studying EHS at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley has long held the distinction of being the best public university in the nation, and the best setting in the world to study the environment, sustainability and environmental health. Learn about our our world-class faculty, curriculum and global research activities, and then consider the admissions information below.


Photo: Genevieve Shiffrar   
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Photo: Genevieve Shiffrar

You may apply to programs in Environmental Health Sciences through the School of Public Health. We offer interdisciplinary professional degrees (MPH) and academic degrees (MS/PhD), and the School of Public Health's Office of Student Services holds pre-application advising sessions where applicants can learn about the application process, financial assistance, and other related issues.
You may also contact the EHS Program Coordinator, Norma Firestone, at


Students in EHS come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Competitive applicants will hold a baccalaureate or higher degree, and have generally completed 1 undergraduate course in chemistry and in biology. An undergraduate course in mathematics (e.g., calculus, linear algebra or statistics) is also desirable. Common undergraduate majors for admitted applicants include any biological or physical science, environmental science, microbiology, nutrition, ecology, public health, engineering, chemistry, biology, molecular biology. Applicants with non-science majors are also welcomed, and will be seriously considered. Students who do not have undergraduate coursework in chemistry, math or biology at the time of application may take equivalent courses prior to matriculation, or at UC Berkeley in their first year.

Work experience is not required for admission, but some successful applicants in past years have had prior experience working as student researchers, environmental organizers and advocates, lab technicians, program managers, research scientists, engineers, post-graduate fellows, toxicologists, industrial hygiene engineers, and for global NGOs and the Peace Corps.

For more information on all application requirements, please visit the SPH website.

Faculty and students participate in the 25th annual EPICOH Conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Faculty and students participate in the 25th annual EPICOH Conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Choosing UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley has long held the distinction of being the best public school in the nation. The world-class campus offers students a dazzling faculty, excellent laboratories, the highest level of research, and one of the largest library systems in the nation.

The Faculty
EHS students may broaden their experiences by forming connections with the faculty of related disciplines, from engineering to nutritional sciences. The distinguished faculty of UC Berkeley includes 20 Nobel Laureates, 30 recipients of the National Medal of Science, 221 Academy of Arts and Sciences members, 128 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 16 MacArthur Fellows, 83 Fulbright Scholars, 3 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 139 Guggenheim Fellows--more than any university in the country. These faculty choose to teach and study at UC Berkeley because of its long legacy of innovative thinking and its exceptional standard for scholarship.

The Students
We take great pride in ensuring that our graduate students in the School of Public Health, who represent 92 countries and all 50 states, have a full yet balanced experience during their time here. Groups, clubs and organizations round out their academic experiences, and professional training opportunities are readily available. Our students enter into a community of support, guidance and fun, which we work hard to facilitate. And our family-friendly policies make our graduate experience attainable for all admitted students.

The Campus
The idyllic campus is a mixture of winding paths, early 20th century architecture, and landscaping that includes the most diverse collection of flora on any campus in the nation. The campus is a 1,232 acre park-like jewel of streams, groves of trees, and spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and Berkeley hills. With a mild year-round climate, Berkeley is one of the country's most lively and culturally exciting communities. The entrepreneurial spirit our region is known for emanates across our campus. With ready access to top experts, national labs, Silicon Valley, and cutting-edge companies, Berkeley is a hub of innovation and exploration, and the view of the San Francisco Bay from our scenic.

Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area
It is hard to imagine a place more stimulating than Berkeley. The University, the City of Berkeley, and the San Francisco Bay Area combine to form and extraordinary environment for all types of educational, artistic, and recreational pursuits. Coffeehouses, bookstores, and street vendors line the streets near campus, and lecturers, artists, and performer from all around the world make sure to visit UC Berkeley.
When you need to get away, Berkeley's location provides easy access to the cultural and recreational offerings of northern California. San Francisco is a short commute across the Bay Bridge or a quick trip on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which has a station one block from campus. The scenic coastline of Carmel and Big Sur, the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties, and the lakes and forests of the Sierra Nevada are just a few hours away. The hills above the campus feature popular trails for hikers, runners, and cyclists. Berkeley is home to many parks, including Tilden Park, which is part of the East Bay Regional Parks system, a greenbelt extending 21 miles through the East Bay Hills.
The Bay Area climate is moderate year-round, with temperatures seldom dropping below 43 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and only rarely exceeding 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. The warmest months are September and October, when temperatures occasionally soar into the 90s. Annual rainfall, most of which occurs between November and March, averages about 23 inches.
Berkeley consistently ranks in the top ten Great College Towns in the nation, a list published yearly in "The Best 345 Colleges" by The Princeton Review. With unbeatable weather and access to great urban and outdoor adventures, it ranks among the best places to live and explore while pursuing a degree.

Meet the Students

See profiles of our current EHS students showcasing their research achievements, degree goals, and their EHS advisors, and discover what notable alumni of the EHS graduate programs are doing today. Also hear directly from students about their experiences in the EHS graduate program:

Hear from students about their experiences in the EHS graduate program.