Students must complete a minimum of four semesters of academic residence at UC Berkeley. While there are no specific course requirements for doctoral students, before taking their Preliminary Exam, it is expected that all students understand the principles of exposure and risk assessment, epidemiologic methods, and toxicology. If courses in these subjects have not been taken earlier, students may find it most efficient to take the core courses below in order to acquire the needed understanding.
- PB HLTH 270A: Exposure Assessment and Control I (3 units) (fall)
- PB HLTH 250B: Epidemiological Methods II (4 units) (spring) or other 200-level epidemiology course
- PB HLTH 241: Statistical Analysis of Categorical Data (4 units) (spring) or other 200-level biostatistics course
- NUSCTX 110/ PB HLTH 270B: Toxicology (4 units) (fall)
- PH 220C: Health Risk Assessment, Regulation and Policy (3 units) (spring)
- PB HLTH 271E: Science and Policy for Environment and Health (3 units) (spring)
- PH 293: EHS Doctoral Seminar (1 unit) (every Fall)
Students must not only develop expertise in the major field but also in two minor fields (one of which must be outside of environmental health sciences), such as biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental law, environmental policy, or molecular and cell biology. These are selected in consultation with a faculty adviser and need to be appropriate for the student’s dissertation topic. Part of the student’s research effort will be devoted to the development of these two minor fields as well as a dissertation prospectus in preparation for the qualifying exam. Students are encouraged to take courses outside of Berkeley Public Health to enhance their understanding of other disciplines that may be important to their research areas. Students who are interested will have the opportunity to complete a Designated Emphasis (DE) in Computational and Genomic Biology.
In addition to standard coursework, students are required to take the doctoral seminar (PH 293) every Fall semester prior to advancement to candidacy, and should carry at least three units of independent research (PH 299) in each of their first two semesters and increased units of research in subsequent semesters. These courses, or equivalent, constitute the basis for the doctoral examinations.
This program can last from three to five years; students take courses during their first three to four semesters in preparation for their examinations. During the first year, each student works closely with their faculty adviser to ensure mastery of the material that will be covered in examinations. When students are ready, they take the preliminary exam, which requires writing an NIH-style proposal for research of interest. It is followed by an oral portion that may cover general knowledge in the environmental health field as well as details related to the submitted proposal. After successful completion of the preliminary exam, students are expected to take the qualifying exam within a few months. After students take the qualifying exam, a formal report on the results (signed by all committee members) is sent to UC Berkeley’s Graduate Division. When the student has satisfied all requirements and passed the qualifying examination, the student advances to candidacy and formally begins the dissertation process. The dissertation research should comprise sufficient original work to motivate at least three peer-reviewed first-authored publications.
This program requires a graduate group examination, qualifying examination, and formal approval and acceptance of a student’s dissertation. A committee of three UC Berkeley Academic Senate members guide students in research and judge the merits of their dissertation. A student’s principal research advisor is generally the chair of this committee and it is expected that students will be in close touch with their advisor throughout the process of formulating the dissertation project and carrying it through to completion.