Bachelor of Science in Public Health

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

The BS in Public Health is designed for those who are interested in working to improve health in diverse populations. The major will introduce 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 coursework, which includes 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.

Which Degree is Right for Me?

The BA and BS differ in the amount of science preparatory coursework required. BA students complete 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) requirements
    • 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 based on placement via 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 (based on placement)
    • 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 Writing II ("W") 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/demo 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 earn a minimum of 180 units for the bachelor’s degree. At least 60 of the 180 units must be from upper division courses, numbered 100 through 199. A maximum of 216 units are permitted. Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) credits do not count toward the 216-unit maximum.

  • 2.0 GPA in the Major and Overall

    To earn the bachelor's degree, students must earn at least a 2.0 ("C") grade-point average (GPA) in all UC coursework. 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

    Admission to the BS will include a comprehensive assessment based on a holistic review of student applications. The School accepts applications in late Winter Quarter each year from sophomores who complete Public Health 50A and 50B. Review our Undergraduate Student Services Google site for the most up-to-date information about our admissions requirements, application, and related dates.

    Prospective applicants should complete the following courses prior to applying:

    • PUB HLT 50A
    • LIFESCI 30A, 30B
    • 1 course from LIFESCI 40, STATS 10, or STATS 13
    • 7 courses from: LIFESCI 7A, 7B, 7C, 23L; CHEM 14A, 14B, 14BL, 14C, 14CL, 14D; PHYSICS 5A, 5B, 5C

    Continuing students who were admitted to UCLA as first-years can apply to the major during their second year for admission to the major in Fall Quarter of their third year.

    Transfer students who were not admitted to UCLA as Public Health BA or Public Health BS majors cannot switch into the School.

    The Undergraduate Admissions committee will review applicants' personal statements, resumes, UCLA transcripts, and other information provided on the application.

    The Office for Undergraduate Student Services will notify all applicants of their admissions decisions via MyUCLA Message Center and email.

    Students who declared pre-Public Health BA or BS and are not admitted to a Public Health major by Spring Quarter of their second year will be switched to ‘Undeclared’ in the College of Letters and Science, and advised to connect with their College counseling unit for help finding a new major.

  • 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 2024 and enroll in Public Health 50B in Spring 2024.

    I won’t be able to take Public Health 50A this year. Can I still apply to one of the majors?

    Primary consideration for admission will be given to students who complete Public Health 50A and enroll in Public Health 50B.

    Can I double major with Public Health?

    Admission to both majors is based on a cohort model; the School therefore does not allow students to double major. Public Health majors are encouraged to select minors that complement their academic, personal, and professional interests.

    Can I study abroad as a Public Health major?

    Public Health majors can study abroad during Summer. Prospective or current Public Health majors who are considering studying abroad during the academic year must consult with an FSPH undergraduate advisor to ensure that studying abroad will not impact their ability to complete the major requirements by their degree expected term.

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

    Students should apply to their first-choice program (either of the two majors, or the minor), but may not apply to multiple programs at the same time. Requests for admitted students to change BA or BS tracks will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    I’m a pre-Public Health major. What happens if I’m not admitted to the Public Health major?

    Students who declared pre-Public Health BA or BS and are not admitted to a Public Health major by Spring Quarter of their second year will be switched to ‘Undeclared’ in the College of Letters and Science, and advised to connect with their College counseling unit for help finding a new major.

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

    Please visit the UCLA Undergraduate Admissions Office website for information about applying to UCLA.

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