Psychology with Medical Interpreter Concentration

  • Credits: 120
  • Degree:
    Bachelor of Arts

Program Description

The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology is set within a broad-based liberal arts framework that has a strong interdisciplinary and humanistic foundation. The curriculum is a solid preparation for professional application in clinical, educational and human services.

Students learn about anatomy, diagnoses, lab tests, prescription medicines, and medical treatments. They learn about the cultural beliefs and values of all parties and their role as interpreter, the history of medicine in the U.S., and medical insurance. They learn about the legislation that has mandated interpreter services in medical/health settings.Students practice ethical decision making, patient/client advocacy, and conflict mediation in preparation for an internship under the supervision of a professional interpreter/mentor.Some students and their families have experienced difficulties getting the medical care they need in the U.S., due to language barriers. Some have had medical education or related work experience in their home countries. They all want to help people get the medical care they need, who have difficulty communicating with English-speaking medical professionals.

Degree Credit Option

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program may take medical interpreting courses with the understanding that these courses are part of their degree program and will be charged the bachelor’s degree tuition. Students who do not complete the bachelor’s degree will be held responsible for the bachelor’s degree tuition costs of all courses taken, in accordance with federal financial aid guidelines.

Learning Outcomes

The psychology major prepares students for life-long learning, critical thinking and effective action in the field and helps them develop a wide range of career options and skills that emerge from a broad and comprehensive grounding in psychology as the science of human behavior. An important feature of the program is personal reflection and application of new psychological knowledge and insights to new contexts. Given the scope, intensity and rapidity of social, cultural and technological changes in our world, the need to increase our understanding of the widest possible range of human experience and behavior has never been greater or more critical.

Specific learning outcomes of the Psychology degree with the Medical Interpreter concentration include:

  • Fundamental understanding of the hisotrical development and methodologies of psychology
  • Understanding and basic knowledge of major psychological theories, concepts and processes
  • Understanding learning theory and cognition, personality, motivation and group theories
  • Understand a variety of perspectives regarding mental health, psychopathology, maladaptive behaviors and psychotherapy
  • Understand the roles of cultural, social, and historical forces in shaping behavior

Students will learn how to meet the communication needs of patients/clients and providers. They will:

    •    Become fluent in the bilingual terminology of human anatomy and the medical/health field.
    •    Increase their fluency in English.
    •    Develop cross-cultural communication and interpreting skills.
    •    Provide effective interpretation in medical/health settings.

Careers and Further Study

Our graduates are well positioned to enter graduate studies in psychology, counseling, social work and related fields. They get jobs as medical interpreters in hospitals, clinics, medical practices, and interpreter agencies. For some, this is their career goal. For others, interpreting is a good transition into other medical careers. They may become more familiar with the American medical community and network within it, improve their English, and get further medical education and credentials.

Program Chair

Michael Siegell


General Education - required courses

WRT101-102 and MAT101-102 may by waived if equivalent courses have been accepted in transfer. Credits will be replaced with open electives. WRT201 required if both WRT101-102 are waived; not required for students completing WRT101-102 at Cambridge. WRT090 and MAT100 required if assessment indicates need.

