Summer Minor or Certificate in Global Public Health

The Global Public Health summer minor and certificate programs explore health-related issues affecting populations in the United States and worldwide. Students complete courses covering a range of disciplines and methods relevant to promoting and protecting human health, emerging health issues, and healthcare systems.

This programs enhance students’ preparation for careers in the dynamic, growing field of public health, including clinical graduate training. Students learn strategies for addressing emerging population health issues locally and globally.

The minor and certificate can serve as precursors to further study in public health, other health professions, or any fields in which the health of persons and populations is a relevant concern. The programs can augment and enhance many different undergraduate bachelor degree programs and prepare students for professional and academic careers. In addition, public health is of interest for its own sake, as a component of a rigorous liberal arts education.

The summer minor is available to UC Berkeley undergraduate students who are not intending to major in public health. The certificate can be pursued by non-UC Berkeley students in or outside of California.


Both the Summer Minor in Global Public Health Program and Certificate in Global Public Health Program consist of three required core courses and two elective courses. The courses are taken over two consecutive six-week summer sessions.

All required courses must be completed with a minimum grade of C- to be eligible for the minor or certificate.

The expectation for the summer minor is that all courses must be taken during the summer. Some are only offered in the summer, or are restricted to or prioritized for public health majors during the academic year.

While enrollment is guaranteed during the summer, we do not guarantee enrollment during the academic year.

If UC Berkeley students have already completed any of these courses during the fall or spring semesters prior to beginning the summer minor, application of this coursework to the summer minor program will be considered.

Courses taken at other universities will not be applied towards Berkeley’s Global Public Health minor or certificate. Contact your home university to discuss the possibility of transferring or being credited for courses taken at UC Berkeley.

Note: UC Berkeley students and visiting students who do not want to pursue a minor or receive a certificate – but who are interested in taking public health classes – may enroll in as many courses as they wish.

Core Courses

The three courses below are required to complete the summer minor/certificate.

Good health at the individual and community level is central to human happiness, economic development and societal progress. Good health, which is not simply the absence of illness and injury, is the result of the complex interplay of many factors. Within the relevant legal, social, political and physical contexts, good health is contingent on economic forces, cultural beliefs, human behaviors and religion. Additional factors include the availability of affordable preventive measures, curative services, nutritious food, safe water, sanitation and other basic human needs. By definition, global health transcends geopolitical borders and standard academic disciplines, so a broad multidisciplinary approach to its study and understanding is required. Students will be expected to read, understand and use sometimes advanced materials from diverse disciplines. Case-based discussions will be included in the course.

This introductory course presents the principles and methods of epidemiology, including descriptive and analytic approaches to assessing the distributions of health, disease and injury in populations and factors that influence those distributions. The emphasis is on developing an understanding of concepts, rather than quantitative methods, although calculations are involved. Through the combination of lectures, readings, critical review of papers and problem sets, students without prior coursework in epidemiology will acquire core competencies in epidemiology expected of all public health professionals. Examples are drawn from national and international public health issues.

Note for Enrollment: This is a graduate level course; therefore, you will need to obtain a permission number to enroll. Please email the professor asking for a permission number by simply stating you are looking to pursue the summer Global Public Health Minor/Certificate. If you have any questions email a program advisor.

This intensive introductory course covers statistical methods used in applied research with an emphasis on principles of statistical reasoning, underlying assumptions and careful interpretation of results. Topics covered include: descriptive statistics, graphical displays of data, introduction to probability, expectations and variance of random variables, confidence intervals and tests for means, differences of means, proportions, differences of proportions, chi-square tests for categorical variables, regression and multiple regression, an introduction to analysis of variance. R (programming language) will be used to supplement hand calculations.

Note: PB HLTH 142 may be applied to the minor in place of PB HLTH 141. No substitutions can be made for other courses.

Elective Courses

Select two of the following courses:

This course presents the relationship between chemical, physical and biological hazards in the environment and their impact on human health. The course focuses on the core areas of environmental health sciences: toxicology, microbial ecology, exposure assessment, risk assessment, environmental epidemiology, regulations/policies and GIS/spatial analysis. It examines the science, health considerations and regulations of contaminants in air, water and food in the context of both developed and developing countries. Other key topics such as ethics, environmental justice and occupational health and safety are also discussed. Local, national and international case studies are used to provide real-world examples of important environmental health concepts.

This course in health policy and management course will introduce students to health policy making and the organization of the United States healthcare system. Health policy and management applies concepts from economics, organizational behavior and political science to the structure, financing and regulation of the public health and health care delivery systems. Students will also learn about current issues in U.S. health policy and contemporary organizational challenges experienced by the U.S. healthcare system.

