Course Descriptions

Epidemiologic Methods

Study the principles and methods of epidemiology, including descriptive and analytic approaches to assessing distributions of health, disease, and injury in the population and factors that influence those distributions. Through a combination of lecture, readings, and discussion of problem sets, you acquire the core competencies in epidemiology. There are three 2-hour lectures and one 2-hour discussion section per week. The discussion section is designed to help you with problem sets, weekly quiz reviews, and clarification of classroom concepts. You can post questions directly to the graduate student instructor (GSI) or instructor at any time.

Health Policy and Management

Get an introduction to the role of health policy and management and the health care delivery system. Learn how health policy and management applies concepts from economics, organizational behavior, and political science to the structure, financing, and regulation of public health and health care delivery systems. At the end of the course, you are able to demonstrate the core competencies in health policy and management, including explaining the policy-making process and the respective roles of government, science, and markets; identify the principal functions of health insurance, the structure of public and private health insurance plans, and trends in enrollment and expenditures; and understand the main components and issues in the organization and payment methods for health care and public health services delivery.

Introduction to Environmental Health Sciences

Acquire a strong foundation in environmental health. Master the tools of analysis for assessing environmental factors that impact health, risk assessment methods, and the process by which policies are framed and enacted to protect the environment from hazards and pollutants that have a direct impact on population health.

Health and Social Behavior

Health and social behavior uses theory and research from the behavioral sciences to explain the causes and health effects of salutary and risky behavior. Learn the basic set of competencies that is central to the field, including identifying basic theories, concepts, and models from a range of social and behavioral disciplines that are used in public health research and practice; understanding the causes of social and behavioral factors that affect the health of individuals and the general population; and recognizing individual, organizational, and community concerns, assets, resources, and deficits for social and behavioral science interventions.

Introduction to Probability and Statistics in Biology and Public Health

Learn to describe basic concepts of probability, random variation, and commonly used statistical probability distributions. Apply descriptive techniques used to summarize public health data and common statistical methods for inference. You also acquire the skills to interpret results of statistical analyses and develop written and oral presentations based on statistical analyses for both public health professionals and educated lay audiences.

Mass Communication in Public Health

Discover how to use the media to promote healthy public policy. Focusing on media advocacy, you learn how to frame issues from a public health perspective and become better equipped to work effectively with journalists.

Health Care Organizations and Management

Study the structure of health care organizations and the factors that affect their performance, as well as their growth and decline and the role of health care managers. Departing from traditional organization behavior instruction, this course studies the organization itself. Learn how to capitalize on the organization's structure to meet the organization's goals and be a knowledgeable, effective change agent.

Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation

Gain the necessary skills to plan health programs by examining the principles and methods underlying program planning. Readings, lectures, learning activities, and assignments explore the application of program planning principles to dynamic, multidisciplinary, collaborative, real-world public health settings. You develop program-planning skills by evaluating case studies and working individually or in small groups to develop an actual program plan for a community organization, which you will present at the end of the class.

Evaluation of Health and Social Programs

Get an overview of the concepts and methods for evaluating health and social service programs. You develop the critical skills necessary to assess the quality of evaluation research projects, apply technical evaluation skills in professional practice, and develop evaluation plans for a variety of health and social programs. The course combines lecture, discussion, case studies, and interactive learning activities.

Social and Behavioral Health Research: Introduction to Survey Methods

Acquire a thorough tool kit for designing survey questionnaires and for implementing telephone, in-person, mail, and Web surveys. Learn how to formulate a research question and develop testable hypotheses that can be studied using survey methods; select a research and sampling design appropriate for examining a particular research question; and define and operationalize constructs and variables for survey research. Three 2-hour weekly online class sessions are designed to convey practical knowledge. Case studies complement topical lectures.

Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Health Status and Behavior

Learn the ethnic and cultural differences in health status and behavior among historically marginalized communities in the United States—including African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans—as well as sexual minorities and groups from non-Western societies. Readings draw from epidemiological, anthropological, and demographic research, as well as relevant social theory (for example, social class, acculturation, race theory, and class theory) to understand the influence of ethnic, sociocultural, and class background on health, illness, and health-seeking behaviors among diverse communities. The implications of cultural diversity for public health policy and intervention programs are also explored.

Strategic Management and the Organization of Health Services

Learn to understand the strategies used by leading health sector organizations to improve their market competitiveness. You study system-, organizational-, group-, and individual-level issues in strategy formulation and implementation. Analyze how leaders account for internal and external factors to improve organization and system performance and meet individual and community health needs. You also study strategy development and implementation that meets multiple stakeholder demands with attention given to Continuous Quality Improvement/Total Quality Management.

Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response

Get an intensive introduction to public health emergency preparedness and response. You study the following topics: the role of public health in disasters, natural disasters, and weather extremes; post-disaster sampling, surveys, and rapid needs assessments; essentials of public health emergency incident management systems; emergency operations planning and exercises; infectious disease emergency readiness; environmental health emergency readiness; post-event mental health planning; victims with special needs and vulnerable populations; risk communication; outbreak investigations; disaster medicine and mass casualty care; and personal disaster preparedness. You are required to provide evidence of participation in field-based disaster preparedness.

Interdisciplinary Seminar

Learn multidisciplinary skills that improve your ability to lead projects and programs in public health. You master the following competencies: acquiring basic communication and negotiation skills for public health leaders; understanding nonprofit governance; critically analyzing public health journal articles; designing and implementing needs assessments and stakeholder analyses; managing ethical analyses in public health; and completing Institutional Review Board (IRB) Human Subjects Protocol applications. This course includes on-campus and online learning. The on-campus component helps you build community with your peers, introduces you to Berkeley faculty, and orients you to UC Berkeley's School of Public Health career advisory and job search services.


This degree program is approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Learn more.