Business Spanish Certificate Program

Upcoming dates (1)

For registration assistance: 608-262-2451


Newly revised! In 4 months, greatly improve your professional proficiency in Spanish and gain the cultural knowledge you need to conduct business with partners in Spain and Latin America. This practical course targets the specific skills you need to communicate professionally with clients and colleagues via email, telephone and videoconferencing. This fully online certificate program for working professionals provides flexibility and personalized learning. Prerequisite: Intermediate level of Spanish or Spanish 5.


The Business Spanish Certificate gives you essential skills to conduct business in a Spanish-speaking environment. The program consists of 15 practical lessons available through the online platform CANVAS that you access at your convenience during the week. You will work closely with your instructor to put into practice what you are learning, including a mock interview. You will receive personalized feedback on relevant real-life assignments that are tailored to your professional needs. Throughout the program, you will interact with a cohort of other professionals through discussion boards and four live optional conversation sessions moderated by your instructor.

Course includes

  • 15 online units with audiovisual materials
  • 2 one-on-one videoconferences with your instructor (including a mock interview)
  • Personalized feedback on 12 short writing assignments that are relevant to your professional sector
  • Personalized feedback on one recorded professional presentation
  • Four optional live conversation sessions with other participants
  • Interactive quizzes and flashcards

Key topics

  • Speaking professionally
  • Composing professional emails
  • Discussing your own background and skills
  • Gaining vocabulary specific to your professional area
  • Understanding business etiquette in Spanish-speaking countries
  • Communicating via phone and videoconferencing
  • Interviewing and hiring
  • Talking about your company’s services and structure
  • Creating professional documents

Optional live virtual conversation sessions:

These optional live conversation sessions (via Zoom) provide an opportunity for course participants to meet other professionals, practice speaking professionally in Spanish, and interact directly with the instructor. Since participants have different schedules and live in different time zones, participation is encouraged, but not required.

Tentative schedule for spring 2024 optional live conversation sessions:

  • To be determined.

Why earn this certificate?

UW–Madison Continuing Studies' Online Business Spanish Certificate program is the only academic program of its kind in the Midwest.

Long renowned as one of the foremost academic institutions in the country, UW–Madison provides unparalleled service to post-traditional students. UW–Madison Continuing Studies develops and delivers more than 20 professional certificate programs in a wide variety of callings and careers — including Business Spanish. Through our unique combination of experience, innovation, and credibility, we can help you stand out in an increasingly competitive environment.

Who is this course is for?

  • Business professionals who need hands-on skills for their current positions
  • Professionals who wish to expand their career opportunities by acquiring the ability to work cross-culturally
  • MBA students who are considering careers in international business
  • Professionals working for NGOs who work with Spanish-speaking countries
  • Heritage speakers of Spanish looking to professionalize the language skills they already have
  • Anyone interested in gaining practical language and cultural skills
  • Undergraduates looking to prepare themselves for a competitive global market

What level of Spanish do I need?

  • The Certificate Program is adaptable for an intermediate or advanced speaker of Spanish. The higher your level of Spanish at the beginning of the program, the more you can take advantage of the practical skills it offers. If you are uncertain about your level of Spanish, take the Spanish 5 self–placement test and contact Julie.dahl@wisc.edu for more guidance.

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Course Outline

Course outline

Below are the themes and grammar topics for each unit. Each unit also includes written content, videos, audio messages, dialogues, grammar activities and cultural information related to the unit theme.

Unidad 1: Primeros encuentros

  • Correct use of formality
  • Introductions and forms of greeting
  • Names and titles in the Spanish-speaking world
  • The importance of the group in the Spanish-speaking world
  • Review of the present tense and saber vs. conocer
  • Review of written accent marks

Unidad 2: La formalidad por escrito

  • Writing professional emails, scheduling in-person meetings, dates, and important forms of documentation
  • Spelling and giving personal information over the phone
  • The role of family in the Hispanic culture
  • Holidays in the business world
  • Direct and indirect object pronouns
  • Use of hay que for obligations

