Preparing to Apply

If you are interested in the major, or the field of public health in general, we encourage you to consult with an Academic Advisor. Email to set up an appointment.

You may apply to the major after you complete the lower division prerequisite requirements. Once you are ready to apply, visit our How to Apply page to learn more.

During the academic calendar, the opportunities to apply will be December 17-31 (Fall semester) and May 17–31 (Spring semester). 


Interested students may only apply to the major once. Thus, it is important you make your application as strong as possible.

Double Majors 

If you apply to the Public Health major as a double major, you are required to address the following in your application: why you are double majoring, how your two majors, specifically, will prepare you for a career related to Public Health, and how you will manage the workload for multiple majors, i.e. time conflicts of required courses.

Semester Cap

Non-transfer students must apply to the 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 6 terms and above, even if it’s not the student’s first major. There are no exceptions. Transfer students must apply by the end of their first semester in attendance at UC Berkeley.

GPA Minimum

Although there is no minimum GPA requirement for applying to the major, the most successful applicants have a prerequisite GPA above 2.75. 

Admission Statistics

These statistics are from the 2017-2018 admissions cycles:

  • Average Prerequisite GPA of Accepted Students: 3.44
  • Average Overall GPA of Accepted Students: 3.43
  • Admissions rate: Approximately 81.5% of students were admitted into the major

Prerequisite Coursework 

All prerequisite lower-division courses must be completed prior to applying to the major. All students must earn at least a C- in all of the prerequisite coursework. 

Biological Science Prerequisites

Complete at least 7 units of coursework from the following list:

  • BIOLOGY 1A: General Biology (3)
    • Per the Molecular & 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 50: Immune System & Disease (3 units prior to Spring 2018; 4 units starting Spring 2018)
  • MCELLBI 55: Plagues & Pandemics (3) 
  • MCELLBI C61/PSYCH C61: Brain, Mind, & Behavior (3)
  • NUSCTX 10: Introduction to Human Nutrition (3)   

Mathematics Prerequisites

Complete a full year of MATH (MATH A/B):

  • MATH 32: Precalculus (only if completed Fall 2016 or earlier) (4) 
  • 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)

Social Sciences Prerequisites

Three courses in at least two areas:


  • PSYCH 1 or 2: General/Principles of Psychology (3)


  • SOCIOL 1 or 3 or 3AC: Introduction/Principles of Sociology (4)
  • SOCIOL 5: Evaluation of Evidence (4)


•   ECON 1 or ECON 2 or ECON C3/ENVECON C1 Introduction to Economics (4)


• 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)

Data Science

CS/INFO/STAT C8: Foundations of Data Science (4) is now a major requirement for the graduating class of Spring 2021 onward. It is not required that you complete the course before applying to the major.

AP Exam Credit

The undergraduate Public Health program 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 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

If you have taken both an AP exam and the equivalent college-level course, we will only take the grade from the college-level course into consideration for admissions purposes. For AP Government, you may take either POL SCI 2 or 4 in combination with your AP score. 

If you took a prerequisite course at another four-year institution or an out-of-state community college, you need to contact the appropriate UC Berkeley department to determine the course equivalency. Please be prepared to submit your syllabus along with your request (for example, if you took Math 33 at Penn State, you need to 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.

Preparing for an Alternative Major 

As you go about completing the prerequisites for Public Health, you should also take the necessary steps to prepare yourself to declare an alternative major. 

While we will do our best to bring in all qualified students, there is no guarantee that any one particular student will be admitted into the major. Therefore, if you are interested in the Public Health major, be prepared to declare an alternative to ensure timely graduation.