Principles and Processes of Adult Learning
LRN 175 3 credit(s)
Students explore theories of adult learning. They clarify the fit between their academic program and their learning and career needs, and see how their prior learning fits in. They assess their academic skills of critical thinking, mathematics, writing, and computer literacy. Students become independent learners who can effectively manage the structures, processes and expectations of undergraduate education.
College Writing I
WRT 101 3 credit(s)
Through challenging readings, class discussion, small group col­laboration, and different forms of writing, students learn the skills and process of “thinking on paper.” They learn to construct an argument or discussion that supports a clear thesis and present it effectively in a well-organized essay that observes the conventions of written English. They write academic papers that analyze and synthesize the issues suggested in two or more readings. Critical reading, critical thinking, research skills, and forms of documentation are also introduced.
Foundations of Critical Thinking
CTH 225 3 credit(s)
We learn to engage in reasoned thinking. We learn to formulate hypotheses; conceive and state definitions, and understand logical consistency and inconsistency. We explore the differences between claims of fact, value, and policy; what constitutes credible evidence; the nature of assumptions. We learn what constitutes a persuasive argument as opposed to an emotive and propagandistic one, and critically examine them. Students learn to present clear, well thought out critical arguments in writing and oral presentations. We look at the relationships among thinking, writing, speaking and listening, laying a strong foundation for improving our capacity to write, speak, and listen well.
College Mathematics I
MAT 101 3 credit(s)
Prerequisite: MAT100 If assessment indicates need. This course introduces students to the value of mathematics for students’ career and educational goals. Students will acquire mathematical study skills, gain strategies for problem solving, and develop a sound foundation for future mathematics coursework. The course is structured towards engaging students in active, applied, and real-life learning in order to facilitate mathematical problem solving and conceptual understanding.
Introduction to Computer Applications
CMP 130 3 credit(s)
Assessment available. This course provides a hands-on introduction to the personal computer, Windows, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation software, the Internet, and an overview of Word, Excel and Power-Point uses. Students begin with the basics of each application and progress through intermediate level.
College Writing II
WRT 102 3 credit(s)
WRT102 acquaints students with the academic research paper as both process and product. The course begins with an intensive review of the strategies and techniques for writing an academic essay that are covered in WRT101 and then moves to selecting and narrowing a topic, preliminary research, and establishing a focus for a 12-15 page argument research paper. The final paper includes an abstract, an introduction, discussion, conclusion, and references. Students learn how to write an annotated bibliography and use APA documentation for in-text citations and references.
College Mathematics II
MAT 102 3 credit(s)
Prerequisite: MAT101 If assessment indicates need. Challenge exam available. This course develops students’ mathematical thinking and problem solving around issues of both mathematical content and process. Students will acquire a conceptual and practical understanding of and familiarity with numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and basic data analysis and probability. The course focuses on supporting students’ understanding of problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representations. A key feature of the course is active student involvement to support communicating mathematics in everyday and academic contexts.
General Education - distribution requirements

Arts & Humanities - 6 credits

Natural & Physical Sciences - 6 credits

Social Sciences - 6 credits

Open Electives

Choose electives and/or concentrations available at your location to support your academic interests and professional goals. (Course prerequisites must also be met.)

Psychology Major

In addition to the courses below, choose 15 credits of psychology electives.

