Handbook for Graduate Students

Completing the MAIS 
in South Asian Studies


Degree Requirements
Required Courses
Other Coursework
Final Papers and Oral Exam
To Fulfill the Language Requirement
To Fulfill the Required Courses
To Fulfill the Other Coursework
Incomplete Course Work
Supervisory Committee
Papers and Exam Option
Timeline for final quarter (2-papers Option)
Thesis Option
Timeline for final quarter (Thesis Option)
Registration and Planning Your Class Schedule
Applying to Graduate
Program Procedures for Finishing
Fellowship Applications and Financial Aid
South Asia Studies Faculty


Familiarize yourself with both the South Asian 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 to earn your degree you must satisfy both sets of requirements.


Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC)
Professor Sunila Kale, in her role as the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) for the program, serves as your faculty adviser in your first year of the program. Professor Kale’s office is in Thomson Hall, Room 418. Her email is kale@uw.edu. She will provide details about her office hours in her first meeting with you. As you read the program requirements and guidelines you will find that some actions on your part will require the official approval of the GPC. Importantly, you must acquire the approval and signature of the GPC each quarter before you register for classes.

During your first year, Professor Kale will help you determine a suitable faculty mentor, who will become your faculty adviser. You should meet with your faculty adviser at least once a quarter. By your fourth quarter in the program, you should establish a Supervisory Committee to advise you in completing the final requirements of your program. If you find yourself struggling academically, we strongly advise you to meet with the GPA, your faculty adviser, and/or the GPC as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Degree Requirements
All students must complete a minimum of 36 credits. The expectation is that students will complete this degree within two years. The components of the degree are as follows:

Students must reach a proficiency equivalent to completion of the third year in a South Asian language. Beginning, intermediate and advanced Hindi are taught during the academic year, intermediate Hindi is sometimes taught also in Summer Quarter on an intensive basis. Sanskrit is taught during the academic year. Urdu and Bengali are also taught during the academic year.
Students who enter the program with no prior training in a South Asian language will likely need to complete at least one summer intensive language program in order to satisfy the requirement of third-year proficiency within the two-year program. Summer programs are offered at UW, at other institutions in the US, and over the summer in South Asia. The program will work with students in an effort to provide partial or full funding for such programs if possible.

Please note, it is the student’s responsibility to apply for admission and funding in a timely manner for summer language study.
Students may also choose to apply for a nine-month language course in South Asia, which would extend a student’s MA timetable by a year or more.
Please see the GPC and Keith Snodgrass, Associate Director of the South Asia Center, for more information on these and other opportunities.



Required Courses:

JSIS A 508/Interdisciplinary Study of South Asia I Intensive survey seminar taken in the first year.  

JSIS A 509/Interdisciplinary Study of South Asia II Continuation of the intensive survey seminar taken in the first year.  

JSIS A 510/Seminar on South Asia This is a course which is designed to provide each student an opportunity to synthesize his or her studies through research and writing on an individual research topic.


Other Coursework:
Students must complete at least 21 credits in course work from at least two different departments. Most of this course work should be focused primarily on South Asia, or in courses taught by South Asia Studies faculty on topics relevant to specializations the student has chosen. Students may take a maximum of 10 credits not focused on South Asia, nor taught by South Asia faculty, but help to fulfill disciplinary or professional objectives. All courses are planned in consultation with the program adviser to ensure that both individual and program goals are met. You must acquire the approval and signature of the GPC each quarter in order to register for classes.


Final Papers and Oral Exam:

Students have the option of submitting either two revised seminar papers or an original thesis to a supervisory committee, and must pass a comprehensive oral examination. One of the seminar papers will normally be written for JSIS A 508 or 509. Students should constitute a committee of at least two South Asia faculty members 2.5 quarters prior to their intended graduation date. Normally, this means you will have selected an advisor by the end of your first year and selected your second committee member by the end of the first quarter of your second year.



To fulfill the Language Requirement:
South Asian language and literature courses are offered by the Department of Asian Languages and Literature in Gowen Hall. Language study is an essential part of the program. While you are only required to meet a third-year proficiency level in a South Asian language, you are urged to take instruction beyond this level if your schedule permits. For students who enter the program with intermediate or advanced language proficiency, we encourage you to continue language study at advanced levels or undertake the study of an additional language while you are at UW. Language proficiency is vital to success in all fields related to the study of South Asia.
Those who are uncertain about what level of language to take should contact the department of Asian Languages and Literature for advice.
Should you find that you are having academic trouble with language study, consult your language professor and the GPC immediately.


