Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Dental Medicine

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Dental Medicine is one of the premier clinical schools in the country, helping students secure high match rates for dental residency programs. Admission to the MUSC College of Dental Medicine is fiercely competitive, with thousands of applicants vying for 70 freshman slots at one of the most expensive dental schools in the U.S.

Hands-on training and a top-tier education will provide students with numerous career opportunities following graduation from the program. During their journeys, however, the slightest mistake can put a student in front of a disciplinary board for allegations of academic or ethical misconduct. To maintain its prominence and standard of patient care, the MUSC College of Dental Medicine takes accountability seriously and won't hesitate to remove a student for academic failures or behavioral violations.

MUSC College of Dental Medicine Code of Conduct

MUSC's Code of Conduct establishes guidelines for academic and professional conduct for those acting on behalf of the university, including the College of Dental Medicine. Students will take on the duty to conduct themselves in a manner that will "maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence," and the school will expect them to "conduct all activities in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and with the utmost ethical integrity."

MUSC states that the Code of Conduct doesn't "define everything one should and should not do" but does identify proper and professional conduct. The most common misconduct issues dentistry students face during their education are academic and ethical.

Academic Integrity

While MUSC College of Dental Medicine students may gain much of their education through hands-on experience with patient care, they are still held to standards of academic integrity. The school's Guidelines for Student Progress and Promotion state that "academic work" includes all activities that may have a bearing on a student's grade or progress toward a degree, "including all academic assignments, all examinations, all clinical work, and any other aspect of instruction, evaluation, or testing."

Academic violations at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine include:

  • Cheating
  • Deceitful statements
  • Multiple submissions of work
  • Plagiarism
  • Tampering with academic records
  • Unauthorized group work

Even though the MUSC College of Dental Medicine has one of the most rigorous programs in the country, students aren't only tested on their academic prowess. Supervisors and school officials are often watching students when they are outside the classroom.

Ethical Standards

Students have an obligation to represent the MUSC College of Dental Medicine with excellence as upstanding citizens. They must also adhere to the laws, rules, regulations, and policies of governmental and institutional authorities. South Carolina Code § 8-13-10, colloquially known as the "Ethics Law," makes it unlawful for public officials, members, and employees to use their position to obtain or maintain an economic interest in any contract or purchase connected with MUSC.

The MUSC College of Dental Medicine's ethical standards include but are not limited to:

  • Accepting bribes that will influence the discharge of duties
  • Being employed or compensated by an outside interest that will impair independent judgment
  • Disclosing confidential information
  • Misrepresenting the MUSC College of Dental Medicine

Dentistry students must also keep a clean nose in their personal lives. Unsavory behavior outside the classroom or general practice may be grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal.

Other unauthorized personal behavior includes:

  • Criminal actions
  • Illegal drug use
  • Online bullying
  • Theft
  • Unethical social media use
  • Violent threats

Remediation at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine

If academic or ethical misconduct arises during the student's tenure, they may be placed on a remediation plan to help them bounce back. At the MUSC College of Dental Medicine, remediation may put even more pressure on performing students as it can take "100 or more hours of faculty evaluation."

Yet, sometimes remediation cannot correct a downward path, leaving a student at risk for disciplinary action from the Honor Council or consideration for dismissal by the Academic Performance and Professionalism Committee (APPC).

How the MUSC College of Dental Medicine Handles Misconduct

If students are alleged to have committed misconduct, they will receive a notice of a "Reasonable Cause Conference" ten business days before appearing in front of the Hearing Panel, according to the Honor Code. Legal professionals are not permitted to represent or advise the student in the hearing, but they may confer together during the hearing.

The hearing is divided into two phases: a Determination Phase, focused on whether the accused is responsible for the violation, and a Sanction Phase, concentrated on an appropriate punishment. Using a preponderance of evidence standard, the panel will determine⁠ responsibility for the violation by a margin of 75 percent of voting representatives⁠.

The panel will then discuss sanctions. Students may be subject to:

  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Revocation or withholding of degree

Appealing Sanctions

Dental students must submit a written appeal to the President of the Honor Council within seven calendar days of punishments handed down. Only a few situations warrant an appeal, such as:

  • Bias or conflict of interest
  • Emergent evidence
  • Excessive sanctions
  • Inconclusive findings
  • Procedural errors

Joseph D. Lento