Public Health

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The School of Public Health (a graduate school) offers an undergraduate major through the College of Letters & Science. The goal of the major is to provide students with an understanding of epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, health behavior, and health policy. These areas of emphasis range across the spectrum of natural science to social science.  Public health is the interdisciplinary science of preventing disease and injury to improve the health of communities and populations. Public health professionals work to identify solutions to address complex issues as wide ranging as air pollution, chronic disease, gun violence, infectious diseases, tobacco control and mental health. 

The School of Public Health offers a major and summer minor. The curriculum prepares students to become changemakers in public health, for a more equitable and just world.

Declaring the Major

Although the major remains capped (impacted), the department encourages all qualified students to apply. To qualify, students must have completed the prerequisites in math, biology, and the social sciences. For further information regarding these prerequisites, please see the Major Requirements tab on this page.

Students should apply to the Public Health major after completion of the lower division requirements. Non-transfer students must apply to the major by the end of their fifth semester in attendance at UC Berkeley. Transfer students must apply by the end of their first semester in attendance at UC Berkeley. 

After completing the prerequisites, students should submit an application, which includes the following:

  1. A review of an applicant's academic preparation (Coursework and GPA)
  2. Two essays (Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement)
  3. Resume or CV

For more information, please see the School of Public Health website.

While completing the prerequisites for Public Health, students should also take the necessary steps to prepare themselves to declare an alternate major. While the department will do its best to bring in all qualified students, there is no guarantee that any one particular student will be admitted into the major. Therefore, students interested in the Public Health major should prepare an alternate major in case they are not admitted into the major. Public health demands everyone's attention — there are myriad undergraduate majors at UC Berkeley that will help students prepare to work in this field. All students interested in the major, or the field of public health in general, are encouraged to consult with an academic adviser.

Summer Minor or Certificate Program

Public health seeks to improve human health through the development and application of knowledge that prevents disease, protects the public from harm, and promotes health throughout the state, the nation, and the world. Under the global public health summer minor or certificate, students will develop and apply knowledge from multiple disciplines for the promotion and protection of the health of the human population, giving due consideration to principles of human rights and many cultural perspectives in our multicultural country and world. The summer minor or certificate can serve as a precursor to further study in public health, other health professions, or any fields in which the health of persons and populations is a relevant concern. The summer minor can augment and enhance many different undergraduate bachelor degree programs and prepare students for professional and academic careers. In addition, public health is of interest for its own sake, as a component of a rigorous liberal arts education. Please note: the Summer Minor is only available to Berkeley students, and the Summer Certificate is only available to non-Berkeley students.

Visit School Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill requirements specific to their major program.  

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than two upper division courses may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's double major within L&S.  No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's minor within L&S.  Majors and minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science may seek exceptions.  Please contact the Public Health Advisors for more information.  
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.
The Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 COVID-19 Policy changes in regards to the Public Health major and Global Public Health minor were released via emails in 2020. The policy changes are meant to clarify the released L&S Statement regarding PNP in relation to the Public Health major and minor course requirements and prerequisites for applying to the major. You can find this policy on our SPHUG COVID-19 Resources page under Section 8: “SPHUG Specific.” Please use this resource page for reference in the future. As always, if you have questions or need assistance in deciding how to move forward with this information you can reach the Public Health advisors at sphug@berkeley.edu.
 

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Lower Division Prerequisites

All prerequisite courses must be completed before declaring the major with a minimum grade of C- or above.

 
For more information, please see the School of Public Health website.
 
 

The undergraduate Public Health program accepts Advanced Placement (AP) units for the Social Sciences and Math Prerequisites. AP scores of 3, 4, or 5 are acceptable for the following courses:

  • Psychology for PSYCH 1 or PSYCH 2
  • Economics (both micro and macro) for ECON 1, 2, or 3
  • Government for POL SCI 2 or 4
  • Math
    • A minimum score of a 3 on the Math AB or BC exam is equivalent to MATH 1A.
    • A score of 5 on the BC Math is equivalent to MATH 1A and 1B

If students have taken both an AP exam and the equivalent college-level course, we will only take the grade from the college-level course into consideration for admissions purposes. For AP Government, students may take either POL SCI 2 or 4 in combination with their AP score. 

