Spanish Courses

Medical Spanish Class

Spanish Courses

The Office of Diversity is pleased to offer Spanish language classes at four levels, in partnership with NM Academy and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) Chicago extension. Classes are open to health professions graduate students at Feinberg (MD, MPH, MA, PhD, DPT) 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.


We offer courses at many levels (basic to intermediate) 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 and 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 affilition ($80 - $390).

Current: 2015 Schedule

Past Schedule: FALL 2014 Schedule

Past Schedule:  SUMMER 2014 Intensive Courses

Past Schedule:  SPRING 2014

Spanish Course & Workshop Fees

Placement evaluation

Please call UNAM to schedule a placement test: 312-573-1347 ext. 17 or If you have questions about Spanish, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions. Contact the Office of Diversity if you have additional questions.


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 first-coe-first-served 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.

Registration site

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 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

[UPDATED 11-20-13]  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.

For more information and exam dates please contact UNAM (  Exam registration 

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?

Yes! Because there is no standard definition of fluency, we prefer that you 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 pm?

We regret that our schedule cannot accommodate everyone. As you can imagine, creating courses for students from five graduate programs, employees from two institutions, plus busy residents, faculty and clnicians is a true challenge. We analyzed course schedules and chose the 5:30 pm time because it is the most widely available for both FSM and clinical constituencies. We plan to keep the schedule consistent, so that it might allow people to plan several months in advance to attend.

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 3, it might be best to wait until they are offered next. Workshops are only 4-6 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. FSM 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.

I'm trying to plan ahead, can you tell me the schedule for the entire year?

We have posted the past schedules for the previous acadmic year, and we generally keep with those patterns.  Please do keep in mind that they are subject to change. Typically we offer courses on Monday and Tuesday evenings and workshops on Thursdays. We regularly offer courses for the fall, spring and summer semesters.