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Note: Public Health Nutrition is both an area of concentration and a specialty area. The following information is specific to the specialty area.

We face many nutrition-related problems both nationally and internationally, which need the expertise and leadership of well-trained public health professionals. The Specialty Area in Public Health Nutrition is designed to provide students with strong leadership skills and the competencies to address complex issues and problems relating to public health nutrition. These professionals need to be able to design, implement and evaluate programs; identify best practices; develop and implement new food and nutrition policies; and find ways to address the widespread epidemic of obesity and ongoing problems related to sustaining our national and global food system.


This specialty area is offered to all Berkeley Public Health students currently enrolled in our master’s or doctoral degree programs. Students should have some previous coursework in biological sciences and/or nutrition sciences—either as part of their undergraduate major or as post-baccalaureate coursework.


Students need to complete nine units of courses, selected from the following:

  • PH 206B Food and Nutrition Policies and Programs (3 units)
  • PH 206C Nutritional Epidemiology (3 units)
  • PH 206D Food and Nutrition Programs and Policies in Developing Countries (3 units)
  • PH 207A Public Health Aspects of Maternal and Child Nutrition (2, 3 units)
  • Upper-division Nutrition Sciences and Toxicology courses (NST 103, 160, 161)
  • Other related coursework by permission

Two-year master’s students need to complete a 12-week summer internship/fieldwork in an area related to nutrition, nutrition policy and/or physical activity. One-year master’s students may satisfy this requirement with an internship during the school year or during the winter recess.

Students also complete a comprehensive exam or thesis on a topic related to public health nutrition.

Students in the Specialty Area in Public Health Nutrition may be able to participate in faculty research projects and the Nutrition Policy Institute. Students may be eligible for public health nutrition fellowship and scholarship funds.


At the time of graduation, each student will receive a letter signed by the Dean and the Public Health Nutrition Program chair certifying the student’s completion of the PHN Specialty Area degree requirements.