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Semester Cap

Non-transfer students must apply to the public health major by the end of their fifth semester in attendance at UC Berkeley. It is strongly recommended that students apply by the end of their fourth semester. We will not accept applications from graduating seniors or from students who are in their sixth term or above, even if it’s not the student’s first major. There are no exceptions. 

Transfer students must apply by the end of their first semester in attendance at UC Berkeley.

Major Maps

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

GPA Minimum

Although there is no minimum GPA requirement for applying to the major, the most successful applicants have a prerequisite GPA above 2.75. If you have further questions, contact our Berkeley Public Health undergraduate academic advisor.

In our application process if a student has a prerequisite GPA of 2.75 or lower we ask that they explain why they have been experiencing academic difficulties in their personal history statement. These instructions are laid out on our website here in the “Personal History Statement” section. These students will be pre-screened to ensure minimum requirements to succeed in our courses. Upon approval of the initial screening, these students will be considered along with the remaining applicants.

The number of students accepted into the major is dependent upon the number of seats available. The major is allocated 440 seats. If the total number of applicants (including those who passed the initial screening because of low GPA) would keep the total class size below 440, all students will be admitted without further review. If not, there will be a holistic review of ALL students. A holistic review will include looking at academics (grades and course load), leadership, work/volunteer experience, and essays.

Prerequisite Coursework

All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to applying to the major. For most students this is usually at the end of their fourth semester in attendance. For transfer students this is usually at the end of their first semester in attendance at UC Berkeley. All students must earn at least a C- in all of their prerequisite coursework. All prerequisites and courses for the major must be taken for a letter grade.

Data C8: Foundations of Data Science (also known as Data 8) is not a public health prerequisite; it is a major requirement. You do not have to complete Data 8 before applying to the public health major, although it is strongly encouraged to plan to complete it during your freshman or sophomore year (if a transfer student, during your first semester of attendance at UC Berkeley) for planning purposes.

For prerequisites taken during Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021: The review committee will take into account these terms were 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 during these terms. For prerequisite courses taken for PNP, you must receive a “P”. You may request grades from your professor for prerequisite calculation purposes if you choose PNP (screenshot of email required with application). Requesting letter grades should you choose PNP is not required. For more clarification please reach out to the academic advisors via drop in hours or (drop in hours are easier for explanation purposes).

Complete at least 7 units of coursework from the following list:

  • BIOLOGY 1A: General Biology (3)
    • Per the Molecular and Cell Biology department, students are required to enroll in both Biology 1A and Biology 1AL in the same term. Biology 1AL (2) will not count towards the 7 units of Biological Science Prerequisites.
  • BIOLOGY 1B: General Biology (4)
  • MCELLBI 32: Introduction to Human Physiology (3)
  • MCELLBI 38: Stem Cell Biology, Ethics and Societal Impact (3)
  • MCELLBI 50: Immune System and Disease (3 units prior to Spring 2018; 4 units starting Spring 2018)
  • MCELLBI 55: Plagues and Pandemics (3)
  • MCELLBI C61/W61/PSYCH C61: Brain, Mind and Behavior (3)
  • NUSCTX 10 or 10S: Introduction to Human Nutrition / Managing Life (3)

Complete a full year of MATH (MATH A/B):

  • MATH 1A: Calculus (4)
  • MATH 1B: Calculus (4)
  • MATH 10A: Methods of Mathematics (4)
  • MATH 10B: Methods of Mathematics (4)
  • MATH 16A: Calculus (3)
  • MATH 16B: Calculus (3)

Three courses in at least two areas:

  • Psychology
    • PSYCH 1/W1 or PSYCH 2: General Principles of Psychology
  • Sociology

Note: SOCIOL 3 is no longer offered at UC Berkeley however there still may be courses that will be eligible for SOCIOL 3 transfer credit. We DO NOT accept SOCIOL N1H or SOCIOL 1H as a prerequisite.