Biological Sciences
Select 7 units from the following:
BIOLOGY 1AGeneral Biology Lecture3
BIOLOGY 1BGeneral Biology Lecture and Laboratory4
MCELLBI 32Introduction to Human Physiology3
MCELLBI 38Stem Cell Biology, Ethics and Societal Impact3
MCELLBI 50The Immune System and Disease4
MCELLBI 55Plagues and Pandemics3
MCELLBI/PSYCH C61Brain, Mind, and Behavior3
NUSCTX 10Introduction to Human Nutrition3
or NUSCTX 10S Introduction to Human Nutrition: Managing Life
Mathematics
Select two of the following, or their equivalents:
MATH 1ACalculus4
MATH 1BCalculus4
MATH 10AMethods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics4
MATH 10BMethods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics4
MATH 16AAnalytic Geometry and Calculus3
MATH 16BAnalytic Geometry and Calculus3
MATH 32Precalculus (Only if completed Fall 2016 or earlier)4
Social Science
Select three courses from at least two of the following areas:
Anthropology
ANTHRO 3Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology4
or ANTHRO 3AC Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology (American Cultures)
Economics
ECON 1Introduction to Economics4
or ECON 2 Introduction to Economics--Lecture Format
or ECON C3 Introduction to Environmental Economics and Policy
Political Science
POL SCI 2Introduction to Comparative Politics4
POL SCI 4Introduction to Political Theory4
Psychology
PSYCH 1General Psychology3
or PSYCH 2 Principles of Psychology
Sociology
SOCIOL 1Introduction to Sociology4
or SOCIOL 3 Course Not Available
or SOCIOL 3AC Principles of Sociology: American Cultures
SOCIOL 5Evaluation of Evidence4

Lower Division Requirements

This is a major requirement, not a prerequisite.  

DATA/STAT/COMPSCI/INFO C8Foundations of Data Science4

Upper Division Requirements

PB HLTH 142Introduction to Probability and Statistics in Biology and Public Health 14
PB HLTH 150AIntroduction to Epidemiology and Human Disease4
PB HLTH 150BHuman Health and the Environment in a Changing World3
PB HLTH 150DIntroduction to Health Policy and Management3
PB HLTH 150EIntroduction to Community Health and Human Development3
Capstone Requirement - This is NOT the full list. Please see our website for the most up to date list at publichealth.berkeley.edu/undergraduate
PB HLTH 130Advanced Health Policy3
PB HLTH 170CDrinking Water and Health3
PB HLTH H195ASpecial Study for Honors Candidates in Public Health 23
1

Alternatively, PB HLTH 141 Introduction to Biostatistics can be substituted for PB HLTH 142 for students Summer 2016 and prior.  

2

Students are required to enroll in Fall Semester's PB HLTH 155A and Spring Semester's PB HLTH H195B (with permission from the department) during their senior year to complete the honors thesis and earn honors in the major.

Elective Requirements - These courses listed below are approved examples.  Our electives list grows during the academic  year.  Please see our website for the most up to date list at publichealth.berkeley.edu/undergraduate