This course presents the fundamentals of microbiology as it relates to the causes of disease and the promotion of health. The primary emphasis will be on infectious agents and the diseases that they produce in humans. To fully comprehend how these agents produce disease, we will learn their properties, how they are transmitted and what their effects are on humans. The course covers the host immune response to microbial infections as well as the prevention and treatment of infections. In addition, students will be introduced to microorganisms that usually do not cause disease but play indispensable and beneficial roles. Students will learn about the threat of infectious diseases nationally and globally.

This course focuses on low- and middle-income countries and will cover: the effects of nutrition throughout the lifecycle in pregnancy, infancy, childhood and adulthood; nutrition broadly in terms of issues of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity; and how to analyze and evaluate actions taken to ameliorate the major nutritional problems facing vulnerable populations. Students will learn about ways in which organizations and governments design and implement policies and programs that affect food production and access to safe, affordable and nutritionally adequate diets. The course will address how stakeholders in the food system—consumer, health, industry, government and other groups—interact with each other to affect policy design and implementation; the historical, social, economic, environmental and political factors that determine stakeholder positions on policy issues; and the ways in which these factors promote or act as barriers to achieving a functional and sustainable food system that promotes optimal food, nutrition and health.

This course aims to expand students’ understanding of the interconnected factors that influence women’s global health and empowerment. Using an interdisciplinary approach, it will draw from many fields such as global health and development, medical and reproductive sciences, epidemiology, demography, law, sociology, economy, political science, advocacy and community health sciences. The curriculum follows a life course framework and includes the following topics: foundations of sexual and reproductive health for girls, adolescents and women throughout the life cycle; basic principles of gender and empowerment theory; historic paradigm shifts in political frameworks, health policies and global reproductive rights; demographic and societal changes and their impact on health, education, economic development and environmental resources; as well as the role of men and boys as allies for gender equity and women’s empowerment in different cultural, regional and global contexts. The course will be taught in a highly interactive format with discussions, group projects and case studies and will draw from the experiences of the students.

The internship elective is available only to UC Berkeley students. Students must secure a full-time public health related summer internship for a minimum of 8 consecutive weeks between June and August. Domestic and international internships are eligible and available. Students must also have an overall GPA of 3.0. Students wanting to apply for an internship would submit an application to the Undergraduate Public Health Program Director at UC Berkeley. The application will include: a one-page description of the internship scope and deliverables, a letter of commitment from the host organization, a resume, transcript and submit a 500-word statement describing why they want to pursue the internship.

A seminar is included as part of this enrollment designed to help students get the most from their internship experience and strengthen their potential leadership and career development. Students will also be able to reflect on professional and leadership style and development. Students will assess their strengths, styles and preferences, as well as areas they need to grow. They will be challenged to use and reflect on the internship experience as an opportunity to develop key competencies and to critically explore organizational cultural dynamics, modes of conduct and values. Moreover, students will be provided with the opportunity to integrate classroom learning and practice in a public health work environment. Students will make important contributions to the host organization, the community they serve and to the solution of global public health problems while developing personal confidence and leadership skills as an emerging public health professional.


For information on enrollment into the minor or certificate program, go to the Enrollment in the Undergraduate Summer Minor or Certificate in Global Public Health page.


A $2,000 scholarship is available to students who are enrolled in a minor that is only available in the summer, including the Summer Minor in Global Public Health. International students are eligible for this scholarship if they are enrolled full-time during the academic year.

To be awarded the summer minor scholarship, you must:

  • Be currently enrolled as a UC Berkeley student,
  • Complete the academic requirements of the minor in one summer or during two consecutive summers,
  • Complete at least 4 of the 5 classes for the minor during the summer,
  • Receive a grade of “C” or higher in all courses comprising the minor and complete all courses before graduation,
  • Fill out the Completion of Minor form and email it to  Berkeley Public Health’s undergraduate program coordinator within two weeks of the start of your final course.

If you are a senior taking your final class for the minor during the academic year and are graduating within that same academic year (Fall or Spring), it may affect your eligibility for the scholarship.

This scholarship will be credited to your CalCentral account in early December following your completion of the minor.

This scholarship is only available to students enrolled in the Global Public Health Minor. It is not available for those earning the Global Public Health Certificate.


Students who complete the minor can enhance their preparation to pursue careers and jobs in public health departments, hospitals and health systems, health policy, community health settings, non-profit organizations, consulting firms and health related start-ups and private companies. The program can also strengthen student preparation for clinical careers, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, optometry, physician assisting, and mental health and/or graduate degrees in public health, public policy, business, social work, law and city planning.

Even if not used directly in a professional setting or graduate program, the multidisciplinary approach of public health will provide students with a broader understanding of the world and tools to engage and influence their surroundings.

Kimberly Henderson

Program Advisor
Kimberly Henderson

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Program Advisor
Patricia Cruz

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