Spanish Courses

Spanish Courses

The Office of Diversity is pleased to offer Spanish language classes at four levels in partnership with NM Academy and the Chicago extension of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). Classes are open to health professions graduate students at Feinberg (MD, MPH, MA, PhD, DPT, PA) as well as faculty and staff, and to employees from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Memorial Faculty Foundation, Northwestern Medicine Physicians Group, Lurie Children's Hospital, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, all entities eligible through NM Academy, and other clinical affiliates. Individuals already fluent in Spanish may obtain a formal comprehensive proficiency evaluation from UNAM.


Basic and intermediate courses are available in the fall, spring, and summer. There are also two workshop offerings for intermediate and advanced speakers:

  • Spanish Physical Exam Skills (SPEX) - offered every summer during the intesive course
  • Case Spanish (CSPAN) - offered every fall and spring. Each class is 30 hours of instruction and each workshop is 10 hours. Fees are determined on a sliding scale basis according to training/professional level and Northwestern affiliation ($80 - $390).

Upcoming Course Schedule


Please note that registration for Basic 2 and Intermediate courses or SPEX & CSPAN workshops requires a placement evaluation  or successful completion of the preceding level in FSM/UNAM courses. The evaluation is a 10-minute interview and small written essay (the essay may be completed in advance). This can be accomplished via telephone, Skype, or in person with faculty at UNAM. Once you have completed your placement interview, UNAM will let you know at which level you should register.

Since space is limited and seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis, you may wish to register prior to completing placement. If you choose to do this, please be aware that you are responsible for all applicable refund and course withdrawal policies per UNAM. To register for a course, please use the UNAM system as instructed below.

Following registration you may complete the process by paying your course fee at the UNAM PayPal site for Northwestern courses.


Registration, payment and refunds are all processed by UNAM according to their policies. There are no refunds for SPEX or CSPAN workshops. UNAM requires that all refunds be requested before the first day of class.  Partial refunds will be given if requested on the first day of class.  No refunds will be given for requests after the first day of class.  Please contact Erendira Sanchez at UNAM to request any refunds.


Classes will be held in the NM Academy classrooms, which are located at 541 North Fairbanks (corner of Fairbanks and Grand). Please note that building security protocol requires that you present a valid ID, sign in, and obtain a visitor's pass in order to access the NM Academy on the 9th floor. Please plan your time accordingly.

Course Material

Course Material for Spanish Classes

Proficiency Evaluations

Exchange programs and study abroad experiences may sometimes require a formal evaluation of language proficiency. UNAM provides a comprehensive evaluation through online exam format and in-person interview. Results are good for two years. Register for a proficiency exam.

For more information and exam dates please contact UNAM

 Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a way to count this class toward other academic requirements like fourth year elective credit?
Please check with all faculty involved in your learning about possible collaborations for your Medical Spanish courses.  UNAM is able to issue a transcript (with proper notice) if needed and also provide a progress report should you need documentation.

Do I still have to take a placement exam, even if I'm already fluent?
Because there is no standard definition of fluency, you must complete a placement evaluation to ensure that your learning experiences are level-appropriate. UNAM faculty are happy to speak with you by phone and are able to effectively determine what courses and workshops will be of benefit to you.

Why can't classes be offered starting later than 5:30 p.m.?
We regret that our schedule cannot accommodate everyone. Creating courses for students from several graduate programs, employees from multiple institutions, plus busy residents, faculty, and clinicians is a challenge. The time reflects what is the most widely available for both Feinberg and clinical constituencies. We plan to keep the schedule consistent, so that it might allow people to plan to attend several months in advance.

Is it okay if I come a few minutes late? Is it okay if I have to miss some sessions?
You may coordinate absences and late arrivals with your course professor. These courses are being offered for professional development and capacity building, so if you feel you will benefit, we encourage you to enroll. As in any course, missing a few sessions is okay, but if you foresee missing more than three, it might be best to wait until they are offered next. Workshops are only four to six weeks, so consider the shorter session length when determining enrollment for SPEX and CSPAN.

Will I receive a grade for this course? Will it appear on my transcript?
Courses include assessments so learners can gauge their progress. Feinberg participants will not receive a grade, but rather a certificate of completion. An official transcript from UNAM is available upon request (should this be required for some employee reimbursement programs).  Spanish courses are co-curricular and will not appear on your official Northwestern transcript. If you wish to withdraw from a course, please contact UNAM.

What should I do if I am unsure at what level I should register and don't want to miss out on a seat?
It is permissible to register for a course on the PayPal site and complete placement afterward. Please be aware of the UNAM refund policies. If you have a seat in a course and your placement evaluation determines that you need to be in a different course, every effort will be made to accommodate the change, and we can almost always secure a seat.

I have a friend, family member, or colleague who isn't a Northwestern employee or an employee of any of our affiliates - can he or she take a course?
Yes! We have included an option for individuals from our partnering institutions as well as clinicians at large to take a course if there is space.

Learn More

For more information about these courses, please contact us. Contact UNAM to schedule a placement test via email or at 312-573-1347 ext. 17.