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Field of Study: Social Sciences

This distinctive multi-site leadership program with a focus on Latino and binational issues provides a variety of professional training and experience. You’ll begin with coursework at Mexico City’s top university then move on to a quarter or semester of political science coursework and an internship in Sacramento, California’s capital city.

Unique study opportunities

  • Experiential internship in a policy issue of your choice (immigration, law, environment, education, health, civil rights, US-Mexico relations, etc.) to build a better California.
  • Being in classes with Mexican students at UNAM, you’ll be fully immersed in your academic subject and the intellectual culture of the country.
  • California policy seminar with guest lectures from players in state politics and government.
  • Leadership and professional skills training in two exciting capital cities.


Language of Instruction: English, Spanish

Spanish Language Study: Required

While in Mexico, your instruction will be mostly in Spanish with the exception of an online course in English. Instruction in Sacramento is in English.​ To prepare you to take university coursework taught entirely in Spanish, the program begins with a five-week Spanish intensive language program (ILP). The ILP also introduces the city and Mexico's recent political history. After the ILP, you may continue learning Spanish during the term at UNAM, though it is not required.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program, take a full-time course of study.

During the fall term:

  • ILP: Two courses for a total of 3–8.5 quarter/2–5.7 semester units. Both ILP courses must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Fall: The UC online leadership course plus three to four UNAM courses for a total of 18 quarter/12 semester UC units.
  • The UC online courses may be taken for pass/no pass. Additionally, you may select one regular university course for pass/no pass.

Second-term requirements differ depending on whether your UC campus is on a quarter or semester system:

  • Winter Quarter (most UC campuses): Two courses for a total of 14 UC quarter units. ​
  • Spring Semester (UCB or UCM): Four courses for a total of 20 quarter/13.3 semester units.

Current Program Courses

At the National Autonomous University of Mexico

During your time in Mexico, classes include:

  • Introduction to Leadership Development course, 4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units
  • Regular university courses in public administration studies, political science, international relations, sociology, or social work

During the first few weeks of the program, you will meet in-person with the Introduction to Leadership Development course instructor and your fellow program participants. For the remainder of the course, class meetings will be held online. This course is designed not only to introduce the theoretical literature on leadership studies, but also to provide a bridge between your Mexico and Sacramento experiences.

At UC Sacramento Center

In Sacramento, classes include:

  • Political Science Internship, 10 quarter UC units
  • California Policy Seminar, 4 quarter UC units

Internships constitute a key part of the learning experience. Placement will be tailored to your background, skills, and career goals. To provide the final experience in this multi-site program, the internship placement should be in an organization that has ties to or works directly with binational or Latino issues in California.

UC Berkeley and UC Merced students take additional courses to receive a semester's worth of units:

  • Political Science 196A, 4 UC quarter units: an independent study course in political science
  • Political Science 193, 2 UC quarter units: a supervised preparation of an extensive paper relating your internship and experiences in Mexico to concepts, literature, and theory of political science

Catalogs and resources

  • UNAM academic offerings by area and major: Each of the four areas listed (Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities & Arts) expand to list the different carreras offered. To see the study plans (Planes de estudio), follow the link provided, but note that UCEAP participants should only select from fields offered at a campus Facultad and not center or extension site (listed as FES).
  • UNAM facultades, Escuelas y Centros (Faculties and Schools): Direct links to the UNAM Facultades. Note that some faculties are located outside of the Ciudad Universitaria (UNAM main campus).
  • UNAM Oferta Académica: Find information on how courses are distributed among the facultades (Facultades, Escuelas y Centros). You can also search by area of study (Índice Alfabético). Although you must indicate the faculty from which you will choose your classes during the initial application process, you can always apply to and take courses from more than one facultad.
  • UC Center Sacramento course and internship information
  • UCEAP Course Catalog: See a list of courses students have taken on this program. This is not a current representation of course offerings on this program. Reference the above links to review recent course offerings. 
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic culture

The National Autonomous University of Mexico

As in many other countries, students in Mexico choose their major field of study before entering the university and primarily take courses solely related to their major. Therefore, Mexican students at UNAM are often more advanced in their field than UC students when they arrive. The university curriculum is well established for each major in any given facultad, with limited flexibility or course choice for Mexican students. You should understand that course content is based on this cumulative knowledge. Given that each course builds on the previous courses, coursework may be much more theoretically advanced than it is at UC. You may need to do extra background reading to bring yourself to the level of your Mexican counterparts.

Mexican students, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, tend to assume their social responsibilities by being knowledgeable about and vocal in their concern for issues and problems facing society. At times, UNAM can seem highly politicized. UCEAP participants generally have found their Mexican classmates to be stimulating and accessible. They are usually interested in and open to various viewpoints, especially well-argued, thoughtful opinions. It is important that you demonstrate a similar respect for alternative viewpoints.

Classes are normally smaller than those at UC, so there is more teacher-student interaction. There are many top-quality professors at UNAM, and you can take advantage of the opportunities presented in a small class. Mexican faculty members are not expected to maintain regular office hours; therefore, most UC students find it easier to meet with professors before or after class.

Professors often require oral presentations. Outside of science courses, objective tests are rarely given, and in many classes professors tend to assign brief written reports on required readings. The workload is much heavier toward the end of the semester since a majority of the final grade is based on a final paper and/or presentation. The amount of required reading can be heavy for certain courses, but overall it is equivalent to UC classes. Essay exams are also common and involve extensive writing.

UC Sacramento Center

The UC Center Sacramento is the University of California’s teaching, research, and public-service site located one block from the State Capitol Building. Courses at UCCS are specifically designed to offer firsthand knowledge of the political and public policy processes of the state. Your enrollment in the UCCS courses requires that you work through the UC Davis campus system. The UCCS Associate Director, Cindy Simmons, will guide you through this process.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grades for UNAM may be delayed by the host university and are often posted later than grades at a UC campus. Fall grades are usually available by mid-February or early March.

UCCS grades will be forwarded directly to your home campus via UC Davis.