Bachelor of Arts in Global Health (B.A.)

Global health is at once an increasingly popular new field of study, an urgent social concern, and a powerful interdisciplinary intellectual synthesis aimed at understanding and productively intervening in processes of health, illness, and healing across the globe. This program is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of factors related to illness, health, and healing from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective that transcends national borders and regional interests, and takes cultural difference and cross-cultural diversity fully into account.  

Majors are encouraged to complete the Global Health lower and upper division core courses early in their program as these courses will provide a foundation to enhance subsequent course work. Please complete GLBH 181 and GLBH 148 prior to enrolling in the senior capstone in your senior year. 

Overlaps: Lower division courses may overlap with major, minor and college requirements (unless otherwise indicated). Two upper division courses may overlap between your major and minors. Courses will overlap automatically on your degree audit. If those are not the courses you would like overlapped or there is an error, please send us a message in the VAC and we can change or delete the overlaps. You're not required to overlap any courses. Please check your degree audit for accuracy.  

*Plan out your courses using the Undergraduate Degree Check or the College and Major Planner.

Major Requirements (17 courses/68 units)

All courses must be taken for a letter grade of C- or better. 

Lower Division Core Courses (3 courses/12 units)

  • ONE of the following Introduction courses: 
    • GLBH 20. Introduction to Global Health OR HILD 30. History of Public Health 
  • ONE of the following courses: 
    • SOCI 30. Science, Technology & Society OR SOCI 40. Sociology of Healthcare Issues OR SOCI 70. Sociology for Pre-Meds OR PHIL 26. Science, Society & Values OR GLBH 20. Introduction to Global Health (if not used for introduction course)
  • ONE Statistics course:
    • PSYC 60. Introduction to Statistics OR POLI 30/30D. Political Inquiry OR MATH 11/11L.Calculus-Based Introductory Probability and Statistics (MATH 10B pre-req)  OR COGS 14B. Intro to Statistical Analysis  OR *AP stats course (must have score of 3 or higher - submit petition

Upper Division Core Courses (6 courses/24 units)

All students will take the following:

  • GLBH 148. Global Health and Cultural Diversity (cross-listed with ANSC 148)
  • GLBH 181. Essentials of Global Health
  • MGT 173. Project Management: Health Services
  • ONE Policy Analysis course  
  • GLBH 160. Global Health Policy
  • POLI 160AA. Introduction to Policy Analysis
  • POLI 170A. Introductory Statistics for Political Science and Public Policy
  • USP 147. Case Studies in Health Care Programs/Poor and Underserved Populations (offered every other year - offered Spring 18-19)
  • USP 171. Sustainable Development
  • SOCI 152/USP 133. Social Inequality and Public Policy
  • ECON 130. Public Policy (ECON 2 or ECON 100A)
  • HISC 180. Science and Public Policy
  • ENVR 110. Environmental Law
To be taken senior year:
  • GLBH 150A. Global Health Capstone Seminar I (winter)
  • GLBH 150B. Global Health Capstone Seminar II (spring) 
*Students must complete Field Experience requirement prior to enrolling in the senior capstone.

Electives (8 courses/32 units) 

All electives, with the exception of two biological science courses, must be upper division.

From the following categories:

  • THREE Biological Science Electives (one must be upper division)
    • e.g. physiology of nutrition, infectious disease, environmental factors
  • THREE Medical Social Science Electives 
    • e.g. social and cultural context, economic and political factors
  • ONE Medical Humanities Elective 
    • e.g. medical history, bioethics, literature
  • ONE Global Processes Elective 
    • e.g. immigration, climate change, globalization, development

Visit the course offerings page for additional course descriptions. Not all courses are offered every year. Courses are subject to change without notice.

Biological Science Courses (three required)

Students must select at least one upper division course to fulfill their biological science requirement (upper division courses are 100 level courses). *Lower division courses may overlap with major, minor and GE coursework.


  • ANTH 2. Human Origins 
  • ANTH 43. Introduction to Biology and Culture of Race (DEI overlap)
  • ANBI 134. Human Evolutionary Genetics 
  • ANBI 139. Evolution of Human Disease
  • ANBI 141. The Evolution of Human Diet 
Accepted by petition:
  • *ANBI 116. Human Sexuality in an Evolutionary Perspective
  • *ANBI 131. Biology and Culture of Race (DEI Overlap)


Pre-requisites for biology courses are listed in parentheses. Additional biology pre-reqs can be found here.

