International Studies

     Language Requirement
     Economics Requirement
     Statistical Analysis Requirement
     Required Core Courses
     Focus Requirements
     Final Papers and Oral Exam



We’re delighted you have joined the University of Washington’s International Studies Program (IS). The IS Program is one of 9 programs housed at the Jackson School. It is the largest program within the school and associated with one of eight federally-designated centers of national excellence in the United States. This designation recognizes the UW’s world-renowned faculty and expertise, innovative curriculum, and significant outreach to local, national and global communities. This designation also provides resources for new programs, conferences, and the hosting of visitors from around the world. As a member of our community, you are welcome to join these events or meet with our visitors. Similar resources and opportunities are available through each of the regional centers and programs within the Jackson School.

All of us associated with the IS program believe that your education will be significantly enhanced by your dedication to learning inside AND outside the classroom. Outside the classroom, we encourage you to seek out and take full advantage of the opportunities all over the UW campus. Please visit the IS website for our calendar of events and for links around the UW campuses. Seattle is also home to many international communities, non-profit organizations dedicated to international affairs and development, and several foundations working to address the pressing issues of the globe.

Inside the classroom our faculty will dedicate themselves to your learning. And, as you learn we will learn from you. Don’t ever hesitate to tell us what you discover and what your ideas are for the IS Program. We want to know, because your discoveries and ideas keep our program one of the best.

Sara R. Curran
Associate Professor of
International Studies & Public Affairs
Director, Center for Global Studies
Chair, International Studies Program


                                        FIRST THINGS FIRST
This handbook provides you with information concerning both academic and non-academic matters.
Thomson Hall is the home of the Jackson School. Your mailbox is in Thomson 311, which is the Graduate Reading Room. Aside from being a good place to study or meet other students, the Graduate Reading Room features 5 computers and a small kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave. A more fully-equipped Computer Lab is located in the basement of Thomson Hall. Your UW student card is your “key” to the graduate reading room and the computer lab. Be sure to take your card to Mark Haslam, the Jackson School computer specialist, so that he can activate your card.
Student Services is in Thomson 111. Check the bulletin boards just outside the door and across the hall for information on visiting speakers, film series, etc. You can pick up information about relevant course offerings for upcoming quarters from the shelves against the wall. One of the Student Services staff members or either of the Student Assistants can assign you a locker, which you may retain as long as you are here, if you renew it each spring.
Other resources available in the Student Services office include announcements for internships and job openings. The Career and Internships Adviser is John Charlton (124 Thomson Hall).  John offers one-on-one advice on careers, cover letters and presentations, and resumes. He also regularly organizes career panels throughout the year.


Paula Milligan is the Jackson School’s Graduate Program Adviser (GPA), within JSIS Student Services. For quick questions, you may come during drop-in hours (Mondays 9:30-11:30 a.m. or Thursdays 2-4 pm). Paula’s appointment calendar is on-line at; Paula’s office is in Thomson 116. There are approximately 150 JSIS Master’s students (in the MAIS and other graduate programs), so you may need to remind Paula of your name and your program of study. You should meet with the GPA at least once a year. It is particularly important to meet with her before registering for your last quarter, to make sure that you have met all requirements and to review graduation procedures.

Professor Sara Curran is the Chair of the International Studies program, which consists of both the undergraduate program (BA in International Studies) and the graduate program (MAIS). Professor Curran will be available for consultations on a weekly basis with you during the academic year since she is responsible for directing the required Graduate Colloquium (JSIS 591/592/593), offered every quarter.

Professor Sabine Lang is the Associate Program Chair of the International Studies Program and the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) of the MAIS program. Professor Lang serves as your primary adviser. As you review the program requirements and guidelines, you will find that some actions on your part need formal approval from the GPC. This approval should be in writing and placed in your file in Paula’s office. Professor Lang's office hours will be posted at the start of the quarter. Professor Lang is the appropriate person to consult if any form or decision requires GPC approval.

Schedule and Planning:
Year 1: Each quarter you should take one of the required core courses (JSIS 500, 501, 511) and JSIS 591-593. In addition, you should be taking courses in fields that relate to your planned research topics. By end of June you should have completed a draft research proposal for one of your papers and met with all members of your supervisory committee. By the end of Spring quarter of your first year in the program, you should have established a Supervisory Committee (see page 17 for a list of faculty) to advise you in completing the final requirements of your program. Obtain the Supervisory Committee Form from Paula Milligan and return it by the 1st Friday of Autumn quarter of your last year.

Year 2: During the Fall quarter of your final year you will meet with all the members of your Committee to discuss the substance of, and the timeline for, your research. The members of your committee will evaluate your plans and record their evaluations on the MAIS Completion Form to the GPC (Sabine Lang) and the GPA (Paula Milligan). You will meet with all the members of your committee at least once per quarter after that to discuss progress; your committee members will be asked to confirm these meetings on the Completion Form.

