. Students will further engage in the review of literature related to gerodontology and associated disciplines, to analyse, evaluate and highlight existing gaps. The second year will provide the foundations for the research project in third year by the delivery of research methodology and submission of a research proposal.
On the practical front, students will focus on the professional-patient relationship and engage in the management of older adult patients in traditional clinical environments as well as providing domiciliary services in diverse settings. The latter will allow students to further develop their clinical and technical skills.
3rd year: The final year of the course will be mainly dedicated to a research project. Clinically, the student will consolidate their skills by refining their intellectual and clinical/technical proficiency so as to allow the candidate to seek direct employment in this specialized area, after completion of studies.
(1) The Course shall be open to applicants in possession of the degree of Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Dental Hygiene obtained with at least Second Class Honours or better, awarded by this University or any other higher education institution recognised by Senate.
(2) The admission of applicants may be made conditional on the result of an interview conducted by an interviewing board composed of at least three members, appointed by the Board for the purpose.
(3) (a) The Admissions Board, on the recommendation of the Faculty Admissions Committee, may admit into the Course applicants not in possession of a first cycle degree, if it is satisfied that such applicants are in possession of other academic or professional qualifications and a minimum of ten years’ documented professional experience, that together are deemed to be comparable to the qualification indicated in paragraph (1). Such qualifications and experience shall be evaluated in accordance with the procedures established by the University Policy for the Recognition and Accreditation of Prior Learning.
(b) The admission of such applicants may be made subject to those conditions that the Faculty Admissions Committee may impose to address any lacunae in their academic preparation. Conditions imposed may include the satisfactory completion of a preparatory programme as provided in regulation 5 of the regulations for the course, or the requirement to follow and pass supplementary study-units, up to a maximum of 12 ECTS credits, in addition to the programme of study specified in regulation 7 of the regulations for the course.
(4) The maximum number of applicants that can be admitted into the course is 4 students.
(5) When the number of places is so limited and the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of places available, applicants shall be selected using the following criteria, the weighting of which shall be published at the time of the call for applications:
(a) degree type and class (b) experience in the area of the proposed study and (c) performance during the interview, if deemed necessary.
(6) For the purpose of selection, applicants who fully satisfy the entry requirements by 31st August preceding the commencement of the Course shall be considered first.
(7) Prior to enrolling for the Course, accepted applicants are required to undergo an occupational health assessment, so as to ascertain that they are fit for the duties related to their proposed studies. Students who do not fulfil this requirement may be barred from progressing with their studies. Failure to disclose information about a physical or mental health problem that could affect patient safety is considered to be a serious breach of the University Suitability to Practise Regulations.
Applicants admitted under paragraph (3) may be required to complete a preparatory programme, comprising not less than 30 ECTS credits and not more than 60 ECTS credits, and to obtain an overall average mark of 55% or better, prior to their admission as regular students on the Course.
The Board may grant applicants full or partial exemption from the requirement of the preparatory programme if it is satisfied that the applicant possesses post first-cycle degree work experience that is relevant to the Course.
The admission requirements are applicable for courses commencing in October 2020.
For more detailed information pertaining to admission and progression requirements please refer to the bye-laws for the course available here.
UM currently hosts over 1,000 full-time international students and over 450 visiting students. The ever-increasing international students coming from various countries, in recent years, have transformed this 400-year old institution into an international campus.
Our international students generally describe Malta as a safe place, enjoying excellent weather and an all-year varied cultural programme. Malta is considered as the ideal place for students to study.
The primary objective of the course is to establish the profession of gerodontology on a national level. More specifically the course will provide a sufficient body of knowledge to enable recipients of the degree to undertake their prescribed work amongst older adults, with care, safety and responsibility and to recognize the full scope of their remit.
The objectives of the course are to familiarize students with:
1. Concepts of oral and general health and disease in the older person.
2. Demographic trends of population ageing.
3. The multidisciplinary approach to the management of older persons under their care.
4. Ethical principles when evaluating social and health care practices in ageing care.
5. Concepts of promoting active ageing in society.
6. Treatment-related skills in the field of gerodontology.
7. Concepts of clinical governance in providing dental care to the older person.
8. Scientific and clinical research procedures in dental disease using evidence based methodology.
b) Intellectual Development:
The Master of Gerodontology provides students with an opportunity to acquire reflective and thinking skills, critically appraise literature in gerodontology and provide a sound basis for their practice in a multidisciplinary team. The course will provide a platform for students to teach theoretic and clinical skills to undergraduate students in dentistry. Specifically it will allow students to:
1. Analyse the diversity in the experiences of older persons and the impact of age, gender, ethnicity, oral- and general health factors on their life course.
2. Identify and mitigate the barriers to oral health when treatment planning and managing patients.
3. Develop educational teaching skills by exposing them to undergraduate teaching.
4. Explain the multidisciplinary approach to working with older persons and their carers.
5. Develop a professional identity as a gerodontologist to effectively work within an interdisciplinary team.
6. Develop knowledge of relevant policy- and service-related issues in supporting and caring for older persons.
c) Key Transferable Skills:
The course will provide students with:
1. A platform for learning and refining soft skills by interacting within a multidisciplinary team providing care for older persons. These skills will be transferable to the population at large throughout their professional career.
2. Research skills to investigate issues within this field.
3. Professionalism based on ethical standards and expectations in dentistry.
4. Advocacy skills to participate in policy formation of oral health- and ageing-related matters.
Students from the different dental streams and in possession of a primary degree (BSc Dental Technology, BSc Dental Hygiene and Master in Dental Surgery) would be suitable to undertake this course.
The aforementioned skills will all lead to the development of a professional individual that will lead to employability within the public and private sector in our country and abroad. The opportunity to teach undergraduate students will likewise prepare students with skills to a future academic career in the field.
The Master of Science in Gerodontology also provides students with the opportunity to progress to a Doctorate Degree.
Click here to access the Programme of Study applicable from 2020/1.
Last Updated: 30 September 2020
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication. The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints. Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice. Unless for exceptional approved reasons, no changes to the programme of study for a particular academic year will be made once the students' registration period for that academic year begins.