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 declare a major in Public Health 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). 


The final admissions cycle reapplicants will be considered for the Public Health Major is Fall 2016. Effective Spring 2017, interested students may only apply to the major once. We will no longer accept re-applications to the Public Health major beginning Spring 2017. Thus, it is important you make your application as strong as possible.

Double Majors 

Students who intend to double major in Public Health are highly discouraged given the competitive nature of the program. If you have declared another major, you are encouraged to pursue the new summer Global Public Health Minor. If, however, you still would like to apply as a double major, you are encouraged to complete PB HLTH 150B or PB HLTH 150D for a letter grade during the summer before applying to the major. Be aware that taking Public Health core classes does not guarantee your admission into the major.

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, it is highly unlikely that students will be successful applicants with a prerequisite GPA below 2.75.

Admission Statistics

These statistics are from the last three admissions cycles:

  • Average Prerequisite GPA of Accepted Students: 3.36
  • Average Overall GPA of Accepted Students: 3.4
  • Admissions rate: Approximately 50% of students are 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. All prerequisites and courses for the major must be taken for a letter grade.

Biological Science Prerequisites

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

  • BIOLOGY 1A: General Biology (3)
  • BIOLOGY 1B: General Biology (4) 
  • MCELLBI 32: Introduction to Human Physiology (3) 
  • MCELLBI 50: Immune System & Disease (3)
  • MCELLBI 55: Plagues & Pandemics (3) 
  • MCELLBI C61/PSYCH C61: Brain, Mind, & Behavior (3)
  • NUSCTX 10: Introduction to Human Nutrition (3)   

Mathematics Prerequisites

A minimum of two courses or equivalent:

  • 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, 2, or C3: 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)

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) 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 BC Math 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.

Studying Abroad

Students cannot study abroad during the Fall or Spring semesters of their final year at UC Berkeley. Due to our limited ability to offer courses throughout the year, students will not be able to complete the Public Health major on time if they are abroad their final year. There will be no exceptions made. Thus, students interested in studying abroad prior to their final year in attendance should set up an appointment with their advisors to create a program plan. 

Preparing for an Alternate Major 

As you go about completing the prerequisites for Public Health, you should at the same time be taking all necessary steps to prepare yourself to declare an alternate major. According to the Academic Senate regulations, you should declare a major when you reach 60 units of coursework. Please keep this in mind as you decide on the major that is right for you.

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 for a back-up major just in case you are not selected.