UC Berkeley Biostatistics UC Berkeley Biostatistics UC Berkeley UC Berkeley
MPH in Biostatistics and Epidemiology/Biostatistics

The MPH degree programs are administered by the Division of Epidemiology.
For inquiries about the MPH programs, please contact
Janene Martinez at jcarolm@berkeley.edu, (510) 643-2731.


The MPH degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics is a two-year program emphasizing development of skills in both biostatistics and epidemiology that are applicable to (1) the study of the occurrence and distribution of disease in human populations and (2) the determination of impact and magnitude of disease frequency so that effective control measures can be designed. The program includes the investigation of the natural history and clinical course of disease as well as the study of the statistical methods used to identify and evaluate risk factors associated with disease outcome.
This program is designed for students who have relatively little specific background but a strong desire for training in the health fields and provides an entry point for top students who are not likely to compete successfully for admission with those with more extensive backgrounds (e.g., individuals from government health agencies or physicians).
Each year approximately 100 applications are received; about 40% of these are recommended for admission. Since this is a two-year program, a total of roughly 50 students are involved in activities associated with this program each year.
The Epi/Biostat MPH program is aimed at those coming right from the baccalaureate. Those with more experience and some training in epidemiology or biostatistics, particularly those holding MDs, DVMs or other advanced degrees, are encouraged to apply to other degree programs in either Epidemiology or Biostatistics.
The undergraduate GPA is used as a basis for evaluation (GPA computed after the first two years of course work). Quantitative and verbal GRE scores are weighted heavily in the admissions process, followed by letters of recommendation and statement of purpose. Average scores for recent successful applicants are: GRE verbal: 82%, quantitative: 80%; average GPA: 3.7.


The requirements for this program are intentionally flexible, so that students new to issues in the health field can explore a wide variety of possibilities. In addition to the Schoolwide breadth requirements, the only other absolute course requirement is the Epi/Biostat seminar (PH 292). This seminar serves as a focal point for students, provides an introduction to the study of historical issues in epidemiology and public health and, more importantly, provides training in the critical review of the epidemiologic/biostatistics literature.
Each student in the program is required to complete 40-48 units and write and present a "final" paper as part of the PH 292 seminar. The final paper, written during the second year of the program, serves as a comprehensive examination, fulfilling a university requirement for a masters degree.
Students also complete a public health practice component that allows application and integration of the analytic and methodological tools gained in the classroom in a public health setting. This activity takes place during the summer following the first year and is arranged through the Center for Public Health Practice.
During the course of the program, students complete about one-third of their course work in Biostatistics and one-third in Epidemiology, leaving about one-third for electives. This is the usual pattern for most students.
The following is a typical - but by no means required - set of coursework (unit values in parentheses):
Year 1
 Fall                                       Spring

PH 142 Introductory Biostatistics (4)   PH 145 Analysis of Continuous Outcome Data (4)
PH 200C1,2 PH Breadth Course (4)  PH 144A Intro to SAS (2)
PH 250A Epidemiologic Methods I (3)   PH 241 Statistical Analysis of Categorical Data (4)
PH 291 Preparation for PH Practice (1)   PH 200C3 PH Breadth Course (4)
PH 292 Epi/Biostat Seminar (2)   Electives
Year 2
 Fall                                           Spring

PH 245 Multivariate Statistics (4)   PH 252 Epidemiological Analysis (3)
PH 250B Epidemiologic Methods II (4)   PH 250C Epidemiologic Theory (4)
PH 251A Practicum in Epi Methods (3)   Electives
PH 251C Meta-Analysis in Epidemiology (2) 

Those who believe they have mastered basic knowledge in Biostatistics or Epidemiology may meet the School breadth requirement in these two areas by passing an exemption exam or enrolling in a more advanced class (advanced classes for Biostatistics: PH 245, 241, 251; advanced class for Epidemiology: PH 250B). Exemption exams are offered in the Fall semester of each academic year. Passage of the exemption exam certifies that the basic requirement for that knowledge area has been met, but does not confer course credit.


