Curriculum for the Bachelor of Arts in Public Health Program

All course work for the Public Health major is to be taken for a letter grade (with the exception of possible electives PB HLTH 116 and PB HLTH 104 A/B, which are Pass/No Pass only).

Due to accreditation changes instituted by the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH), Berkeley Public Health undergraduate students graduating in 2017 and afterwards must abide by the new major completion requirements. Students with a graduation date set before Spring 2017 may continue to use the old requirements.

Six Required Classes

Five Public Health Core; One Data Science

  • PB HLTH 142
    Intro to Probability and Statistics in Public Health (4) (fall and spring)
  • STAT 131A
    Only if completed Spring 2016 or earlier
  • PB HLTH 150A
    Introduction to Epidemiology (4) (spring only)
  • PB HLTH 150B
    Introduction to Environmental Health (3) (fall and summer only)
  • PB HLTH 150D
    Introduction to Health Policy & Management (3) (fall and summer)
  • PB HLTH 150E
    Introduction to Community Health and Human Development (3) (spring only)
    C8 Foundations of Data Science (4) (fall, summer and Spring)
    Only required for the graduating class of spring 2021 onward
    Note: For students who took Data 8 Spring 2019 or earlier, we will accept a Pass if the class was taken P/NP. Students taking Data 8 Summer 2019 and onward must take the course for a grade.

Ten Elective Units

Four of the 10 elective units must be Upper Division.

Any class categorized as Public Health may count as an elective unit towards the Public Health major, except for DeCal classes and independent research.

Declared Public Health major students may take graduate courses within Berkeley Public Health, pending instructor approval and pre-requisite completion. The class must be for a letter grade to be counted toward your Public Health electives. Please discuss with the Academic Advisors regarding the process of enrolling into Public Health graduate courses.

Other courses not expressly listed below may be considered pending one-time approval by the Undergraduate Management Committee. Please discuss with an Academic Advisor.