    • SOCIOL 1 or 3 or 3AC: Introduction/Principles of Sociology (4)
    • SOCIOL 5: Evaluation of Evidence (4)
  •  Economics
    • ECON 1 or ECON 2 or ECON C3/ENVECON C1 Introduction to Economics (4)
  •  Anthropology
    • ANTHRO 3 or 3AC: Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (4)
  • Political Science
    • POL SCI 2: Introduction to Comparative Politics (4)
    • POL SCI 4: Introduction to Political Theory (4)

Note: If you took a prerequisite course at another four-year institution or an out-of-state community college, please contact the appropriate UC Berkeley department to determine the course equivalency. Be prepared to submit your syllabus along with your request (for example, if you took Math 33 at Penn State, contact the UC Berkeley Math department to see if the course is equivalent to one of our prerequisite math courses). However, if your coursework was taken at a California Community College, and is listed on as an equivalent course, you do not need to submit additional forms.

During the fall and spring semesters, it is highly unlikely that non-public health major students will be able to enroll in public health core classes (with the exception of PH HLTH 142) since public health major students have priority during the Phase I & II enrollment windows. In addition, taking public health core classes does not guarantee admission into the major.

AP/IB Exam Credit

If you have taken both an AP or IB exam and the equivalent college-level course, we will only take the grade from the college-level course into consideration for admissions purposes. We will not accept both as two separate prerequisites. 

If you need clarification on AP or IB Exam credit, please contact our Berkeley Public Health undergraduate academic advisor.

The undergraduate public health major accepts Advanced Placement (AP) units for the Social Sciences and Math prerequisites. AP scores of 3, 4 or 5 are acceptable for the following courses:

  • Psychology for PSYCH 1 or PSYCH 2
  • Economics (both micro and macro needed) for ECON 1, 2 or 3
  • Government (either AP Comparative Government OR AP Government & Politics scores are acceptable) for POL SCI 2 or 4
  • Math
    • A minimum score of a 3 on the Math AB or BC exam is equivalent to Math 1A
    • A score of 5 on the Math BC is equivalent to MATH 1A and 1B

The undergraduate public health major accepts International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams units for the Social Sciences and Math prerequisites. We defer to the appropriate department to determine equivalency so please be sure to double check the department websites listed.

  • Psychology
    • Psychology – score of 5, 6 or 7 can be used to fulfill the Psych 1 or Psych 2 social science prerequisite.
    • Major Requirements
  • Economics
    • Economics Micro/Macro – score of 5, 6, or 7 can be used to fulfill the Econ 1 social science prerequisite.
    • Freshmen Information
  • Math – Please see Math website for prior to 2021 equivalencies.
    • IB Math Exams from 2021 onwards:
      • IB Math, Analysis and Approaches (Standard Level):   No credit for any score.
      • IB Math, Analysis and Approaches (Higher Level): A score of 5, 6 or 7 can be used to satisfy Math 1A or 16A.  A score of 7 can be used to satisfy Math 1A and Math 1B.
      • IB Math, Applications and Interpretations (Standard Level): No credit for any score.
      • IB Math, Applications and Interpretations (Higher Level): A score of 5, 6 or 7 can be used to satisfy Math 16A. A score of 6 or 7 can be used to satisfy Math 10A.
    • High School Exam Credits

Admissions Statistics

Please note in Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 (the initial semesters of remote learning due to COVID-19) there was an increase of applications by an average of 30% which lowered the Public Health admissions rate to 70-80%. In Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, the Public Health major has received less applications than the usual average and this is reflected in the 100% admissions rate noted in the Admissions Statistics. We encourage students to still prepare for a backup major while applying to Public Health and complete the major application to the best of their ability. Students may only apply to the Public Health major once.

Admissions Rate*Average Prerequisite GPA of Accepted StudentsAverage Overall GPA of Accepted Students
Fall 2022100%3.423.45
Spring 2022 – Fall 2022100%3.453.49
Overall Stats
(from 2016 and onward)
(2016 and onward)
*Students who apply without having met the requirements are not included in the Admissions Rate.

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