  • BILD 3. Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 
  • BILD 18. Human Impact on the Environment
  • BILD 22. Human Nutrition (Open to nonbiology majors only)
  • BILD 26. Human Physiology (Open to nonbiology majors only)
  • BILD 36. AIDS, Science, and Society (Open to nonbiology majors only)
  • BILD 38. Dementia, Science, and Society
  • BILD 60. Biology and Diversity (BILD 1 & BILD 2 or 3) (DEI overlap)
  • BIBC 102. Metabolic Biochemistry (CHEM 40A & CHEM 40B)
  • BIBC 103. Biochemical Techniques (BILD 1)
  • BIBC 120. Nutrition (BIBC 102)
  • BICD 100. Genetics (BILD 1)
  • BICD 110. Cell Biology (BIBC 100 or BIBC 102)
  • BICD 136. AIDS, Science and Society (BILD 1 & BILD 2 recommended)
  • BICD 140. Immunology (BICD 100 & BIMM 100) 
  • BIEB 150. Evolution (BILD 3 & BILD 1 or BIEB 143)
  • BIEB 176: Conservation and the Human Predicament (ANTH 2 or BILD 3)
  • BIMM 100. Molecular Biology (BILD 1 & CHEM 40A-B & BILD 4 or BIBC 103 or BIMM 101)
  • BIMM 110. Molecular Basis of Human Disease (BICD 100, BIBC 102, & BIMM 100)
  • BIMM 114. Virology (BIMM 100)
  • BIMM 120. Microbiology (BILD 1 & BIBC 100 or 102) 
  • BIMM 124. Medical Microbiology (BIBC 100 or BIBC 102 recommended)
  • BIPN 100. Human Physiology (BILD 1 & BILD 2)
  • BIPN 102. Human Physiology II (BIPN 100)
  • BIPN 134. Human Reproduction (BIPN 100)
Accepted by petition:
  • *BILD 20. Human Genetic in Modern Society (Open to nonbiology majors only)
  • *BIMM 101. Recombinant DNA (BILD 1) 

Biology courses not accepted: BILD 1, 2, 4, 7, 10, BIEB 166

 Cognitive Sciences

  • COGS 11. Mind and Brain
  • COGS 17. Neurobiology of Cognition
  • COGS 174. Drugs, Brain, Mind & Culture (upper-division standing)

Environmental Studies

  • ENVR 30. Environmental Issues

Family Medicine and Public Health 

  • FMPH 101. Epidemiology  (FMPH 40 & PSYC 60 or Math 11 or COGS 14B)
  • FMPH 102. Biostatistics in Public Health (FMPH 40 & PSYC 60 or MATH 11 or COGS 14B) 

Human Development

  • HDP 110. Brain and Behavioral Development (HDP 1 or PSYC 101)


  • SOCI 107. Epidemiological Methods: Statistical Study of Disease (SOCI 60)

Medical Social Science Courses (three required)


  • ANSC 101. Aging: Culture and Health in Late Life Human Development
  • ANSC 105. Global Health and Inequality
  • ANSC 106. Global Health: Indigenous Medicines in Latin America
  • ANSC 121. Psychological Anthropology
  • ANSC 129. Meaning and Healing
  • ANSC 139. Native American Health & Healing 
  • ANSC 143. Mental Health as a Global Health Priority
  • ANSC 144. Immigrant and Refugee Health
  • ANSC 146. A Global Health Perspective on HIV/AIDS
  • ANSC 147. Global Health and the Environment
  • ANSC 149. Health, Conflict & Inequality
  • ANSC 155. Humanitarian Aid: What is it good for?
  • ANSC 156. Mad Films
  • ANSC 164. Introduction to Medical Anthropology
  • ANSC 182. Gun Violence as Social Pathology
Accepted by petition:
  • *ANSC 100. Special Topics (when Global Health Content)


  • COMM 114J. CSI Food Justice 

Critical Gender Studies

  • CGS 123. Gender and Reproductive Politics (CGS 2A, 2B, an intermediate course, or instructor permission)


  • ECON 140. Economics of Healthcare Producers (Econ 2 or 100B)
  • ECON 141. Economics of Healthcare Consumers (Econ 100C)