  • DEMOG 110: Introduction to Population Analysis (3)
  • COMPSCI/STAT C100: Principles & Techniques of Data Science (DATA 100) (4)
  • MATH 53: Multivariable Calculus (4)
  • MATH 54: Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (4)
  • PB HLTH 145: Statistical Analysis of Continuous Outcome Data (4)
  • STAT 133: Concepts in Computing with Data (3)
  • STAT 134: Concepts of Probability (4)
  • STAT 135: Concepts of Statistics (4)
  • STAT 150: Stochastic Processes (3)
  • STAT 151A: Linear Modeling: Theory and Application (4)
  • STAT 153: Introduction to Time Series (4)
  • ANTHRO 189 Language and Global Health (4)
  • ASAMST 143AC: Asian American Health (3)
  • CHICANO 174: Chicanos, Law and Criminal Justice (4)
  • CHICANO 176: Chicanos and Health Care (3)
  • ISF 100G Introduction to Science, Society and Ethics (4)
  • ESPM 163AC/SOCIOL 137AC: Environmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity and the Environment (4)
  • HISTORY C191/HMEDSCI C133/UGIS C133: Death, Dying and Modern Medicine: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (4)
  • NUSCTX 166: Nutrition in the Community (3)
  • PB HLTH 14: Healthy People: Introduction to Health Promotion (4)
  • PB HLTH 15: Introduction to Global Health Equity (3)
  • PB HLTH 104 A/B: Health Promotion in a College Setting (2/2)
  • PB HLTH 107: Violence, Social Justice and Public Health (2)
  • PB HLTH 101: A sustainable world: Challenges and Opportunities (3)
  • PH W108: Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment (3)
  • PB HLTH 118: Nutrition in Developing Countries (3)
  • PB HLTH 129: Aging and the Human Brain (3)
  • PB HLTH C155/SOCIOL C115: Sociology of Health and Medicine (4)
  • PSYCH 134: Health Psychology (3)
  • CIV ENG 111: Environmental Engineering (3)
  • CIV ENG 113: Ecological Engineering for Water Quality Improvement (3)
  • CIV ENG 114: Environmental Microbiology (3)
  • ECON C102/ENVECON C102: Natural Resource Economics (4)
  • ECON C171/ENVECON C151: Economic Development (4)
  • ECON C181/ENVECON C181: International Trade (4)
  • ENE,RES C100/PUB POL C184: Energy and Society (4)
  • ENE,RES 102: Quantitative Aspects of Global Environment Problems (4)
  • ENVECON 131: Globalization and the Natural Environment (4)
  • ENVECON 152: Advanced Topics in Development and International Trade (3)
  • ENVECON 153: Population, Environment and Development (3)
  • ENVECON 161: Advanced Topics in Environmental and Resource Economics (4)
  • ESPM 102D: Climate and Energy Policy (4)
  • ESPM 155AC: Sociology and Political Ecology of Agro-Food Systems (4)
  • ESPM 162: Health, Medicine, Society and Environment (4)
  • ESPM 163AC/SOCIOL 137AC: Environmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity and the Environment (4)
  • ESPM 168: Political Ecology (4)
  • ESPM 169: International Environmental Politics (4)
  • GEOG 123: Postcolonial Geographies (4)
  • GEOG 130: Food and the Environment (4)
  • GEOG 138: Global Environmental Politics (4)
  • GEOG 187 Geographic Information Analysis (4)
  • GEOG C188/LD ARCH C188: Geographic Information Systems (4)
  • HISTORY 120AC/ESPM 160AC: American Environmental and Cultural History (4)
  • INTEGBI 117: Medical Ethnobotany (2)
  • IAS C175/ENVECON C175: The Economics of Climate Change (4)
  • ISF 100D: Introduction to Technology, Society and Culture (4)
  • ISF 100G: Introduction to Science, Society and Ethics (4)
  • NUSCTX 20: Personal Food Security and Wellness (2)
  • NUSCTX 110: Toxicology (4)
  • NUSCTX 160: Metabolic Bases of Human Health & Diseases (4)
  • PB HLTH C160/ESPM C167: Environmental Health and Development (4)
  • SOCIOL 121: Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Social and Cultural Context (4)
  • SOCIOL 166: Society and Technology (4)
  • DEMOG 110: Introduction to Population Analysis (3)
  • DEMOG C126/SOCIOL C126: Sex, Death and Data (4)
  • GEOG 130: Food and the Environment (4)
  • INTEGBI 128: Sports Medicine (3)
  • INTEGBI 131: General Human Anatomy (3)
  • INTEGBI 132: Survey of Human Physiology (4)
  • INTEGBI 140: Biology of Human Reproduction (4)
  • INTEGBI 141: Human Genetics (3)
  • MCELLBI 140: General Genetics (4)
  • PB HLTH 112: Global Health: A Multidisciplinary Examination (4)
  • CY PLAN 120: Community Planning and Public Policy for Disability (3)
  • ECON 157: Health Economics (4)
  • ENVECON C176: Climate Change Economics (4)
  • ESPM 102D: Climate and Energy Policy (4)
  • SPANISH 102C: Advanced Writing Workshop (Volunteering, Global Education and Good Writing) (4)
  • LEGALST 103: Theories of Law and Society (4)
  • LEGALST 107: Theories of Justice (4)
  • LEGALST 168: Sex, Reproduction and the Law (4)
  • MEDIAST 102: The Effects of Mass Media (4)
  • PB HLTH 116: Seminar on  Social, Political and Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine (3)
  • PB HLTH 126: Health Economics and Public Policy (3)
  • PB HLTH 181  Poverty and Population (3)
  • POL SCI 103: Congress (4)
  • POL SCI 150: The American Legal System (4)
  • POL SCI 171: California Politics (4)
  • PUB POL 101: Introduction to Public Policy Analysis (4)
  • PUB POL C103/L & S C180U Wealth and Poverty (4)
  • PUB POL 117AC: Race, Ethnicity and Public Policy (4)
  • PUB POL 156: Program and Policy Design (4)
  • PUB POL 179: Public Budgeting (4)
  • SOCIOL 115G: Global Health and Social Justice (4)
  • SOC WEL 112: Social Welfare Policy (3)
  • CHEM 135: Chemical Biology (3)
  • ESPM C138/MCELLBI C114/PLANTBI C114: Introduction to Comparative Virology (4)
  • INTEGBI 114 Infectious Disease Dynamics (4)
  • INTEGBI 116L: Medical Parasitology (4)
  • INTEGBI 131: General Human Anatomy (3)
  • INTEGBI 132: Survey of Human Physiology (4)
  • INTEGBI 137: Human Endocrinology (4)
  • INTEGBI 141: Human Genetics (3)
  • MCELLBI C100A/CHEM C130: Biophysical Chemistry: Physical Principles and the Molecules of Life (4)
  • MCELLBI 102: Survey of the Principles of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (4)
  • MCELLBI C114: Introduction to Comparative Virology (4)
  • MCELLBI 130: Cell and Systems Biology (4)
  • MCELLBI 140: General Genetics (4)
  • MCB 141 Developmental Biology (4)
  • MCELLBI 150: Molecular Immunology (4)
  • MCELLBI 160: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (4)
  • PLANTBI C110L/INTEGBI C110L: Biology of Fungi with Laboratory (4)
  • MCELLBI C103/PLANTBI C103: Bacterial Pathogenesis (3)
  • PB HLTH 162A: Public Health Microbiology (3)

