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

Public Health Major Capstone Requirement

Capstone Course

The Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH), our accrediting body, requires that all students complete a capstone experience. All students must complete one of the following capstone options in their senior year. Please note these options are for the 2017-2018 academic year and are subject to change.

Fall 2017

1) PH 196.003 (#46977) Preparation for Public Health Practice Seminar:
Course Description: This capstone course will enhance student preparation to be effective public health practitioners through application of core knowledge, strengthening essential professional skills and development of post-graduation career and graduate education plans. Students will tackle real-world public health cases and emerging local challenges to enhance essential problem solving and innovation skills. Students will also enhance key communication, team and project skills. Leading professionals from a range of public health organizations will be engaged in the course to enhance student exposure, networking and opportunities. A key focus of the course will be students developing a clearer understanding of how their unique aspirations and strengths connect to emerging career and post-graduation options and how they can best prepare. (Fall 2017, 3.0 Units, Monday 4-6 p.m. Room- 88 Dwinelle, 50 students, Instructor: Oxendine, J).

2) PH 196.002 (#46986) Senior Research Seminar:
Course Description: This applied course will help you understand how to conduct and interpret research in human health and disease, building on your knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistics. The course will provide skills in: critically reading the literature related to public-health-related research; developing a research question and a testable hypothesis; and creating an analysis plan. All students will have a hands-on, guided experience analyzing data using STATA. This course is open to students interested in the research process. Students must have successfully completed PH 142 (or equivalent) and PH 150A. (Fall 2017, 3.0 Units, Wednesday 12-2 p.m., 9 Lewis, 50 students, Instructors: Madsen, K and Barcellos, L).

3) PH H195A.001 (#40803) Honors Thesis Seminar:
Course Description: This course will support the development of an Honors Thesis through: guidance on a review of the literature relevant to the student’s proposed research project; developing a research question and testable hypothesis; and creating an analysis plan and analyzing the student’s data. IMPORTANT: Students interested in completing an Honors Thesis must have a GPA of 3.5 or above, have successfully completed PH 142 (or equivalent) and PH 150A, and must apply by submitting a signed Memorandum of Understanding from their research mentor (details available from Dr. Madsen at madsenk@berkeley.edu). Honors Thesis students must also enroll in PH H195B.001, 3.0 Units in Spring 2018. The Honors Thesis is a two-semester commitment and a total of 6.0 units. Note PH 195A is graded P/NP to indicate progress on the thesis (Fall) and PH 195B has a letter grade (Spring). (Fall 2017, 3.0 Units, Wednesday 12-2 p.m., 9 Lewis, 20 students, Instructors: Madsen, K and Barcellos, L). 

4) PH 130 (#46924) Advanced Health Policy:
Course Description: This course will give students the opportunity to build upon their understanding of the organization, financing and current policy issues of the US health care delivery system obtained in PH 150D. In this course students will become engaged health policy analysts, applying policymaking tools (e.g., policy memos/briefs, legislative analysis, regulatory comments, media advocacy, public testimony) to actual health issues and problems. Through individual and group work, students will draw upon both verbal and written communication skills to effectuate health policy change. Students must have successfully completed PH 150D before enrolling in this course (Fall 2017, 3.0 Units, Thursday 11-2 p.m., 714C University Hall, 28 students, Instructor: Flagg, R).

Spring 2018

1) PH 170 (#TBD) Drinking Water and Health: 
Course Description: This course explores a wide variety of public health issues related to drinking water in both developed and developing countries. The approach is a case-based study of microbial, chemical and radiological contamination events in drinking water systems world-wide. We explore the health effects, health interventions (prevention and communication), water treatment interventions and policies/regulations. We also explore the role of stakeholders such as water utilities, NGOs, civil society, and support agencies such as UNDP, and WHO. The course includes the hands-on use of a mobile-GIS App for water assets, and provides context to understand how asset inventory relates to public health. This exercise can be applied to other assets such as health clinics and pharmaceutical dispensaries. Students must have successfully completed PH 150B before enrolling in this course (Spring 2018, 3.0 Units, Tuesday/Thursday 11am-12:30pm. Location TBA, 20 students, Instructor: Smith, C).

2) PH 130 (#TBD) Advanced Health Policy: 
Course Description: This course will give students the opportunity to build upon their understanding of the organization, financing and current policy issues of the US health care delivery system obtained in PH 150D. In this course students will become engaged health policy analysts, applying policymaking tools (e.g., policy memos/briefs, legislative analysis, regulatory comments, media advocacy, public testimony) to actual health issues and problems. Through individual and group work, students will draw upon both verbal and written communication skills to effectuate health policy change. Students must have successfully completed PH 150D before enrolling in this course (Spring 2018, 3.0 Units, Tuesday 2-5pm. Location TBA, 28 students, Instructor: Flagg, R).

3) PH 256 (#TBD) Human Genome, Environment and Health: 
Course Description: This introductory course will cover basic principles of human/population genetics and molecular biology relevant to understanding approaches in molecular and genetic epidemiology. The latest designs and methods for genome-wide association studies and other approaches to identify genetic variants and environmental risk factors important to disease and health will be presented. The application of biomarkers to define exposures and outcomes in epidemiologic research will be explored. The course will cover recent developments in genomics, epigenomics and other ‘omics’, including the role of genomics in personalized/precision medicine. Students will learn how to utilize tools implemented in PLINK and R packages for analysis of genetic and genomic data. The course will introduce the use of many bioinformatics tools and public resources. Students will complete a final project. (Spring 2018, 4.0 Units, Thursday 10-12pm. Location TBA, 25-30 students, Instructors: Barcellos, L and Holland, N). Completion of PH 142 (or equivalent) is required. PH 150A must be successfully completed or can be taken concurrently with Instructor permission.

4) PH 253B (#TBD) Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases: 
Course Description: This introductory course will emphasize infectious diseases of public health importance focusing on the core concepts of infectious disease transmission, evidence-based approaches for prevention and control, and epidemiologic methods for studying infectious diseases. The course is organized around two primary modules: 1) methods of infectious disease epidemiology; and 2) routes of transmission and associated prevention and control measures. Within each module, students will consider the range of clinical, methodological and ethical challenges faced by infectious disease epidemiologists and public health practitioners. Major infectious diseases will be discussed with an emphasis on disease surveillance, investigative procedures, and prevention programs. Current problems in health agencies at a state, national, and international level will be emphasized. (Spring 2018, 3.0 Units, Tuesday 10am-12pm. Location TBA, 5-10 students, Instructors: McCoy, S and Reingold, A). Successful completion of PH 150A is a prerequisite for this course.

Honors Thesis

There are two 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 database 

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 interested in completing an Honors Thesis must have a GPA of 3.5 or above, have successfully completed PH 142 and PH 150A, and must apply by submitting a signed Memorandum of Understanding from their research mentor (details available from Dr Kristine Madsen at madsek@berkeley.edu). 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.  

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