Majoring in Public Health

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) Program at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health (HWSPH) at UC San Diego offers seven majors with concentrations in a variety of Public Health fields. Students in the BSPH can choose from the general BSPH major, which allows the most flexibility, or one of six concentrations focusing on specific competencies within the field of public health. 

All majors offered by the HWSPH have a major entry requirement. All students not directly admitted into a BSPH major MUST meet the major entry requirements in order to switch into a BSPH major. 

Updated major requirements will be in effect starting in FA24 for any student admitted in 2024. If you were admitted prior to 2024, you will need to follow the requirements prior to Fall 2024. All students admitted for a Summer or Fall 2024 entry to UC San Diego will follow the Fall 2024 requirements. It is not possible to switch between the two sets of requirements.

Students are encouraged to double major or minor in subjects that they feel will enhance their experience at UC San Diego, if they have the ability to do so. Students are further encouraged to participate in opportunities outside the classroom, many of which may be completed for major requirements. 

Please note:

  • Each concentration is its own major, and students may not double major within the same department.
  • The Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health does not offer a minor in Public Health.  

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health curriculum, students should possess proficiency in the following areas:

1. Overview of Public Health

Address the history and philosophy of public health as well as its core values, concepts, and functions across the globe and in society.

  1. Public Health History
  2. Public Health Philosophy
  3. Core PH Values
  4. Core PH Concepts
  5. Global Functions of Public Health
  6. Societal Functions of Public Health

2. Role and Importance of Data in Public Health

Address the basic concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, use, and analysis and why evidence-based approaches are an essential part of public health practice.

  1. Basic Concepts of Data Collection
  2. Basic Methods of Data Collection
  3. Basic Tools of Data Collection
  4. Data Usage
  5. Data Analysis
  6. Evidence-based Approaches

3. Identifying and Addressing Population Health Challenges

Address the concepts of population health, and the basic processes, approaches, and interventions that identify and address the major health-related needs and concerns of populations.

  1. Population Health Concepts
  2. Introduction to Processes and Approaches to Identify Needs and Concerns of Populations
  3. Introduction to Approaches and Interventions to Address Needs and Concerns of Population

4. Human Health

Address the underlying science of human health and disease including opportunities for promoting and protecting health across the life course.

  1. Science of Human Health and Disease
  2. Health Promotion
  3. Health Protection

5. Determinants of Health

Address the socio-economic, behavioral, biological, environmental, and other factors that impact human health and contribute to health disparities.

  1. Socio-economic Impacts on Human Health and Health Disparities
  2. Behavioral Factors Impacts on Human Health and Health Disparities
  3. Biological Factors Impacts on Human Health and Health Disparities
  4. Environmental Factors Impacts on Human Health and Health Disparities

6. Project Implementation

Address the fundamental concepts and features of project implementation, including planning, assessment, and evaluation.

  1. Introduction to Planning Concepts and Features
  2. Introduction to Assessment of Concepts and Features
  3. Introduction to Evaluating Concepts and Features

7. Overview of the Health System

Address the fundamental characteristics and organizational structures of the U.S. health system as well as to the differences in systems in other countries.

  1. Characteristics and Structures of the U.S. Health System
  2. Comparative Health Systems

8. Health Policy, Law, Ethics, and Economics

Address the basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic, and regulatory dimensions of health care and public health policy, and the roles, influences and responsibilities of the different agencies and branches of government.

  1. Legal Dimensions of Health Care and Public Health Policy
  2. Ethical Dimensions of Health Care and Public Health Policy
  3. Economic Dimensions of Health Care and Public Health Policy
  4. Regulatory Dimensions of Health Care and Public Health Policy
  5. Government Agencies Roles in Health Care and Public Health Policy

9. Health Communications

Address the basic concepts of public health-specific communication, including technical and professional writing and the use of mass media and electronic technology.

  1. Technical Writing
  2. Professional Writing
  3. Use of Mass Media
  4. Use of Electronic Technology