Study Abroad Approved Electives List

More information about undergraduate study abroad options can be found on the Undergraduate Academics page.

Please note that electives on this list expire five years after their approval date. If you wish to use something that has expired you are required to submit your own elective petition to renew the course.

UCEAP Programs

Maastricht University (Netherlands)
  • European Public Health in a Globalizing World (6 quarter / 4 semester)
  • Creating Health Literate Societies: Bridging the Gap of Inequality (5 quarter / 3.3 semester)

Approved November 2016 

Thammasat University (Thailand)
  • Mobility and Border Health (5 quarter / 3.3 semester UC units; letter grade only)
  • Health Realities in Border Populations (5 quarter/3.3 semester UC units; letter grade only)

Approved September 2017

University of Queensland (Australia)
  • ASIP001 Global to Local Environment and Health Issues (4.5 quarter units / 3 semester units)
  • ASIP002 Methods in Environmental Health and Science (4.5 quarter units / 3 semester units)

Approved November 2017 

University of Cape Town (South Africa)
  • AXL2100F Gender, Sexuality, Politics (8 quarter / 5.3 semester)

Approved March 2018 

Cambridge University (England)
  • Global Mental Health and Disability (5 quarter / 3.3 semester units)

Approved October 2018 

Carlos III University (Madrid, Spain)
  • Global Environmental Challenges (3.3 semester units)

Approved May 2019 

University of Sydney (Australia)
  • EDGU1004 – Young People, Sex and Sexual Health (4 semester units)

Approved May 2019 

Other Programs

Global Health in Peru (UCLA Summer Travel Study)
  • GLB HLT 110A: Global Health in Practice (4 quarter units / 2.68 semester units)
  • GLB HLT 110B: Diversities and Disparities: The Case of Peru (4 quarter units / 2.68 semester units)

Approved September 2018

ISA Global Health in Rome (Independent Program)
  • Global Health and Epidemiology (3 semester units)
  • Health Policy and Management for Universal Coverage (3 semester units)

Approved May 2019

Please refer to the Schedule of Classes on CalCentral and the UC Berkeley Academic Guide for more details about specific courses.

Public Health Major Capstone Requirement

The Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH), our accrediting body, requires that all students complete a capstone experience. The capstone requirement for the undergraduate Public Health major is designed to review, integrate and apply concepts and methods presented in the core courses. The Capstone Requirement must be taken for a letter grade and fulfilled in your senior year.

Previous coursework does not apply. The Capstone course you select cannot be used to fulfill the PH elective unit requirement. Priority is given to graduating students who need to satisfy the Public Health Capstone Requirement opposed to those interested in taking the course as an elective.

You can complete your capstone by choosing one of the following options:

  • Choosing a one semester class from our capstone course, or
  • Completing a two semester long honors thesis

Capstone Option 1: Capstone Course

The options listed are for the 2019-2020 academic year and are subject to change.

Fall 2019

This applied course will help you understand how to conduct and interpret research in human health and disease, building on your knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistics. The course will provide skills in: critically reading the literature related to public- health-related research; developing a research question and a testable hypothesis; and creating an analysis plan. All students will have a hands-on, guided experience analyzing data using STATA. This course is open to students interested in the research process. Students must have successfully completed PH 142 and PH 150A. (3.0 Units, 50-54 students, Instructor: Madsen, K).

