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Jackson School Graduate Programs

The Jackson School is a member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. Learn more about graduate programs in international affairs at an APSIA forum.

Online Information Sessions

RSVP for an upcoming online information session:

M.A. International Studies, Southeast Asia

Dec. 9, 2014, 10-11 a.m. (Pacific Time): RSVP | website

Archived information sessions:

M.A. International Studies (general)

Recorded session | website

M.A. International Studies, Comparative Religion

Presentation Slides | website

Request more information

Let us know what program you are interested in and we will email you more information directly: Graduate program information request form

The Jackson School offers graduate training leading to the Master of Arts in International Studies and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in a large number of fields. In addition to the Ph.D., nine programs lead to an M.A.I.S. degree: seven world area-studies programs, a comparative religion program, and a comparative and thematic program in international studies that concentrates on the interaction of international, economic, political, and cultural processes with states and societies around the world.

All programs require study or competency in a foreign language; the focus of other course work is primarily in the social sciences and history. If you are interested chiefly in studying language or literature, your interests might be better served through one of the University's many language departments (Asian Languages and Literature, French and Italian Studies, Spanish and Portuguese Studies, Scandinavian Studies, Slavic Languages and Literature, Classics, Germanics, and Near Eastern Languages and Civilization).

The Jackson School also offers the 10-month intensive MAAIS degree option, designed for professionals with at least five years of experience. Learn more about the MAAIS degree option.

While faculty and resources are shared among JSIS programs, each has its own structure and requirements. Capsule descriptions follow. For more information click on the program.

The deadline for Autumn 2015 admission will be January 5, 2015. To learn more, visit the Applications page.

Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. Program integrates the renowned area-based capabilities of the Jackson School with leading-edge scholarship and practice in the field of international studies. This innovative program is aimed at scholars and practitioners who want to develop deep knowledge of areas in the context of specific contemporary global themes, policy challenges, and real-world problems. It combines an intensive research tutorial system with specific coursework to allow doctoral candidates to finish in 3-4 years.

Master's Programs

China Studies

Provides a broad understanding of the Chinese people and their culture, historical development, and contemporary problems. The curriculum emphasizes the attainment of facility in Chinese language, a grounding in history, and a familiarity with the approaches of the social sciences to China studies. The breadth of offerings allows students to select courses to meet career goals in business, government, teaching, or other professions.

Degree Requirements:

Three years of Chinese; a two-quarter introductory seminar to the interdisciplinary study of China; 26 additional credits focused on China in at least two different disciplines; two papers or a thesis; an oral exam.

Comparative Religion

Developed out of the study of a wide spectrum of cultural traditions in the area studies programs of the Jackson School, this program is highly international and transcultural in nature. The University's language and literature/civilization departments, particularly in areas represented by the regional programs within the Jackson School, offer unusually diverse resources. This program provides a particularly strong foundation for students headed toward Ph.D. programs in religion.

Students complete both a major and a minor concentration. The major options are Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Religion, and Religion and Culture. Minor options are the same, plus Greco-Roman religions, East Asian indigenous religions, African religious traditions and Native American traditions.

Degree Requirements: Three years in a language appropriate to the major concentration, plus an elementary reading knowledge of a secondary language (e.g., French, German); two courses on the history of world religions if unable to pass basic exam; one course each on scholarly approaches to the study of religion, similarities and differences in religious traditions, and historical relations between religious traditions; four or five courses in the major concentration and two or more in the minor concentration; colloquium on religion each quarter; one or two papers, a written exam and an oral exam.

International Studies

Draws on both area studies and other disciplines in molding a new approach to the study of international affairs. This interdisciplinary curriculum is intended to help students approach a profession with a better understanding of how to relate it to an increasingly interdependent world. The MAIS emphasizes inquiry-based, critical analytic and writing skills that public and private employers demand. The MAIS is designed for two kinds of students:

  1. Those concurrently pursuing another graduate degree in one of six professional schools at the University: the Graduate School of Business Administration, the College of Forest Resources, the School of Law, the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, the Graduate School of Public Affairs, and the School of Public Health;
  2. Those with some professional experience or advanced training, who want to solidify their international and global studies scholarship and practical training.

All graduate students participate in a year-long core series (SIS 500, 501 & 511), providing them with the framework and map for navigating and contributing to the field of international and global studies. Throughout the two years of their enrollment in the program they participate in a graduate colloquium that provides a forum for discussions about research and practice with faculty, practitioners, and peers. The MAIS degree is designed to provide students with the utmost flexibility so that they can take full advantage of opportunities for teaching, research, professional degrees, and study abroad.

Degree Requirements: Three years of Japanese or Chinese OR two years of any other modern foreign language; three core courses titled: International Studies Survey, Comparative Studies, and Research Methods in International Studies, plus a graduate colloquium each quarter; an intermediate-level economics course; a statistics course for the social sciences; three courses in two of the following foci: Regional Focus, I.S. Field Focus, Professional Focus (Professional Focus required for concurrent students); two papers and an oral exam.