The faculty involved with the Epidemiology/Biostatistics MPH program have a wide range of backgrounds and research interests. Listed below are some of the participating faculty and areas of interest.
Barbara Abrams, DrPH, RD [UCB Profile]
Maternal and child nutrition; nutrition and AIDS; current developments in public health nutrition; maternal weight gain & pregnancy outcome.
Jennifer Ahern, PhD, MPH [UCB Profile]
Social epidemiology; Neighborhood population characteristics and health; Mental and behavioral health; Substance abuse; Birth outcomes and maternal health.
Lisa Barcellos, PhD [UCB Profile]
Genetically determined host susceptiblity to disease, particularly auto-immune and neurological diseases.
Patricia Buffler, PhD, MPH [UCB Profile]
Exposure assessment in environmental epidemiology; Environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer in nonsmoking women; Health effects associated with exposure to hazardous waste sites; Epidemiology of childhood cancer.
Anand P. Chokkalingam, PhD [UCB Profile]
Molecular and genetic epidemiology of childhood leukemia & prostate cancer; Disparities in cancer risk; Diagnostics.
John M. Colford Jr., MD, PhD, MPH [UCB Profile]
Epidemiology of infectious diseases, including AIDS, cryptosporidiosis, and the public health effects of wastewater control strategies. Application of tree-based survival methods (recursive partitioning) to epidemiologic studies.
Ellen Eisen, ScD [UCB Profile]
Exposure-response models for occupational health studies; Healthy worker survivor bias; Occupational respiratory disease.
Brenda Eskenazi, MA, PhD [UCB Profile]
Reproductive hazards in the workplace; Behavioral toxicology and teratology; Reproductive epidemiology.
Alan Hubbard, PhD [UCB Profile]
Mathematical approaches to epidemiological and biological studies; Transmission of schistosomiasis; Health effects of benzene exposure.
Nicholas P. Jewell, PhD [UCB Profile]
Nonparametric methods and survival analysis.
Catherine Metayer, [Project Profile]
Explore-response models for occupational health studies; Healthy worker survivor bias; Occupational respiratory disease.
Mahasin S. Mujahid, PhD, MS [Profile(s): UCB Profile, H&HS]
Racial/Ethnic differences in health and chronic disease; Neighborhoods and Health; Methodological & theoretical issues related to the study of the upstream determinants of health; Design & implementation of interventions that target marginalized populations to improve access to health enriching opportunity structures.
Maya Petersen, MD, PhD [UCB Profile]
Causal inference; Dynamic treatment regimes; HIV; Antiretroviral resistance.
Arthur L. Reingold, MD [UCB Profile]
The epidemiology of infectious diseases, particularly bacterial, mycobacterial and fungal infections; Control of infectious diseases in developing countries; Emerging and re-emerging infections.
Lee Riley, MD [UCB Profile]
The epidemiology of infectious disease, particularly tuberculosis and diarrheal disease in the US and in developing countries.
William A. Satariano, PhD, MPH [UCB Profile]
Epidemiology of aging and cancer epidemiology. Special interest in the epidemiology of disability in older women with breast cancer.
Steve Selvin, PhD [UCB Profile]
Applications of statistical methods to environmental and epidemiologic problems; Disease clustering.
Allan H. Smith, MD, PhD [UCB Profile]
Epidemiology of environmentally- and occupationally-related diseases, particularly cancer. Health effects of arsenic in drinking water, exposure to silica, and exposure to diesel exhaust.
S. Leonard Syme, PhD [UCB Profile]
Social and cultural influences on the occurrence of disease.
Ira B. Tager, MD, MPH [UCB Profile]
Epidemiology of chronic lung diseases; Effects of environmental tobacco smoke on the respiratory health of infants and children; Effects of ambient air pollution on respiratory health.
Constance Wang, PhD, MPH [UCB Profile]
Social determinants of health and healthy aging; Lifestage-specific public health interventions; Integration of social and biological complexity in understanding disease causation in the population; Multilevel factors that predict multiple disease vulnerability and resilience; risk patterns that lead to multiple health outcomes;
Warren Winkelstein, Jr., MD, MPH [UCB Profile]
Disease effects of air pollution, cancer epidemiology; AIDS; Epidemiological considerations in public policy; History of epidemiology.

