Spanish for Health Professionals

The Spanish for Health Professionals (SHP) Certificate Program is designed to provide students with the language skills and cultural knowledge needed to help Spanish-speakers successfully negotiate the health care system. Graduates of the program leave not only with proficiency in medical Spanish, but also with an understanding of the Hispanic culture and how that culture may affect healthcare practices and the delivery of health services.

This certificate will enhance the credentials of individuals seeking a career in direct patient care such as doctor, nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or physical therapist, or anyone who works with Spanish-speakers in a healthcare setting such as insurance providers or healthcare navigators.

Hispanic and Latino groups are the largest minority group in the United States, and Spanish-speakers constitute the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. In Milwaukee alone, Spanish-speakers make up 14 percent of the population. As these populations grow, so does the need for healthcare workers who can communicate with and advocate for Spanish-speaking patients.

Students in the program gain expertise in the language of health care, in Spanish, including colloquial Spanish; an understanding of cultural differences that impact the delivery of health care services to Hispanic populations; and knowledge of the health care concerns of many different groups of Spanish-speakers. There is a language-intensive track for students who need more education in that area or a health-focused track for individuals who may have some Spanish fluency but need more background in medicine and science.

Download our fact sheet to the right to learn more about this certificate.

Health Focused

Total Credits

18 credits

Required Courses (6 credits)

Spanish 338 - Spanish for Health Professionals I, 3 credits

Spanish 388 - Health Issues in the Hispanic World, 3 credits

Electives (12 credits)

Students must complete at least 9 credits in one (1) of the following clusters. The remaining 3 credits can be taken from any cluster or the general electives.

Health Communication

  • Commun 381 - Health Communication, 3 credits
  • Commun 481 - Interpersonal Issues in Health Communication, 3 credits
  • Commun 581 - Health Communication Interventions, 3 credits
  • JAMS 645 - Health and the Media, 3 credits

Pharmaceuticals, Medicine, and Drugs

  • Anthro 443 - Medicine and Pharmaceuticals in the Golden Age, 3 credits
  • HCA 212 - Drugs Used and Abused, 3 credits
  • Psych 454 - Psychopharmacology and Addiction, 3 credits

Health Care Delivery Policy

  • Econ 221 - Health Economics, 3 credits
  • HCA 502 - Health Care Delivery Systems: National and International Perspectives, 3 credits
  • Philos 244 - Ethical Issues in Health Care: (Subtitle), 3 credits
  • Urb Std 639 - Health Care and Public Policy in the United States, 3 credits

Health: A Social Science Perspective

  • Anthro 440 - Medical Anthropology, 3 credits
  • ComSDis 210 - Survey of Communication Disorders (SS*), 3 credits
  • Psych 555 - Health Psychology, 3 credits
  • Sociol 282 - Sociology of Aging, 3 credits
  • Sociol 331 - Sociology of Health Care, 3 credits

Health: A Natural Science Perspective

  • Bio Sci 350 - Human Parasitology, 4 credits
  • BMS 232 - Introduction to Nutrition (NS*), 3 credits
  • HCA 101 - Introduction to Health and Disease, 2 credits
  • Nurs 211 - Health Assessment, 3 credits

General Elective Courses

  • BMS 260 - Introduction to Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 3 credits
  • HCA 307 - Epidemiology for the Health Sciences, 3 credits
  • Nurs 101 - Cultural Diversity in Health Care (CD SS), 3 credits
  • Nurs 110 - Introduction to Global Health, 3 credits
  • PH 101 - Introduction to Public Health, 3 credits

* As determined by the certificate program coordinator.

Additional Requirements

To obtain the certificate, students must complete at least 18 credits in courses approved for the Spanish for Health Professionals certificate, with at least 12 credits taken in residence at UWM and a minimum of 9 of the residence credits taken in L&S courses at the advanced level (courses numbered 300 and above). A maximum of 6 credits in a combination of independent study, internship, and study abroad courses may count toward the certificate.

Additional Information

Study abroad courses in Spanish-speaking countries may be accepted with the approval of the Certificate Program Committee. Other courses not on this list but relevant to Spanish for Health Professionals may be accepted with the approval of the Certificate Program Committee.

GPA Requirements

Students must earn a 2.500 GPA in all certificate courses, including transfer work, and in the courses for the certificate taken at UWM. Courses for the certificate may not be taken on a credit/no credit basis.

Language Intensive

Total Credits Required

18 credits

(Not available to Spanish majors and minors; they must select the health-focused track.)

Required Courses (12 credits)

Spanish 308 - Advanced Writing and Reading, 3 credits

Spanish 318/319 - Advanced Speaking and Listening, 3 credits

Spanish 338 - Spanish for Health Professionals I, 3 credits

Spanish 388 - Health Issues in the Hispanic World, 3 credits

Electives (6 credits)

6 credits from any courses in the electives group listed for the health-focused track.

Health Communication

  • Commun 381 - Health Communication, 3 credits
  • Commun 481 - Interpersonal Issues in Health Communication, 3 credits
  • Commun 581 - Health Communication Interventions, 3 credits
  • JAMS 645 - Health and the Media, 3 credits

Pharmaceuticals, Medicine, and Drugs

  • Anthro 443 - Medicine and Pharmaceuticals in the Golden Age, 3 credits
  • HCA 212 - Drugs Used and Abused, 3 credits
  • Psych 454 - Psychopharmacology and Addiction, 3 credits

Health Care Delivery Policy

  • Econ 221 - Health Economics, 3 credits
  • HCA 502 - Health Care Delivery Systems: National and International Perspectives, 3 credits
  • Philos 244 - Ethical Issues in Health Care: (Subtitle), 3 credits
  • Urb Std 639 - Health Care and Public Policy in the United States, 3 credits

Health: A Social Science Perspective

  • Anthro 440 - Medical Anthropology, 3 credits
  • ComSDis 210 - Survey of Communication Disorders (SS*), 3 credits
  • Psych 555 - Health Psychology, 3 credits
  • Sociol 282 - Sociology of Aging, 3 credits
  • Sociol 331 - Sociology of Health Care, 3 credits

Health: A Natural Science Perspective

  • Bio Sci 350 - Human Parasitology, 4 credits
  • BMS 232 - Introduction to Nutrition (NS*), 3 credits
  • HCA 101 - Introduction to Health and Disease, 2 credits
  • Nurs 211 - Health Assessment, 3 credits

General Elective Courses

  • BMS 260 - Introduction to Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 3 credits
  • HCA 307 - Epidemiology for the Health Sciences, 3 credits
  • Nurs 101 - Cultural Diversity in Health Care (CD SS), 3 credits
  • Nurs 110 - Introduction to Global Health, 3 credits
  • PH 101 - Introduction to Public Health, 3 credits

* As determined by the certificate program coordinator.

Additional Requirements

To obtain the certificate, students must complete at least 18 credits in courses approved for the Spanish for Health Professionals certificate, with at least 12 credits taken in residence at UWM and a minimum of 9 of the residence credits taken in L&S courses at the advanced level (courses numbered 300 and above). A maximum of 6 credits in a combination of independent study, internship, and study abroad courses may count toward the certificate.

Additional Information

Study abroad courses in Spanish-speaking countries may be accepted with the approval of the Certificate Program Committee. Other courses not on this list but relevant to Spanish for Health Professionals may be accepted with the approval of the Certificate Program Committee.

GPA Requirements

Students must earn a 2.500 GPA in all certificate courses, including transfer work, and in the courses for the certificate taken at UWM. Courses for the certificate may not be taken on a credit/no credit basis.