Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH)

(Major Code: PB25 - Effective Fall 2020)  


Public health seeks to improve human health through the development and application of scientific knowledge that helps prevent disease, protects the public from exposure to potential harm, and promotes health throughout communities at the local, national, and global levels. The Bachelor of Science in Public Health prepares students to develop and apply knowledge from multiple disciplines for the promotion and protection of the health of the human population in a context of human rights and cultural understanding. 

For a sample academic plan for the B.S. in Public Health Major, please choose from the following:

Entry to the Major

Public Health is a Capped MajorTo prepare students for success in upper-division courses, the faculty in the BSPH Program have determined that students who want to declare a major in Public Health must first meet the criterion outlined below:

Completion of FMPH 40 “Introduction to Public Health” with a grade of B- or higher.

Students must use the Major/Minor tool on TritonLink to request entrance to the major in Public Health. Students will receive approval to declare the major only after the BSPH Program has completed the review process to ensure the above criterion has been met and the FMPH 40 grade is posted on the student's academic history.

Lower-Division Requirements (32 or 33 units)

Public Health Sciences (2 courses, 8 units)

Biology (3 courses, 12 units)

Option 1 is recommended for students going into traditional health professions (medical school, physician assistant school, nursing), epidemiology, or other fields that value a hard science background.

Students may request through the VAC to use BILD 1 or BILD 2 towards Option 2 of their Biology area in place of BILD 10.

Quantitative Methods (1 course, 4 or 5 units)

Option 1 is recommended for students going into epidemiology, biostatistics, or other fields that value statistics and data analysis.

Students may request through the VAC to use HDS 60 towards their Quantitative Methods area in place of MATH 11 or PSYC 60 or COGS 14B.

Social and Behavioral Science Electives (2 courses, 8 units)

Students may request through the VAC to use ECON 3 and/or GLBH 20 towards their SBE area.

Upper-Division Requirements (52 units)

Public Health Core Disciplines (6 courses, 24 units)

Public Health Electives (5 courses, 20 units)

A minimum of one course from the following:

Students may petition to use AIP 197, UCCS, or a Study Abroad Experience (must be an upper-division 4-unit course and have been pre-approved by the department).

Four additional courses from either those listed above or those listed below:

Students may request through the VAC to use BIPN 105 (FA21 or later), GLBH 102, GLBH 141, GLBH 143, GLBH 150, GLBH 160, SOCI 173, USP 142A and/or USP 142B towards their UDE area.

Capstone Experience (2 courses, 8 units)

Additional Requirements

Additional Requirements

  • Students who want to declare a major in public health must first complete FMPH 40 with a grade of B- or higher before declaring the major.
  • FMPH 40 and FMPH 50 must be completed at UC San Diego.
  • All LD and UD major courses must be taken for a letter grade, with the exception of AIP 197, FMPH 195, FMPH 198, and FMPH 199, which may only be taken P/NP.
  • A minimum grade of C- is required in any course to be counted towards fulfillment of LD and UD major requirements.
  • No more than 4 units of FMPH 195 may be used to meet UD major requirements.
  • No more than 8 units between AIP 197, FMPH 195, and FMPH 198 may be used to meet UD major requirements.
  • No more than 8 units of FMPH 199 may be used to meet UD major requirements.
  • No more than 4 units of GLBH 111 may be used to meet UD major requirements.
  • No more than 6 units of COMM 102C may be used to meet UD major requirements.

Stay on Track: Time-To-Degree

Many FMPH courses and some UDEs for the Public Health Major have prerequisites that need to be completed prior to enrollment (Core Public Health Prerequisites). It is recommended that students meet regularly with the Public Health Advisors to ensure that they are on track with completing their Public Health Major requirements. Please see the Advising Calendar for walk-in and appointment availability.

To assist students in planning their courses, we have also provided guidelines below on when specific major courses must completed by to stay on track to graduate in their desired year. Please talk to a Public Health Advisor for any time-to-degree questions you may have.

  • FMPH 40 – Course MUST be completed by winter quarter of junior (3rd) year. Students need at least four quarters in the major (not including summer) to complete the Public Health Major requirements in time for the two-quarter Capstone sequence offered in the winter (FMPH 193) and spring quarters (FMPH 194) of their senior (4th) year.
  • PSYC 60 or HDS 60 or COGS 14B or MATH 11 – Course MUST be completed by winter quarter of junior (3rd) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements in time for the two-quarter Capstone sequence offered in the winter (FMPH 193) and spring quarters (FMPH 194) of their senior (4th) year.
  • FMPH 50 – Course MUST be completed by spring quarter of the junior (3rd) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements in time for the two-quarter Capstone sequence offered in the winter (FMPH 193) and spring quarters (FMPH 194) of their senior (4th) year.
  • FMPH 101 and FMPH 102 – One course MUST be completed by spring quarter of the junior (3rd) year and both courses MUST be completed by fall quarter of the senior (4th) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements in time for the two-quarter Capstone sequence offered in the winter (FMPH 193) and spring quarters (FMPH 194) of their senior (4th) year. Please note: It is strongly recommended that students do not complete FMPH 101 and FMPH 102 in the same quarter, and either course be taken before the other. 
  • FMPH 110 – Course MUST be completed by fall quarter of the senior (4th) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements in time for the two-quarter Capstone sequence offered in the winter quarter (FMPH 193) and spring quarters (FMPH 194) of their senior (4th) year.
  • FMPH 120 – Course MUST be completed by winter quarter of the senior (4th) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements in time for the two-quarter Capstone sequence offered in the winter quarter (FMPH 193) and spring quarters (FMPH 194) of their senior (4th) year.
  • FMPH 193 – Course MUST be completed by winter quarter of the senior (4th) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements on time.
  • USP 143 – Course MUST be completed by winter quarter of the senior (4th) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements in time for the 2-quarter Capstone sequence offered in the winter quarter (FMPH 193) and spring quarters (FMPH 194) of their senior (4th) year. Please note: USP 143 is only offered in winter quarters.
  • FMPH 130 – Course MUST be completed by spring quarter of the senior (4th) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements on time.
  • FMPH 194 – Course MUST be completed by spring quarter of the senior (4th) year in order to complete the Public Health Major requirements on time.