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Major Maps: Interested in Public Health as a major? Check out the Public Health Major Map! You can explore more major maps by going to the UC Berkeley My Major Map Website.

With a public health major, undergraduates will develop and apply knowledge from multiple disciplines for the promotion and protection of the health of the human population, giving due consideration to principles of human rights and cultural perspectives that abound in our multicultural country and world.

Public health is a capped major and unfortunately every semester we have to turn away great candidates due to our limited capacity. While we do our best to accept all qualified students, there is no guarantee that any one particular student will be admitted into the major. Therefore, when you take the prerequisites needed for a public health major, you should also take the necessary steps to declare an alternative major in order to ensure you have a timely graduation.

Interested students may apply to the public health major once. We do not accept reapplicants. Thus, it is important to make your application as strong as possible.

Undergraduate Admissions Requirements

Undergraduate Application Instructions

Double Major Applicants

Please see the application instructions page for the following: “Our fourth question is optional, unless you are a double major applicant. If you are a double major applicant, you are required to answer this question in your Statement of Purpose: Why you are choosing to pursue two majors, and how will they prepare you for a career related to public health? (100 words)”

Important Prerequisite Information

For prerequisites taken during Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021: The review committee will take into account that Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 are impacted by COVID-19. You may choose to take a PNP or a letter grade for prerequisites being taken at UC Berkeley or another institution this Spring 2020. For prerequisite courses taken for PNP, you must receive a “P”. You may request grades from your professor for prereq calculation purposes if you choose PNP (screenshot of email required with application). Requesting letter grades should you choose PNP is not required. You can see the full policy statement at section #8: SPHUG here. For more clarification please reach out to the academic advisors via drop in hours or (drop in hours are easier for explanation purposes).

For Prerequisites taken during Fall 2022: A letter grade of a C- or higher is still required for the prerequisites. For Fall 2022 only, a P grading for Data C8 will be accepted to fulfill Public Health major requirements.

Declaration Policy of Public Health Major

Should you receive admission to the Public Health major you must be declared in the major on CalCentral no later than 3 months (12 weeks) after your admission email receipt. If you fail to declare the PH major by this deadline, you will automatically be dropped from the major. No exceptions. There is no appeal process. Please read the following for further details.

Students applying in the Fall cycle (December 17-31) should expect to be declared by mid April.
Students applying in the Spring cycle (May 17-31) should expect to be declared by mid October.

Dates will vary based on each years’ calendar.

L&S Students:

Students that apply who are already in the College of Letters and Science (L&S) and have marked on the application they are planning to solely major in PH will be declared immediately by the PH academic advisors in CalCentral.

If you are planning to double major and are already declared in a major besides PH within the College of L&S, you will be required to fill out the appropriate forms sent to you by the academic advisors in order to declare PH.

Non-L&S Students:

Students who apply while not in the College of L&S will need to fill out the appropriate forms sent to you by the academic advisors in order to declare PH. You will be in one of two situations and the appropriate forms shall be sent to you based on what you have marked on your application.

  • Change of College – you are planning to leave your current College and enter the College of L&S.
  • Simultaneous degree – you are planning to keep your current major/degree and also complete a second degree in the College of L&S majoring in PH.

Any questions can be directed to

Frequently Asked Questions

Phase 1 is prioritized for PH majors in their senior year (Term 7 and 8+). In Phase 2 all remaining seats will be released to all PH majors Additional seats may be released to students in their 7 or 8 term in the Adjustment period, and then to students in their 5 or 6 term pending availability of seats.

Senior and Junior status are determined by how many terms you have completed on CalCentral, so even if you are in senior standing in units you may be in junior standing in terms. If you are graduating early and have any concerns about enrolling in the required courses, please reach out to a Public Health advisor.

If you have just applied to the major and are awaiting the admissions decision, follow the advice below. Keep in mind that units for waitlist courses are counted as part of your unit total (enrollment unit caps), so you need to pay attention to your maximum units for your current college. If your current major is outside the College of L&S, you may have other unit caps to follow. For L&S students, Phase 1 has a 13.5 unit cap and Phase 2 has a 17.5 unit cap. You may be admitted into the major during Phase 1 however seats for public health core classes may still be reserved for PH seniors. If seats are released to all PH majors before Phase 2, but you are enrolled in 13.5 units in Phase 1, you still won’t come off the waitlist until Phase 2 when your unit cap rises to 17.5. You will need to wait until Phase 2 if admitted from the waitlist into the  PH core courses.

Phase 1 Enrollment: You should enroll in PH elective and breadth classes first. If you have not taken DATA C8 yet, we also recommend you try to enroll in this course if possible. Then you may either join a waitlist or leave room for the public health core classes you wish to take if you are admitted to the PH major. Or you can enroll in classes for your back up major and have a plan for what to drop and add upon hearing whether or not you are admitted.

