Bachelor of Science in Public Health

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

The BS degree in public health is designed for those who are interested in working to improve health in diverse populations by introducing students to the foundations of scientific and social knowledge relevant to public health, including:

  • Biological and life sciences and intersections with public health
  • Social and behavioral sciences determinants of population health
  • Epidemiological principles
  • Quantitative and statistical concepts applied to public health
  • Health care programs and policies
  • The role of the environment in health
  • Public health practice

Students learn foundational concepts and approaches regarding health issues and their solutions, explore research methods both qualitative and quantitative, learn to think critically about upstream and downstream approaches in the field, and use case studies and problem-based learning to define issues, assess populations, implement programs, gather evidence, analyze data, and evaluate efforts.

Through courses and a capstone experience, students are equipped to pursue multiple career pathways, including entry-level jobs in public health, or seek further graduate studies in the health sciences such as in medicine or other health professions. Below are the preparation for the major and major requirements for the BS.

Which Degree is Right for Me?

The BA and BS differ in the amount of science preparatory coursework required. BA students complete lower-division, introductory courses in life science, chemistry, and statistics, while BS students must complete the Life Sciences Core, which includes one to two years of coursework in the life sciences, mathematics, chemistry, and physics.

For students who complete all or a portion of the Life Science Core, the additional science preparation will equip them to take more science-focused upper-division electives and select a capstone experience that draws on greater preparation in the sciences. BA students may focus on artistic, business, economic, legal, linguistic, media, and policy applications of public health in their careers and will be more equipped for general and global issues for which some scientific background is necessary to understand the importance of the health factors involved.

  • Degree Requirements

    The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has established degree requirements that largely mirror the requirements of the UCLA College. Students admitted to either the BA or BS must satisfy the following degree requirements:

    • University requirements
    • School proficiency requirements
    • General Education (GE)
    • Major requirements
    • 60/180/216 unit requirements
    • 2.0 GPA in the major and overall

    Note for Transfer Students 

    Transfer students who completed IGETC and submitted the certification to UCLA Undergraduate Admission will be exempt from the school’s Writing I and II, Quantitative Reasoning, and General Education requirements. An additional English Composition course may be required due to placement results of English as a Second Language Placement Exam (ESLPE).

  • University Requirements
    • Entry Level Writing Requirement
      • Satisfied via Entry Level Writing Placement Exam, minimum letter grade of C in English Comp 1 & 2, or English Comp 1A/1B & 2i per placement results
    • American History and Institutions (approved list of courses)
      • Any approved AH&I course with minimum letter grade of C or Pass
  • School Proficiency Requirements
    • Writing I
      • English Comp 3, 3D, 3DS, 3E, or 3SL with minimum letter grade of C
    • Writing II (W)
      • Any approved WII course minimum with minimum letter grade of C
    • Quantitative Reasoning (approved list of courses)
      • Any approved College QR course with minimum letter grade of C
    • Diversity (approved list of courses)
      • Any approved College Diversity course minimum letter grade of C
  • General Education Requirements
    • Foundations of the Arts and Humanities (15 units)
      • Literary and Cultural Analysis
      • Philosophical and Linguistic Analysis
      • Visual and Performance Arts Analysis and Practice
    • Foundations of Society and Culture (15 units)
      • Historical Analysis
      • Social Analysis
      • Historical or Social Analysis
    • Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (18 to 20 units)*
      • Life Science
      • Life Science
      • Physical Science
      • Physical Science
      • *one course (5 units minimum) must have an approved lab component
  • Major Requirements

    Preparation for the Major

    Introduction to Public Health
    • Public Health 50A and 50B
    Foundations of Scientific Knowledge
    • Chemistry and Biochemistry 14A, 14B, 14BL, 14C, 14CL, 14D (or 20A, 20B, 20L, 30A, 30AL, 30B)
    • Life Sciences 7A, 7B, 7C, 23L
    • Life Sciences 30A, 30B, and 40 or Statistics 13, or Mathematics 3A, 3B, 3C, and Statistics 10 or 13
    • Physics 5A, 5B, 5C (or 1A, 1B, 1C, 4AL, 4BL) 
    Health and Society
    Cultural Competency
    Communication Fundamentals
    Total units: 90-103 units