Special Features of the General International Studies Program

The general International Studies program was designed to complement professional training and is usually done concurrently with one of the following professional degree programs:

1. Business Administration (MBA)         4. Marine Affairs (MMA)
2. Forest Resources (MFR/MS)             5. Public Affairs (MPA)
3. Law (JD)                                      6. Public Health (MPH)

Students who pursue concurrent degrees must complete all requirements for two degrees, but may count certain relevant coursework toward both programs. To connect to the home page for each of these programs, click on the program name above.

It is possible to pursue the International Studies program without concurrent enrollment. The ideal candidate would already have a professional degree or experience equivalent to such a degree. However, individuals who lack professional training are considered if they have a clear reason for choosing this program over other JSIS programs, and if their qualifications are extremely competitive. The International Studies MA does not prepare students for Ph.D. work or an academic career; it is meant to lead to a career in international affairs.

Japan Studies

Gives students in-depth knowledge of many facets of Japan and familiarity with Japanese society and culture. Designed for students who need Japanese language and interdisciplinary training to pursue career goals, as well as for students preparing for a Japan-related PhD program who have had little or no training on Japan or in the language. The curriculum provides additional variety and depth through Japan Colloquia and occasional special symposia. A concurrent degree programs with the School of Business Administration (MAIS/MBA) is offered  Other concurrent-degree combinations can be arranged on an individual basis, including an MAIS/MPA program with the University's Evans School of Public Affairs.

Degree Requirements:

Three years of Japanese; an introductory course in modern Japanese studies; a modern Japanese history course; three core courses; 26 additional credits on Japan; two papers or an Essay of Distinction; an oral exam.

Korea Studies

Korea Studies, one of the few programs of its kind in the United States, focuses on Korea within the broader context of East Asia. It combines language instruction with history, anthropology and interdisciplinary area training. The history courses cover the full range of the Korean experience. Graduate seminars provide opportunities for research in a variety of topics in the political, social, economic, and intellectual history of the country. Course offerings are supplemented by visiting professors in fields such as political science, economics and economic development, folklore, and literature. A concurrent degree program with the School of Business Administration (MAIS/MBA) is offered.

Degree Requirements:

Three years of Korean; one course each on Korean history, comparative politics, and modern Korean society; one research seminar; 15 additional credits on East Asia or International Studies; two papers or an Essay of Distinction; an oral exam.

Middle East Studies

Provides students with a thorough grounding in the modern Middle East and Islamic Central Asia and a view of how this region fits into the world community politically, historically, and economically. A variety of courses in economic development, anthropology, economics, and historical and political geography is offered. Political science courses range from those concerning the government and politics of the Middle East in general to theories of revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, and the Arab-Israeli dispute. History courses range from the general history of the region to such topics as the expansion of Islam, the modern Middle East, and Ottoman history.

Degree Requirements:

Three years of relevant language study; 20 credits on the modern Middle East, plus one international studies course and two courses in one social science or professional field; a thesis and an oral OR a written exam and two papers.  Total of at least 36 credits.

Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies

Allows flexibility in designing a course of study to meet career goals calling for area expertise. Students usually focus on one geographical region - Russia, East Europe, the Baltics, or Central Asia. The curriculum, especially strong in the social sciences, history and languages, includes courses in anthropology, comparative literature, economics, geography, history, linguistics, political science, art, sociology, business, drama, law, marine affairs, music, public affairs, education and forest resources.

Degree Requirements:

Four years of relevant language study (two years are required as prerequisite for entry); one introductory seminar and two thesis seminars; 25-30 additional credits in a discipline of concentration and at least one minor discipline; a thesis; and an oral exam.

South Asian Studies

Offers students a framework within which to carry out the interdisciplinary study of the peoples and nations of the South Asian subcontinent: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal,  Afghanistan, and Bhutan. The curriculum combines rigorous training in one or more South Asian languages with study of various aspects of modern and classical South Asian civilizations. The University has a distinguished faculty of scholars who provide instruction in diverse areas of South Asian studies, offering a rich variety of courses on these topics. Students may specialize in (or combine) two areas of concentration: language, religion, and culture; or environment, development, ethnicity and nationalism, human rights, gender, migration, and contemporary politics. 

Degree Requirements:

Three years of relevant language study; two introductory seminars and one research seminar; 21 additional credits on South Asia from at least two different departments; thesis or two papers; an oral exam.

Southeast Asian Studies

Southeast Asian Studies focuses specifically on the study of Southeast Asian languages, histories, cultures, and politics and allows students to complete their coursework in at least two disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. The program prepares its graduates for work in professional fields as well as for PhD programs in the student’s chosen social science or humanities discipline. The particular area strengths of the Southeast Asia faculty lie in the study of Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Burma (Myanmar). 

