Background image

Medical Education
Medical Student Education

UCSF/UC Berkeley MD-MPH Program

The UCSF/UC Berkeley MD-MPH program provides an opportunity for UCSF medical students to obtain a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at UC Berkeley during an additional 11 months of study, usually between the third and fourth years of medical school. Some students obtain their MPH between the end of medical school and the beginning of residency. The program begins in July and ends in May of the following year.

In the application process, applicants choose one of the available 11-month MPH programs:

What is public health?
  • Recognizing health as a social as well as individual responsibility
  • Focusing on communities and populations, not just individuals
  • Considering and addressing any factor that has major impact on health, regardless of whether it has to do with healthcare services
  • The art and science of preventing disease and promoting health of populations through organized efforts of society

The purpose of the MD-MPH program is to equip medical students with the skills, knowledge, and awareness to become physicians who effectively promote public health in diverse ways.

  • Some MD-MPH graduates will have careers as full-time clinicians whose clinical practice is enriched by their knowledge of health promotion and their ability to read the epidemiologic literature critically.
  • Many will combine clinical work with research and/or involvement in designing/directing programs or policies at the community, state, national, or international levels.
  • Some students pursue MPH training to prepare for academic careers in which the tools of epidemiology and biostatistics will give them a solid basis for conducting research in diverse clinical or public health areas.
  • Students who are not primarily oriented toward research or academic careers also seek training in epidemiology (and other public health areas), in order to:
    • conduct the systematic needs assessments that are often essential components of grant proposals to support community-based health programs; and
    • design and conduct evaluations of community-based health programs, which are needed to obtain continuing funding and influence policy.


Dr. Paula Braveman, a professor in the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine, is the UCSF academic advisor for all UCSF students during their MPH program. Every MD-MPH student has a faculty advisor in her/his program area at UC Berkeley.

For the MPH, students shift their primary enrollment to UC Berkeley, where they pay tuition and request financial aid. MD-MPH students have generally qualified for financial aid in the form of loans at UC Berkeley, but have rarely received grants. A limited number of University fellowships are available from UC Berkeley on a highly competitive basis.

MD-MPH students are encouraged to maintain some ongoing clinical experience (e.g., as volunteers in the homeless clinic or through longitudinal clinics) during the MD-MPH program. Because students retain "Off Campus" registration at UCSF while enrolled in the UC Berkeley MPH program, they retain liability insurance coverage. Class schedules permit most students to maintain some clinical involvement and often also to participate in a public health program or research project.

The application process begins approximately 1 year before the MPH year begins (e.g., a student planning to enroll in the 2016-2017 program will begin the application process in the Fall of 2015). In the past, all UCSF applicants in good standing have been admitted, although not always in their preferred program area. The demand for places in the MD-MPH program has grown, however, so acceptance is not assured. In recent years, between 4 and 13 students have been enrolled.

Additional information about the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, including course listings, is available on the UC Berkeley website.


For instructions on applying, please refer to the MPH Handbook 2018-2019 for Fall 2017 Applicants. For additional important information, visit the UC Berkeley School of Public Health website and its Course Catalog at


Paula Braveman, MD-MPH Program Director
Professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine

Contact Dr. Braveman via:

Julia Acker