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Spanish & Health Certificate

Recognizing the need for Spanish/English bilingual health professionals in the Commonwealth and the country, the Spanish & Portuguese Program and the College of Nursing are sponsoring a new certificate program in Spanish and Health designed to equip our graduates to address the health-care needs of Spanish-speaking populations. The certificate emphasizes the language and cultural skills needed for professional work in those settings. The training offered by this certificate should serve a broad range of students from a variety of fields – including Spanish, Nursing, Public Health, Nutrition, Psychology, pre-med, translation, among others – who expect to work in a Spanish-Speaking healthcare environment.

Certificate Requirements

A minimum of 17 CREDITS is required for the certificate and must consist of the following requirements:
IMPORTANT NOTE: At least 15 of these credits must come from coursework. If the total number of credits completed in fulfilling the coursework in the first three categories (“Spanish Language”, “Cultural Diversity in Healthcare” and “Culture and Society of the Hispanic World”) is fewer than 15, the student must take an additional course in any of these three areas to achieve a minimum of 15 coursework credits.

  1. Spanish Language (2 courses/7 credits): Two courses to develop the students’ Spanish Language skills.
    • Span 311 – Advanced Grammar
    • Span 356 – Spanish for Medical Professions
  2. Cultural Diversity in Healthcare (one course/3 or 4 credits): One course that helps understand diverse values and expectations around health and illness. The selection of this course should receive the approval of the student’s certificate advisor. Possible selections include, but are not limited to:
    • Anthro 208 – Human Ecology
    • Comp Lit 552 – Medical Interpreting Online
    • Educ 201 – Social Issues in Intergroup Relations
    • Food Sci 102 – World Food Habits
    • Nursing 212 – Cultural Diversity in Health & Illness
    • Nutrition 572 – Community Nutrition
    • Nutrition 597K - Culture, Nutrition and Health
    • Public Health 302 - Community Development and Health Education
    • Public Health 390E - Understanding Health Disparities (Only Public Health students are allowed into the on-campus (face to face) Public Health courses. All students are welcome to take any public health course online through Continuing & Professional Education (CPE))
    • Psych 391SS – Prejudice and Intergroup Relations
    • Sociol 442 – Sociology of Medicine
    • Sociol 481 – Sociology of Mental Health
  3. Culture and Society of the Hispanic World (one course/3 or 4 credits): One course that helps understand the culture, society or history of the Hispanic world, broadly understood to include Spain, Latin America or US Latina/os. The selection of this course should receive the approval of the student’s certificate advisor. Possible selections include, but are not limited to:
    • History 121 - Latin America: The National Period
    • Poli Sci 340 - Latin American Politics
    • Anthro 338 - Culture and Society of Mesoamerica
    • Spanish 415 – Culture & Civilization of Spain 
    • Spanish 417 – Culture & Civilization of Spanish America
    • Sociology 291L –Introduction to Latin American Society
    • The Center for Latin American, Latina/o and Caribbean Studies regularly lists courses focusing on the region. Many of these courses could fulfill this requirement.
  4. Experiential Component (2 or 3 credits of a clinical practicum, internship, coop, volunteer or service-learning experience): An experiential component which affords students the opportunity to engage with individuals, institutions, community organizations, or agencies which focus on efforts to improve the delivery of health services to the Spanish-speaking community, here or abroad. This component should take place after fulfilling the language requirement so that the student can actively use Spanish during the internship. If this component is not a course for University credit, students should, with the help of their certificate advisors, develop a supervised internship or independent studies for university credit. Sample internships would include:
    • Assignment to a clinical site in Nursing 489T in Holyoke or Springfield whose primary caseload is Spanish-speaking clients
    • A study abroad experiential program (nursing course # in development) in Costa Rica with a homestay component, clinical or social service site shadowing and cultural immersion elements.
    • An internship in a Spanish-speaking community in Massachusetts. Students must individually arrange this with a sponsor and register for Univ 398 or Span 398. 
    • A pertinent service-learning course. Sample possible courses include:
      • LLC 552 Medical Interpreting (language proficiency required, please email
      • Srvclrng 298-02 - Boltwood Project: Spanish Service Site
      • Srvclrng 398 – Community Service Learning Practicum
      • Span 456 – Spanish Translation for Community Health Services


Take two of your courses through University+ 

  • Span 356 – Spanish for Medical Professions
  • Span 456 – Spanish Translation for Community Health Services

Advisors: For more information contact the certificate advisors:

Ann Becker – Nursing:  
Luis A. Marentes – Spanish and Portuguese: