The PHN Program is a 2-year, full-time MPH degree program. MPH graduate students are expected to complete at least 48 units of coursework over four academic semesters and one summer. Students must complete both Schoolwide required courses as well as PHN required courses for the MPH degree in PHN. Elective courses may be chosen from anywhere in the School or university. Elective courses must be numbered 100 and higher to count toward the 48-unit minimum requirement for graduation.
Curriculum: Public Health Nutrition
In addition to the required coursework, each student in the PHN Program is required to submit a comprehensive written paper to be completed in the spring semester of the second year, preceding graduation. Students will also present and defend that paper in the presence of two or more faculty to meet the requirement of the oral examination. Students prepare for and complete this requirement in the Capstone Course in Public Health Nutrition (PB HLTH 292).
Students may elect to write one of the following four types of papers:
- An article describing the results of original research (from primary data collection or secondary data analysis) conducted by the student.
- A grant proposal for an original research project.
- A detailed proposal for a nutrition-related program.
- An alternative option, including a business plan, or another option of the student’s choosing.
All students must receive a passing grade on their paper and oral examination in order to receive the MPH degree. The comprehensive examination is intended to be a culminating experience for MPH students, requiring synthesis and integration of knowledge acquired through coursework, internships, and other experiences.
Each MPH student completes a public health practice experience for a minimum of 12 weeks over the summer between their first and second years in the program. Internship sites are chosen from a wide range of public health organizations and research institutions and are selected based on the student’s objectives for professional development and the needs of the organization. Many sites are local, but students may also intern in other parts of the country or the world. If you have any questions regarding field placement, the Field Supervisor for Public Health Nutrition is Patricia (Patsy) Wakimoto at (510) 642-3589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applying to the PHN Program
Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree that ideally includes some coursework in food and nutrition sciences, human biology, biochemistry, and/or physiology. These courses are strongly recommended before beginning graduate work in public health nutrition at UC Berkeley.
Coursework in other social sciences, including psychology, behavioral science, or economics, would strengthen your application. Successful applicants should also have excellent written and oral communication. Candidates should have at least 1 to 2 years of paid or volunteer public health or nutrition-related work experience to strengthen and support their interests in working in this field.
Applicants who have not taken the basic recommended courses are encouraged to take the courses they are missing before applying to the Public Health Nutrition Program, either through UC Extension (see Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health Professions Program courses) or from another college or university with equivalent offerings.
The PHN Program is pleased to offer a Maternal and Child Public Health Nutrition Traineeship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Frequently Asked Questions