Four-year postgraduate programme in orthodontics



The department of orthodontics and craniofacial biology at the Radboud university medical centre offers a four-year fulltime international postgraduate programme in orthodontics to become a specialist in orthodontics. The programme leads to a certificate of completion of specialist training in orthodontics according to EU-directive 78/686/EEG. The programme is approved and accredited by the Specialist Registration Committee of the Dutch Dental Association (RTS). The programme is also approved by the Network of Erasmus based European Orthodontic Programs (NEBEOP). Upon completion of all requirements of the programme the postgraduate student has to pass an external examination to acquire the certificate.

Education starts once every two years, in April of the uneven years. Candidates are selected during the preceding period.
The programme can be combined with a PhD programme. The combined postgraduate – PhD programme takes six years. Upon fulfillment of the necessary requirements (mainly a doctoral thesis based on five publications in ISI-listed journals), a PhD degree can be awarded.


The objective of the four-year orthodontic programme is to educate dentists to become specialists in orthodontics with a solid theoretical and scientific background and adequate clinical experience in different treatment methods. Emphasis is placed on developing scientific thinking and problem solving through a variety of clinical and research activities. Resident interaction and active participation are emphasized.

Structure and contents of the program

The four-year fulltime programme contains lectures, seminars, preclinical and clinical courses, research activities and occasionally teaching to undergraduate students.

The main part of the theoretical training is concentrated in the first three years, including biological, medical and dental subjects related to the science of orthodontics. Furthermore, scientific methodology and introduction to research are taught. Active participation in research projects related to growth and development of orofacial structures is required for all residents and this starts in the first year.
The treatment of patients is preceded by a variety of theoretical courses and an extensive preclinical course, mainly in fixed appliance techniques. Knowledge and insight in treatment strategies and procedures is gained chiefly by seminars. Clinical experience is obtained in the fixed appliance techniques, removable appliances, functional appliance therapy, and extra-oral treatment procedures. Residents participate in the cleft palate craniofacial unit on a rotational basis.

Clinical training

The department has its own postgraduate clinic and has 3D-facilities for patient treatment and research consisting of a 3D-system for facial stereophotogrammetry, a conebeam CT scanning device, and digital dental casts.

Each resident starts treatment of about 80 new cases. Besides that, the resident has about 30 transfer cases and 30 patients in retention. Patients are assigned to a specific faculty member, who is responsible for the patient. The clinical treatment is performed by the resident, always under supervision of that faculty member. In treatment planning sessions all cases are discussed thoroughly with the responsible faculty member and all residents of the same class. The length of the programme benefits the residents by treating a wide variety of patients over a longer time span.
The cleft palate craniofacial unit, which is the largest in the Netherlands, functions in close collaboration with the department of Orthodontics. Through the centre the residents gain clinical experience in the interdisciplinary treatment of patients with cleft lip and palate and related problems.
The interdisciplinary care for patients who require combined orthodontic-surgical treatment and/or combined orthodontic-prosthodontic treatment and/or combined orthodontic-periodontal treatment is encouraged by close co-operation with residents in these specialties.


Research is part of the programme for every resident. Each resident conducts a research project in close collaboration with an advisor. The research of the department is embedded in two research institutes of the Radboudumc: the Radboud Institute of Health Sciences (RIHS) and the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS). During the years many publications of faculty and residents have been published in international ISI-listed journals. Each resident is required to have two manuscripts accepted in or submitted to international ISI-listed journals by the end of the postgraduate programme. It is a requirement to complete the research prior to the external examination as the publications are an integral part of the examination.


All theoretical courses are concluded with an examination. At the end of all of the first three years, a field examination has to be passed. After four years and upon completion of all requirements, the programme is concluded with an external examination by the Specialist Registration Committee of the Dutch Dental Association. This examination consists of an oral examination, the presentation of 12 cases treated by the resident, a discussion about 2 new cases presented by the examination committee, and the defense of the research output. Upon successful completion of the examination, a certificate is granted. If the candidate meets the criteria for recognition of his/her dental degree in the Netherlands (registration in the so-called BIG-registry) then registration in the Dutch registry of orthodontic specialists can be obtained.

In addition, for those who combine the postgraduate programme in orthodontics with a PhD programme, a PhD degree can be awarded after fulfillment of all requirements (doctoral thesis and its public defense).

Conditions of admission

Applicants should have graduated as a dentist (DDS or DMD) from a recognized institution.

Before you can start one of the postgraduate programmes in Orthodontics at universities in the Netherlands, you have to be registered as a dentist in the Netherlands (BIG registration), which also requires a Dutch language proficiency test.

The BIG registration has to be obtained before we can offer you a position at our Department


Applicants from non-English-speaking countries are required to take the Academic IELTS exam, with a minimum total score of 7.0. The exam score must be current (less than two years old) and has to be submitted with the other application documents.

During the 4 years education you are not allowed to work outside the university and will be paid for your working hours.