Cultural Competency in Health Care (Graduate Certificate)

Program Availability

Cultural competency defined is a set of behaviors, attitudes and skills that facilitate effective work in cross-cultural situations. The online Graduate Certificate in Cultural Competency in Health Care through Creighton University prepares professionals to work effectively in diverse settings with patients or communities struggling with health.

Health care professionals who can benefit from this program include dentists, nurses, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physician assistants, physicians and physical therapists. Non-clinical professionals such as chaplains, hospital administrators, patient advocates, patient navigators, social workers and others will also find it highly valuable to their work.

Through this graduate certificate program, you will learn the essential knowledge, attitudes and skills associated with cultural competency. You will build an advanced foundation for cultural responsiveness in health care services preparing you to address the challenges of responding to health disparity.

Experienced instructors from a wide range of health care-, leadership-, and conflict resolution-related disciplines will encourage you to rethink traditional notions of cultural competency. The program allows for flexibility to tailor the program according to your interests and professional goals.

Professional organizations including the American Medical Association have formal policy statements and recommendations for cultural competency education, demonstrating the importance of a background in this area.


Upon completion of the program, you will be familiar with a range of health beliefs and behaviors that you may encounter in clinical and community settings. You will have an appreciation of cultural differences and the needs of diverse populations. You will gain the ability to communicate across such differences.

If you are a health care practitioner, upon graduation you will experience greater success in working with diverse patient populations in clinical settings.

If you are a non-clinical professional, you can expect to be more effective as a chaplain, patient advocate, health coach or administrator, to mention just a few professions. You will be able to connect community members with health care services and programs more effectively.


Students who take one course each term (6 credits per semester) can complete the program within one academic year. With the approval of the assigned advisor, students can take more than one course per term and complete the program earlier. They can also take fewer courses and take more time. All courses are online. Review the complete curriculum.

Admissions Requirements

This certificate program is designed for

  • graduate students currently enrolled in a degree program
  • professional students currently enrolled in one of Creighton University’s professional schools (health professions or law), or
  • individuals applying for admission to the Creighton University Graduate School to pursue this certificate in cultural competency.

Current graduate students at Creighton University interested in pursuing this certificate are required to submit a 3-5 page “statement of purpose” and CV directly to the program director of the graduate program in medical anthropology requesting admission to the certificate program. The program director will solicit a letter of recommendation from the student’s current advisor or program director. If the program director is satisfied with the application, the letter of recommendation, and if the student has a GPA of at least 3.5 in the program currently enrolled, the applicant is admitted to this certificate program.

Current professional students at Creighton University follow the same protocol as above.

Individuals who are not yet enrolled in any of Creighton’s graduate or professional programs need to apply for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Cultural Competency in Health Care through the following process.

  1. Complete the Graduate School application form with the $50 application fee.
  2. Submit a current resume.
  3. Submit a statement of purpose: Write in approximately 1,000 words why you would like to enroll in the certificate program, how your previous experience prepares you for the certificate program, and how you would like to use the knowledge and skills gained during the program in your personal and professional life. Also, indicate how you intend to adjust your work and family life in order to take graduate courses.
  4. Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university by the start of the first semester in the program.
  5. Three (3) recommendations by persons familiar with your academic background, achievements and personal qualities.
  6. Have a minimum TOEFL score of 577 (paper-based) or 90 (internet-based), if English is not your first language.
  7. Acknowledge regular access to technology needed to take online courses (as outlined under “Technology Requirements” here). By starting the application process, students are implicitly acknowledging such access.

The Admissions Committee of the Graduate Program in Medical Anthropology will review the application and make the decision.

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