Francisco Plata (Modern Languages and Cultures), Program Director


The departments of nursing, modern languages and cultures, and sociology have developed a sequential program to prepare students in the health professions for the realities of the workplace, which include a growing Spanish-speaking population. While the curriculum closely parallels that in the nursing program, it also serves other health-related programs offered by the College, such as biology, chemistry, public health, psychology, and sociology.

The minor (18 credits) includes Spanish language training, Latino cultural practice, specialized health-related vocabulary, public health issues, and a community-engaged health learning experience in a Spanish-speaking facility.


The certificate program (15 credits) targets working individuals who seek employment or are currently employed in a health-care setting. Many area health-care institutions currently offer a tuition assistance program to their employees. Certificate applicants must take the Spanish language courses at Fisher or receive the permission of the program director.

Language Placement and Course Sequencing Guidelines

Proper language placement is crucial to enhance the educational experience, as well as the professional preparedness, of our students. Fisher students are placed in language courses based upon their demonstrated level of proficiency. Students who wish to continue language study are strongly advised to enroll in language courses during their first year at Fisher to avoid problems with retention of foreign language structures. Students who believe themselves to have been misplaced should contact the department chair. Students may also apply to be placed at a more advanced level if they consider themselves capable of higher-level performance.

Please note that placement and transfer credit are not equals (e.g., a student may be placed in a language course at the 112 level, but will only receive credit for the 111 course if the student has earned a grade of "C" or better in a college-level equivalent course and an official college transcript has been sent to St. John Fisher College, or with a qualifying score on a related Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or College Level Exam Program (CLEP) official score report, or other credit-by-examination sources accepted by Fisher. Credit for foreign language courses may also be earned through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Consult the Transfer Credit Policies page for more information.

Language courses must be taken in the appropriate order. Course numbering recognizes the importance of sequencing (111, 112, 211, 212). After successfully completing coursework at one level, a student may not take a lower-level course (e.g., a student who has completed Spanish 112 cannot then register for Spanish 111). Any special cases should be referred to the department chair.

Proficiency Level and Placement Guidelines

Guidelines for language placement are as follows:

  • Students with no previous language study can register for the Elementary I language course of their choice.
  • Students who wish to continue study in a language begun in high school (grades 9-12) may choose to be placed into the appropriate level at Fisher based on one of the following options:
    • Number of years of a language taken in high school (refer to the information below).
    • Fisher language placement/proficiency exam score (see the Language Placement/Proficiency Exam page for details).
    • AP/IB/CLEP examination scores (refer to the information below).

Placement at the 111 Level

  • No previous study of the language - or -
  • Up to 2 years (Level II) of language study in high school (9–12)

 Placement at the 112 Level

  • 3 years (Level III) of language study in high school - or -
  • Qualifying score on Fisher placement/proficiency exam - or -
  • AP score of 4, or college credit earned for language at the 111 level

 Placement at the 211 Level

  • 4 years (Level IV) of language study in high school - or -
  • Qualifying score of Fisher placement/proficiency exam - or -
  • AP or IB (higher level) exam score of 5, CLEP score of 50+, or college credit earned for language at the 112 level

 Placement at the 212 Level

  • 5 or more years of language study at any time in high school - or -
  • Qualifying score on Fisher placement/proficiency exam - or -
  • CLEP score of 63+ or college credit earned for language at the 211 level

 Placement at the 300 Level

  • Contact the department chair for appropriate placement advice


Spanish/Latino Culture for the Health Professions (Minor/Certificate Program)

For More Information

(585) 385-8064