Ethnic Studies

  • ETHN 142. Medicine, Race and the Global Politics of Inequality

Family Medicine and Public Health

  • FMPH 102. Biostatistics in Public Health (FMPH 40; PSYC 60 or MATH 11 or COGS 14B
  • FMPH 110. Health Behavior and Chronic Disease (FMPH 40)

Global Health

  • GLBH 100. Special Topics in Global Health (may be taken up to 4 times if different topics)
  • GLBH 101. Aging: Culture and Health in Late Life Human Development (cross-listed with ANSC 101)
  • GLBH 105. Global Health and Inequality (cross-listed with ANSC 105)
  • GLBH 110. Demography and Social Networks in Global Health
  • GLBH 111. Clinic on the Border: Health Frontiers in Tijuana
    • (This course is for students accepted to the HFIT program only - students may enroll a max of three quarters, only one course can apply towards global health requirements - each quarter fulfills 50 field experience hours)
  • GLBH 113. Women's Health in Global Perspective
  • GLBH 129. Meaning and Healing (cross-listed with ANSC 129) (if not used for Medical Humanities)
  • GLBH 139. Native American Health & Healing (cross-listed with ANSC 139)
  • GLBH 143. Mental Health as a Global Health Priority (cross-listed with ANSC 143)
  • GLBH 146. A Global Health Perspective on HIV/AIDS (cross-listed with ANSC 146)
  • GLBH 147. Global Health and the Environment (cross-listed with ANSC 147)
  • GLBH 150. Culture and Mental Health (cross-listed with ANSC 150)
  • GLBH 160. Global Health Policy (if not taken for Policy Analysis requirement)
  • Special Studies Courses: GLBH 197/198/199. Internship/Directed Study/Independent Research (max of 2 accepted total - not each)

Latin American Studies

  • LATI 122A. Field Research Methods for Migration Studies: Seminar 

Political Science

  • POLI 111D. Social Norms and Global Development


  • PSYC 100. Clinical Psychology 
  • PSYC 101. Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 116. Laboratory in Clinical Psychotherapy Research
  • PSYCH 124. Clinical Assessment and Treatment
  • PSYC 125. Clinical Neuropsychology
  • PSYC 134. Eating Disorders
  • PSYC 143. Control and Analysis of Human Behavior
  • PSYC 155. Social Psychology and Medicine
  • PSYC 168. Psychological Disorders of Childhood
  • PSYC 172. Human Sexuality
  • PSYC 179. Drugs, Addiction, and Mental Disorders
  • PSYC 181. Drugs and Behavior
  • PSYC 188. Impulse and Control Disorders

Not accepted: PSYC 104, PSYC 180, PSYC 182

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

  • SIO 116. Climate Change and Global Health
  • SIO 189. Pollution, the Environment and Health


  • SOCI 113. Sociology of the AIDS Epidemic
  • SOCI 134. The Making of Modern Medicine
  • SOCI 135. Medical Sociology
  • SOCI 136E. Sociology of Mental Illness: A Historical Approach
  • SOCI 136F. Sociology of Mental Illness in Contemporary Society
  • SOCI 138. Genetics and Society (DEI overlap)
  • SOCI 143. Suicide
  • SOCI 173. Sociology of Health, Illness, and Medicine

Urban Studies and Planning

  • USP 143. The US Health Care System
  • USP 144. Environmental and Preventive Health Issues
  • USP 145. Aging: The Social and Health Policy Issues
  • USP 147. Case Studies in Health Care Programs/Poor and Underserved Populations (If not taken for Policy Analysis requirement) 

Medical Humanities Courses (one required)


  • ANSC 129. Meaning and Healing (cros-listed with GLBH 129) (if not taken for Medical Social Science elective)

Critical Gender Studies

  • CGS 111. Gender and the Body

Global Health

  • GLBH 129. Meaning and Healing (cross-listed with ANSC 129) (if not used for Medical Social Science Elective)


  • HISC 108. Life Sciences in the Twentieth Century
  • HISC 109. Invention of Tropical Medicine
  • HISC 115. History of Modern Medicine 
  • HISC 116. History of Bioethics
  • HISC 117. History of Neuroscience 
  • HISC 176. History of Medicine in East and Southeast Asia

Accepted by petition:

  • *HISC 119. Biology and Society


  • LTCS 155. Health, Illness, and Global Culture
  • LTCS 165. Special Topics: The Politics of Food
  • LTWL 177. Literature and Aging


