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Department of Health Sciences, Nursing and Public Health

Saint Louis University is committed to providing academic programs and extracurricular activities that will help future health care professionals enter their careers with a global perspective.

Health sciences at SLU-Madrid


SLU-Madrid's programs in health sciences are recognized for their excellence across the United States and around the world. They've been honored by the Heiskell Award Special Recognition for Internationalizing and Globalizing the Professions, an award created by the Institute of International Education to acknowledge the most outstanding initiatives conducted in international higher education.

Because of its location, SLU-Madrid provides health science students with the opportunity to gain knowledge in the area of global health care. In addition, students have the opportunity to learn and practice Spanish, a language increasingly in demand in health professions in the United States and elsewhere.

Degree Programs


Athletic Training

2 years in Madrid + 3 years in St. Louis

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize activity of athletes, patients and clients. Athletic training practice includes injury prevention, injury assessment, immediate management of athletic injury, rehabilitation, sport specific conditioning, administrative duties and professional development.

Our athletic training program provides you with the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a Master of Athletic Training degree through two years of study at SLU-Madrid, followed by three years of study at the St. Louis campus.

SLU-Madrid's AT students have access to all of the opportunities current students have available at the St. Louis campus of Saint Louis University. The athletic training programs are affiliated with 10 colleges and 20 high schools in the St. Louis area as clinical sites. SLU’s athletic training program also has affiliations with the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as numerous medical clinics.

The Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training is located on the Medical Center Campus at Saint Louis University in the Doisy College of Health Sciences, where over 1500 students study in 17 health science programs. The Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training program is also closely affiliated with SLU's School of Medicine and Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing.

For more information about the Athletic Training Program, please email your query to Tania de la Fuente, of the Division of Sciences and Engineering, at

Health Care Ethics

SLU's Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics is committed to excellence in teaching, service and research in bioethics. The Center for Health Care Ethics offers a three-week summer intensive course in Madrid, Spain.

Open to students in all majors, this three-credit hour course "Bioethics and Human Nature Through Film" uses popular films to explore the social and cultural dynamics that influence issues in bioethics in Spain and the United States.

Learn more about the center's study abroad options

Health Sciences

2 years in Madrid + 2 years in St. Louis

Offered through the Doisy College of Health Sciences, SLU's undergraduate degree in health sciences is a path for students interested in entering a non-clinical, health-related field. It also offers a solid, scientific education for students pursuing a pre-professional track such as pre-medicine, pre-occupational therapy and pre-physician assistant who wish to go on to earn an advanced degree.

You will complete your first and second-year coursework at SLU-Madrid before transferring to the St. Louis campus for your third-year and fourth-year coursework. Our core curriculum includes study of the U.S. health care system, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, human development and neuroscience. You’ll also become familiar with electronic health systems, consumer health care issues and legal aspects of health care. This flexible degree program allows for diverse areas of concentration, so you will be able to focus on those areas of health science that most interest you.

Students may apply to the health sciences pre-med track, which, while providing a degree in health sciences, also allows students to complete courses required for application to medical schools. It’s important to note that acceptance into the health sciences program does not guarantee admission into medical school or other advanced-degree programs upon graduation. Students will have to complete a separate application process at each institution they wish to attend.

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences prepares you for a variety of non-clinical employment opportunities within health care. Career options for graduates with an undergraduate degree in health sciences include health care coordinator, case manager, health services manager, privacy officer, corporate wellness administrator, medico legal death investigator, patient advocate/patient navigator and health literacy educator.


2 years in Madrid + 2 years in St. Louis

Registered nurses make up the largest health care occupation in the world, with 2.6 million jobs in the United States alone. Nurses play an active role in directing and establishing medical care plans for their patients, and teach patients and their families how to manage illness or injury. Baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses have great advancement opportunities for management-level positions, as well as advanced practice degrees.

SLU-Madrid offers you a great opportunity to complete the first two years of your nursing degree in Spain. For your final two years of study, you’ll transfer to the campus in St. Louis.

The baccalaureate nursing program is partnered in Spain with a local health care provider, Sanitas. One of Spain's leading private health care companies, Sanitas is also a member of British United Provident Association Group, the number one private health care company in the United Kingdom. During the two years of study on the SLU-Madrid campus, you will conduct your clinical experiences at Sanitas facilities in Madrid. Later, during the last two years of study on the St. Louis campus, you will conduct your clinical experiences at Saint Louis University Hospital, which is regarded as one of the foremost medical establishments in the United States.

SLU-Madrid's nursing with international preparation program has obtained the 2013 Heiskell Award Special Recognition for Internationalizing and Globalizing the Professions. The award was created by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to promote and honor the most outstanding initiatives conducted in international higher education by U.S. universities and colleges.

