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Education and Migration 

Migration from Mexico to the U.S. and return migration back to Mexico has created a sizeable cohort of students whose education takes place on both sides of the border.

These students are especially well-suited to participate in the binational economy because of their cross-border cultural fluency, and supporting their educational success should be a major regional workforce development priority. However, the flow of young people back and forth across the border can derail the educational trajectories of individual students who are not able to adapt to the pressures caused by migration.

Major research has been conducted as part of UC San Diego’s Mexico Migration Field Research Project (MMFRP).


This three part course offers students unique, hands-on field research experience focused on international migration. It has been offered at UC San Diego since 2004 and is based at USMEX in collaboration with the Division of Global Public Health and the Latin American Studies Program.

Students participating in the course have the opportunity to work as part of an interdisciplinary, multinational research team of undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and Mexico. Through coursework and time in the field, students develop skills to collect and analyze both qualitative and quantitative data using established methods from the social and behavioral sciences.

The 2016–17 course cycle is now closed. Check back in late Spring 2017 for more information. 

Research Findings

Findings from a 2015-16 survey of a representative sample of 7,000 9th and 10th graders at 65 schools in San Diego and Tijuana offered insight into the educational trajectories and professional aspirations of youth in the region. It helped to informing policy solutions for policymakers in California and Baja California to respond to the specific needs of the shared student population.

This survey was undertaken in collaboration with the UCLA Civil Rights Project, the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF), UC San Diego’s Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFIT) and the Faculty of Economics & International Relations (FEYRI) at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) in Tijuana. All organizations worked together with USMEX as equal partners on the teaching component of MMFRP, as well as the research design, survey development, data collection and outreach to school districts. This work was made possible by the generous support of the UC Mexico Initiative and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS).

Download the 2016 report in English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF)

News and Multimedia

Educational Needs of ‘Students We Share’ Go Unmet
Sept. 12, 2016 | By Anthony King, UC San Diego News
University of California Mexico Initiative symposium examines educational experiences of students who attend school on both sides of the border, seeks solutions to improve learning opportunities

USMEX Releases Preliminary Findings of Binational Education Study
May 19, 2016 | By Anthony King, UC San Diego News
UC San Diego, Tijuana researchers survey largest sample of students in cross-border region to date

Training a new generation of migration researchers close to home
Feb. 26, 2016 | By Sarah Pfledderer, GPS News
Under guidance from USMEX, the Mexican Migration Field Research Program is examining the impact of migration on the education of youth in San Diego and Tijuana