To fulfill the Required Core Courses:

The introductory South Asian seminars, JSIS A 508 and JSIS A 509, are usually taken in Autumn and Winter quarter of the first year in the program. The South Asia research seminar, JSIS A 510, is taken in the Spring quarter. This latter course will help you to synthesize your studies and prepare a research proposal for the second year thesis or revise your seminar papers. These required courses contribute 15 credits of your required graduate work. If you are planning on undertaking primary research involving interviews for your thesis, we will advise you to apply for permission from the Human Subjects Office.



To fulfill the Other Coursework:
To complete this portion of the program, you must take 21 credit points of courses from at least two departments. You can select from courses at the 400, 500, 600, and 700 level, but at least 8 of the optional credits must be at the 500 level and above.
At least 11 of your 21 credits must be from courses that focus on South Asia. This means that you can take up to 10 credits not specifically focused on South Asia, for example in order to fulfill disciplinary or professional objectives. For instance, those planning to pursue a Ph.D. may find that they still need to fulfill prerequisite requirements not related to South Asia for the departments they wish to enter. On the other hand, students pursuing non-university careers may determine that some coursework from one of the departments or schools relevant to their career objectives (e.g. Communications, Public Affairs, Business Administration, Education, etc.) may be useful. In both cases, students should consult advisers from appropriate schools or departments early. Students who wish to apply credit for courses not related to South Asia toward their course work must obtain written approval from the GPC. Students in the Thesis option must additionally register for a minimum of 9 thesis credits. Thesis credits can be done over several quarters or all at once, and there is no limit to the number of thesis credits you can take. It is usual to sign up for these with your thesis advisor.

Incomplete Course Work
Graduate school is demanding, intellectually and emotionally, and students sometimes struggle to balance life and academic studies. If you are encountering difficulty, consult your professor, advisor, and/or GPC. We strongly discourage students from taking “incompletes” in their courses. In many cases, students never fulfill the work required, or fulfill the work in an unsatisfactory way.


Supervisory Committee:
You must identify a faculty adviser by the end of your 3rd quarter in the South Asian Studies program, and you must form a Committe by the 5th week of your 4th quarter. Your Supervisory Committee should consist of two faculty members who have had a chance to get to know your work and who have expertise in your area of concentration. These two members of your Supervisory Committee must be Graduate Faculty (see http://www.grad.washington.edu/gradfac/); you may select a third member who is not Graduate Faculty. The purpose of this committee is to advise you in the final stages of your program and evaluate your thesis and oral defense. Your committee members serve as your consultants and mentors as you write your thesis or write and revise your MA papers and they serve as your examiners. You should make sure that your committee members will be available in the quarters when you need them for advisory work, independent study, and exams.

You form your committee by filing the Supervisory Committee Form which establishes a record that your selections of area of concentration, faculty committee members, and papers/ thesis option are acceptable to the South Asian Studies program as represented by the GPC and that your committee members have agreed to undertake supervision of your program. Once you file the form, your primary advisor becomes the Chair of your committee.

You should ask your committee members to clarify their expectations of when you will provide them with evidence of your progress towards completion of the papers or thesis. The timelines on page 7 express the SA Program’s expectations of when you would have to submit materials in order to meet Graduate School deadlines. Your Supervisory Committee may require additional drafts and earlier submission dates.
For a guide to your role as an advisee and your faculty supervisor’s role as Mentor, please see the Graduate School’s “Guidelines for Good Practice in Graduate Education”: http://www.grad.washington.edu/area/goodpract/m_good_pract.htm.


Papers and Exam Option:
The two papers option is an appropriate selection for anyone who intends to pursue future studies or for whom the MAIS in South Asian Studies will be a terminal degree. This is the option we encourage most MA students to choose. You will prepare two papers of at least 25 pages each (6,000 words + references) which you should present in a standard academic format. The papers should be seminar papers significantly revised to incorporate comments from the faculty who commented on the original version and comments from your Supervisory Committee members as appropriate. You may register for SISSA 600/ Independent Study with a member of your committee to get credit for work done on these revisions. It is wise to have one of these papers completely revised and approved for examination by your committee by the quarter before you plan to graduate.

The oral exam is given by the members of your committee. It covers your area of concentration and program coursework and focuses on issues that arise in relation to your papers. It will take approximately 1.5 hours. You should consult each member of your committee prior to the exam to clarify what to expect and how to review for the exam.


