University of Washington

Office of Academic Services

Thomson Hall Room 111










Language Requirement
Other Coursework Requirements
Final Degree Requirements
Thesis Option
2-Papers Option


The Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS) houses many academic programs; the Middle East Studies program is one of them. Your mailbox is in the Graduate Reading Room, in 311. Aside from being a good place to study or talk with other students, the Graduate Reading Room features 5 computers and a small “kitchen” with a refrigerator, sink 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.

The Student Services office 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. The Student Services staff members or either of the Student Advisers 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. If you have specific questions regarding these announcements, contact the career and internship advisor, John Charlton.


For technical advice on procedures and requirements, contact Paula Milligan, the graduate program Adviser (GPA), in JSIS Student Services. For quick questions, you may come during drop-in hours (Mondays 9:30-11:30; Thursdays 2-4 pm). For more involved questions, you will probably need to make an appointment. Paula’s appointment calendar is available on-line at
Paula’s office is in Thomson 116. You can make appointments with her on that site, or by calling Paula or the Student Services office. You should meet with the GPA at least once a year.
                                                                                                                         It is particularly important to meet with Paula prior to registering for your final quarter, to make sure that you have met Graduate School and Jackson School requirements, and to review graduation procedures.
                                                                                                                Professor Ellis Goldberg is the chair and the graduate program coordinator (GPC) of the Middle East Studies program. In this latter role he serves as your academic adviser. You should consult with him at least once a year. 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 the GPA’s (Paula Milligan’s) office.
                                                                                                                        In Autumn quarter of your second year in the program, you should establish a Supervisory Committee to advise you in completing the final requirements of your program (see pages 5 - 7). 

If you find yourself struggling academically, do consult with the GPC and/or the GPA as soon as possible to discuss your options.

                                                                                                              Familiarize yourself with both the Middle East Studies Program Requirements for a Master of Arts in International Studies and the General Graduate School Requirements for a Master’s Degree. The 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.


The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization offers the language courses appropriate for the Middle East Studies program. First- and second-year language classes usually are available in Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian. First- and second-year Turkish are offered in alternating years. All students must complete three 3-credit or two 5-credit courses beyond the second-year level in one Middle East Language. Native speakers of a language may satisfy this requirement through advanced literature or independent study. Advanced courses in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish are normally available every quarter. Independent Study may also be an option for Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish.


An MA in the Jackson School requires a minimum of 36 credits at the 400 level or above, at least 18 of which must be graded. Thesis option: Students must take at least 27 credits of coursework, plus 9 credits of JSIS 700. Two-paper option: Students choosing this option must take at least 36 credits of coursework (18 at the 500+ level), which may include 6 credits of independent study to prepare their papers. Graded courses include 400- and 500-level courses (except 499, 600, 700), for which you receive a grade. For those doing a thesis, a minimum of 9 credits are required at the 500 level or above (as they will have to take 9 thesis credits at the 700 level), It may be necessary to do some Graduate Independent Study (JSIS 600) level in order to obtain sufficient credits at the 500 level or above.

In completing these requirements, distribute your course work to ensure that the following separate components are met. Basic language training classes (first- through third-year) cannot be counted to fulfill any of these requirements.

20 credits on the Modern Middle East
   In order to promote an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the modern Middle East, you are encouraged to take a variety of courses in the social sciences or the humanities. These courses must be from at least two different disciplines, such as history, political science, international studies, literature or religion.
One approved Jackson School course
   This course does not have to be on the Middle East. Courses prefixed JSIS will be automatically approved.  Courses prefixed JSIS A, JSIS B, etc., must be approved on a case-by-case basis.
Two courses in one discipline or profession
   Again, it is not necessary for these courses to be focused on the Middle East. The purpose of this requirement is to give you the opportunity to develop some expertise    in the theory and methodology of an academic discipline or profession. This is particularly useful for students planning to go on for a PhD or undertaking a concurrent    degree.                                                                                                         
You may take 300-level courses not prefixed JSIS to meet these requirements, but only with written approval from the GPC; they will not count toward the JSIS and Graduate School requirement of 36 total credits at the 400-level or above. A preferable option would be to take the 300-level course as Graduate Independent Study at the 600 level, making a contract with the instructor to do the work required for the class along with some extra work to meet graduate standards.
  • Final Degree Requirements:

