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Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the UAB Spanish for Specific Purposes Certificate (SSPC). If you do not find all the information that you need, please contact the program director, Dr. Lourdes Sánchez-López.

You can also refer to the Spanish for Specific Purposes Certificate Student Manual.

Please note: In this program we use the term “non-traditional student” with the meaning of “enrichment enrollee,” as opposed to “regular student,” one who is seeking a degree as well as a certificate.

Spanish for Specific Purposes courses are designed for regular as well as non-traditional candidates. The objective of this certificate is not only to fulfil UAB students' academic needs for their future careers but also to reach out to local professionals. The courses are content-, vocabulary-, and culture-based. You will learn the vocabulary, language, and cultural background that you will use in your professional field through extensive practice in class and beyond the classroom as well.
SSP stands for Spanish for Specific Purposes. SSPC stands for the Spanish for Specific Purposes Certificate.
The department offers the certificate program to meet the demand for professional level Spanish in the community. Certificate credentials are common in Europe in language schools and academic institutions. These programs are successful and they offer a way to gain specific expertise without enrolling in a traditional degree program that may have general education requirements that do not apply to the learner’s targeted skills.
Yes, upon successful completion of all the SSPC requirements you will receive an official UAB Certificate of Completion, which will be recorded on your transcript.
The SSPC director and all instructors are faculty members in the UAB Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. They all have academic backgrounds, as well as years of experience in SSP.
Regular and non-traditional students must fulfill these requirements:
  • Have the Spanish pre-requisites specific to each SSPC course (a minimum of SPA 201 or equivalent).
  • Enter with and maintain a minimum of 2.8 GPA in Spanish courses.
  • Submit an electronic application and receive formal acceptance to the SSPC program.
  • Obtain a B grade or above in all SSPC courses. Students will be able to retake courses for a higher grade.
  • Complete a minimum of 6 classes (18 credit hours) of SSPC classes in the UAB Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, of which a minimum of 12 credits must be at the 300 level (3 SPA classes and a 3 credit foreign language internship)
  • Complete a successful SSP Internship (3 credit hours) as part of the credit hour requirements.
  • Complete a successful exit interview in Spanish (Intermediate-Mid or above in the POlc by ACTFL guidelines)
  • In addition to the requirements specified above, nontraditional students will have a minimum of 12 credit hours of successful college level work (grade C or above in all courses), with the following minimum distribution: at least 6 credit hours in English Composition (Area 1), at least 3 credit hours in Arts and Humanities (Area 2), and at least 3 credit hours in Social Sciences (Area 4). Please see the UAB course catalog for descriptions of the core curriculum areas.
You can learn about the courses on the SSPC Courses page. Full course descriptions are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog and the SSPC Student Manual.
We always try to offer SSPC classes at a convenient time for most students (early morning, at the noon
hour, late afternoon or in the evening).
Please visit our website periodically for updates on the SSPC academic year and semester calendars.
Most SSP courses are offered once per academic year. Some courses may be offered more than once per academic year due to popular demand. Please refer to the SSPC webpage for current and future course offerings.
The pace at which you will go through the program depends on you. You can take one class per semester or more, depending on your professional and personal obligations. Remember that the program requires a minimum of 18 credit hours (6 classes) to complete. It is important that you schedule advising sessions with the program director regularly (at least once per year) to discuss your class options, and to ensure that you go through the program as quickly as possible.
Every SSPC class is the equivalent to 3 credit hours. Please refer to the UAB Students website in order to find out the cost of tuition per credit hour. In addition, each course will require textbooks and other educational materials.
An SSPC graduate will have the linguistic and cultural background needed to function in the professional health-related and business-related worlds. In addition, all graduates will have had participated in field-related internships, which will have provided them with field experience before employment.
SSPC graduates will be able to function successfully in the language at the intermediate level, and they will be able to understand the cultural issues related to their professional field. If a student would like to expand his or her linguistic competence, he will be able to enroll in more advanced regular Spanish classes. In addition, all SSPC graduates will be invited to participate in our weekly SSPC conversation tables free of charge (during academic year only), so that they can maintain their level of fluency.
Any hospital, clinic, or health-care personnel that deals with Hispanic patients will benefit from this program. In addition, any company, business, or law firm that currently works or would like to establish a business relationship with their Hispanic counterparts or potential clients will benefit from this program. Finally, any educator who has Latino/Hispanic students and would like to communicate with their families appropriately and understand their culture better will benefit from this program.
No, the SSPC internship (FLL 333) is a service learning class outside the classroom setting. Students will gain professional experience while practicing their Spanish skills.
Yes, you can do your internship at your place of work, given that you fulfill the specific tasks and language component assigned by your internship instructor.
The UAB Spanish for Specific Purposes Certificate is the only one of its kind in Southeastern United States. There are similar programs at the in other parts of the US and in other countries such as Spain, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. In addition, some examples of related certificates in higher education Institutions are:
  • La Salle University (Translation and Interpretation)
  • Mays Business School at Texas A&M University (Latin American Business)
  • Michigan State University (Business Spanish)
  • NYU (Medical Interpreting)
  • San Diego State University (Translation and Interpretation)
  • San Francisco State University (Translation and Interpretation)
  • Temple University (Business Spanish)
  • UNC Charlotte (Business Spanish)
  • University of California Riverside (Translation and Interpretation)
  • University of Wisconsin (Business Spanish)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Spanish Studies for Business Majors)
Yes, definitely. Local businesses interested in participating as an SSPC Intern Host should contact program director Lourdes Sánchez-López. In addition, the SSPC Intern Host will have the opportunity of interviewing potential interns and participating in the selection process.
If you are not sure that the class for which you registered is the appropriate one for you, please make an appointment with program director Dr. Lourdes Sánchez-López to discuss your specific language needs.