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Environmental Health Sciences MS

Students in our program are trained to make research and technical contributions to the field of environmental health science in the U.S. and across the globe.

This program is a two-year course of study focused on developing skills in assessing, measuring and controlling health impacts associated with physical, chemical and biological agents in the environment and workplace. The curriculum requires 20–24 units of upper division graduate coursework integrating multiple disciplines, with an emphasis on assessment of exposure to environmental contaminants, toxicology, environmental and occupational epidemiology, risk assessment, control strategies, and policy solutions. A thesis or original research project is required.


Students have four semesters in which to complete their degree requirements and complete their Degree Plan II (non-thesis option). For more information, refer to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division Degrees Policy. Students are required to take 8 to 12 units of advanced study taught by the program’s faculty and are additionally required to take at least two courses outside those taught by the program’s faculty, preferably courses taught outside Berkeley Public Health (the student’s faculty adviser must approve these courses). Students should reference the Berkeley Compendium of EHS Expertise to supplement their required courses with electives. Research efforts will begin in the second semester of the first year with Independent Research (PB HLTH 299, 2 units) under the supervision of a faculty adviser. During the second year, students will take additional units of PB HLTH 299 as they conduct their Degree Plan II. Students are encouraged to pursue their research during the summer between years one and two.

  • Required Courses
    • PB HLTH W200: Foundations of Public Health Practice (fall)
    • PB HLTH 270: Introduction to Environmental Health Sciences (fall)
    • PB HLTH 270A: Exposure Assessment and Control I (fall)
    • PB HLTH 270B: Toxicology (spring)
    • PB HLTH 220C: Health Risk Assessment, Regulation and Policy (spring)
  • Quantitative Methods
    • PB HLTH 250A: Epidemiological Methods I (Fall, summer)
    • PB HLTH 142: Introduction to Probability and Statistics in Biology and Public Health (fall, spring)
    • An additional biostatistics course is also required, of which the following are generally selected from:
      • PB HLTH 245: Introduction to Multivariate Statistics (fall)
      • PB HLTH 241: Intermediate Biostatistics for Public Health (spring)

Recommendations for Competitive Applicants

  • Candidates with undergraduate coursework in calculus, chemistry and biology are preferred.
  • Common undergraduate majors for admitted applicants: engineering, microbiology, environmental science, biology, chemistry, other biological, natural or physical sciences fields, population sciences and biomedical fields.
  • Common work experience for admitted applicants: applicants in past years have worked as lab technicians, student researchers, research scientists, environmental consultants, post-graduate fellows, toxicologists, industrial hygiene engineers, and for the Peace Corps.
  • Submissions of GRE scores are optional but recommended for this program, especially if you have no other evidence of quantitative, verbal, or analytical abilities in your application.

Admission and Application Requirements

A writing sample. There is no length requirement for the writing sample, but a sample approximately 10 pages in length is typical. Please attach a writing sample that highlights your writing and analytical skills. The writing sample may be a final paper from a class, a popular media article, a report, a blog entry, an undergraduate thesis, etc. The purpose of the writing sample is to demonstrate your preparation for graduate-level coursework and research at Berkeley by sharing an example of your prior work that exhibits your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, solve technical problems, construct and evaluate arguments, and/or sustain a focused and coherent discussion. The writing sample should be your own work; if there were multiple authors, please describe your specific contributions to the writing and project.


Excellent career opportunities are available for our graduates. In recent years, alumni have accepted job offers at research institutions, consulting companies and governmental organizations such as the California Environmental Protection Agency, the San Francisco Department of the Environment, the California Energy Commission, and the California Department of Toxic Substances. Many graduates have continued their education in doctorate programs in environmental health and other related fields.

Admissions Statistics


Average GPA of admitted applicants


Average Verbal GRE percentile scores of admitted applicants


Average Quantitative GRE percentile scores of admitted applicants


Acceptance rate