Degree Requirements:

Three years of relevant language study; one introductory seminar and two history seminars; 16 additional credits on Southeast Asia from at least two disciplines; thesis or a non-thesis project (e.g., papers, documentary film, or performance project).

Master of Arts in Applied International Studies

The Master of Arts in Applied International Studies (MAAIS) program is a 10-month intensive degree option designed for professionals with at least five years of experience. Learn more.  

Other Master's Concurrent-Degree Combinations

(see International Studies [#3] above)

The Japan Studies Program offers a special concurrent degree program with the  School of Business. The linking of other Jackson School programs to a UW professional degree program also is possible and can add a valuable international dimension to your preparation for a career, while saving up to a year over the time it would take to complete the degrees separately. Some combinations will prove more practical than others; if you are interested in a special combination, call the Office of Student Services for more information.

Certificate Programs

JSIS graduate students can enhance their studies through various certificate programs offered through the University of Washington. With the exception of the Trans-Atlantic Studies program, the following certificate programs are open only to graduate students. Some of the courses required for these certificates will satisfy JSIS program requirements as well.

    This is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students to contribute to sustainable utilization and enhancement of the natural and human environment. Students complete course work in environmental policy, business tools and techniques, the science of environment, and electives, and work on actual management consulting projects. Website
    Students complete at least 4 courses an introductory course, a course in management or a practicum in operations or curation, a seminar focused on museum administration or operations, and a course on either specimen documentation or legal and ethical issues. Website
    This program prepares graduate student for the challenges of working internationally in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters and on poverty alleviation and long-term solutions for communities worldwide.
    This certificate emphasizes the sociopolitical, economic, and geographic factors that have an impact on health in developing counties.

  • GLOBAL WACh (Women, Adolescents and Children)
    This interdisciplinary Certificate program was created to give a comprehensive overview of the health of women, adolescents, and children, and current issues in global health; and to provide graduates of the program a base of knowledge and broad range of skills to work in fields related to global health or health of women, adolescents and children. Students enrolled in any University of Washington graduate school program are welcome to apply. For more information about the certificate visit:

    This certificate is for students interested in U.S.-European relations, comparative public policy and political culture. Students spend one quarter studying abroad at the University of  Bath (UK) and return to the UW Winter Quarter to complete an American Module consisting of two courses and a "Special Events Series." This series provides a Northwest view of American politics and US-European relations through visits with officials from various Northwest institutions and organizations. Some extra cost is involved but a few travel grants may be available.

  • GLOBAL WACh (Women, Adolescents and Children)
    This interdisciplinary Certificate program was created to give a comprehensive overview of the health of women, adolescents, and children, and current issues in global health; and to provide graduates of the program a base of knowledge and broad range of skills to work in fields related to global health or health of women, adolescents and children. Students enrolled in any University of Washington graduate school program are welcome to apply. For more information about the certificate visit:

Several other certificate programs are available through University of Washington Extension at an added cost, such as the Geographic Information Systems Certificate Program. See on the Web for more information about these programs.

Length of Programs

JSIS master's programs are structured to be completed in two years (except the MAAIS program, which is a 10-month program). Concurrent degree students usually need one year beyond the time normally required for the professional program. (For example, the MBA/MAIS-Japan Studies program or the MPA/MAIS-General program normally would be completed in three years.) The Ph.D. program assumes three to four years of study.  While it may not be necessary to attend full-time in all quarters, students should not enroll with the intention of being part-time students.

Scope of JSIS Programs

    Master's and Ph.D.
    JSIS master's programs do not necessarily lead into the Ph.D. program, although they provide appropriate preparation for doctoral study (as do many other master's programs).  Many MAIS graduates pursue a Ph.D. with a regional focus through discipline departments such as History, Political Science, Anthropology, Economics, Ethnomusicology, or a language/literature department. The Near and Middle Eastern Studies Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program is administered through the Graduate School. See for more information.

    Three Separate MAIS Programs on East Asia
    Those interested in this region at master's level must choose from among the China, Japan, or Korea Studies programs.

    Graduate Study About Africa, Canada, Latin America, or Western Europe
    JSIS does not have independent graduate programs for these regions. Through the MAIS general International Studies program you may complete a minor focus on one of these areas. To be accepted by the general program, however, you must meet the special admission criteria discussed above.

    Day vs. Evening Study
    Students admitted to the Jackson School must be able to attend day classes for all JSIS programs. A student admitted concurrently to the Jackson School and to the UW's Evening MBA program must be prepared to complete the JSIS portion of his or her studies during the day.


Total tuition and fees for 2014-15:

  • MAIS and Ph.D. (Seattle Graduate Tier I)
    • Resident: $16,296 per academic year
    • Non-resident: $28,344 per academic year
  • MAAIS: $36,593 to complete one-year degree

Learn more about living expenses and other costs associated with a UW graduate degree.

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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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