10 Units of Electives
Courses may be selected from the list below. It is not required for students to choose a specific subject concentration. Any PB HLTH courses (excluding the DeCal, group study, and independent research courses) can also meet elective requirements. Graduate courses at the School of Public Health can also count towards elective units.
Biostatistics
COMPSCI/STAT C100Principles & Techniques of Data Science4
DEMOG 110Introduction to Population Analysis3
MATH 53Multivariable Calculus4
MATH 54Linear Algebra and Differential Equations4
PB HLTH 145Statistical Analysis of Continuous Outcome Data4
STAT 133Concepts in Computing with Data3
STAT 134Concepts of Probability4
STAT 135Concepts of Statistics4
STAT 150Stochastic Processes3
STAT 151ALinear Modelling: Theory and Applications4
STAT 153Introduction to Time Series4
Infectious Diseases
CHEM 135Chemical Biology3
ESPM C138/MCELLBI C114/PLANTBI C114Introduction to Comparative Virology4
INTEGBI 114Infectious Disease Dynamics4
INTEGBI 116LMedical Parasitology4
INTEGBI 131General Human Anatomy3
INTEGBI 132Survey of Human Physiology4
INTEGBI 137Human Endocrinology4
INTEGBI 139The Neurobiology of Stress4
INTEGBI 141Human Genetics3
MCELLBI C100A/CHEM C130Biophysical Chemistry: Physical Principles and the Molecules of Life4
MCELLBI 102Survey of the Principles of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology4
MCELLBI C114Introduction to Comparative Virology4
MCELLBI 130Cell and Systems Biology4
MCELLBI 140General Genetics4
MCELLBI 150Molecular Immunology4
MCELLBI 160Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology4
PLANTBI C110LBiology of Fungi with Laboratory4
PB HLTH 162APublic Health Microbiology4
Epidemiology
DEMOG 110Introduction to Population Analysis3
DEMOG/SOCIOL C126Sex, Death, and Data4
GEOG 130Food and the Environment4
INTEGBI 131General Human Anatomy3
INTEGBI 132Survey of Human Physiology4
INTEGBI 140Biology of Human Reproduction4
MCELLBI 140General Genetics4
PB HLTH 112Global Health: A Multidisciplinary Examination4
Environmental Health Sciences
CIV ENG 111Environmental Engineering3
CIV ENG 113Ecological Engineering for Water Quality Improvement3
CIV ENG 114Environmental Microbiology3
ECON/ENVECON C102Natural Resource Economics4
ECON C171/ENVECON C151Development Economics4
ECON/ENVECON C181International Trade4
ENE,RES C100/PUB POL C184Energy and Society4
ENE,RES 102Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems4
ENVECON 131Globalization and the Natural Environment3
ENVECON 152Advanced Topics in Development and International Trade3
ENVECON 153Population, Environment, and Development3
ENVECON 161Advanced Topics in Environmental and Resource Economics4
ESPM 162AHealth, Medicine, Society and Environment4
ESPM 163ACEnvironmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment4
ESPM 168Political Ecology4
ESPM 169International Environmental Politics4
GEOG 123/DEV STD 150Postcolonial Geographies4
GEOG 130Food and the Environment4
GEOG 138Global Environmental Politics4
GEOG 187Geographic Information Analysis4
GEOG/LD ARCH C188Geographic Information Science4
HISTORY 120ACAmerican Environmental and Cultural History4
INTEGBI 117Medical Ethnobotany2
IAS/ENVECON C175The Economics of Climate Change4
ISF 100DIntroduction to Technology, Society, and Culture4
ISF 100GIntroduction to Science, Society, and Ethics4
NUSCTX 20Personal Food Security and Wellness2
NUSCTX 110Toxicology4
NUSCTX 160Metabolic Bases of Human Health and Diseases4
PB HLTH C160/ESPM C167Environmental Health and Development4
SOCIOL 121Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Social and Cultural Context4
SOCIOL 166Society and Technology4
ENVECON C151/ECON C171Development Economics4
ENVECON/ECON C181International Trade4
ESPM C167Environmental Health and Development4
Health Policy & Management
CY PLAN 120Community Planning and Public Policy for Disability3
ECON 157Health Economics4
ESPM 102DClimate and Energy Policy4
ENVECON C176Climate Change Economics4
LEGALST 103Theories of Law and Society4
LEGALST 107Theories of Justice4
LEGALST 168Sex, Reproduction and the Law4
PB HLTH 116Seminar on Social, Political, and Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine3
MEDIAST 112Media Theories and Processes4
PB HLTH 126Health Economics and Public Policy3
PB HLTH 181Poverty and Population3
POL SCI 103Congress4
POL SCI 150The American Legal System4
POL SCI 171California Politics4
PUB POL 101Introduction to Public Policy Analysis4
PUB POL C103Wealth and Poverty4
PUB POL 117ACRace, Ethnicity, and Public Policy4
PUB POL 156Program and Policy Design4
PUB POL 179Course Not Available4
SOCIOL 115GHealth in a Global Society4
SOC WEL 112Social Welfare Policy3
SPANISH 102CAdvanced Writing Workshop (Volunteering, Global Education, and Good Writing)4
Community Health & Human Development
ASAMST 143ACAsian American Health3
CHICANO 174Chicanos, Law, and Criminal Justice4
CHICANO 176Chicanos and Health Care3
ESPM 163AC/SOCIOL 137ACEnvironmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment4
ISF C100GIntroduction to Science, Technology, and Society4
HISTORY C191/HMEDSCI C133/UGIS C133Death, Dying, and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives4
NUSCTX 166Nutrition in the Community3
PB HLTH 14Healthy People: Introduction to Health Promotion4
PB HLTH 15Introduction to Global Health Equity3
PB HLTH 101A Sustainable World: Challenges and Opportunities3
PB HLTH 104A
PB HLTH 104B
Health Promotion in a College Setting
and Health Promotion in a College Setting
4
PB HLTH 107Violence, Social Justice, and Public Health2
PB HLTH W108Women's Health, Gender And Empowerment3
PB HLTH 118Global Nutrition3
PB HLTH 129The Aging Human Brain3
PB HLTH C155/SOCIOL C115Sociology of Health and Medicine4
PSYCH 134Health Psychology3

Summer Minor Requirements

Overview

The summer Global Public Health Minor/Certificate explores health-related issues affecting populations in the United States and worldwide. Students complete courses covering a range of disciplines and methods relevant to promotion and protection of human health, emerging health issues, healthcare systems, and approaches to address and intervene. It will expand knowledge and comprehension of domestic and international challenges for human health. Valuable internship experience, completed locally, nationally, or abroad, and the development of both technical and public health practice skills is part of the available curriculum. The certificate can be pursued by non-UC Berkeley students in or outside of California, including international students. 