Formative Ideas in Psychology
PSY 120 3 credit(s)
The CLEP exam in Introductory Psychology is accepted as equivalent. The field of psychology is introduced and the historical development of psychology as an academic discipline and as a professional career are surveyed. The major fields of psychology are explored and applied to understanding human beings as individuals, and as members of groups, and communities. The major methods of psychological research are introduced, including data collection and analysis.
Groups and Social Psychology
PSY 130 3 credit(s)
The nature and quality of individual experience can only be fully understood when simultaneously observed in its social context. This course introduces the essential sociological perspective that grows out of the psychological study of individuals and their experiences of groups, group behavior, and group membership. This perspective becomes an essential component of psychological understanding, especially as it relates to education, growth, and development. Students gain conceptual and practical knowledge of the ways groups form and develop, how they function and vie with each other, and the multi-dimensional influences groups have upon our lives.
Developmental Psychology
PSY 210 3 credit(s)
The CLEP exam in Human Growth and Development is accepted as equivalent. This course helps students understand the ways in which people from various cultures and countries develop and change over their lifetimes. Students focus on particular topics such as cognition, social development, or identity, and follow the topic across the lifespan. In this way, we get away from a “stage theory” approach and focus instead on the variety of ways that people live out developmental scripts. Students are introduced to terms and concepts which are basic to a cross-cultural view of development, such as developmental orientation, cross-cultural “perspective,” and a systems approach. These concepts are applied to each topic area, so that students learn, for example, how cognitive development is affected by living in different cultures and how one’s identity is influenced by the various systems within which we live. In addition to reviewing readings and discussion, each class features a group exercise to help students understand and apply information and concepts.
Psychology of Learning
PSY 310 3 credit(s)
The conditions of learning are explored, from the prenatal through adolescence and early adulthood, emphasizing cognitive and emo­tional development. Current views of behavioral change and the learn­ing process are introduced. The theoretical models of Piaget, Pavlov, and Erickson are covered. Students formulate original ideas and incorporate established theories to develop a better understanding of concepts and assist with transferring theory into practice. Topics include the nature-nurture controversy, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, effects of prenatal development on learning, cultural and environmental effects of development, and multicultural awareness.
Research in Psychology
PSY 315 3 credit(s)
Strongly recommended: at least two psychology courses including PSY120 or permission of instructor. This course introduces students to the major research findings that have had significant influence on the development of psychology as the science of human behavior throughout the twentieth century. Students will learn about the history and philosophy of specific research topics, research questions and methodologies and how they have affected the scope and direction of psychological knowledge and the practice of psychology as a profession. Particular attention is paid to the impact of culture and epistemological models implicit in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and how they have influenced the direction of research in the field of psychology.
Theories of Personality
PSY 325 3 credit(s)
Students are introduced to conceptual models which serve as a basis for understanding personality development and working in the helping fields. the major dimensions of personality development are presented: biological, psychological, cultural, and social-structural. In each instance, case examples are discussed to illustrate theory. Illness and health models of helping are presented and compared, with particular emphasis on the public health, or prevention model. students create a mini-prevention program, as either an individual or group project.
Themes in Adult Development
PSY 402 3 credit(s)
This course explores the development of emotional maturity, using concepts drawn from biological psychology, psychoanalytical theory, and cognitive-behavioral theory. The class identifies biological underpinnings of emotional maturity and focuses on early development, roadblocks, and unconscious pressures that contribute to the development of, resistance to, or retardation of emotional intelligence. Small groups study emotional maturity in the context of counseling, teaching, or the workplace.
Perspectives in Psychopathology
PSY 412 3 credit(s)
This course surveys the history of attempts to categorize “deviance,” introduces the current model which emphasizes pathology, and discusses selected syndromes (e.g. schizophrenia, depression). We also look at the mental health practices and social service systems for adults and children that have historically resulted from diverse concepts of “abnormal” behavior. Students explore the stress, coping, and resiliency model for viewing human behavior. This paradigm looks at the whole person, with both strengths and deficits, in an environment with factors that foster or debilitate resiliency. Students use this holistic model to assess individual case studies and develop strengths-focused intervention strategies. They grapple with the complexity of individual lives and the mysterious human psyche, and actual cases.
Psychology Capstone
PSY 490 3 credit(s)
Prerequisites: 90 credits minimum, including WRT101 and WRT102. The Capstone is a comprehensive research project which is the culminating academic activity that helps to synthesize students’ learning in the undergraduate psychology program. It is an opportunity to explore a topic of personal or professional interest in psychology and to create an original project or piece of research that contributes to the field. The Capstone is 25-30 pages in length and follows a research paper format appropriate to the field of study. Students work together in class and meet or communicate individually with the instructor as needed. Those who take an additional term to complete the Capstone must register for PSY491 and pass before graduating.
Medical Interpreter Concentration - For Degree Credit
Medical Interpreter Anatomy and Pathophysiology
INT 100 3 credit(s)
(Formerly SCI100) This course surveys the human body in health and disease in order to expose students who plan to work in health care to the major systems of the body, common diseases, diagnostic tests, pharmaceuticals and treatment options. Students learn how to define complex medical terms, concepts and abbreviations, and apply this knowledge according to their area of interest.
The Role of the Interpreter
INT 415 3 credit(s)
(Formerly SOC415) This course focuses on the history of health care and social work, various cultures within our society, and the role of medical interpreters in the United States. Issues about advocacy that often impinge upon the interpreter-client relationship are examined. Students learn about confidentiality, patient rights, ethical and legal issues, as well as laws governing federal and state human-service agencies.
Interpreting Skills I Multilingual
INT 352 3 credit(s)
(Formerly COM352) Multilingual. Prerequisite: proficiency in other languages. Students already fluent in the language will learn the theoretical basis of interpretation and translation, and applied interpreting skills and techniques for medical or human service settings. Emphasis is placed on bilingual vocabulary and phraseology, and practice of interpreting skills through role play.
Interpreting Skills II Multilingual
INT 355 3 credit(s)
(Formerly COM355.) Prerequisites: Interpreting Skills I, LLIC010/INT100 . Students integrate and apply the interpretation and translation theory learned in Skills I through extensive practice of simulations, predominantly in the consecutive mode. Students learn self-monitoring and coping strategies. They continue to develop bilingual medical and human service vocabulary and phraseology as well as explore the challenges of simultaneous interpretation.
Cross Cultural Communications
INT 412 3 credit(s)
(Formerly SOC-412) This course provides the participants with the opportunity to identify cross-cultural issues and their impact on the medical interpretation encounter. Students will analyze concepts such as communication, culture, cultural identity, non-verbal communication and cultural context related to interpretation. Readings of selected short stories that illustrate cross-cultural concepts will provide the basis for cultural contextual analysis.
Interpreter Internship
INT 300 3 credit(s)
Prerequisites: LLIC010/INT100, LLIC011/INT415, and Interpreting Skills I. Students strengthen and refine their interpreting skills at a local internship site. They are evaluated for ability to work with providers and clients and to demonstrate understanding of service protocols in their field. In addition to completing the internship in the field, students also participate in debriefing seminars at the college to share and reflect on the meaning of the internship experience.
Mental Health Interpreter Courses

