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International migration studies minor to be offered starting fall 2017

By Xinchen Li

April 30, 2017 11:56 p.m.

Students can now learn about immigrants’ migration across cultural, legal and political borders by taking the new international migration studies minor.

The international migration studies minor, approved in fall 2016 by the UCLA Academic Senate, is recruiting its first cohort for fall 2017.

Students who are interested must apply no later than the spring quarter of their junior year, said Roger Waldinger, a distinguished professor of sociology and chair of the minor. Students who want to enroll in the minor for the next academic year can submit their applications between June 1 and June 15.

Students in the minor are required to take one core course, four elective courses from more than 10 disciplines such as sociology, political science and public policy, and two research seminars, Waldinger said. In the research seminars, students will write theses on international migration.

By writing their theses, students will learn to apply the knowledge they learn from the courses, Waldinger said.

Leisy Abrego, a faculty administrator of the minor and a Chicana/o Studies associate professor, said launching this new minor is especially meaningful right now because there have been legal restrictions and resistance on international migration all over the world.

“Recently we have seen shifts in discourses and policies (regarding international migration) that will have deep impacts on people’s lives,” Abrego said. “It is important to study how immigrants can make their homes here despite all the antagonism.”

Waldinger said an essential component of the international migration studies minor is investigating the general public’s reaction to international migration.

International migration studies involves a study of its causes, policymaking process, social impacts and influence on the individual experiences of immigrants and their descendants, Abrego said.

Hiroshi Motomura, a faculty administrator of the minor and a law professor, said the minor will allow undergraduate students to pursue research projects on immigration laws even though they are not eligible to take courses offered at the UCLA School of Law.

“We don’t want to force students into particular angles,” Motomura said. “So we want to work with every student individually to develop their own approaches to this study.”

Waldinger said it is meaningful to launch this minor at UCLA because Los Angeles is home to a large number of immigrants from all parts of the world.

“Many students have a direct connection to (international migration) either as immigrants themselves or descendants of immigrants,” Waldinger said. “Studying this phenomenon will help them understand their own experience and the experience of their families.”

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