    The Major

    Foundations of Public Health Knowledge and Practice
    • Biostatistics 120
    • Community Health Sciences 120
    • Environmental Health Sciences 120
    • Epidemiology 120
    • Health Policy and Management 120
    Public Health Electives
    • Three upper division courses (minimum 12 units) from the school’s undergraduate course offerings; no more than 4 units from 195 to 199 numbered courses may be applied
    Community Engagement
    • Public Health 195CE or approved course
    Capstone Experience
    • Public Health 185A and 185B
    Total units: 45-49 units
  • 60/180/216 Unit Requirements

    Students must satisfactorily complete for credit a minimum of 180 units for the bachelor’s degree. At least 60 of the 180 units must be upper-division courses numbered 100 through 199. A maximum of 216 units may be permitted. Advanced Placement Examination and International Baccalaureate Examination (transfer) credits are not counted toward the unit maximum.

  • 2.0 GPA in the Major and Overall

    Students must earn at least a 2.0 (C) grade-point average (GPA) in all courses undertaken at UCLA to receive a bachelor’s degree. Students must also earn a 2.0 GPA in a major and satisfy both the course and scholarship requirements for the major, including preparation for the major.

  • Admissions

    Spring 2023

    Admission to the BS will include a comprehensive assessment based on a holistic review of student applications. At this time, the school will accept applications in Spring 2023 from second-year students who complete Public Health 50A in Winter 2023 and are enrolled in Public Health 50B in Spring 2023.

    While admission to the major is appropriate only for second-year students, students currently enrolled in the public health minor, or those who may have completed several FSPH courses, may be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis. Specifically, the school will consider previous completed coursework, time-to-degree implications, and the availability and scheduling of required FSPH courses.

    Admission to the major will be based on progress to completing preparation coursework, grades, extracurricular activities, and your personal statements.

    The application for admission is due April 3, 2023. Admissions decisions are expected by end of April. A preview of the application can be found here.


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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I have to complete all 'Preparation for the Major' requirements before applying?

    No. The Undergraduate Admissions Committee will evaluate each application based on progress toward completing the preparatory courses, overall academic performance, and interest in public health. Primary consideration for admission will be given to students who complete Public Health 50A in Winter 2023 and enroll in Public Health 50B in spring 2023.

    When is Public Health 50A offered?

    During the 2022-23 academic year, Public Health 50A will be offered only in winter 2023; Public Health 50B will be offered in spring 2023. The next planned offering of PH 50A is Fall 2023, with PH 50B offered in winter 2024.

    I won’t be able to take PH 50A in Winter 2023. Can I still apply to one of the majors?

    Yes. If you have completed other public health courses, such as Public Health 10 or C150, or have volunteer or academic experience related to public health, the Undergraduate Admissions Committee will consider your application. It is strongly recommended that you speak with the school’s advising staff before applying.

    Can I double major with Public Health?

    Admission to both majors is based on a cohort model and the school will not be allowing students to double major. However, students are encouraged to select minors that complement their academic, personal, and professional interests.

    Can I apply to the BA, BS, and the minor at the same time?

    The major application will ask students to apply to either the BA or BS. The Undergraduate Admissions Committee will consider each applicant’s progress toward completing the preparatory courses. Requests by admitted students to change BA or BS tracks will require a Blue Petition and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students should apply to their first choice, the major or minor, but not at the same time. Students who apply to the major but are not accepted will be given an opportunity to apply to the minor shortly after decisions are made.

    Whom do I contact about the public health major if I’ve not been accepted to UCLA yet?

    Please check out the UCLA Undergraduate Admissions Office website for information about applying to UCLA. You are also welcome to follow us on Instagram, or email us with questions.

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