Please note: This program option is only available during the summer.

The two options available are described below:

Summer Global Public Health Minor for UC Berkeley students: The Summer Minor in Global Public Health consists of three core and two elective courses taught in two consecutive, six-week summer sessions. Completion of core courses and any two electives listed below will satisfy the minor. A local or global public health 8-week internship with a required seminar can also serve as one of the elective courses. Students declaring a minor must do so in writing to the Director of Undergraduate Program at the School of Public Health. The minor can be completed in one or two summers. Students pursuing the 8-week internship as one elective will need two summers to complete the minor.

Summer Global Public Health Certificate for non-UC Berkeley students: The Summer Certificate in Global Public Health consists of three core and two elective courses taught in two consecutive, six-week summer sessions. Once the required core courses are completed, any two electives listed below will satisfy the requirements of the certificate. The certificate can be completed in one or two summers.

All minors must be declared no later than one semester before a student's Expected Graduation Term (EGT). If the semester before EGT is fall or spring, the deadline is the last day of RRR week. If the semester before EGT is summer, the deadline is the final Friday of Summer Sessions. To declare a minor, contact the department advisor for information on requirements, and the declaration process.

UC Berkeley and visiting students who do not want to declare the minor or receive a certificate, but are interested in these classes may enroll in as many courses as they wish.

For more information about the requirements for the Summer Minor please visit publichealth.berkeley.edu/undergraduate  

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses in sequential order by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

  1. Critical Thinking Skills
    • Describe the public health framework of the determinants of the health of populations.
    • Recognize the public health perspective of disease prevention and health promotion.
    • Explain how public health studies the interplay between biology, environment, and behavior.
    • Understand the basic concepts from the social and behavioral sciences in public health.
  2. Quantitative Skills
    • Recognize commonly used measures of population health.
    • Identify commonly used methods of measuring risk.
    • Describe common study designs for assessing risk from exposures.
    • Assemble and display summary measures using graphs and tables.
    • Recognize the basics of statistical hypothesis testing.
    • Know how to calculate and interpret confidence intervals.
  3. Communication Skills
    • Incorporate statistical and scientific findings into written materials.
    • Prepare fact sheets and other health education tools.
    • Know how to interpret public health reports and scientific literature.
    • Create and give presentations on public health issues.
  4. Problem-Solving Skills
    • Research and summarize relevant public health literature.
    • Apply the systems thinking approach to issues in public health.
    • Identify problems in public health with upstream-downstream model.
  5. Specialized Knowledge
    • Integrate human biology and genetics with public health issues.
    • Comprehend the basics of infectious disease.
    • Understand the basics of chronic disease.
    • Examine and assess environmental health issues.
    • Describe the organization and financing of the United States health care system.
  6. Lifelong Learning Skills
    • Identify ethical issues of public health.
    • Be able to perform data collection and research.
    • Acknowledge the role of disparities in public health.

Major Map

Major Maps help undergraduate students discover academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities at UC Berkeley based on intended major or field of interest. Developed by the Division of Undergraduate Education in collaboration with academic departments, these experience maps will help you:

  • Explore your major and gain a better understanding of your field of study

  • Connect with people and programs that inspire and sustain your creativity, drive, curiosity and success

  • Discover opportunities for independent inquiry, enterprise, and creative expression

  • Engage locally and globally to broaden your perspectives and change the world

  • Reflect on your academic career and prepare for life after Berkeley

Use the major map below as a guide to planning your undergraduate journey and designing your own unique Berkeley experience.

View the Public Health Major Map PDF.

Courses

Public Health

Contact Information

School of Public Health

2210 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-643-0881

sphug@berkeley.edu

Visit School Website

School Dean

Michael C. Lu, MD, MS, MPH

Assistant Dean of Students

Quin Hussey, MPH

2210 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-642-9654

whussey@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Advisor

Kimberly Henderson

2210 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-643-0874

sphug@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Advisor

Patricia Cruz

2210 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-643-0874

sphug@berkeley.edu

Peer Advisors

Drop in Calendar: tinyurl.com/sphugpeers

sphugpeers@berkeley.edu

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