If you find yourself struggling academically, we strongly advise you to meet with the GPC and/or the GPA as soon as possible to discuss your options.


                                         PROGRAM STRUCTURE 
An MAIS degree consists of three core courses, a two-year (six-quarter) colloquium, one economics course and one quantitative analysis course, language courses, focus courses in two of three focus areas, two research papers or one thesis, and a final oral examination. Students can pursue either a stand-alone MAIS degree or pursue the degree concurrently while pursuing a second degree in one of six professional schools. A concurrent degree student may transfer after completing one year of a professional degree program or may be admitted simultaneously. The scheduling of course completion and the requirements are slightly different for concurrent-MAIS and stand-alone-MAIS degrees.

There are six professional schools with which the International Studies program has official concurrent degree programs.

They are:

      1.  Business                        4.  Marine Affairs
      2.  Law                              5.  Public Affairs
      3.  Forest Resources            6.  Public Health

About half of the students in the International Studies program are enrolled concurrently in one of these degree programs.These concurrent students are usually admitted to both programs in the same year, though some transfer into the Jackson School after their first year of coursework in their professional degree program.

The basic requirements for concurrent and stand-alone students are the same, but most concurrent students will delay for a year the start of most of their JSIS course work, and some of the credits they take will be counted for both of their degrees. After their first year, concurrent students will mix JSIS courses with their remaining professional school courses until both degrees are completed.



Familiarize yourself with both the International Studies Program Requirements for a Master of Arts in International Studies Degree and the General Graduate School Requirements for a Master’s Degree. The IS program requirements are designed to meet Graduate School requirements, but it is important to note that you must satisfy both sets of requirements to graduate.

At the beginning of your studies you will receive a Degree Requirements Worksheet from the GPA. On this sheet you will track the classes you are taking to fulfill your proficiency requirements, your focus requirements, and your final degree requirements.

1. Required Proficiencies
The first three requirements listed below are proficiency requirements; students who demonstrate sufficient background in these areas will be deemed to have satisfied the requirements. Those without sufficient prior course work in these areas must take these courses while completing the degree.

Language Requirement 

Language study is required for all Jackson School programs. For the IS program, three years of Chinese or Japanese OR two years of any other modern foreign language at the college level is required. This is a proficiency requirement, so languages learned prior to entry into the program may fulfill the requirement. You can document prior study through transcripts or by taking a proficiency test. Language study may be completed at other accredited institutions in the U.S. or overseas. Such study must be documented but there is no need to transfer the credits to the UW.

If you select a regional field of study (see page 8), you are not required to meet this requirement with a language from that region.

Economics Requirement (3 credits)
The economics requirement is fulfilled by a relevant economics or economics-related course. The economics requirement is automatically satisfied for concurrent Business and Public Affairs students by course work in economics required for their professional degrees. It also is possible to take an economics course offered through a professional school if you are not a student in that professional program. It is possible to have the requirement waived based on course work taken at another institution, but you must obtain written approval from the GPC. If you are taking, or are planning to take, an economics or economics-related course at UW you should discuss with the GPC if the course meets this requirement.

Quantitative Analysis Requirement (3 credits)
An increasing number of excellent international data sets have appeared in recent years. There also is an expanded use of quantitative data in general literature. It is imperative that students in International Studies develop sufficient competency in statistical analysis to utilize these tools and to better understand the literature. Where appropriate, they are expected to utilize these tools in researching and writing their final papers or thesis.

The statistical analysis requirement is fulfilled by one statistics course for the social sciences, such as PB AF 527 Quantitative Analysis, CS&SS 320/Evaluation of Evidence, or CS&SS 321/Social Statistics Case-Based I. The Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences offers a variety of courses which may be appropriate, depending on your particular focus. Prior to taking any course not specifically mentioned above, through, be sure to obtain GPC approval.

It is possible to have this requirement waived if prior course work in this area has been taken at another institution. If a suitable course is taken as part of a student’s professional program, this will satisfy the requirement. Discuss these options with the GPC and obtain approval if necessary.

2. Required Core Courses (21 credits)

2. Required Core Courses (21 credits)
There are three required core courses: JSIS 500, 501, and 511. There is also a graduate colloquium series (JSIS 591 in Fall, JSIS 592 in Winter, and JSIS 593 in Spring), which students are required to take for one credit each quarter for the first two years of the program. These courses total 21 credit hours. The completion of these courses provides a background and framework upon which to focus work done in the other required parts of your program. In the graduate colloquium students present and discuss their work in progress and learn about professional opportunities.

Concurrent students must usually complete certain requirements of the professional degree in their first year. JSIS 500, 501, 511, and the graduate colloquiuia are normally taken in the second year, and the focus requirements in the third year, along with the final year of the pro-seminar. In some cases, Law/International Studies concurrent students complete their first year in the Jackson School, then begin study in the Law School.

