Border Studies in Tucson, Arizona

  • Location: USA - Arizona (Tucson)
  • GPA Requirements: 2.75 GPA
  • Other Requirements: One year of college-level Spanish is recommended (not required) prior to joining the program
  • Program Structure: Structured - not direct enrollment
  • Application Deadline: February 20 for fall programs and September 20 for spring programs
  • Program Term(s): Fall, Spring
  • Official Website: Border Studies in Tucson, Arizona

Program Dates

Spring 2023: January 24 – May 7, 2023

Fall 2023: TBD


The Border Studies Program is centered in rigorous academic work, including classroom study, meaningful community engagement, and personal experiences and reflection. You will participate in two core seminars that explore the topics of settler colonialism, approaches to decoloniality, critical race theory, queer theory, transnational feminisms, women of color and indigenous feminisms, neoliberalism, mass incarceration, environmental justice, food sovereignty, social movements, and abolition.

Based in Tucson, the Border Studies Program is situated in a complex and critical geographic bioregion, offering direct exposure to social, cultural, ecological, and political issues in a local, regional, and international context. Located in a dynamic multinational border region, Tucson’s history of cultural, environmental, and social struggle has shaped the interventions of myriad individuals, organizations, and communities working to protect the unique ecosystem, cultural identities, and lives of peoples who inhabit the arid lands of Sonora, Arizona, and beyond.

The program also includes a travel component, which may take you to central and southern Mexico, El Paso, and throughout the Arizona/Sonora borderlands, where you will learn from community members and organizations as well as engage in service to support grassroots efforts occurring at different sites. Furthermore, you will be immersed in an extended field study placement (internship) with one of many community organizations and schools in the Tucson area. The field studies class, which you will take in conjunction with your internship, will help you to contextualize the social justice issues that community organizations and groups contend with in the borderlands. Lastly, through the Spanish class and associated community engagement, as well as home life with host families in Tucson, you will continue to strengthen your Spanish language knowledge, practice and/or comprehension.


The program curriculum includes four courses that together result in 18 credits:

  1. Movement and Movements: A Political Economy of Migration Seminar (4 credits)
  2. Routes y Raíces: Towards Collective Power (4 credits)
  3. Español in the Borderlands (4 credits)
  4. Borderlands Field Study Practicum (6 credits)


2.75 GPA. Although there is no formal language requirement, one year of college-level Spanish is recommended prior to joining the program.

Housing and Student Life

Students live with homestay families during the Border Studies Program. The homestay placements are typically with immigrant families who predominantly speak Spanish in the household. The homestay is an enriching experience where you and your family members alike learn and grow together. Members of the host families have personal insight into the issues explored in the program and offer you their unique perspectives on life in the borderlands.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your preferences and the program, and we will then match you with your family. Some participants prefer more independence, and others prefer a more family-oriented experience.

The homestay has the potential to be a very important learning experience, and we view your living experience as an essential part of the overall educational program. Many Border Studies students have made long-lasting friendships with their host families over the years.

Fees and Costs

Students pay Allegheny tuition, double room, meals, and an off campus study fee of $300. Allegheny financial aid, except work study/campus employment, is applied to program costs. Tuition includes housing, homestay meals, international travel insurance (CHUBB), and transcript administration fees. Estimated additional costs include:  books and supplies (approx. $200), airfare & local transportation (approx. $600), and personal expenses.

Application Process

Allegheny students must first be approved to study off-campus before applying to their chosen program. Application deadlines are February 20 for fall programs and September 20 for spring programs. Applications will be reviewed immediately following the appropriate semester deadline. For more information about the off campus study application process, please visit: Apply