For guidance in completing your final degree requirements, you must form a Supervisory Committee with at least two members, including at least one member of the Middle East program faculty. This committee must be established and a signed Supervisory Committee Form (available from the GPA in THO 116) filed with the GPA by the 6th Friday of your 4th quarter in the program. You will need to determine the Chair of your committee and to set up a schedule for submitting drafts of your thesis or final papers. Additional faculty from outside of the Middle East program can be included in your committee if appropriate for review of your paper(s). The chair and at least one other member of Supervisory Committee must be members of the University’s graduate faculty. Be sure to check with each member to ensure that they will be available for your Oral Exam when you need them. You have two options for completing your final requirements in the program. Submit a signed Committee form to the GPA by the 6th Friday of the quarter.

Thesis Option

       This option requires a thesis and an oral exam. If you choose this option, you should work closely with your Supervisory Committee throughout the entire process. Be sure that all members of your committee support your topic before you become too heavily committed to it. Use your committee to help you find appropriate sources. Give your committee members as much opportunity as they desire to read portions or initial drafts of what you have written as early as possible.

        You must register for at least 9 thesis credits (JSIS 700). You do not have to register for all of them in one quarter and there is no limit on how many thesis credits you can take. (Only 9 of them, however, will count toward your requirement of 36 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.

         Though you must register for thesis credits, work on your thesis can begin in one of your other graduate courses. The thesis could be an expanded version of a  seminar paper or an Independent Study project. Papers normally range from 60 to 150 pages. If you wish to examine theses accepted in the past, copies are available in the Middle East Studies Program Office.

         The oral exam will deal with work presented for your degree.

Two-Papers Option

       This option requires you to write two seminar papers and take an oral exam.

       At least one paper must relate to the Middle East, and the subject of both papers must be approved by the Supervisory Committee. The second paper must have some relevance to your overall program and career objectives. In most cases, these papers are revised and expanded versions of work written to meet a course requirement. As both papers must be approved by your Supervisory Committee, it is important to have your committee review them early. It may be necessary to rewrite one or both of them.

       Prior to your exam, you should meet with your committee members to discuss areas of study that would be appropriate for your exam and what you can do in preparation.

Whichever option you choose, you should submit final drafts of your thesis or two papers to your committee at least a month before the end of the quarter in which you plan to graduate. Your committee needs time to read your work. If you are late in giving them your final draft(s), you may find that instead of graduating in the quarter you planned, you have to register for another.


To graduate, you must submit a degree application through the Graduate School Web site: The application period commences the first day of the quarter of graduation. The Middle East Studies program requires that you apply to graduate by 5:00 on the 7th Friday of the quarter (fifth Friday for Summer quarter).

The Graduate School will send you an email confirmation of your application for a 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 the degree and will enter information detailing departmental requirements that must be met. This will generate an email from the Graduate School to you informing you of departmental requirements.

If you do not finish in the quarter you applied to graduate, you will have to apply again. You must be registered for at least two credits in the quarter you graduate. In some special circumstances, you may graduate without being registered in the following quarter by paying a tuition waiver fee of $250. If you think you need to avail yourself of this opportunity, check with Paula Milligan about the circumstances that might make that an option.

It is important for you to maintain your status as a student until you graduate. To do this, you must be registered for every quarter except Summer Quarter, or be formally on leave.                                                                                                                   


Whichever option you select, your oral examination will take place only after your final paper(s) have been approved for defense by all members of your Supervisory Committee. As you are approaching the completion of your paper(s), you will need to schedule your oral exam with your Supervisory Committee. Once the date and time are set, complete an Exam Scheduling Form and obtain the GPC’s signature. Then give this form to Paula Milligan, who will reserve a room for your oral exam, if necessary, and notify everyone involved.

Prior to your exam, the GPA will do a final review of your file. Be sure to make an appointment with her in the quarter before you plan to graduate to make sure that there are no surprises, and to review the procedures for finishing.

Once you have successfully completed both your paper(s) and your oral exam, your committee members will sign an Exam Completion and Approval of Graduation form and your Warrant for Master’s Degree, which will remain in your file and signify to the GPA that the Graduate School is requested to award you a Master of Arts degree. Any required course work for which you have yet to receive a grade will be listed as a contingency. This course work must be completed before the end of the quarter in which you are planning to graduate. Your graduation will be finalized only after grades are received for these courses and the other departmental requirements (see page 10) are met.