MAIS-degree-only and concurrent transfer students are expected to complete JSIS 500, 501, 578, and 511 in their first year and to complete their focus requirements in their second year.  The pro-seminar will be taken both years.

JSIS 500 (Origins of Global Systems), JSIS 501 (Comparative Studies) JSIS 578 (Research Practicum I – Literature Review) and JSIS 511 (Research Practicum II – Writing Research Papers) should be taken in sequential order.

3. Focus Requirements (18 credits)
Students are required to complete two of the following three focus areas, with a minimum of 9 credits and 3 classes in each focus. The courses in these foci are selected from among those offered by the Jackson School, social science departments, or professional schools. All courses should be at the 400 level or above and must be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator. Students who are pursuing a concurrent degree will automatically choose the Professional Focus as one of their specializations. A maximum of 3 courses from professional schools can be counted towards satisfying focus requirements.

Regional or Area Studies Focus
Students may focus on Africa, China, Comparative Religion, East Asia, Europe, Japan, Latin America, Near East, REECAS, South Asia, or Southeast Asia.

I.S. Field Focus
Students may focus on one of the following topic areas: 1. States, Markets and Society, 2. Governance, Law and Rights, 3. Culture and Religion, 4. Peace and Security

Professional Focus
This focus consists of courses offered by a professional school that deal with the international and comparative dimensions of the profession. Students pursuing a concurrent professional degree can count 9-12 of these credits concurrently for both the MAIS degree and their professional degree.


4. Final Paper(s) and Oral Exam: 

In the final quarter of their first year, students need to establish their Supervisory Committee by completing the Supervisory Committee Form, which requires written approval by the GPC. One of the members will be designated the chair of the supervisory committee.

The main purpose of the Supervisory Committee is to advise students in the final stages of their program. The members serve as the student’s consultants in writing the research papers or thesis and as examiners.

In consultation with their Supervisory Committee, students are required to complete a significant written research product. This could be a master’s thesis. Alternatively, students can write two research papers both demonstrating original research. One of these papers must be an original empirical analysis that is either aimed towards a scholarly audience or a policy audience. The second paper for the degree is also an original research paper but does not require empirical evidence and analysis. Concurrent degree students may submit the written paper required through their professional degree program as their second MAIS paper. These papers must have sufficient international content or substance to count towards the MAIS degree. Students who write a task force report would also be required to submit an additional research paper to receive credit for the written product component of the degree. Students can register for SIS 600 (Graduate Independent Study) credits to conduct literature reviews or preliminary research under the supervision and with the approval of one of their committee members (typically the chair.)

To ensure timely submission and quality products, students are required to schedule at least three meetings with their committee members committee prior to the oral exam. These meetings will each take place in the three quarters prior to the student's final oral exam. During the first of these meetings the student will present a proposed research plan, outlining each paper or the thesis; all members of the committee will complete a Research Review in which they evaluate the student’s plans and submit this to the GPA and the GPC. During the second meeting, the student will present a working draft of the two papers or thesis. Students will be required to provide documentation, on the Research Progress Worksheet, that these meetings have been scheduled and took place. Three copies of the final versions of the paper(s) are due in the JSIS Student Services Office by the end of the eighth week of the quarter in which the student graduates.


If you choose the thesis option, you must register for at least 9 thesis credits (JSIS 700) over the course of your studies. These credits can be taken over several quarters, and you are not limited to 9 thesis credits. In order to register for thesis credits, you must complete an Application for Independent Study/Thesis Credits form each quarter and obtain a signature from the chair of your Supervisory Committee. Submit this form to JSIS Student Services to get the instructor ID number you will need to register. If your Supervisory Committee Form is already on file, the GPA can sign the form on behalf of your chair.

The thesis can be an expanded version of a seminar paper or an Independent Study project. Theses normally range between 40 and 70 pages. While your primary thesis adviser should be the chair of your Supervisory Committee, you must also consult with the other members of your committee. Do not assume that faculty will not be interested in your thesis simply because it is not in their area of expertise. Avoid surprises at the end by consulting with each committee member early and throughout the process. Committee members may refuse to schedule a final examination if the student has not met with them regularly to discuss progress.

Oral Exam

The final oral examination is based on the thesis or two research papers, but also can range broadly across the field of International Studies.


To graduate, you must apply through the Graduate School’s degree application Web site: The application period commences the first day of the quarter of graduation. The Graduate School gives you through the 9th week of the quarter to apply for the degree, however the Graduate Program of International Studies requires that you apply by the 7th Friday of the quarter.

