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For students admitted Fall 2023

Transfer students must apply to the major by the end of their first semester at UC Berkeley. If they have completed their prerequisites prior to their first semester, they are able to apply to the major in the Spring cycle before they matriculate. Meet with an academic advisor to learn more.

Non-transfer students who did not indicate Public Health as their intended major should plan to complete the prerequisites no later than their fifth semester to prepare for a Comprehensive Review. We recommend to complete prerequisites by the fourth semester for course planning purposes. Summers do not count towards the fifth semester cap. You must complete the prerequisites with a C- or higher and maintain a 2.0 GPA in the following: Major Prerequisite GPA, Overall GPA, and GPA in the term you apply/declare the major. More details to come from campus, you can refer to High-Demand Majors for First-Year Students for additional information. Sign up for the prospective student listserv for more information: How to join the Prospective SPHUG List Server.

Non-transfer students who applied as intended Public Health majors (Applied High Demand) will receive an email with more details. We recommend that students aim to complete the prerequisite courses by the 4th semester and to complete the prerequisites with a C- or higher and maintain a 2.0 GPA in the following: Major Prerequisite GPA, Overall GPA, GPA in the term you apply/declare the major.

For students applying Fall 2023, Spring 2024, or Fall 2024 – fifth Term Semester Cap

Semesters are Fall and Spring semesters. Summer sessions do not count towards the fifth term 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 Public Health is not the student’s first major.

GPA minimum & application review for students admitted prior to Fall 2023

A C- or higher is required for all the prerequisites. Most successful applicants have a above a 2.75 prerequisite GPA.

Our admissions process consists of a holistic review by multiple committee members. Although academic performance is important, your ability to articulate your passion for public health is equally as important.

Thus, the committee evaluates applications based on the following three criteria:

  • A review of your academic preparation (prerequisite coursework and GPA),
  • Your personal, professional and volunteer experiences, especially those regarding your decision to pursue public health, and
  • Your future leadership potential in public health.

Students who have a prerequisite GPA of a 2.75 or lower will be required to discuss this in their Personal History Statement. More instructions can be found in Undergraduate Application Instructions. 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. You can use the Search by Major Feature in to find prerequisite courses that meet the public health major admissions requirements.

For prerequisites taken during Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021, meet with an academic advisor to discuss the grade policies for these terms.

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. 

    • SOCIOL 1: Introduction to Sociology or N1H: Introduction to Sociology for Pre-Health Majors or SOCIOL 3 or 3AC: 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)

You do not have to complete Data C8 before applying to the public health major, although it is strongly encouraged due to limited space in the course. 

Data C8: Foundations of Data Science (4) 

  • Data C8 (also referred to as Data 8) has reserved seating for New First Year and New Transfer Students so it is strongly recommended to complete this requirement earlier for planning purposes. 
  • The major will accept CA Community College credit for this course requirement. See the list of equivalent DATA 8 courses that can be taken at a handful of community colleges in California.

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
Spring 2023100%3.473.52
Fall 2022-Spring 2023100%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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