The UC Berkeley Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Program develops the next generation of leaders equipped to solve the health challenges facing women, children, adolescents, and families of the 21st century. Our multifaceted and interdisciplinary curriculum and dynamic learning environment are designed to respond to newly emerging issues in MCAH and to the unique needs of the diverse communities and cultures of the San Francisco Bay area, State of California, and the world.
Students are trained to use their skills and expertise to achieve health equity for all. Students will learn basic principles and applications of quantitative research and epidemiology for addressing MCAH problems. They will identify the major sources of information related to MCAH populations, assess their strengths and limitations, and use data to assist in determining the needs of a population for the purposes of designing programs, formulating policy, and conducting research or training.
By the end of their studies, graduates will be able to:
- Discuss a problem facing MCAH populations with an evidence-based rationale for why it is a topic of importance.
- Identify and evaluate the relative contribution of individual and environmental factors associated with maternal and child health.
- Identify a maternal and child health issue and evaluate a policy solution.
- Interpret results of epidemiologic studies of maternal and child health problems and synthesize published epidemiological literature in order to summarize current knowledge and develop and test strong research questions that will advance knowledge in the field of maternal and child health.
- Apply basic principles of quantitative research and epidemiology for understanding and addressing MCH problems.
Our program is a quantitative, research-based program. The required coursework and capstone project are designed to ensure our students gain the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to comprehensively understand and conduct epidemiologic research. Students may choose to take electives in qualitative methods.
|MCAH Program at UC Berkeley||Minimum Units|
|11-Month MCAH MPH||The 11-month MCAH program is designed for public health professionals who already hold an advanced degree (typically health professionals with experience in health services for maternal, child and adolescent populations including physicians, nurses, dentists, social workers and psychologists) or are current medical students.||42 units|
|2-Year MCAH MPH||The two-year MCAH program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree who demonstrate great potential for leadership and have a keen interest in research, including quantitative data collection and analysis.||48 units|
|4+1 MCAH MPH||A 4+1 MPH program in MCAH is offered to UC Berkeley Public Health Undergraduate Majors & Alumni only. Please see the 4+1 MPH program page for more information.||42 units|
|MCAH MPH/MSW Concurrent Degree||A three-year Concurrent Degree in Social Welfare and Public Health (MSW/MPH) that combines the epidemiological approach from public health with a bio-psychosocial approach from social work. For the concurrent MSW/MPH you must apply through the UC Berkeley, School of Social Welfare to learn more about the MSW application requirements and instructions.||90 units in both Social Welfare and Public Health|
In addition to the school-wide breadth courses, students are required to complete the program’s core courses listed below, an additional biostatistics course, one programmatic course, and capstone research project.
- PBHLTH 210: Foundations of MCH Policy, Practice and Science
- PBHLTH 210J: Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Journal Club
- PBHLTH 210E: Practicum in MCH Data Analysis I
- PBHLTH 210F: Practicum in MCH Data Analysis II
- PBHLTH 210K: Foundations of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Leadership (required for 2-year MCAH students, optional for 11-month MCAH and 4+1 MCAH students)
Capstone Research Project
As part of the requirement, students must complete a quantitative capstone research project. This project consists of a written and an oral component and is considered to be the comprehensive examination for students. Students enroll in seminars designed to support them in the capstone process.
For more information on the curriculum and recommended course sequence, please refer to the MCAH Program Handbook.
Applied Practicum Experience
Students in the two-year program and 4+1 students are required to participate in a 400-hour summer practicum experience to strengthen their leadership and practice knowledge and skills.
For two-year students, these placements are typically 10-week, full-time work experience during the summer between the first and second year of the program. For 4+1 students, these placements take place in the following summer after all coursework is completed.
Examples of past field placement sites for MCAH students include:
- Planned Parenthood Northern CA
- Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies; UCSF
- Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) UCSF
- Prevention Institute
- California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
- Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute
- California Department of Maternal and Child Health
- Homeless Prenatal Program
- Alameda County Public Health Department: Nutrition Services
- The Edible Schoolyard
Click here to view the 2021 MCAH Placement Summary. For more information about the summer practicum, please visit RISE: Berkeley Public Health Career & Leadership Office page.
Graduates of our program become leaders at the local, national and global level. We have alumni working in almost every state, as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. We also have alumni working across the globe in dozens of countries across six continents. Approximately 83% of our alumni continue to work in maternal, child and adolescent health; and 88% specifically address issues related to underserved or vulnerable populations (e.g., immigrant populations). Our alumni also work across a variety of public health sectors. Approximately 33% work in clinical health care settings (e.g., hospitals or health clinics), 28% in academic settings, 28% in private or non-profit settings, and 5% work in government agencies.*
*Data based on a sample of 2008, 2013 and 2016 graduates surveyed in 2018.
Please visit the Berkeley Public Health graduate admissions requirements page to evaluate our admission requirements and determine if our program is the right fit for you. Specific program requirements and qualifications are listed under “Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health” within the Two-Year MPH, One-Year MPH, 4+1 MPH sections.
Based on data from 2017-2019
Funding for Admitted Students
Our program can provide some financial support to admitted and enrolled students in a variety of ways. Almost all funding provided is through our Center of Excellence in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH), which is a funded training center through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
- Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for financial support from our Center of Excellence in MCAH and efforts are made to support all students in need for at least one semester during their time in the program.
- Admitted students who would like to participate in Spring Visit Day but need financial assistance to attend can contact the program manager to see if funding is available for travel support.
- A limited number of traineeships are awarded to students annually. Traineeships are small financial awards that typically cover a portion of tuition and fees for the semester. These awards are based on faculty review and student applications, so we recommend making applications as strong as possible.
- The program also provides some financial support for summer internships. Students are asked to submit an application if they are requesting financial support for a summer placement.
- The program also supports students through Graduate Student Instructors (GSI) and Graduate Student Researchers (GSR) positions. The availability of these positions are not guaranteed each semester.
- Lastly, students may be eligible for GSI or GSR positions through our affiliated research centers.
Students who wish to work during the program are usually able to do so and both on-campus and external employment possibilities exist.
Julianna Deardorff PhD
Associate Dean,, Faculty and Academic Affairs
Kim Harley PhD
Associate Adjunct Professor, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health
Cassondra Marshall DrPH, MPH
Assistant Professor, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program
Ndola Prata MD, MSc
Professor, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health
Jaspal S. Sandhu PhD
Assistant Adjunct Professor, Community Health Sciences
Brenda Eskenazi MA, PhD
Barbara Abrams DrPH, RD
Professor of the Graduate School, Epidemiology, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, and Public Health Nutrition
Sylvia Guendelman PhD, MSW
Professor of the Graduate School, Public Health
Cheri Pies DrPH, MSW
Clinical Professor Emerita , Public Health
Malcolm Potts MB, BChir, PhD, FRCOG
Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley School of Public Health