  • PHIL 150. Philosophy of Cognitive Science
  • PHIL 163. Biomedical Ethics
  • PHIL 164. Technology and Human Values
  • PHIL 173. Topics in Bioethics

Global Processes Courses (one required)


  • ANAR 146. Feeding the World
  • ANBI 132. Conservation and the Human Predicament
  • ANSC 124. Cultural Anthropology
  • ANSC 125. Gender, Sexuality, and Society 
  • ANSC 140/HMNR 101. Human Rights II: Contemporary Issues
  • ANSC 142. Anthropology of Latin America
  • ANSC 145A. International Politics and Drugs
  • ANSC 154. Gender and Religion
  • ANSC 160. Nature, Culture, and the Environment
  • ANSC 168. The Human Condition
Accepted by petition:
  • *ANSC 156. Mad Films (if not used for Medical Social Science elective)


  • COMM 112G. IM: Language and Globalization
  • COMM 114J. CSI: Food Justice
  • COMM 179. Media and Technology: Global Nature and Global Culture

Critical Gender Studies

  • CGS 114. Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Class (cross-listed with ETHN 183)
  • CGS 123. Gender and Reproductive Politics (CGS 2A, 2B, an intermediate course, or instructor permission) (if not used for Medical Social Science Elective)

Ethnic Studies

  • ETHN 142. Medicine, Race, and the Global Politics of Inequality
  • ETHN 183. Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class (cross-listed with CGS 114)

Latin American Studies

  • LATI 122B. Field Research Methods for Migration Studies: Practicum

Political Science

  • POLI 108. Politics of Multiculturism (DEI overlap)
  • POLI 113A. East Asian Thought in Comparative Perspective
  • POLI 122. Politics of Human Rights
  • POLI 125. Gender, Politics, and Globalization
  • POLI 125B. The Politics of Food in a Global Economy
  • POLI 127. Politics of Developing Countries
  • POLI 136. Religion and Politics
  • POLI 136A. Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
  • POLI 140D. International Human Rights Law: Migrant Populations
  • POLI 145A. International Politics and Drugs
  • POLI 150A. Politics of Immigration (DEI overlap)
  • POLI 151. International Organizations

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

  • *SIO 116. Climate Change and Global Health (if not used for Medical Social Science Elective)


  • SOCI 111. Local Lives, Global Problems (DEI overlap)
  • SOCI 127. Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity (DEI overlap)
  • SOCI 169. Citizenship, Community, and Culture
  • SOCI 185. Globalization and Social Development
  • SOCI 188E. Community and Social Change in Africa
  • SOCI 188J. Change in Modern South Africa

Global Health Field Experience Requirement

All majors will complete the Global Health Field Experience Requirement at a research, volunteer, or clinical site in th United States or abroad.  

  • A minimum of 100 hours over a minimum of five weeks (or 3 weeks for international), distributed over no more than three programs.
  • Placement must be pre-approved and students must submit verification upon completion.
  • Majors must complete their 100 hour field experience requirement by the end of fall quarter during their graduating senior year, prior to enrolling in GLBH 150A (Senior Capstone).
  • Global Health Field Experience that is credit-bearing can count towards up to two medical social science elective courses (upon approval).
  • For more information on this requirement visit the Field Experience page.

Additional Graduation Requirements:

  • Complete 180 units with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
  • 60 units (15 four-unit courses) of which must be at the upper-division level. Lower-division courses are numbered 1 - 99, upper-division courses are numbered 100 - 199.
  • At least 35 of your last 45 units must be taken at UC San Diego to meet the Senior Residency requirement.
  • Complete all college, major, DEI and AHI course requirements.

Previous requirements: prior to FA16 requirements.  


Check out the 2018-19 Global Health Program Advising Guide.

Degree Check

Degree Check: Undergraduate Degree Check (fillable pdf)

Also see: College and Major Four Year Planner

Reading your degree audit

Your degree audit, and major requirements are complete when all sections are blue. Any sections in red mean that there is a deficiency. 

If a course is not showing on your degree audit, review the next section on submitting petitions. To fulfill the Field Experience requirement, you must submit a letter of verification.

For more on reading your degree audit, visit the Global Health Blog Page.

Petitioning Courses and Courses Accepted by Petition (*)

Obtain course pre-approval (recommended):

Submit a pre-approval petition to obtain permission to take a course not listed on the approved course list. 

You will be notified via the Virtual Advising Center once your request has been reviewed (please allow 2 weeks before contacting advisor).