Deadline Timetable for the Final Quarter

(Papers and Exam Option)
6th week       Submit final drafts of papers to committee members
8th week       Submit SA MAIS Exam Scheduling Form to Paula Milligan (GPA)
10th week       Oral Exam of Papers 
11th week       Complete any required revisions to paper
Submit final papers to GPC for SAP archive 
Submit warrant to GPA by 4:00 Thursday

Thesis Option:
The thesis option is an option taken by some students who intend to do an advanced degree in one of the disciplines or professions after completing the MAIS in South Asian Studies and who have both the time and linguistic or other abilities to undertake original research. Your primary thesis adviser will be the Chair of your Supervisory Committee, but you should consult with each member of your committee as you develop the thesis and prepare to defend it in a comprehensive oral exam. The thesis can begin as a seminar paper or an Independent Study project. You will register for 9 thesis credits (JSIS 700/ Thesis) during your second year in the Master’s program. Theses usually range between 80-120 pages (25,000 words + references) and must be formatted as per University of


Washington Graduate School requirements (http://www.grad.washington.edu/stsv/mastersinfo.htm). Most students do not select the thesis option because of the constraints placed upon their time in fulfillment of the many requirements for the MAIS. However, in special circumstances a faculty advisor and/or GPC may determine that a student has presented a feasible course of research and writing that can be completed with the timeframe of the MAIS. Students interested in writing a thesis should indicate that interest to his or her advisor and/or GPC early, preferably in the first year.
The oral exam is given by the members of your committee. It focuses on issues that arise in relation to your thesis. It will take approximately 1.5 hours.

Deadline Timetable for the Final Quarter (Thesis Option)

2nd week    Submit rough draft of thesis to committee members6th week  Submit defense draft of thesis to committee members
(complete and formatted as per Graduate School requirements)

Submit SA MAIS Exam Scheduling Form to Paula Milligan (after providing defense draft to Supervisory Committee)

8th week Oral Exam of Thesis

11th week Finish any required revisions & have thesis Signature Page signed by all committee members

Submit copy of  Supervisory Committee Approval Form (SCAF) to Paula Milligan by 4:00 Thursday

Upload thesis on to ETD site to Graduate School by 5:00 Friday

Provide committee members bound copy of thesis Provide GPC with Pdf copy of thesis for SAP archive




Registration for classes begins in the middle of the preceding quarter (e.g. middle of Spring Quarter for Autumn). Course offering booklets on South Asia, which contain course descriptions for the upcoming quarter, are available in Student Services prior to each registration period. As a continuing student you will be eligible to register in the first Registration Period. Registering early will usually ensure that you can enroll in the classes you want. Keep in mind that, with the exception of intensive 2nd year Hindi, few, if any, classes on South Asia are offered Summer Quarter. You should meet with your faculty adviser (the Graduate Program Coordinator in your first year, and your committee chair in your second) before registering each quarter.


To graduate, you must apply through the Graduate School’s degree application website: http://www.grad.washington.edu/stsv/mastapp.htm. The application period commences the first day of the quarter of graduation.
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 Assistant (Paula Milligan) will be notified of your application for Master’s 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.

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.

Once your Supervisory Committee has accepted your final papers, you will need to set a date and time with them for your oral examination. When this is established, complete an Oral Exam Scheduling Form. These are available from the GPA, Paula Milligan. After your faculty mentor and the GPC have signed the form, give it to Paula Milligan, who will schedule a room, if necessary, and notify everyone involved.
Paula will prepare your file for your oral exam. Be sure to make an appointment with her the quarter before you plan to graduate to ensure that this review produces no surprises, and to review procedures for finishing the program. The Graduate School will be informed of any course work necessary to meet departmental requirements for which you have not yet received a grade, and your graduation will be finalized after these grades are received.
Prior to your exam, your file will be given to your Chair. Aside from providing a record of the work you have done in the program, the file will also contain your Oral Exam Completion Form and your Warrant for Master’s Degree. Both of these documents must be signed by your committee members following the successful completion of the oral examination, and will remain in your file. For those in the two-papers option, your committee’s signatures on these this will signify that your graduation is approved, and Paula will notify the Graduate School that your graduation may be finalized. For those in the Thesis option, a copy of your signed signature page also must be given to Paula by 4:00 on the last Thursday of the quarter.


You can apply for most fellowships offered through the Jackson School with one application (International and Area Studies Fellowship Application). It is an online application that will be available by November. This application will include the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships and others. EVERY MAIS SA student should apply for a FLAS unless she/he already has other fellowship support or is not a US citizen or permanent resident.  The SA program GPC will hold a FLAS fellowship advising meeting in the November of the Fall quarter.  Awards are made in mid-April for the following summer and/or academic year. Specific questions concerning FLAS should be addressed to the FLAS Coordinator, Robyn Davis, in JSIS Student Services. Questions concerning the other fellowships covered by this application should be addressed to James Donnen, the Director of Student Services.