Optional additional courses (optional concentration electives)

Prerequisite: Completion of medical interpreter courses above or professional employment as an interpreter. These are advanced courses in which students become familiar with the DSM, mental health diagnoses and treatment options, medications, and appropriate communication with mental health patients.

Mental Health Interpreting Skills I
INT 356 3 credit(s)
Students learn how to meet the needs of both patients and provid­ers by becoming fluent in English, mental health vocabulary and one other language. Students will become familiar with the DSM, frequent and less common mental health diagnoses and treatment options and appropriate modes of communication for the mental health patient. Both consecutive and simultaneous modes of interpretation will be considered.
Mental Health Interpreting Skill II
INT 357 3 credit(s)
(Formerly COM357) Prerequisite: LLIC020/INT356. In a continuation of Mental Health Interpreting Skills I, students complete their study of the DSM, increase their knowledge of mental health terminology and experience advanced aspects of mental heath interpreting. The student will learn how to interpret at various assessments of functioning and medication evaluations while providing cultural mediation and patient advocacy as necessary. Special considerations in mental health interpreting are considered such as working with delusional patients, crisis services, safety issues, and managing personal feelings. Role plays of increasing challenge will be performed using both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting.

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor

Adjunct Instructor



  • Admission Test:

    Passing grade on TOEFL (English language proficiency test) is required for international students.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students)

General Requirements

Official Transcript: High school or GED
One Completed Recommendation Form
Personal Statement

Learn more about General Requirements 

State Requirements

College students are required to comply with state laws regarding individual health insurance and immunization. Compliance requirements currently exist for students in Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee. Learn more

International Students – Additional Requirements

International Students will need to complete supplemental documentation when applying. International transcripts must also be translated prior to submission in order to be evaluated for applicability. Learn more about international student requirements.

Transfer Credit Request Form

Only needed if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer credit. Learn more about transferring credits.


  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students)
  • Graduation Fee:
    $110 (charged in last term)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $1,497 (Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.)

Note: Rates are as of September 2013, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

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