Francisco Plata, Chair

The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures prepares students to participate in today’s global society. Knowledge of other languages and cultures is an invaluable asset for any career path not to mention a rewarding learning experience. We offer a B.A. degree in Spanish and three minors: a minor in languages and cultures, a minor in Spanish, and a minor in Spanish/Latino culture for the health professions.

The flexibility of our programs allows students to relate their linguistic proficiency and cross-cultural understanding within the career of their choice in the natural and social sciences, humanities, nursing business, education and creative arts. Language courses develop communication skills, critical thinking, analytical capabilities, and intercultural awareness applicable to any realm of study and professional field.

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 University, 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 -
  • 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 exam score of 4, 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 -
  • AP or IB (higher level) exam score of 5, CLEP score of 50+, or college credit earned for language at the 211 level

Placement at the 300 Level

  • Contact the department chair for appropriate placement advice

B.A. Language Proficiency Requirement

At Fisher, we deeply value languages as part of a liberal arts education. All students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree at St. John Fisher University need to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English at a level that is equivalent to one academic year of college-level language instruction (the Fisher equivalent of the 112 level). Students may fulfill this requirement in several ways. Consult the B.A. Language Proficiency Requirement section for further information. Those who wish to take the Fisher language placement/proficiency exam should consult the Language Placement/Proficiency Exam page for details.

Study Abroad

Majors and minors are strongly encouraged to complete at least one semester abroad as a way to immerse themselves in the language and culture. Information on the study abroad program is available from the director of study abroad.

Modern Languages and Cultures

For More Information

(585) 385-8064