Faculty evaluations and grades earned at the UW are of particular importance to JSIS 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, check with the Financial Aid Office in Schmitz Hall. The website is http://www. washing­ton.edu/students/osfa/.

You may be eligible to apply for the Conlon Fellowship and the India Association of Western Washington Scholarship which are offered through the South Asia Program. Announcements for these awards will be posted to the South Asia student list serve. 




NANDINI ABEDIN, Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature; Bangla language and literature
JAMEEL AHMAD, Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literatures; Urdu language and literature.
SAREETA AMRUTE, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
JORDANNA BAILKIN, Associate Professor, History;.
MANISH CHALANA, Assistant Professor, Urban Design and Planning
COLLETT COX, Professor, Asian Languages and Literature; Comparative religion
PURNIMA DHAVAN, Assistant Professor, History
JENNIFER DUBROW, Assistant Professor, Asian Languages and Literature
TER ELLINGSON, Professor, Ethnomusicology and Anthropology
DARRYL HOLMAN, Associate Professor, Anthropology
SUNILA KALE, Assistant Professor, International Studies
SANJEEV KHAGRAM, Associate Professor, Public Affairs and International Studies
SONAL KHULLAR, Assistant Professor, Art History
TIMOTHY LENZ, Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature
DONNA LEONETTI, Professor, Anthropology
CLARK LOMBARDI, Assistant Professor, Law
SUDHIR MAHADEVAN, Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature
BIREN (RATNESH) NAGDA, Associate Professor, School of Social Work
CHRISTIAN LEE NOVETZKE, Associate Professor, International Studies; Comparative Religion
ARZOO OSANLOO, Assistant Professor, Law, & Society Justice and Anthropology
PREM PAHLAJRAI, Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature
FIROOZEH PAPAN-MATIN, Assistant Professor, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
South Asian Studies Faculty, Continued
SAMUEL PARKER, Associate Professor, Liberal Studies, UW-Tacoma
HEIDI PAUWELS, Associate Professor, Asian Languages and Literature
ASEEM PRAKASH, Associate Professor, Political Science
VIKRAM PRAKASH, Chair and Associate Professor, Architecture
PRITI RAMAMURTHY, Associate Professor, Women Studies, Director, South Asia Center
CABEIRI DeBERGH ROBINSON, Assistant Professor, International Studies, Adjunct, Anthropology
RICHARD G. SALOMON, Professor, Asian Languages and Literature
MICHAEL C. SHAPIRO, Professor, Asian Languages and Literature, Adjunct, Linguistics
ANJANA SUSARLA, Assistant Professor, Business
ANAND A. YANG, Professor, International Studies



C. LEIGH ANDERSON, Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs
CYNTHEA BOGEL, Associate Professor, Art History
RAJENDRA BORDIA, Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
MARY CALLAHAN, Associate Professor, Political Science, International Studies
JOSEPH COOK, Assistant Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs
ANN DOWNER, Senior Lecturer, Global Health, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Health Services
JEAN G. EISELE, Senior Lecturer , Department of Education, UW-Bothell
GREGORY HICKS, Professor, Law
FAHAD KHALIL, Professor, Economics
SURESH KOTHA, Douglas E. Olesen/Battelle Excellence Chair in Entrepreneurship, Professor of Management and Organization, Foster School of Business
SANDEEP KRISHNAMURTHY, Associate Professor, Business UW-Bothell
South Asian Studies Faculty, Continued
KANNAN M. KRISHNAN, Campbell Chair Professor of Materials Science and Physics, Adjunct Professor, Physics
DIVYA McMILLIN, Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW-Tacoma
MATTISON MINES, Affiliate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies
PETER MORAN, Director, Office of International Programs and Exchanges
JOYOJEET PAL, Research Affiliate in the Technology and Social Change Group at the Center for Information and Society, the Information School and Computer Science and Engineering
RAJESH RAO, Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering

SANJIV RASTOGI, Director, Windows and Emerging Markets Marketing, OEM Division, Microsoft Corporation, Lecturer, Business
CHANDAN REDDY, Assistant Professor, English
ELAINA ROSE, Associate Professor, Economics
SUMIT ROY, Professor, Communications and Networking
LAURIE J. SEARS, Professor, History
KEITH SNODGRASS, MA Washington (1993); Associate Director and Outreach Coordinator, South Asia Center
ANUPAMA TARUNATH, Lecturer, English
KYOKO TOKUNO, Associate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies
MANKA VARGHESE, Assistant Professor, Language, Literacy and Culture

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