Should you finish all required course work and need only to complete your thesis or final papers, you may want to consider going on leave until you are done (requires GPC’s approval). In the quarter you return, you can register for at least two credits of either JSIS 700/Thesis Credits or JSIS A 600/Graduate Independent Study with a member of your committee and reapply to graduate.

The Oral Exam

Prior to your oral exam, the GPA will prepare your file for the exam and provide it to the chair of your committee. In addition to providing a record of the work you have completed in the program, your file will contain your Exam Completion Form and your Warrant for Master’s Degree. The Warrant is generated by the Graduate School as a result of your application for the degree. Upon the successful completion of your oral exam, your committee members will sign these documents, which will remain in your file. 
For Two-Paper Option
Your final papers are papers you have done in a seminar class, and possibly refined and revised further, under the supervision of one or both of your committee members, by registering for 6 credits of JSIS  600.                                                                         
Drafts of the research papers should be submitted to your Supervisory Committee members no later than the 6th Wednesday of your final quarter. (4th Wednesday in Summer quarter.) Once your papers are approved by your committee, you may schedule the oral exam. The oral exam is based on these papers but ranges broadly across the field of Middle East studies and your other studies while in the Middle East Studies graduate program. 
For Thesis Option
In order to graduate in the quarter you applied, you must submit a copy of your signed Thesis Signature Page to the GPA, and a bound copy of your thesis to the Middle East Center (Tho. 225), both by 4:00 on the last Thursday of the quarter in which you are graduating.
See for information about the Graduate School requirements for your thesis submission. Be sure to print the Master’s Supervisory Committee Approval Form and take it to your Oral Exam. You must take this to the Graduate School by 5:00 on the last day of the quarter.

When your thesis is complete, deposit one tape– or spiral-bound signed copy at the Middle East Center office (Thomson 225) or deliver to the GPA. You should be sure to have a copy signed for yourself as well. Members of your committee also may want a copy of your thesis.
Deliver a copy of the signed Master’s Supervisory Committee Approval Form to the GPA in Thomson 116 so that your graduation will not be delayed. When a copy of your Signature Page has been submitted to the GPA and the other finishing requirements are met, the Graduate School will be authorized to graduate you.
Students choosing the two-paper option must also pass an oral exam on their work, but do not need to deposit a copy of their papers to the Graduate School, or to the Middle East Center.
Students finishing with either the two-paper option or the thesis option must complete the Middle East Center Exit Questionnaire. This is required in order for your graduation to be approved.


Graduate students may take time off, one quarter at a time, by filing a Petition for On-Leave Status (not necessary Summer Quarter), which must be approved by the GPC. If you fail to register for any quarter (except Summer Quarter) without having gone on leave, you will lose your status as a student and have to apply again for admission. See the GPA for more information.


Registration for classes begins in the middle of the preceding quarter (middle of Spring Quarter for Autumn). Course booklets on Middle East Studies, which contain course descriptions for the upcoming quarter, are available in Student Services prior to each registration period; course information is also available on the web at As a continuing student you will be eligible to register in the first Registration Period. Registering early will allow entry into more of the classes you want. Keep in mind that with the exception of intensive language study, few classes on the Middle East are offered in Summer Quarter.


You may take courses that do not fulfill program requirements. Comparative study is encouraged, and classes that do not meet Middle East Studies requirements may be useful. Make sure, however, that you make continuous progress toward your degree. Taking too many courses outside the program could prevent you from completing the degree within two years.

A usual load per quarter for Jackson School graduate students is 12-15 credits (3-4 courses, depending on credits per course). In the final quarter, students may take fewer courses as they focus on completing their Thesis or Papers. If you are receiving financial aid, or hold a scholarship, fellowship, or TA or RA position, you must carry at least 10 credits per quarter. International students must be registered for 10 credits in order to maintain F-1 status.

You are not required to take a full course load every quarter, but taking a reduced load during Autumn Quarter may put you at a competitive disadvantage for fellowship consideration. It is difficult for the fellowship committee to assess your academic performance if you have taken only a course or two. Nearly all students finish this degree in two years (6-7 academic quarters). If you do not carry a full load in your first year, it may affect your ability to finish within two years. You should start your language studies as soon as possible.
You can be considered through the International and Area Studies Fellowship application for most fellowships offered by the Jackson School.  Application procedures will be announced in October; the application deadline is usually January 15, but it is a good idea to check the deadline well in advance. Awards are made in mid-April for the following summer and/or academic year. Specific questions concerning FLAS should be addressed to the Fellowships Coordinator, Robyn Davis, in JSIS Student Services.
Faculty evaluations and grades earned at the UW are of particular importance to fellowship committees, so it is helpful to carry a full load of relevant courses and do well in them. It is important to make good progress toward your degree before applying, and you must continue this progress if you receive a JSIS fellowship.
For information on need-based financial aid, see (Office of Student Financial Aid).
The University has a large library system housed in many different buildings across all three campuses (Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma). There is a reference section on the ground level of the Suzzallo/Allen Library. The Near East librarian in Suzzallo is available for additional reference help.

