Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine

Nova Southeastern University's College of Dental Medicine (CDM) has the distinction of being Florida's first private dental college, as well as the first U.S. dental college established in partnership with a college of osteopathic medicine. Its students and residents represent the best of a very competitive applicant pool, and the school maintains high standards for progression to graduation.

CDM's tough curriculum and other pressures can sometimes cause a student to fall behind in their classes or exhibit misconduct prohibited by the school, which can endanger their goal of becoming a dentist. If you or a loved one find themselves in that situation, you need a strong advocate who is familiar with CDM's policies and can strongly represent your interests before school administrators. An experienced academic defense law firm like the Lento Law Firm can help you navigate the process so that you are able to successfully complete your dental-school program.

Academic Requirements: Failure, Remediation, and Reexamination

In order to graduate, a CDM student must demonstrate proficiency in 28 categories of competency. CDM allows students who fail up to two courses in one term to undergo a period of remediation and then retake the exams. Remediation may include additional readings, tutoring sessions, and other types of review sessions. A student who fails to successfully complete remediation prior to the beginning of the next academic year faces the prospect of being dismissed. They might even be ordered to repeat all the courses they took the previous year–including classes they'd previously passed–and pay full tuition for all classes.

A student who fails the same class two times may face permanent dismissal from CDM. Likewise, a student who fails two or more clinical or laboratory rotation courses in a single academic year, or a total of four or more during their entire time at CDM, may find themselves permanently dismissed, even if they have successfully remediated some of those courses. If you or someone you know might be facing the prospect of one of these unfortunate outcomes, it's wise to seek advice from a legal advisor like Joseph D. Lento, who has years of experience assisting students who found themselves in similar situations.

Academic, Behavioral, and Disciplinary Actions

Students who fail to comply with all CDM behavioral and academic requirements face an escalating series of disciplinary actions, based on the type and severity of the lapse. Sanctions begin with a verbal (oral) reprimand, followed by a written censure that is given to the student and placed in their file. Where appropriate, the school may issue an administrative order requiring the student to pay money to someone who has been injured physically or economically.

Academic lapses will result in an academic warning: a written warning to the student that their grades have fallen too low and that they risk being placed on probation if their grades don't improve.


During probation, a student is given a limited period of time to demonstrate they can academically redeem themselves and improve their grades. Students who repeatedly exhibit behavioral misconduct may also be given a probationary trial period to demonstrate their ability to improve their behavior.

In both situations, written notice of the probation is placed in the student's official academic transcript. This notice is often an early sign that a student is headed toward being dismissed from the school. Dismissal can put a roadblock in front of any dreams of becoming a dentist. It also makes it harder to be accepted at other types of graduate schools. Dental students who have been placed on probation should not simply wait and hope that things work themselves out. They need to be proactive and consult a student academic advocate like Joseph D. Lento, a lawyer with a strong track record of helping students successfully complete their educations and move on toward accomplishing their career goals.

The Student Progress Committee

CDM has a Student Progress Committee whose purpose is to ensure that CDM students satisfy all the academic and behavioral requirements necessary to receive a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. Its members are CDM faculty and administrators.

CDM administrators are tasked with supervising each dental student's progress and offering assistance to those who seem to be having trouble keeping up. But administrators sometimes miss problems, and students who fall behind may resist seeking help until their academic standing has slipped dangerously. When this happens, a student may be held back and ordered to meet with the Student Progress Committee.

The Committee may recommend placing a student on probation when:

  • the student is failing two or more required courses or labs;
  • the student has failed to remediate past failures in a timely manner;
  • the Committee determines that the student has failed to achieve sufficient maturity or professionalism to become a dentist;
  • the student is found to have violated laws or ethical codes, including those governing the dental profession.

Once on probation, the student must correct all deficiencies and comply with any additional requirements that were imposed as a condition of having the dean lift probation. The decision to request that the dean lift probation is left to the Committee's own discretion. An academic legal advisor from the Lento Law firm can help a student present their case to the Committee that probation is no longer warranted.

Grievances and Appeals Over Grades

CDM has strict policies in place regarding student objections to grades.

Appeals may only be based on the process by which the grade was calculated, not the subject matter of the exam.

A student who objects to a grade must send the course instructor written notice of their objection within five days after the grade has been recorded at the registrar's office. If the student is dissatisfied with the instructor's response, they may appeal to the course director, then if necessary to the department chair. If they are still dissatisfied with the outcome, their appeal of last resort is to the assistant dean for Academic Affairs.

Don't wait until you face the prospect of being dismissed from dental school to consult with an academic legal advisor. Joseph D. Lento has spent his career helping students resolve academic issues. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to see how we can help.