International migration is a burgeoning field in sociology, and the UCI’s immigration program in sociology ranks among the best in the world. Renowned faculty members work with graduate students on a variety of funded projects, focusing in particular on how immigrants are incorporated into the United States. Center for Research on International Migration.  Through weekly brown-bag seminars on immigration, population, inequality, and other topics, faculty and students throughout the social sciences share their research. Research is wide-ranging, multi-method, and interdisciplinary. Among the projects are studies of:  

  • Intergenerational mobility in metropolitan Los Angeles. This mixed-methods project involves a large-scale survey, in-depth oral histories, and targeted ethnographies. The study examines how the adult offspring of immigrants are faring in terms of education, jobs, living arrangements, ethnic identity, political participation and a host of other indicators of social and economic mobility.
  • Methods of collecting and reporting data on the unauthorized population.
  • Racial and ethnic diversity, intermarriage, and multiracial identification, based on interviews with multiracial families and census data.
  • Ethnic and generational differences in college attainment.
  • Naturalization and immigrant public assistance.  
  • Ethnic economies.
  • The children of immigrants. This longitudinal survey has followed respondents through early adulthood.



Stanley R. Bailey
Latin America, race and ethnicity in Brazil and the United States, religion, U.S.-Mexico border 

Frank D. Bean
demography, welfare use, racial and ethnic identity, fertility, unauthorized population.

Susan K. Brown*
spatial and socioeconomic incorporation, education, urban sociology, immigrants’ social networks

Cynthia Feliciano
education, race and ethnicity, the 2nd generation, Latino studies

Jennifer Lee
race and ethnicity, intergroup relations, Asian-American studies

John Liu
race and ethnicity, social theory

Rocio Rosales
Ethnic economies, economic mobility, the effects of legal status

Rubén G. Rumbaut
the “1.5” generation, comparative racial and ethnic relations, structural inequality, identity, health and mental health

* Cluster coordinator


To take the field exam in immigration, students must take three of the courses offered in migration.  These courses may include:

  • Immigrant America (Rumbaut).  Focuses on why international migration occurs, the contexts of reception at the destination, the development of ethnic identity and historical immigration policy in the U.S.
  • Immigrant Incorporation (Bean/Brown)  Examines theories of immigrant group incorporation in the U.S., the meaning of citizenship and current migration policy.
  • Comparative International Migration or Immigration and Globalization (Liu).  Examine international patterns of migration.
  • Immigration and the New Second Generation (Lee/Feliciano).  Focuses on case studies of the sociocultural and economic incorporation of immigrants and the new second generation.
  • Race/Ethnicity and Immigration (Lee). Emphasizes the intersection of race/ethnicity, class, and immigration and they affect opportunity structures and life chances. 
  • Mexican Migration and U.S. Policy (Bean).  Examines the historical context of migration from Mexico to the United States and its implications.
  • Community and Immigration (Brown).  Discusses the meaning of community in urban sociology, the role of ethnic enclaves and residential integration of immigrants and their descendants.
  • Ethnic America (Rumbaut). Examines theories of ethnicity, and the permanently unfinished character of American ethnicity, in historical and contemporary contexts. 
  • Immigration and Ethnic Economies (Rosales). Examines the importance of ethnic economies to immigrant mobility.
  • Immigration, Race, and the American Dream (Lee).  Examines the intersection of immigration, race/ethnicity and class through such topics as success, wealth, home ownership, entrepreneurship, the new racial order, culture, and group boundaries.

In addition, we recommend that majors take at least one class in a related area, such as race/ethnicity or population. 

Students wishing to meet the requirements of a second field exam with immigration must submit substantial papers on discrete topics from three courses on immigration or related fields (as approved by the cluster coordinator).

Immigration courses scheduled for 2014-2015:


  • SOC 239- Immigration, Race, and the American Dream (Lee)
  • SOC 269- Immigration and Ethnic Economies (Rosales)


  • SOC 239- Mexican Migration and U.S. Policy (Bean)
  • SOC 264- Immigrant America (Rumbaut)


  • SOC 234- Ethnic America (Rumbaut)
  • SOC 239- Race, Immigration, and Culture (Lee)





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