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.
Beginning in the fall of 2017, we will accept applications from practicing registered dietitians (RDs) for a one-year MPH program. This program will emphasize nutritional epidemiology and policy.
Curriculum: Public Health Nutrition
Integrated Learning Experience
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 three types of papers:
- An article describing the results of original research using NHANES data and conducted by the student.
- A case study analyzing a public health problem and proposing a multi-faceted and practical solution.
- An evaluation plan of the process and outcome of a public health program or policy.
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.
All MPH students complete 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.
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.
Those applying to the one-year MPH program must have two years of work experience as RDs. This may include their dietetic internships, but exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. This program is specifically targeted to RDs who are interested in developing skills in nutrition epidemiology and research. They must have completed their bachelor's level Didactic Program in Dietetics and a dietetic internship as accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
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