The Jackson School Graduate Student Council was formed to promote better communication among programs, and to provide the graduate students of the Jackson School with a cohesiveness that did not previously exist. Over the years, in addition to its success in gaining funding for equipment, JSGC has greatly improved the facilities in the Graduate Reading Room and organized several social gatherings for the whole school, including student/faculty get-togethers, all-grads potlucks, end of the year dinners, and other activities. The council is entitled to some limited funds from the Jackson School for such events, and you are encouraged to become a part of the JSGC to help keep such activities active in the Jackson School.

JSGC seeks representatives from each of the graduate programs to serve on this Council. The group meets periodically throughout the year.
The JSGC has been successful on several occasions in applying for funds for computers and equipment. Thanks to these efforts, there are 9 workstations and two printers in the JSIS graduate computer lab (basement of Thomson Hall), and five workstations, a printer and an email terminal on the third floor in the Graduate Reading Room. You may use the printers after paying a quarterly fee to JSGC for paper and supplies. Jackson School graduate students also may borrow one of the three laptop computers, a MacIntosh and two PCs. To check these out, or if you have any technical or software problems with the computers in either of the Jackson School computer labs, contact the Jackson School’s computer specialist, Mark Haslam, at Mark’s office is in Thomson 408D.
The University’s Computing Resource Center is in Mary Gates Hall. Information about this and other computer labs can be found on the Web at
These labs offer word processing, spreadsheet, database, and graphics applications, and access to the Internet. The Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR) in Savery 145 offers consultation on computer services for social science students, which includes all JSIS students.
Completed under supervision of a Supervisory Committee selected by the student, to include at least two Middle East faculty members. Students complete either a thesis and an oral exam OR two papers and a written exam.
The Jackson School’s 13 degree programs, including Middle East Studies, offer a wide range of colloquia and symposia featuring JSIS faculty members and guest speakers. Graduate students are encouraged to attend these events. Announcements are usually posted both in Thomson Hall and in the Jackson School Calendar of Events on the Web at This calendar is sent to the email list, or you can subscribe by email to the calendar by posting a message to: The calendar is updated and emailed weekly.
Students in the program should familiarize themselves with the Middle East Center, located in Thomson 225. The primary staff of the Center is the Associate Director, Felicia Hecker.
Although the Center does not provide direct support for students in the M.A. program, it has resources you may find helpful, including information about occasional paid positions for grading examinations. The Center web site, provides access to many other centers and useful sources of information about Middle East studies, as well as a calendar of Center activities.