Unidad 3: La formalidad en persona

  • Business etiquette: expressions of courtesy and apology statements
  • The role of physical contact and personal space
  • The art of conversation in the Spanish-speaking world
  • The terminology debate between hispano/latino
  • Time in the Hispanic world
  • Ser estar

Unidad 4: Las profesiones y la empresa

  • Looking inside businesses: different professions, organizations, and positions within a company
  • The geography of the Spanish-speaking world and the many economies of Latin America
  • Gustar and similar verbs
  • Use of definite and indefinite articles

Unidad 5: El curriculum vitae

  • Resumes, CVs, and cultural differences in the job application process
  • Using online templates and new trends in hiring
  • Language and linguistic diversity in Latin America and Spain
  • Review of past tenses

Unidad 6: La formación educacional

  • The diversity of educational systems in Spain and Latin America
  • Discussing degrees, study abroad, and professional training
  • The ethnic diversity of Spain and Latin America
  • The contrast between past tenses

Unidad 7: La experiencia profesional

  • Professional and labor experience including volunteer work and internships
  • The labor crisis and future goals
  • Unemployment in Hispanic countries
  • Grammar structures for talking about a duration of time

Unidad 8: Las redes, la tecnología y el perfil digital

  • The role of social networks, technology, and professional online profiles in the business world
  • Sought-after employee characteristics
  • Creating a video resume
  • Cultural differences in adopting technology
  • Bureaucracy and paperwork in the Hispanic world
  • Impersonal se

Unidad 9: La búsqueda de trabajo

  • The job search and job postings
  • Where to look for job help: employment agencies, job fairs, and filling out forms
  • Cultural differences in a typical workday/week
  • The culture of having "connections"
  • Formal commands in Spanish
  • Por para

 Unidad 10: La aplicación y la carta de solicitud

  • Applying for a job, soliciting interviews, writing cover letters, and common types of interview advice
  • Workplace discrimination
  • Phone conversation with the professor
  • The subjunctive
  • Speaking with large numbers and statistics

Unidad 11: Preparación para la entrevista

  • Preparing for a job or business interview
  • Job interview typical questions, strategies for difficult questions and tips to ask questions and not just answer
  • Hiring personnel
  • Gestures and body language
  • More subjunctive


Unidad 12: La entrevista de trabajo virtual

  • Simulated remote job interview: technical and audio-visual tips
  • Tips for before, during, and after the interview
  • Simulated video interview with the instructor
  • Professional protocol
  • Future tenses in Spanish

Unidad 13: Estudio de caso: el país y su economía

  • Case study: Select a country and research important background data, general information, and economic and business climate.

Unidad 14: Estudio de caso: el sector y el producto

  • Case study: Select a business or service sector and define the product or service that you will offer to solve an ongoing problem in that country. Consider the total cost of ownership, the potential risk of failure, and the benefits.

Unidad 15: Estudio de caso: el consumidor y el marketing

  • Case study: Identify relevant trade and professional associations, trade fairs, and professional groups that could provide important bridges to breaking into a new market. Research competitors and consumer trends to determine marketing strategies for your sector and the local population. Prepare a clear and concise business case for your project.

Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 75
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units 7.5

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

Upcoming dates (1)

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Program Questions?

Contact Julie Dahl at julie.dahl@wisc.edu or 608-262-5929

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

Continuing Studies FAQs

What Attendees Are Saying

"This course has challenged me and allowed me to learn and practice on my own. I really liked the added vocabulary, resume building in Spanish, and how to construct an email in Spanish."
Thomas Diedrick
"I love learning actual applicable knowledge that I can use for my job - how to email, practicing usted/ustedes, formal words. The instructor was always helpful. I loved the content of the course."
Erika Woodruff
"I appreciated the emphasis on learning vocabulary commonly used in a professional setting, as well as understanding the common practices and culture of working in Spanish-speaking countries. The homework and lessons were very useful and can easily be applied to real-life situations."
Kevin Tully
"I learned all I needed to effectively communicate in Spanish in a business setting."
Omar Hernandez
"I loved that this course taught me the information I otherwise would not have known about doing business in Spanish-speaking countries."
Lia Anastasia Kopar