Public Health Major Courses

Public Health Sciences (LD)

NOTE: Effective FA24, all BSPH Course Subject Codes have changed from FMPH to PH.

Students can view course descriptions and course prerequisites through UCSD's General Catalog.  

PH 40. Introduction to Public Health (4)

This course provides an introduction to the infrastructure of public health; the analytical tools employed by public health practitioners; bio-psychosocial perspectives of public health problems; health promotion/disease prevention; quality assessment in public health; and legal and ethical concerns.

PH 45. Introduction to Methods and Ethics in Public Health Research (4)

This course will lay a foundation for understanding how to conduct research to answer questions about public health. It aims to teach students why research is done the way it is, what questions we can and can't answer, and the methodological and ethical limits that must be considered along the way. Students will learn to think critically about the implications and limitations of existing research, and to form their own research questions about public health and the ways to investigate answers. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40.

PH 50. Primary Care and Public Health (4)

This course explores historical and current interactions, achievements and challenges of primary care and public health. It will analyze the impact of common medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, mental health disorders, and others on individuals, their families, and society. 

PH 80. Racism as a Public Health Crisis (4)

Recently, municipalities around the country have formally declared racism as a public health crisis. What does this mean? We will discuss race, racism, racial health disparities, and the nature of public health crises. Students will practice scientific writing in groups and individually.

PH 91. Topics in Public Health (4)

Selected topics in the field of public health.

PH 95. Medical School Prep 101 (1 - P/NP only)

This course is designed for first-year freshmen students and first-year transfer students who are interested in pursuing medicine and becoming physicians. Learn what it takes to prepare for medical school as well as what it takes to be a competitive applicant. We'll cover everything from academic requirements, timeline, and MCAT to obtaining relevant experiences (i.e. healthcare, service, leadership, and research), letters of evaluation, the 15 core competencies and more.

  • PH 95: Medical School Prep 101 Application (to be attached with EASy Request)
    • WI24 and SP24 - Open to all students who entered UCSD in FA23 - First-year freshmen students and first-year transfer students who entered UCSD in FA23 and have a UC GPA of a 3.0 or higher are eligible and welcome to apply for WI24 and SP24. All other students are not eligible.

PH 98. Directed Group Study (1-4)

Investigation of Public Health topics through directed reading and discussion by a small group of students under supervision of a faculty member. Opportunities can also include experiential and research components. May be taken for credit three times. Prerequisites: Completion of thirty units of UCSD undergraduate study, a minimum UCSD GPA of 3.0, consent of instructor, and a completed and approved Special Studies request.

PH 99. Independent Study (2-4)

Individual undergraduate study or research not covered by the present course offerings. May be taken for credit three times. Prerequisites: Completion of thirty units of UCSD undergraduate study, a minimum UCSD GPA of 3.0, consent of instructor, and a completed and approved Special Studies request.

Biology (LD)

Chemistry (LD)

Computer Programming (LD)

Formal Skills and Quantitative Methods (LD)

Natural Science (LD)

Social and Behavioral Science Electives (LD)

Students can view course descriptions and course prerequisites through UCSD's General Catalog.

Public Health Core Disciplines (UD)

NOTE: Effective FA24, all BSPH Course Subject Codes have changed from FMPH to PH.

Students can view course descriptions and course prerequisites through UCSD's General Catalog.

PH 101. Epidemiology (4)

This course covers the basic principles of epidemiology, with applications to investigations of noninfectious (“chronic”) and infectious diseases. Explores various study designs appropriate for disease surveillance and studies of etiology and prevention. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40, PSYC 60, COGS 14B, HDS 60, or MATH 11, and upper-division standing.

PH 102. Biostatistics in Public Health (4)

Fundamentals of biostatistics and basic methods for analysis of continuous and binary outcomes for one, two, or several groups. Includes: summarizing and displaying data; probability; statistical distributions; central limit theorem, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing; comparing means of continuous variables between two groups; comparing proportions between two groups; simple and multiple linear regression. Hands-on data analysis using software and statistical applications in public health. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40, PSYC 60, COGS 14B, HDS 60, or MATH 11, and upper-division standing.