NOTE: Students who are interested in completing capstone by pursuing an Honors Thesis in Public Health must enroll in the Senior Research Seminar course above for the Fall. No exceptions.

This capstone course will enhance student preparation to be effective public health practitioners through application of core knowledge, strengthening essential professional skills and development of post-graduation career and graduate education plans. Students will tackle real-world public health cases and emerging local challenges to enhance essential problem solving and innovation skills. Students will also enhance key communication, team and project skills. Leading professionals from a range of public health organizations will be engaged in the course to enhance student exposure, networking and opportunities. A key focus of the course will be students developing a clearer understanding of how their unique aspirations and strengths connect to emerging career and post-graduation options and how they can best prepare. (3.0 Units, 56 students, Instructor: Williams, K.).

Nutrition plays a vital role in human reproduction and child growth and development. This course provides an overview of the major nutritional issues faced by women of childbearing age, infants, children and adolescents in the United States and globally, with selected topics explored in greater depth. In addition to academic knowledge, this course offers students the opportunity to apply practical knowledge of nutrition on a personal level. This course includes a field component in which students meet local-level public health professionals/agencies (e.g. visits to WIC clinics, food banks, government organizations, more). The final paper will allow students to delve deeply into a particular topic of interest to them. The course is applicable to students interested in community nutrition, maternal and child health, food security and food systems and the opportunity to integrate and synthesize their knowledge. (3.0 Units, 10-20 students, Instructor: Fernald, L).

Students learn (through lectures and graded student presentations and projects) to design clinical and population-level field trials. Topics: formulation of a testable hypothesis; identification of appropriate populations; blinding (including indices for assessment); randomization (including traditional and adaptive randomization algorithms); sample-size estimation; recruitment strategies; data collection systems; quality control and human subjects responsibilities; adverse effects monitoring; improving participant adherence; use of surrogate outcomes. One midterm and one group project with written and oral components; required CITI IRB training completion. Students must have successfully completed PH 142 and PH 150A. (3.0 Units, 15-20 students, Instructor: Colford, J).

This is a fast-paced, exciting advanced course in the molecular aspects of parasite immunology, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and genomics. For each parasite, the following areas will be covered: biology (history, classification/taxonomy, life cycle), disease spectrum/clinical manifestations, epidemiology (distribution, impact), pathogenesis, immunology (host immune response, immunopathology), vaccine development and genomics. The lectures will focus “state-of-the-art” research and knowledge in these areas in relation to molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, parasite adaptations for survival within the host and strategies for drug and vaccine development. Course content will rely heavily on current literature. Readings are required and consist of one review article about each parasite and several primary research articles on selected topics that will be focused upon in the lectures. (3.0 Units, 5-8 students, Instructor: Harris, E).

Spring 2020

This course will give students the opportunity to build upon their understanding of the organization, financing and current policy issues of the US health care delivery system obtained in PH 150D. In this course students will become engaged health policy analysts, applying policy making tools (e.g., policy memos/briefs, legislative analysis, regulatory comments, media advocacy, public testimony) to actual health issues and problems. Through individual and group work, students will draw upon both verbal and written communication skills to effectuate health policy change. Students must have successfully completed PH 150D before enrolling in this course (3.0 Units, 2 sections: 24-30 students per section, Instructor: Flagg, R).

This course explores a wide variety of public health issues related to drinking water in both developed and developing countries. The approach is a case-based study of microbial, chemical and radiological contamination events in drinking water systems world- wide. We explore the health effects, health interventions (prevention and communication), water treatment interventions and policies/regulations. We also explore the role of stakeholders such as water utilities, NGOs, civil society and support agencies such as UNDP and WHO. The course includes the hands-on use of a mobile-GIS App for water assets and provides a context to understand how asset inventory relates to public health. This exercise can be applied to other assets such as health clinics and pharmaceutical dispensaries. Students must have successfully completed PH 150B before enrolling in this course (3.0 Units, 40 students, Instructor: Smith, C).

