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Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences

Devote the semester to a research experience that will distinguish you from most other undergraduate students. You’ll explore the real Mexico outside the classroom and conduct your own research project on a topic that interests you. Upon return, you’ll have a completed research project which you can list on your résumé, share with professors at UC, and use as a head start on graduate work.

Unique study opportunities

  • Receive research training to help you refine your ideas, design and execute a plan, and present your findings.
  • Learn to design the questions, methods of data collection, and data sources that comprise an effective research project.
  • Work one-on-one with a local mentor with years of experience in their field.


Language of Instruction: Spanish

Spanish Language Study: Required

During the first four weeks of the program, you’ll get an intensive review of Spanish language. This training will help you interact in the local community while conducting your fieldwork.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Four courses for a total of 22.5 quarter/15 semester UC units.
  • You may select one course for pass/no pass credit.
  • Plan to remain close to the research site during fieldwork.

Current Program Courses

You’ll take four courses in this program:

  • Contemporary Mexico listed under History and Political Science, upper division, 4.5 UC quarter units
  • Spanish offered at various levels depending on placement, upper division, 4 UC quarter units
  • Field Research Methods listed under all subject areas, upper division, 5 UC quarter units
  • Special Studies Research listed under all subject areas, upper division, 9 UC quarter units
First Half of Program

During the first six weeks in Mexico City, you will spend a lot of time with the other students, writing and revising the proposal for your project, learning advanced techniques of field research, and becoming familiar with local libraries, archives, and other research centers. These activities are part of the Field Research Methods class. In addition, the Contemporary Mexico class provides familiarity with major themes in Mexican history and scholarship, and you will also have an intense review of Spanish language.

Second Half of Program

For the last six weeks of the program, you’ll head to a field research site in the Yucatán, Oaxaca, Puebla, Chiapas, Querétaro, or Mexico City. The final site choice depends on your research topic, and you may only conduct field research at an established UCEAP site or the surrounding countryside under the supervision of the site mentor. Each mentor has specific areas of expertise.

End of Program

At the end of the program, you present the results of your research in a substantial written paper that is the basis for your grade. You also conduct a presentation for your fellow program participants, instructors, and the visiting professor in Mexico City.

Graduate Coursework

Graduate students are welcome; the program is particularly well suited to MA candidates. If you have very specific research plans, you’ll complete a Graduate Preliminary Inquiry Form (GPIF) to ensure that your needs can be accommodated. In general, the extensive intellectual resources of the program are valuable to any graduate student with research interests in Mexico. Previous graduate participants have reported excellent results.


While independent research is an integral component of this program, other independent study is not available.

Catalogs and resources

Academic culture

The academic culture of field research is exciting and demanding. The more thought you give to your topic before you leave California, the more productive and exciting the first weeks of the program will be. UCEAP recommends that you discuss your topic with a faculty member in your major department before departure, to help narrow your research focus, and consider the ways in which your project fits into your overall academic career. However, your research topic will only be finalized after you have had a chance to meet with the mentors.

Good fieldwork requires self-discipline and an organized, systematic approach. Once you arrive at your research site, you enter into the academic culture of professional scholars. While you will meet weekly with a mentor at your site, you are responsible for organizing your own time.

Do not expect to travel away from the research site for periods of more than a few days during this fieldwork period. Extended or frequent absence from the research site will inevitably have a negative impact on your work and ability to engage closely with the information, materials, and your mentor.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grades for the fall term are typically available a month after the program ends.