PH 110. Health Behavior and Chronic Diseases (4)

This course introduces health behavior concepts through applications to chronic disease prevention. The focus is on smoking, dietary behaviors, and physical activity and is organized around relationships to health, measurement, influencing factors, interventions, and translation to public health practice. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and sophomore standing.

PH 120. Health Policies for Healthy Lifestyles (4)

This course covers the rationale for and effectiveness of policies to influence nutrition, physical activity, and substance use behavior. Policies include legalization, taxation, labeling, produce manufacturing, warning labels, licensing, marketing, and counter-marketing practices and restrictions on use. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and upper-division standing.

PH 130. Environmental and Occupational Health (4)

This core public health course addresses the fundamentals of environmental and occupational health, including identification of hazards, basic toxicology, risk assessment, prevention/protection, and regulatory/control policies. Specific environmental and occupational hazards and relevant case studies will be presented. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40, PH 101 or FMPH 101, and upper-division standing.

USP 143. The US Health-Care System (4)

This course will provide an overview of the organization of health care within the context of the community with emphasis on the political, social, and cultural influences. It is concerned with the structure, objectives, and trends of major health and health-related programs in the United States to include sponsorship, financing, training and utilization of health personnel. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing or consent of instructor.

Public Health Electives within Department (UD)

NOTE: Effective FA24, all BSPH Course Subject Codes have changed from FMPH to PH.

Students can view course descriptions and course prerequisites through UCSD's General Catalog.  

PH 151. Planning, Conducting and Reporting Responsible and Ethical Research (4)

This course is designed to encourage inquiry of and discussion about regulations, ethical principles and organizational practices that support the responsible and ethical conduct of research. These concepts will be conveyed using select readings, current events, student-led presentations and invited guest speakers. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and sophomore standing.

PH 155. Qualitative Research for Global Public Health (4)

An overview of the role of qualitative research methods in public health. The course will focus on qualitative research as it relates to formative program design, community-based participatory approaches, and as a tool for amplifying voices and elucidating both complex social-ecological processes and internal individual experiences. Throughout the term students will work in teams to design, conduct, analyze, and report a full qualitative study on a public health topic of their choosing. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and sophomore standing.

PH 157. Race, Intersectionality, and Public Health (4)

This course will explore the intersection of oppressions based on social identities such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, and citizenship status. This course will introduce the framework of intersectionality, with an emphasis on its use within the field of public health and explore and analyze how race and ethnicity are socially constructed and intersect with identities to influence health behavior and outcomes. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and sophomore standing. Renumbered from FMPH 191 - students can't receive credit for FMPH 157 if already completed FMPH 191 "Race, Intersectionality, and Public Health".

PH 161. Clinical Nutrition in Public Health (4)

Clinical nutrition is the study of nutrition and diet as related to the prevention and treatment of human disease. The practical and psychosocial aspects of diet modification and food/food product availability are key aspects of clinical nutrition practice, whether individual or community-based, irrespective of whether the goal is primary prevention or disease treatment. Students will identify applications and translation of nutritional guidelines and recommendations into behavior in the course. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and sophomore standing.


PH 171. Field Epidemiology and Outbreak Investigations (4)

Field Epidemiology and Outbreak Investigations consists of a series of practical epidemiological infectious and non-infectious disease paper- and computer-based exercises. Students will have the opportunity to apply their epidemiological and biostatistical skills to real-world situations. The course is highly interactive and challenges students' knowledge and critical thinking capacities. Students will give presentations, write a scientific abstract and press release, and develop a poster. Prerequisites: PH 101 or FMPH 101; completion of FMPH 102 is recommended but not required. 


PH 172. Immunizations and Public Health (4)

This course addresses fundamentals of vaccine-preventable diseases and immunizations, with an emphasis on resources to maintain public health expertise in a continually evolving field. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and sophomore standing. Renumbered from FMPH 191 - students can't receive credit for FMPH 157 if already completed FMPH 191 "Immunizations and Public Health". 