KHALID A. AHMED, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Arabic pedagogy, curriculum development, listening skills acquisition, formative assessment.
SAMAD ALAVI, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Persian language and literature; modern Iranian politics
WALTER ANDREWS, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Turkish/Ottoman literature and culture
JERE L. BACHARACH, History; history of the Islamic Middle East, numismatics (Professor Emeritus)
GAD BARZLAI, International Studies; law and politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict human rights and comparative studies of political regimes and constitutional settings
SUSAN BENSON, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; modern Arabic
ARBELLA BET-SHLIMON, History; modern Middle East history; Kurdistan; Iraq; oil in the Middle East
RENE BRAVMANN, Art History; Morocco, Islamization
DANIEL CHIROT, International Studies; ethnic conflict
IISE D. CIRTAUTAS, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Turkic languages and literature
ANGELA CLOSE, Anthropology; archaeology, analysis, Paleolithic study of North Africa, Europe
KRISTIAN COATES-ULRICHSEN, International Studies; politics of the Middle East; the Gulf States; Kuwait and the knowledge economy
KARAM DANA, UW-Bothell; Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences; politics of the Middle East; Islam and Muslims in the West; Palestinian society
TERRI DeYOUNG, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Arabic language and literature
HUSSEIN ELKHAFAIFI, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Arabic language acquisition, second language pedagogy, Arab culture
ELLIS GOLDBERG, Political Science; politics and political theory of the Middle East
NICHOLAS HEER, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Arabic language and literature, Islamic theology and philosophy (Professor Emeritus)
PHILIP HOWARD, Communications; social media in the Middle East, information technology and political Islam, digital dictatorships, media technology in Central Asia
MARTIN JAFFEE, International Studies, adjunct Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; post-biblical and rabbinic Judaism, history of late antiquity and Judaism, methods in study of religion (Professor Emeritus)
ELLEN KAISSE, Linguistics; phonology, historical linguistics, ancient and modern Greek, Syntax-phonology interface
REŞAT KASABA, International Studies, adjunct Sociology; political economy of the world system and the Middle East
KHODADAD KAVIANI, College of Education; teaching the Middle East at the K-12 level
ELIZABETH KIER, Political Science; international relations, war and politics
SELIM SIRRI KURU, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; Turkish and Ottoman language and literature
CLARK B. LOMBARDI, law; Islamic law in Muslim countries
FREDERICK (RICK) LORENZ, International Studies; international law and security, water and security in the Middle East
BRIAN McLAREN, Architecture; colonial architecture of North Africa
JOEL S. MIGDAL, International Studies; Israel, third world development, Arab-Israeli conflict
JAMES MURRAY, Professor, Oceanography; Black Sea environment
DEVIN NAAR, International Studies; Sephardi Jewry, the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, Mediterranean urban cultures
KARIN NAHON, Information School; global information systems, internet and the Middle East
SCOTT NOEGEL, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization and History; Hebrew Bible, Assyriology and medieval Hebrew poetics, northwest Semitic languages and literatures, Hieroglyphic Egyptian
ARZOO OSANLOO, Law, Society and Justice Program and Anthropology; gender and Islam, human rights and the Islamic state
MICHAEL PEREZ, Anthropology; anthropology of the Middle East, nationalism, transnational migration, displacement, human rights, memory and violence
NOAM PIANKO, Associate Professor, International Studies; Israel
CABEIRI de BERGH ROBINSON, International Studies; political Islam, human rights
TOVI ROMANO, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; modern Hebrew
HAIDEH SALEHI-ESFAHANI, Economics; resource “booms” in small open economies
PHILIP SCHUYLER, Ethnomusicology; music of the Middle East (Professor Emeritus)
SHAHRZAD SHAMS, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; modern Persian
NAOMI SOKOLOFF, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; modern Hebrew language and literature
JOEL WALKER, History; Jerusalem, late antiquity, pre-Islamic Near East, Syriac Christianity, Mongols
JAMES WELLMAN, International Studies; comparative religions, nature and study of religion
MICHAEL WILLIAMS, International Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; early Christianity and religions of antiquity
NATHALIE WILLIAMS, International Studies and Sociology; migration and armed conflict, migrant labor in the Gulf region
MELIKE YUCEL, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; modern Turkish language; language teaching pedagogy
HAMZA ZAFER, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; early Islamic period; textural studies; Islamics; Qur’an
FARHAT ZIADEH, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; Arabic language and literature, Islamic institutions (Professor Emeritus)
CRAIG ZUMBRUNNEN, Geography; natural resource management, conservation and environmental quality, Central Asian geography
                                  Location                Email                       Telephone
Graduate Program Adviser
           Paula Milligan      THO 116               milligan                     616-6204
Student Services           THO 111               jsisadv                      543-6001
Director of Student Services
           TBA                  THO 111               jdonnen                   543-6001
Career/Internship Office
            (John Charlton)  THO 208               kvoss                       543-0176
FLAS Coordinator
            Robyn Davis       THO 126              macurtis                    616-8679
Program Secretary
            Marion Cook       THO 225              marionc                     543-7236
Associate Director
            Felicia Hecker      THO 225             fhecker                      543-4227
JSIS Computer Specialist
            Mark Haslam        THO 408             jsishelp                       616-5935
CSSCR                            SAV 145             csscr                           543-8110
(Soc. Sci. Computing)



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African Studies Program
University of Washington
326 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Joel Ngugi / Chair
Associate Professor, School of Law

Mary Kay Gugerty/Adjunct Director
Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs

Erin Murphy/Program Assistant
Autumn Quarter Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 9-12, or by appt.
206.616.0998 office
206.685.0668 fax

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