Upon completion of the course, submit ONE of the following petitions:

(Wait until the course has posted to your academic history.)

For courses accepted by petition (*) or courses that have already been pre-approved:

Courses that are accepted “by petition”, indicated with an asterisk (*) will not automatically show up on your degree audit. 

Send a message through the VAC requesting the following:

 "Please accept _____________, a Global Health Pre-Approved Course, towards _______________ requirements for my Global Health ___________ (Major/Minor)."

Transfer Coursework

AP + Transfer Coursework

The following AP courses will be accepted for the Global Health major:




Major  Requirement

AP Statistics

3, 4, or 5

4 units

Statistics requirement

AP Biology

Score of 4 or 5

Exempts BILD 1, 2, and 3

4 units

BILD 3 accepted for biological science elective


Transfer Coursework: The Global Health Program will accept UC transferable transfer coursework towards major requirements. Please note, all courses taken at community college are articulated as lower division courses. Additional transfer details can be found here.

UC Online Courses: Students wishing to take UC online courses, please see details here

Sample Four Year Plan

This sample four year plan does not include college GE courses, it only accounts for global health major requirements.


Sample Two Year Plan

Sample Two Year Plan for Global Health Majors

See course offerings here. This plan includes global health courses only. This is only a suggested plan. Students should try to complete core courses early on. Student must enroll in 12 units to remain full time.

Lower division courses are course number 1-99, upper division courses are 100-199 and require students to have 90.0 units to enroll, otherwise you must request pre-authorization at




Year 1










Year 2




GLBH 150A (4)



GLBH 150B (4)


General Elective (4)

  • Lower Division Core - LD CORE  (3 total): Intro course, Statistics, LD Sociology course
  • Upper Division Core - UD CORE (4 total): GLBH 148, GLBH 181, MGT 173, Policy Analysis Course
  • GH Electives (8 total)

Sample plan for students entering 2018-19




Year 1


GH UD CORE (4) - GLBH 181


GH LD CORE (4) - GLBH 20

GH UD CORE (4) - GLBH 148


GH LD CORE (4) - SOC 30/40

GH UD CORE (4) - MGT 173


Year 2

GH UD CORE (4) - Policy Analysis Course



GLBH 150A. Senior Capstone I (4)



GLBH 150B. Senior Capstone II (4)


Max Unit Information

  • Students may complete a maximum of 200 units.
  • This is increased to 230 if a student is completing a B.S. degree in the Jacobs School of Engineering, or 240 if a student has an approved double major.
  • Completing a minor (which is not required for your degree) does not add units to the maximum allowed.
  • Pursuing pre-career preparation (such as medical school prerequisites) does not add units to the maximum allowed.

Your maximum unit limit is based on total credits passed (listed on your TritonLink Academic History as "Crdts Passed")

When calculating units completed, we do not count the following toward the maximum. We subtract them from your credits passed:

  • Units granted by Advanced Placement (AP) examinations.
  • Units granted by International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations or diplomas.
  • If you are a transfer student with IGETC, Partial IGETC, or UC Reciprocity, we consider 60 of your transfer units as applying toward completion of General Education and major requirements, and will deduct transfer units beyond that. For example, if you transferred to UCSD with 105 units and IGETC complete, we would deduct 45 units in our calculation.
Limit on transfer units:

Transfer students will be granted up to 70 semester/ 105 quarter units of credit for lower-division coursework completed at any institution (or combination of institutions).

Double Major

To apply for a double major, you must complete the Double Major Petition form. Students should meet with an advisor from each major to plan out coursework. Meet with your current major first to map out your remaning courses.


  • Must have completed 90 UC units (junior standing) and have no more than 135 completed units.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
  • Have completed a majority of the prerequisites/lower division coursework for both majors
  • Be able to complete the 2 majors in no more than 240 units.
Notes on Double Majors:
  • You can count lower-division courses toward both majors.
  • Each major must have 10 unique upper division courses. You may overlap any upper division coursework after 10 unique courses. (The Global Health major has 12-14 possible upper division courses depending on how many upper division biological science electives you take so you can typically overlap anywhere from 2-4 upper divion courses).
  • Most majors have two upper division overlaps.
Once you complete the form:

Sample Global Health Double Major Plan (Global Health side filled out):

*only list out the title of a course for the elective categories if you have already completed the course, otherwise keep it generic and for example, write "biological science"

double major

Major and Minor Overlaps

Effective FA16, students may overlap up to two upper division courses between their major and minor requirements.