PH 191 Topics in Public Health (4)

Selected topics in the field of Public Health. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40; Instructor and department approval. Additional prerequisites may be required at instructor’s discretion.

PH 191: "Climate Change as a Public Health Crisis"

Climate Change as a Public Health Crisis will utilize problem-based learning to describe climate change and the health problems exacerbated by it, discuss how climate change causes health problems and disparities, and research specific health disparities caused by climate change. Students are expected to collaborate with group members to construct a public health issue brief and complete a research project related to climate change and public health. This class will focus on crises of fire, water, air and earth as related to climate change, and will include instruction on scientific writing and defining a research problem. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and department approval.

PH 191: "Digital Consumer Health"

Digital Consumer Health aims to empower students to build a lens to critically evaluate digital consumer technologies used in the context of health, such as self-tracking devices, telehealth, social media, and online communities, by exploring the contexts in which they are designed and used, including their social, cultural, and political underpinnings. While there is much potential for technologies to improve individuals' health and well-being as well as promote population health, technologies can also trigger or exacerbate harms. This course will help to balance positive views of digital health with critical analyses through the investigation of digital health's unintended consequences and the ways it can reinforce marginalization. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and department approval.

PH 191: "Health Economics and Health Policy"

Health Economics and Health Policy introduces key concepts in health economics and applies these concepts to better understand and evaluate policy issues in the U.S. healthcare system and health and medical care production and demand. The course is divided into three modules. Module 1 gives an overview of the U.S. healthcare system and introduces core Microeconomic tools as applied in Health Economics. Module 2 examines key players in the U.S. healthcare system, including private and public insurers and various health care providers. Module 3 synthesizes the content of previous modules and studies health policy issues including government intervention, externalities, medical malpractice, comparative healthcare systems, health insurance reform as well as health and development.  Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and department approval.

PH 191: "Integrative Health and Public Health"

Integrative Health and Public Health examines the historical origins, scientific research, and common practices used in complementary and alternative medicine, which is now broadly defined as “Integrative Health.” The course features numerous guest lectures by healthcare providers of Integrative Health services in UCSD Health clinics as well as by healthcare providers from diverse clinics in the San Diego region. All course content is examined in terms of how Integrative Health supports Public Health.  Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40 and department approval.

FMPH 195. Instruction in Public Health (4)

Introduction to teaching in a public health course. As an Undergraduate Instructional Apprentice, students will attend the lectures of the course, weekly meetings with students of the course; weekly meetings with course instructor. Responsibilities may include class presentations, designing and leading weekly discussion sections, assisting with homework and exam grading, and monitoring and responding to online discussion posts. Prerequisites: A minimum of A- in the course in which the student plans to assist, a 3.0 cumulative UC GPA, instructor and department approval.

PH 198. Directed Group Study (1–4)

Investigation of Public Health topics through directed reading and discussion by a small group of students under supervision of a faculty member. P/NP grades only. May be taken for credit nine times. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40, upper-division standing, completion of ninety units of UC San Diego undergraduate study, a minimum UC San Diego GPA of 2.5, consent of instructor, and a completed and approved Special Studies request.

PH 199 Independent Study (2-4)

Individual undergraduate study or research not covered by the present course offerings. Study or research must be under the direction of a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and approval must be secured from the faculty member prior to registering. P/NP grades only. May be taken for credit nine times. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing, completion of ninety units of UCSD undergraduate study, a minimum UCSD GPA of 2.5, consent of instructor, and a completed and approved Special Studies request.

Additional Public Health Electives (UD)

Students can view course descriptions and course prerequisites through UCSD's General Catalog.

Public Health Capstone (UD)

Students can view course descriptions and course prerequisites through UCSD's General Catalog.

FMPH 193. Public Health Capstone I (4)

This is the first of a two-part capstone series that serves as the culminating experience for BSPH majors.  Students will integrate the skills and knowledge gained throughout the BSPH program and learn critical elements of public health research and practice.  Another main element of this course is to gain knowledge and hands-on skills in career development and preparation for jobs, graduate school, etc. as a BSPH major.  Emphasis will be given to effective verbal and written communication skills via various communication and presentation media.  Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40, PH 45, PH 101 or FMPH 101, PH 102 or FMPH 102, PH 110 or FMPH 110, PH 120 or FMPH 120.