This introductory course will emphasize infectious diseases of public health importance focusing on the core concepts of infectious disease transmission, evidence-based approaches for prevention and control and epidemiologic methods for studying infectious diseases. The course is organized around two primary modules: 1) methods of infectious disease epidemiology; and 2) routes of transmission and associated prevention and control measures. Within each module, students will consider the range of clinical, methodological and ethical challenges faced by infectious disease epidemiologists and public health practitioners. Major infectious diseases will be discussed with an emphasis on disease surveillance, investigative procedures and prevention programs. Current problems in health agencies at a state, national and international level will be emphasized. Successful completion of PH 150A is a prerequisite for this course. (3.0 Units, 5-10 students, Instructors: McCoy, S and Lewnard, J).

Capstone Option 2: Honors Thesis

Students interested in completing an Honors Thesis in Public Health must meet the following prerequisites:

  • A GPA of 3.5 or above at the end of their Junior year,
  • Successful completion of PH 142 by the end of their Junior year,
  • Successful completion of PH 150A by the end of their Junior year,

The Honors Thesis project is a two semester commitment, starting in the fall semester and concluding in spring. Successfully completing the thesis will earn the student Honors in Public Health on their UC Berkeley transcript.

Mentor and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU):

Students must identify a research mentor who is affiliated with Berkeley (in any department – does not have to be Public Health) and who will guide your research. From what we have found, students who were the most successful were those who had a mentor solidified before Summer 2019. Mentors must sign an MOU (provided by Berkeley Public Health) stating that they will:

  • Support the student’s research
  • Read and provide feedback on the thesis
  • Meet with the student at least bi-monthly
  • Confirm that the dataset the student is analyzing will be complete by Fall of 2019

Required Honors Thesis Courses

The Honors Thesis courses cannot be used to fulfill the PH elective unit requirement.

  • Fall 2019: PH196 – Senior Research Seminar (3 units, letter grade)
    This applied course will help you understand how to conduct and interpret research in human health and disease, building on your knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistics.  The course will provide skills in: critically reading the literature related to public-health-related research; developing a research question and a testable hypothesis; and creating an analysis plan. All students will have a hands-on guided experience analyzing data using Stata.  This 3-unit course, taken for a letter grade, is offered in the fall and is required for students completing an Honors Thesis.
  • Spring 2020: PH H195A – Honors Thesis Sequence (3 units, letter grade)
    An honors degree in Public Health requires the completion of PH H195A. In the spring, students will meet with peers and the professor 3-4 times in the semester.  Other time is dedicated to meeting with the mentor, research, thesis prep and writing.

Research Project

Honors thesis projects can be quantitative or qualitative in design and can involve analysis of research mentor’s data or data from an existing publicly available database (e.g., NHANES). Mentors must have appropriate expertise, given the student’s research question and study design. Systematic reviews are NOT allowed for an Honors Theses.

Expectations of the Student:

In the Fall semester, students develop a research question and hypothesis and describe the aims for the research. They conduct a literature search and write a literature review to ensure the student understands the foundations for their research. The literature review will serve as the background section their Honors Thesis. In the Spring, students will analyze their data and write their Thesis with support from their research mentor and the Spring Honors Thesis seminar course.

Students will submit a written thesis and give an oral report describing their research.

Application process for Honors Thesis:

Please complete this application and email your mentor Memorandum of Understanding to by May 15, 2019 at 11:59pm. You will need to complete both steps before you can be considered for acceptance into the Honors Thesis program.

The mentor Memorandum of Understanding can be found in the email from the advisors ( or here.

Example Titles of Prior Undergraduate Honors Theses:

  • Prevalence and Treatment of Diabetes in Rural Tanzania
  • Rural vs. Urban risk and protective factors for the development of early childhood caries (ECC) in developing countries
  • The Biological Effects of Condom Lubricants and Public Health Policy
  • Implications: Focus on College Culture
  • The Role of CIITA fusion protein in Lymphoma cancer
  • Biofilm Formation and the MCE operons in Mycobacterium smegmatis
  • Environmental Associations for Onchocerciasis Prevalence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

For curriculum information for those enrolled in the undergraduate minor or certificate program, go to the Minor/Certificate in Global Public Health curriculum page.