Graduation Requirements

**All course work for the Public Health major is to be taken for a letter grade.**

Undergraduate Students Graduating in 2017 and Later

Due to accreditation changes instituted by the Council on Education in Public Health, UC Berkeley School of Public Health undergraduate students graduating in 2017 and afterwards must abide by the new major completion requirements listed below:


1. Five Public Health core classes 

  • PB HLTH 142: Intro to Probability and Statistics in Public Health (4) (Fall and Spring)
    • PB HLTH 141 (Summer only) can be used to meet this requirement
    • STAT 131A (only if completed Spring 2016 or earlier) 
  • PB HLTH 150A: Introduction to Epidemiology (4) (Spring only)
  • PB HLTH 150B: Introduction to Environmental Health (3) (Fall and Summer only)
  • PB HLTH 150D: Introduction to Health Policy & Management (3) (Fall, Spring, Summer)
  • PB HLTH 150E: Introduction to Community Health and Human Development (3) (Spring only)

2. Ten Elective Units

See list of electives.

3. Capstone Requirement (see below)

The capstone requirement can be satisfied by one of these two options:

  1. Public Health Capstone Seminar (3) (Spring only): You may enroll in the three-unite, letter-graded capstone course during your final spring semester.
  2. Honors Thesis (6) (Fall and Spring, must complete both semesters): You may complete a two-semester honors thesis in Public Health during the fall and spring of your final year.

Public Health Major Capstone Requirement

Capstone Course

The Public Health Capstone Course is designed to review, integrate, and apply concepts and methods presented in the Public Health Major Core Courses (PB HLTH 150A, B, D, and E). The course will enable students to explore, individually and as a member of a team, innovative solutions to emerging real-world public health challenges related to community health, health policy, epidemiology and environmental health. Students will also strengthen valuable skills that will enhance preparation for post-graduation public health practice, research or education. Each student will develop a plan for the next steps in their health career plans and a portfolio to highlight their qualifications, experience and accomplishments.

Students must complete at least 3 of their core classes prior to enrolling in the capstone course. 

Note: The capstone course is only offered during the Spring Semester. 

Honors Thesis

There are three options for the Public Health Senior Honors Thesis:

  • Analysis of an issue or data from a research group you are working with (e.g., analysis of a public health intervention, or laboratory experiments)
  • Analysis of a problem or data from an existing publicly available data base 
  • A systematic literature review

The first step is to select a topic of research you are passionate about. 
The second step is to find a faculty mentor who is willing to mentor you throughout the thesis writing process.  

Students must have a minimum 3.3 GPA for all courses taken at UC Berkeley to be eligible to complete a Public Health honors thesis.  Successfully completing the thesis will earn the student Honors in Public Health on their UC Berkeley transcript and will fulfill the capstone requirement for the Public Health major.  

Note: The Honors Thesis project is a two semester commitment, starting in the fall semester, concluding in spring. In the fall semester, you must enroll in the honors thesis course (PH H195A) as well as independent study/research units under a faculty mentor (a 199 course in the department of their faculty mentor, e.g. PH 199 for a Public Health faculty member). In the spring semester, you must enroll in the second half of the honors thesis course (PH H195B) as well as independent study/research units under a faculty mentor. Please note the PH 199 requirement may be waived by the PH H195 instructor. Once a faculty mentor has agreed to work with you, you should contact Dr. Charlotte Smith (charlottesmith@berkeley.edu) about enrolling in the honors thesis course.  

Some titles of prior undergrad honor's theses:

  • Prevalence and Treatment of Diabetes in Rural Tanzania
  • Rural vs. Urban risk and protective factors for the development of early childhood caries (ECC) in developing countries
  • The Biological Effects of Condom Lubricants and Public Health Policy
  • Implications: Focus on College Culture
  • The Role of CIITA fusion protein in Lymphoma cancer
  • Biofilm Formation and the MCE operons in Mycobacterium smegmatis
  • Environmental Associations for Onchocerciasis Prevalence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

College of Letters & Science Honors

Students may earn Distinction in General Scholarship from the College of Letters & Science based on their overall GPA as shown below (for 2015-16):

  • Honors: 3.724 to 3.843
  • Honors with Distinction: 3.844 to 3.943
  • Honors with Highest Distinction: 3.944 and above