Double Minors:

  • You may overlap up to two upper division electives between your major and each minor.
  • You may not overlap upper division courses between double minors.

DARS automatically overlaps two upper division courses on your degree audit that are compatible between your major and minor. If you would like to change or reject those courses then you will need to email your minor department in the VAC to request the changes.

Some college requirements allow you to overlap with you major and minor requirements, please check your college requirements to see which courses are eligible.

Pre-Med & Pre-Health Planning

The Global Health Program's unique research, writing, and field experience opportunities make both the BA and Minor excellent preparation for advanced training in health professions including; medicine, psychiatry, dentistry, nursing, public health, and pharmacy, as well as graduate training toward the Ph.D. and research or teaching careers in health sciences, medical social sciences, health policy and health law, environmental studies, or medical humanities.  

Global Health students pursuing a career in the medical field should include appropriate pre-med coursework into their schedule. Students should meet with Career Services early on to ensure they are on track. 

What does it meant to be pre-med? “Pre-med” is a term for students who are completing pre-requisite requirements to gain admission to medical school with the goal of becoming a doctor.                                                   

What if I am interested in applying to a health professional school or program other than medical school? This would be considered "pre-health" and you will want to review the courses required as pre-requisites for the programs you're interested in (see common pre-reqs for other health professions).


Visit the Global Health Careers page for additional information on careers in global health. 

Medical School Admissions Preparation

Medical school admission requirements vary from school to school. In general, most medical schools will expect applicants to have taken the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®), and to have completed the following types of courses (note: these are general guidelines and can vary from institution to institution so it is important to check with the schools you're interested in applying to):

Requirement UC San Diego Course Equivalent (course pre-reqs are listed in parentheses)
One year of general chemistry with lab
  • CHEM 6A. General Chemistry I (MATH 10A/20A - may be taken concurrently) &
  • CHEM 6B. General Chemistry II (CHEM 6A) &
  • CHEM 6C. General Chemistry III (CHEM 6B) &
  • CHEM 7L. General Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 6B)
One year of organic chemistry with lab
  • CHEM 40A. Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 6B) &
  • CHEM 40B. Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 40A) &
  • CHEM 40C. Organic Chemistry III (CHEM 40B) &
  • CHEM 43A. Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 7L & CHEM 40A)
One year of physics, including labs
  • PHYS 1A. Mechanics (MATH 10A/20A - may be taken concurrently) & PHYS 1AL. Mechanics Lab &
  • PHYS 1B. Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS 1A/2A & MATH 10B/20B) & PHYS 1BL. Electricity and Magnetism Lab &
  • PHYS 1C. Waves, Optics, and Modern Physics (PHYS 1B/2B & MATH 10A/20A/11) & PHYS 1CL. Waves, Optics, and Modern Physics Lab 
  • PHYS 2A. Physics-Mechanics (MATH 20A) &
  • PHYS 2B. Physics-Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS 2A & MATH 20A-B) & PHYS 2BL. Physics Laboratory - Mechanics &
  • PHYS 2C. Physics-Fluids, Waves, Thermodynamics, and Optics (PHYS 2A & MATH 20A, 20B, 20C) & PHYS 2CL. Physics Laboratory - Electricity and Magnetism

*Only two labs are required for physics (4.0 units)

One year of general biology with lab 
  • BILD 1. The Cell &
  • BILD 2. Multicellular Life (BILD 1) &
  • BILD 3. Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 
  • or upper-division Bio courses 


  • 4 unit upper division biology lab
One year of college mathematics 
  • MATH 10A. Calculus I &
  • MATH 10B. Calculus II &
  • MATH 10C. Calculus III or MATH 11. Calculus-Based Introductory Probability and Statistics


  • MATH 20A. Calculus for Science and Engineering &
  • MATH 20B. Calculus for Science and Engineering &
  • MATH 20C. Calculus and Analytic Geometry for Science and Engineering or MATH 11. Calculus-Based Introductory Probability and Statistics

*Must have qualifying Math Placement Exam score or qualifying AP Calculus Exam score (see pre-reqs here)

One course in statistics

MATH 11. Calculus-Based Introductory Probability and Statistics (MATH 10B/20B)

or  PSYC 60. Introduction to Statistics 

One year of English composition or writing

Typically fulfilled with college writing courses

*Exception: Muir: only requires two writing courses, one additional writing course is needed