Other individuals involved with the program who are available to students with specialized interests include:
Tomás Aragón, MD, DrPH [Profile(s): UCB, CIDER]
Center for Infectious Disease Preparedness
Epistatistical computing; Infectious disease epidemiology; Public health emergency preparedness.
John Balmes, MD, DrPH [Profile(s): UCB, UCSF]
Center for Infectious Diseases & Emergency Preparedness
Environmental epidemiology of pulmonary/respiratory diseases; Chronic effects of ozone on lung function; Effect of nitrogen dioxide on allergic airway inflammation in persons with asthma; Risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular mortality; Effects of air pullution on the natural history of asthma in children.
Heidi Bauer, MD, MS, MPH [Profile(s): UCB]
California Department of Public Health, STD Control Branch
Evaluation of the impact of HPV vaccination programs on the incidence of pre-cancerous cervical disease; Interventions for increasing the proportion of sexual partners of those infected with STDs who receive treatment, including expedited partner treatment.
Michael Bates, PhD [Profile(s): UCB, UCSF]
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, UCB School of Public Health
Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, UC San Francisco
Environmental epidemiology relating to cancer.
Kyle Bernstein, PhD, ScM [UCB Profile]
San Francisco City Clinic; SF Dept. of Public Health
Sexually transmitted diseases and HIV; Applied epidemiology; Program evaluation.
Suzan Carmichael, PhD, MS [Stanford Profile]
Dept. of Pediatrics (Neonatology), Stanford University - School of Medicine
Maternal and child health; Congenital anomalies and exposures related to nutrition, stress, environmental contaminants, and genes.
Ralph Catalano, PhD, MRP [Profile(s): UCB 1, UCB 2]
Division of Community Health & Human Development, UCB SPH
Economic antecedents of specialty mental health services utilization; Economic antecedents of stress-related illness; Temporal variation in the incidence of psychiatric emergencies.
Maria Ekstrand, PhD, MS [UCSF Profile]
Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, UC San Francisco
Primary and secondary HIV prevention with a focus on India; Gender issues; Factors involved in the acquisition and maintenance of behavior change;
Lia Fernald, PhD, MBA [Profile(s): UCB 1, UCB 2]
Division of Community Health & Human Development, UCB SPH
Psychosocial and biological determinants of health; Obesity, overweight, and nutritional & epidemiologic transition; Malnutrition, international child health and development; Immigrant health, inequalities and health disparities; Early experience, stress hormones, salivary cortisol.
William Jagust, MD [Profile(s): UCB 1, UCB 2]
Division of Community Health & Human Development, UCB SPH
Cerebral metabolism, brain aging, blood flow, neurochemistry; Imaging techniques with PET and MRI; Dementia; Cognitive neuroscience, behavioral neurology and neuropsychology.
Lee Kaskutas, DrPH [Profile(s): UCB 1, UCB 2]
Division of Community Health & Human Development, UCB SPH
Alcohol Research Group, National Alcohol Research Center
Methodologies for measuring alcohol consumption; Non-professionalized solutions to alcohol and drug problem prevention and treatment (e.g., warning labels, Alcoholics Anonymous, social model recovery); Drinking during pregnancy among Native and African Americans.
Alexandra Minnis, PhD, MPH [RTI Profile]
RTI International
Adolescent reproductive health; Measuring adherence to contraception; Association between migration and reproductive health in Latino youth.
Amani Nuru-Jeter, PhD, MPH [Profile(s): UCB 1, UCB 2]
Division of Community Health & Human Development, UCB SPH
Intersection of race and socioeconomic status across health outcomes; Socio-environmental context (e.g., place effects) and person-environment interactions; Race and psychosocial & biological stress; Racial disparities in birth outcomes and cardiovascular risk; Measurement of racism.
Emily Ozer, PhD [Profile(s): UCB 1, UCB 2]
Division of Community Health & Human Development, UCB SPH
School and community-based interventions; Promotion of mental and physical health among adolescents; Violence prevention; Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Collaborative and participatory research.
Nancy S. Padian, PhD, MPH [Profile(s): UCB, UCSF 1, UCSF 2]
Dept. of OBGYN & Reproductive Sciences , UC San Francisco
Dept. of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, UC San Francisco

HIV and STDs in high-risk populations; Heterosexual transmission of HIV in Northern California; Risk factors for pelvic inflammatory disease.
David Ragland, PhD, MPH [Profile(s): UCB, UCSF]
Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, UC San Francisco
Identifying areas of high traffic collision risk; Human factors and traffic collision risk; Intersection safety; Pedestrian safety; Older drivers; Transit operator health and safety; Impaired driving.
Gary Shaw, DrPH [Profile(s): UCB]
Birth Defects Monitoring Program, Emeryville, CA
Epidemiology of birth defects; Gene-environment approaches to perinatal outcomes; Nutrition and reproductive outcomes.
Craig Steinmaus, MD, MPH [Profile(s): UCB]
Allan Smith Research Group
Occupational and environmental epidemiology, arsenic in drinking water, perchlorate.

Graduate Career Paths

Graduates of this program utilize their MPH training in federal, state and local health departments and will also be prepared for a wide variety of positions in the private medical and health care fields. Some graduates go on for MD degrees. Although no doctoral degree in Epidemiology/Biostatistics is available, upon completion of the MPH degree some students may be interested in applying for doctoral studies in Epidemiology or Biostatistics if this is compatible with their interests, goals and prior training.

How to Apply

application procedures can be found on the School of Public Health web site (select ADMISSIONS). Application material is available beginning in September of each year for students seeking entrance in the Fall semester of the following academic year. Course descriptions are available from the Berkeley Campus General Catalog.