Described by The Nation magazine as “the nation’s foremost academic expert on Mexican immigration,” Cornelius is a leading authority on immigration policies in North America, Spain, and Japan. He is also a specialist on Mexican politics and development. He is the author, co-author, or editor of 247 publications dealing with these subjects. He is a Past President of the Latin American Studies Association. He founded UCSD’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies in 1979 and directed it from 1979-1994 and 2001-2003. In 1999 he established UCSD’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and directed it until 2009.
Professor Cornelius graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. in Political Science and Latin American Studies, from The College of Wooster (Ohio), which chose him for its 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award. His Ph.D. (in political science) is from Stanford University. He was Professor of Political Science at MIT from 1971-1979 and he has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Oxford, El Colegio de México, the University of Tokyo, and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and a Visiting Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is a Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn, Germany) and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York). He has taught at UCSD since 1979, most recently teaching courses on the comparative politics of immigration and field research methods. He received the MIT Graduate Council Award for Teaching Excellence, the UCSD Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the UCSD Academic Senate’s Distinguished Teaching Award (twice, in 2004 and 2009), the UCSD Latino Students’ Award for Faculty Mentoring, and the American Political Science Association’s Pi Sigma Alpha Award for Distinguished Teaching in Political Science.