One course in Biochemistry

(most schools + important for the MCAT)

BIBC 102. Metabolic Biochemistry (CHEM 40A +B) preferred

Helpful for MCAT Prep (not required): 

One course in psychology and sociology

e.g. PSYC 1. Psychology and SOCI 70. Sociology for Pre-Meds

Additional coursework may include:

  • Recommended (pre-reqs listed in parentheses):
    • Microbiology (e.g BIMM 120. Microbiology (BILD 1 + BIBC 100 or BIBC 102))
    • Genetics (e.g BICD 100. Genetics (BILD 1))
    • Physiology (e.g BIPN 100. Human Physiology I (BILD 1 + BILD 2) or BIPN 102. Human Physiology II (BIPN 100))
    • Immunology (e.g BICD 140. Immunology (BICD 100, BIMM 100, BIBC 100 recommended))
    • Cell Biology (e.g BICD 110. Cell Biology (BIBC 100 or BIBC 102))
  • Foreign Language

For non-medical school/pre-health applicants

  • Anatomy & Physiology: UC San Diego does not offer equivalent courses. Recommended: Complete anatomy + lab and human physiology + lab at a university extension (UCSD, SDSU, CSU San Marcos, etc.), community college, or a college near your home during gap year or over the summer

Some medical schools DO NOT ACCEPT AP credit. Additional upper division coursework may be needed to meet the pre-requisites for certain schools. Please plan accordingly. If you have concerns, please meet with a healthbeat advisor. 

When to take the MCAT:

  • The MCAT exam is offered multiple times from January and March through September and needs to be completed before you begin applying.
  • If you're applying during your senior year = January of junior year (ideal time to take exam)
  • The latest recommended date to take the exam is April of the year that you apply (so that you can get your scores back in time to choose schools in your range).
  • A gap year may benefit some students to prepare for the MCAT and complete their application.
  • We recommend taking the MCAT when you are ready­ – this usually means after all of the pre-requisites (biology, chemistry, o-chem, physics, statistics) are taken as well as biochemistry, SOCI 70 and general psychology.

Sample Three & Four Year Global Health Pre-Med Plans


  • LD CORE: HILD 30/GLBH 20, Sociology options (SOCI 30, 40, 70, GLBH 20 or PHIL 26) & STATS
  • UD CORE: GLBH 181, MGT 173, GLBH 148, Policy Analysis, GLBH 150A+ B (senior year)
  • EIGHT ELECTIVES (some can overlap with pre-reqs)



Year What to Do
  • Focus on grades and pre-requisite course work
  • Start researching healthcare and volunteer opportunities 
  • Get to know your professors (i.e. office hours, coffee with a prof)
  • Go to drop-in advising and workshops
  • Continue taking pre-requisites
  • Continue getting to know your professors (find a mentor!)
  • Get involved! Healthcare, service, leadership experience
  • Attend pre-health related workshops
  • Consider research
  • Prepare for standardized test 
  • Continue building professional relationships
  • Continue getting healthcare, service, leadership, research experience
  • Schedule an appointment with an advisor
  • Learn more about the benefits of taking a GAP year
  • Application year! Identify mentors to write your letters of evaluation
  • Take standardized test
  • Work on personal essay 
  • Meet with advisor to evaluate the strength of your application
  • Meet with an advisor at least once/year to make sure you are on track
  • Use your summers to accrue healthcare, service, research, or leadership hours
  • Start building professional relationships early! Finding mentors takes time, but you will need them to write you a strong Letter of Evaluation

FAQ with Healthbeat:

Can I complete my pre-med pre-requisties at community college?

Medical schools prefer that students complete their prerequisites at a 4-year university if they are already enrolled there, however, they accept transfer student's Community College (CC) credits more readily. 

Some students have extenuating circumstances (e.g. financial) that may require them to take some of their courses at a CC.  Under these circumstances, the schools can be lenient. 

The takeway is they prefer rigorous courses from four-year universities, when possible, but It won’t be a deal breaker if you are remarkable in other ways and/or have had significant difficulties to overcome.     

Do Pre-Med Pre-Reqs need to be taken for a letter grade?

It is recommended all pre-reqs be taken for a letter grade.

For more questions, contact Healthbeat. 

See: FAQ's for the Global Health Major

For questions regarding your GE and University requirements, please contact your college advisor.