Admissions requirements:

Freshman (first year)

  • High school diploma or acceptable score on the General Educational Development Test (GED). An official high school transcript must be submitted.
  • High school GPA of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • SAT score of 1160 or higher.
  • Transfer students must have a GPA of 3.4 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • High school or college entry-level chemistry and biology courses.
  • ACT composite score of 24, with all sub-scores of 22 or higher.
  • Extracurricular activities are also taken into consideration in admission decisions.

External Transfer

  • Transfer GPA of 3.4 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Successful completion of Human Anatomy and Human Physiology OR Human Anatomy & Physiology 1 and Human Anatomy & Physiology 2, Chemistry, and Lifespan Human Growth and Development is recommended.
  • Extracurricular activities are also taken into consideration in admission decisions. 
Pre-Med Track

2 years in Madrid + 2 years in St. Louis

The health science department has a pre-med track embedded in the health science coursework. To complete the health science program with the pre-med concentration in four years, students will need to transfer to St Louis at the end of the second year. 

Students not applying to SLU's School of Medicine must contact other medical schools for admission information. Completion of the pre-med prerequisite coursework does not guarantee entry into a medical school in the United States unless you have successfully completed the selection process of that medical school.

Health professions schools require applicants to have completed the pre-med curriculum prior to application. The Saint Louis University pre-med requirements meets the entrance criteria for most of these schools in the United States. Courses required for admission to medical, dental, optometry, podiatry and veterinary schools, with few exceptions, include:

  • Principles of Biology I and II (lectures and laboratory)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Cell Structure and Function
  • Introduction to Chemistry I and II (lectures and laboratory)
  • Principles of Organic Chemistry I and II (lectures and laboratory)
  • Physics I and II (lectures and laboratory)
  • Calculus I
  • Statistics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

If you expect to complete a degree in four years and go directly into medical school, you must complete the curriculum by the end of your third year of college. These courses serve as a common denominator among applicants and are also the foundation upon which you will build after arriving at a professional school.

This curriculum given should be considered the minimum science preparation for a health professions school. You should strive to take additional upper-division biology and chemistry courses to strengthen your background in the sciences, especially if your major is in the humanities or social sciences. Additional courses to consider are cellular biochemistry and molecular biology, cellular structure and function, quantitative analysis, general physiology, physical chemistry, embryology and comparative anatomy.  

Medical and other health professions schools value broad general training at the undergraduate level. The Arts and Sciences Core at SLU-Madrid includes courses that satisfy non-science requirements, such as general psychology, composition and other courses which develop communication skills. You should take more than the minimum core requirements in humanities and social sciences.

Public Health

2 years in Madrid + 2 years in St. Louis

Public health is the science of improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. These communities can range from small villages to entire countries.

Public health professionals promote disease prevention through educational programs, policies, services and research, as well as regulating health systems and health professions. This contrasts with clinical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured.

Our curriculum focuses on the vast challenges of modern health care: health disparities, lack of preventive services and multifaceted causes of disease. It recognizes the multidisciplinary facet of health care by combining a traditional liberal arts education with the core disciplines of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral science, health education and environmental health.

You will begin your undergraduate studies at the SLU-Madrid campus, where you will complete your first- and second-year coursework. You will then transfer to the St. Louis campus for your third- and fourth-year coursework.

You may apply to the accelerated 4+1 program in St. Louis in your fifth semester of collegiate study (fall of junior year). The program allows students to complete the Master of Public Health with one additional year of study after their bachelor's degree.

Our program in public health, accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, prepares students to enter the workforce or to pursue graduate education in fields such as health administration, public health, medicine, law and more.

Saint Louis University is the only Jesuit (and the only Catholic) college for public health and social justice in the United States. Dedicated to the Jesuit mission, the public health program fosters leaders who will immediately impact their community both locally and globally.

Summer Immersion in Madrid - Nursing

SLU-Madrid Summer Immersion Program in nursing offers a competitive opportunity to junior nursing students to complete clinical rotations in Madrid, Spain for one month. Students work side by side with a Spanish nursing mentor on the specialty of their preference and expand their nursing knowledge in the Spanish health care system in an intensive learning environment. In addition, you will refine your Spanish communication skills while enhancing your skills in the areas of critical thinking, decision-making, delegation, and team work.

Summer Shadowing in Madrid - Premed

Pre-medical students are encouraged to gain clinical experience during their undergraduate years of study in preparation for application to medical school.

The physician shadowing program hosted by SLU-Madrid will provide you with an intensive learning experience in a clinical setting under the guidance of a Spanish doctor employed in a health care center or hospital in Madrid.

In addition, you will refine your Spanish communication skills while strengthening your candidacy for medical school.