The Graduate School will send you an email confirmation of your application for Master’s Degree and inform you of Graduate School requirements that must be met by the end of the quarter in which you graduate. The Graduate Program Adviser (Paula Milligan) will be notified of your application for a Master’s Degree and will enter information detailing departmental requirements that must be met. Be sure to meet with Paula during Autumn or Winter quarter of your final year to make sure you are meeting Graduate School and departmental requirements.

If you do not finish in the quarter you applied for your degree, you will have to apply again. You must be registered for at least two credits in the quarter you graduate.



Once your papers have been accepted by your Supervisory Committee members, you may schedule your final oral examination with them. Once the date and time are set, complete an Oral Exam Scheduling Form (available from Paula Milligan) and obtain the GPC’s signature. The GPC requires that you bring an up-to-date course worksheet and your committee meeting schedule to him in order for you to obtain approval on your exam committee and schedule. The up-to-date worksheet is done in a meeting with the GPA, Paula Milligan. Once you have obtained the GPC’s signature on your Oral Exam Scheduling Form, you should give this form to Jane Meyerding (Thomson 419), who will reserve a room for the exam and notify all involved. Paula will prepare your file for your oral exam. Be sure to make an appointment with the GPA in the quarter before you plan to graduate, to avoid last-minute surprises, and to review the procedures for finishing.

Prior to your exam, your file will be given to one of your committee members. Aside from providing a record of the work you have done in the program, your file also will contain your Oral Exam Completion Form and the Warrant for Master’s Degree. Both of these documents must be signed by your committee members following the successful completion of the oral exam and will remain in your file. The signed Warrant for Master’s Degree will notify Paula that your graduation is approved, and as soon as any course contingencies are satisfied, Paula will notify the Graduate School that you may be graduated. 

Your signed Exam Completion Form and Warrant for Master’s Degree must reach the GPA by 4:00 pm the last Thursday of the quarter.


GAD BARZILAI, Professor, JSIS and Law, Societies and Justice Program
MARY P. CALLAHAN, Associate Professor, JSIS
DANIEL CHIROT, Professor, JSIS and Sociology
PATRICK CHRISTIE, Associate Professor, Marine Affairs and JSIS
SARA CURRAN, Associate Professor, International Studies and Evans School of Public Affairs
MADELEINE YUE DONG, Associate Professor, JSIS and History, adjunct Women Studies; Historian
KATHIE FRIEDMAN, Associate Professor, JSIS, adjunct, Women Studies; Sociologist
CHRISTOPH GIEBEL, Associate Professor, JSIS and History; Historian
ANGELINA SNODGRASS GODOY, Associate Professor, JSIS and Law, Society and Justice; Sociologist
R. KENT GUY, Professor, JSIS and History; Historian
YONG-CHOOL HA, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Social Science, JSIS
GARY G. HAMILTON, Professor, JSIS and Sociology
DONALD C. HELLMANN, Professor, JSIS and Political Science
MARTIN S. JAFFEE, Professor, JSIS, adjunct, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
CHRISTOPHER R. JONES, Associate Professor, JSIS
SUNILA KALE, Associate Professor, JSIS
REŞAT KASABA, Director, JSIS, Stanley D. Golub Professor of International Studies; Sociologist
SANJEEV KHAGRAM, Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs and South Asian Studies
SABINE LANG, Assistant Professor, International Studies
WOLFRAM LATSCH, Assistant Professor, International Studies
WILLIAM R. LAVELY, Associate Professor, JSIS
and Sociology
JOSE ANTONIO LUCERO, Associate Professor, JSIS
JOEL S. MIGDAL, Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies, JSIS
HWASOOK NAM, Assistant Professor, James B. Palais
Endowed Professorship, JSIS
ROBERT PEKKANEN, Associate Professor, JSIS
SAADIA PEKKANEN, Job and Gertrud Tamaki Professor of International Studies, JSIS
NOAM PIANKO, Assistant Professor, JSIS
DEBORAH PORTER, Associate Professor, JSIS
KAZIMIERZ POZNANSKI, Professor, JSIS, adjunct,
KENNETH B. PYLE, Professor, JSIS and History
SCOTT RADNITZ, Assistant Professor, JSIS
PRITI RAMAMURTHY, Associate Professor, Women Studies
CABEIRI DeBERGH ROBINSON, Assistant Professor, International Studies; Anthropologist
CLARK SORENSEN, Associate Professor, JSIS; Anthropologist
MATTHEW SPARKE, Professor, JSIS and Geography
JOHN TOEWS, Professor, History
WALTER WALSH, Associate Professor, School of Law
JONATHAN WARREN, Associate Professor, JSIS
JAMES K. WELLMAN Jr, Associate Professor, JSIS and
Chair, Comparative Religion
MICHAEL A. WILLIAMS, Professor, JSIS—Comparative Religion and Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
ANAND A. YANG, Professor, JSIS and History; Historian
GLENNYS YOUNG, Associate Professor, JSIS and History; Historian


Jackson School
Office of Academic Services
111 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-6001