It would be okay to Phase 1 or Phase 2 the core classes you are hoping to enroll in. You may want to Phase 1 the courses you need to prioritize for your backup major, other requirements, or popular courses you are interested in that fill up quickly since PH core classes will have reserved seats for PH majors.

Phase 2 Enrollment: We reserve seats in the public health core classes for newly admitted PH majors, this can sometimes happen during Phase 2. If you are admitted to the PH major in Phase 2, you will bypass everyone on the waitlist who is not a PH major to be enrolled in the class as long as the discussion you chose still has open seats. You will remain waitlisted if the discussion is full. If that is the case, then you will have to change the discussion section to be able to enroll in the lecture and discussion. This can mean having to drop the course to be able to re-enroll and choose a different discussion option as you can only swap discussion sections when you are already fully enrolled in the course. See more in “For PH majors: Swapping discussion sections.”

If you have paperwork to be completed in order to declare the PH major, please make sure to do so and be in communication with the PH advisors. If you are unable to complete the paperwork and declare the major before Phase 2, please let the PH advisors know ahead of time what core class and open discussion section you are trying to enroll in as seats in core classes will be released to non-PH majors during the Adjustment period.

If you need to prioritize other classes in Phase 1, you can enroll in some of the Public Health core classes (142, 150A, 150B, 150D, and 150E) in Phase 2. PH 150E is a class that fills up quickly with current PH majors so we recommend that you Phase I it (if during enrollment for spring courses). You should also Phase 1 your chosen capstone course once you enter your final 2 semesters at Berkeley).

In the fall, PH 150B reserves seats for PH seniors in Phase 1. So if you’re still waiting to see if you were admitted to the major, you will not be enrolled in this course. Seats in PH 150B for PH juniors/recently admitted majors will open up during Phase 2 and you will see yourself progress through the waitlist. If you are still waiting to hear about your admission to the major, you will not progress through the waitlist. However, if you are admitted by Phase 2 and you have not advanced through the waitlist, please email us so we can loop in our course scheduler.

In the fall, the majority of PH graduate students will enroll in PH 142 because of the requirements for MPH programs. Anyone can waitlist for this course, however, enrollment in the course is not guaranteed. Students are enrolled sequentially off the waitlist provided there are seats available for your enrollment group and whether you are enrolled in a class that has a time conflict with another class for which you are waitlisted. Because there are reserved seats in PH 142 for PH graduate students, PH seniors and general PH majors, you will see your enrollment status update more quickly than in PH 150B if you become admitted to the major in Phase 2.

Please note PH 142 is offered in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. There are no enrollment restrictions during Summer Sessions. Also note, we do not allow undergraduate students to take the online PH W142 class through OOMPH.

You will need to take PH 142 either before or concurrently with PH 150A. If you are interested in the Honors Thesis or certain 4+1 MPH programs, be sure to complete PH 142 and PH 150A by the end of your junior year.

For the PH major core classes (PH 142, PH 150A, PH 150B, PH 150D, and PH 150E), there will be reserved seats for PH majors up until the middle of Adjustment period and sometimes a bit later into the Adjustment period depending on when we admit new PH majors. Sometimes instructors may release seats a bit earlier than Adjustment period depending on the class size and how enrollment is going. In any case, if you are not a public health major, you will be waitlisted until seats are released.

If you are on the waitlist but there are open seats in the lecture, you may have chosen a discussion section that is full and will need to change your discussion section to enroll in the course. If you are on the waitlist but there are open seats in the lecture, you may have chosen a discussion section that is full and will need to change your discussion section to enroll in the course. See Switching Related Sections guide for further information.

Students cannot swap discussion sections unless they are already enrolled in the lecture. To choose a new discussion section, you will have to drop and re-add the course with the open discussion section. Within 3-6 hours, the system will then recognize you as a declared PH major and be able to enroll you from the waitlist bypassing other students on the waitlist who are not PH majors as long as the class still has reserved seats for majors.

Please note that PH seniors are not based on the standing listed on Calcentral but by terms 7-8. PH juniors are considered to be terms 5-6. If you are graduating early, please be sure to fill out the form under “Can I move my EGT?” here. So if there is reserved seating for PH seniors, it is usually around Phase 2 that we release all seats for the PH core classes to all PH majors. If you are attempting to enroll in a capstone course but are term 5-6, please email the instructor of the specific capstone you are interested in to explain that you are graduating early, confirming that you have submitted the appropriate forms, and CC

If you find you are unable to drop and re-add the course, be sure you are trying to do so during your allotted Phase 1 or Phase 2 time. If it is your enrollment time and you remain on the waitlist for an open discussion and lecture even after 3-6 hours, let us know and we can loop in our course scheduler to further assist.