FMPH 194. Public Health Capstone II (4)

This is the second of a two-part capstone series that serves as the culminating experience for BSPH majors.  Students will interpret and contextualize findings from their projects completed in the first part of the series.  Oral and written presentations will focus on disseminating public health information in diverse formats.  Another main element of this course is to further refine the knowledge and hands-on skills in career development and preparation for jobs, graduate school, etc. as a BSPH major.  Emphasis will be given to effective verbal and written communication skills via various communication and presentation media.  Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40, PH 45, PH 101 or FMPH 101, PH 102 or FMPH 102, PH 110 or FMPH 110, PH 120 or FMPH 120, and PH 193 or FMPH 193. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Strengthen communication and interpersonal skills
  2. Synthesize the material learned in public health and other relevant courses
  3. Develop self-awareness regarding your unique skills, values, and career goals
  4. Explore career options within the diverse areas of public health and other areas
  5. Articulate career goals and plans how to achieve them
  6. Generate documents required for job or graduate school applications
  7. Demonstrate interviewing skills in preparation for job or school interviews
  8. Develop research or evaluation questions
  9. Identify the magnitude and determinants/correlates of public health problems
  10. Conduct a comprehensive literature search using peer-reviewed sources
  11. Critically assess the evidence related to a specific research question
  12. Write an introduction/background section of a research manuscript using appropriate citations
  13. Understand differences in study designs and how to conduct such studies
  14. Identify the key steps in program/intervention planning, implementation and evaluation
  15. Address research and evaluation questions through the analysis and interpretation of data
  16. Reduce or synthesize data to identify next steps and develop a proposed solution

Public Health Honors Practicum (UD)

Students can view course descriptions and course prerequisites through UCSD's General Catalog.

PH 196AH. Public Health Honors Practicum I (6)

This is the first of a two-part honors series that serves as the culminating experience for BSPH majors.  This course represents an experiential learning opportunity at a pre-approved community site. Under supervision of public health faculty and pertinent site representatives, students will refine and implement the public health proposal developed in the first part of the honors series. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40, PH 45, PH 101 or FMPH 101, PH 102 or FMPH 102, PH 110 or FMPH 110, and PH 120 or FMPH 120. Department approval required. Restricted to upper-division public health majors only.

PH 196BH. Public Health Honors Practicum II (6)

This is the second of a two-part honors series that serves as the culminating experience for BSPH majors.  Students will analyze, interpret, and contextualize findings from their projects completed in the series. Oral and written communication will focus on disseminating public health information in diverse formats, and will include a presentation and an honors thesis. Prerequisites: PH 40 or FMPH 40, PH 45, PH 101 or FMPH 101, PH 102 or FMPH 102, PH 110 or FMPH 110, PH 120 or FMPH 120, and PH 196AH.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop skills to successfully apply for jobs and graduate training (e.g., resumes interviewing skills, etc.) and function in a modern workplace.
  2. Conduct the main steps of a public health evaluation, including identification of stakeholders, developing a program description, focusing the evaluation design, gathering credible data, performing appropriate analyses, interpreting the data, and ensuring use of findings and appropriate dissemination.
  3. Develop a comprehensive evaluation plan which includes the program description, evaluation objectives, methods including ethical considerations and data collection instruments, an analytic plan, dissemination plan, and budget and timeline.
  4. Collect and enter data, either qualitative, quantitative, or both, that are reliable and valid.
  5. Use software to perform appropriate data analyses and organize in an understandable, concise, and visually appealing manner. Prepare materials for different audiences, including stakeholders and public health colleagues.
  6. Synthesize evaluation findings to develop recommendations for policies and other interventions.
  7. Prepare effective written and oral presentations for different public health audiences, including public health officials and the lay public.
  8. Work effectively in teams in a manner than maximizes each person's contribution to the overall goal.
  9. Develop ability to act professionally in the work environment.