PSYCH171: Psychological Research on Children of Immigrant Families

This course is an undergraduate lecture series that introduces students to psychological research on children in immigrant families. It covers scientific theories, research methods, and key findings related to the development of children growing up in these family environments.

Author:Qing Zhou, Professor in Psychology
Course Number & Title: PSYCH171: Psychological Research on Children of Immigrant Families
Grant Type: Berkeley Collegium Grant Program

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


PSYCH171: Psychological Research on Children of Immigrant Families

Delivery Format


High Impact Practices (HIPs) Categories 
(Review definitions for each category.)

  • Capstone Courses and Projects

  • Diversity and Global Learning Courses

  • Undergraduate Research

Learning Objectives

  • Gain knowledge on demographic and sociocultural characteristics of major immigrant groups in the U.S.

  • Gain knowledge on theoretical frameworks and psychological constructs capturing unique developmental experiences of children in immigrant families

  • Gain knowledge on ethical issues, research designs, and methods commonly used in research on children of immigrant families

  • Develop skills in conducting literature review, presenting research ideas/findings, and writing literature review papers

Course Expectations

  • Submit weekly discussion questions on readings.

  • Class attendance and participation in group discussions.

  • Give a group presentation on an empirical journal article and lead class discussions.

  • Two written exams.

  • A final literature review paper on a student-selected topic within the research field.

Innovative Teaching Reflection

  • Undergraduate training in scientific theories, research methods, and research practicum experience is typically achieved in separate courses. By integrating these training into one setting, this course exposes students to the “full research cycle” in one specialized research field.

  • Despite the trend that immigrant-origin students now account for 33% of total U.S. college student enrollment, there is a lack of undergraduate-level courses focusing on unique developmental experiences of immigrant children and youth. This course provides opportunities for students to reflect on their personal experiences and make connections between social science research and real-world life experiences.

Assignments Types

Weekly discussion question submission, group oral presentation and leading discussion, written exams (multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions), a literature review paper.

Overview of Grading Criteria

Students receive separate grades for each course assignment/requirement. The individual assignment/exam grades will then be aggregated to generate the student’s total performance grade for the course.

Impact & Feedback

Quotes from students’ course evaluation comments:

  • "The course's biggest strength to me is the contemporary grounding. There is a lot of exciting potential in this class because it's only a recent development in psychology to attempt to study understudied populations like children of immigrant families. I hope this course is implemented into the curriculum because I think this subject matter is an area where the Psychology department is lacking.

  • Helped understanding of research process, especially with vulnerable and minority populations. Very interesting to read studies by the professor who is teaching the class and get to actually discuss what made the process difficult or influenced methodological decisions.

  • The course presents interesting in-depth topics pertaining to immigrant children. It delivers on the promise of building a solid understanding of the process that occur in these communities.

  • [the course] brought awareness to a field of psychology that is incredibly pertinent and will continue to be pertinent in America.

  • It will prepare students to engage more knowledgeably with studies and even develop their own studies.

Applicable Materials

See syllabus document