Undergraduate Study

The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies offers seven separate majors in international studies at the undergraduate level, as well as 16 minors. Students may concentrate in one of eight regional studies options, one of two thematic programs, or pursue a broader course of study within the general program in International Studies.

See an overview of our majors and minors, or follow a link below to learn about a particular program:

Asian Studies
Canadian Studies
Comparative Religion
European Studies
International Studies (General)
Jewish Studies
Latin American and Caribbean Studies


An Honors Program is open to all majors in the Jackson School (Comparative Religion has its own program). Additional information is available at the foot of this page.

Links to each JSIS major and its associated minor are provided below. See also a separate overview of the 16 Jackson School minors, organized by regions and themes.

Jackson School Journal of International Studies: The Jackson School Journal is an online and print publication dedicated to profiling the outstanding research and policy writing generated by UW students. Follow the link for information and the process for submitting articles.


Asian Studies

General Concentration
For the general concentration students need not focus on a single Asian country or even a single region, but may choose their electives with other goals in mind--for example, to provide a broad overview of Asia, or to provide an in-depth investigation of a theme or topic (politics, social change, economic development) across a range of Asian societies. Students may select any Asian language to fulfill the two-year requirement.

China Concentration
The China concentration in Asian Studies provides students with a sound foundation in one or more aspects of the study of China. The faculty has particular strength in history, both modern and pre-modern, as well as the social sciences. In addition, an extensive range of outstanding courses is available in the areas of language and literature. Students in the China Program are encouraged to take advantage of intensive overseas language training offered by the Inter-University Program in Taipei or the Beijing Chinese Language Program available through Beijing University.

Japan Concentration
The Japan concentration combines language training with interdisciplinary study to give students a solid background in one or more areas of Japanese studies. Students are offered courses to an advanced level in the following: interdisciplinary studies, economics, business, political science, history, art, literature, and language. Advanced language training is available through the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Tokyo, of which the University of Washington is a sponsoring member.

Korea Concentration
This program focuses on Korea within the broader context of East Asia. While it concentrates on the history, society, and language of Korea, courses on China and Japan are also an important part of the curriculum. In addition, visiting professors in other disciplines regularly complement the resident faculty.

South Asia Concentration
South Asia includes the regions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and the south-facing areas of Afghanistan and Tibet. Students are expected to gain proficiency in a South Asian language (Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Sanskrit are offered regularly at all levels) and to pursue a course of study that includes both disciplinary concentration and interdisciplinary breadth. Students have opportunities to pursue language study in India through the program's membership in the American Institute of Indian Studies. Other organizations provide similar opportunities for study in many of the other countries of the region.

Southeast Asia Concentration
The Southeast Asian Studies concentration promotes the study of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines. Core courses introducing students to the cultures and societies of the region are offered in the Jackson School and in the Departments of Anthropology and History. Additional courses are offered by the Departments of Geography, Asian Languages and Literature, Political Science, Sociology, and in the School of Public Health. Language instruction in Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese is offered at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.

Canadian Studies

The Canadian Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program designed to promote the understanding of Canada, of Canada's relationships with the United States, and of Canada's major role in the Commonwealth and in the United Nations. Core courses introduce the student to the origins and evolution of the Canadian people, their society and culture; interdisciplinary courses broaden the student's scope of understanding. Canada-related courses are offered as well in many of the university's professional schools. Language competency in French through the second year is required for completion of the B.A. degree.

European Studies

The purpose of the curriculum in European Studies is to help prepare students to pursue careers requiring an understanding of all the forces, both material and cultural, contemporary and historical, that are shaping Europe today, in the transitions involved in the post-Soviet era and the movement toward greater political, economic, and cultural integration among the various nations of Europe West, East, North and South. Students may pursue European Studies either as an area concentration for its own sake or as a supplement to the development of particular expertise in a related discipline. Students may also focus, within the major, on Hellenic Studies or Russian, east European and Central Asian Studies.

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The Latin American and Caribbean Studies major combines language study in Spanish and Portuguese with work in history, the humanities, and the social sciences. It provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary understanding of this major world region, emphasizing themes such as economic development, popular movements, critical analysis, and hemispheric relations. At the same time, it gives students the option to develop their own particular disciplinary and thematic interests.

Thematic Majors

Comparative Religion

The program in Comparative Religion is known for its unusually large range of course offerings in the religious traditions of both the East and West. The faculty has particular strength in history, anthropology, and sociology. Participants in the program have an opportunity to enroll in small classes and interact with a faculty that puts emphasis on maintaining close contact with students. Comparative Religion has four tracks: History of Religions-Western Emphasis; History of Religions-Eastern Emphasis; Religion and Society; and Religion and Symbolic Expression. The program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Religion.

Jewish Studies

The Jewish Studies Program brings the major disciplines of humanistic learning and the social sciences to bear on the historical entity known as the Jewish people. A variety of courses in history (both modern and pre-modern), comparative religion, and Near Eastern languages and literature enable the student to study the long history of the Jewish people, their rich and varied culture, and the influence of this culture on world civilization. Language study is an essential part of the Jewish Studies Program. Majors are required to complete two years of Hebrew language, preferably in modern Hebrew. The University of Washington and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have a formal exchange agreement that makes it possible for students to participate in a one-year overseas study program in Israel. An archeology program in Sepphoris is available too.

International Studies

The general program gives students a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective on world problems, plus an ability to analyze subtle interactions of politics, economics, and culture that take place within the global system. Students look, for instance, at how anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, and humanists address the subject of culture in international affairs; at how political scientists study comparative politics and international relations; and how economists and geographers deal with the fields of development, resource management, and international economics. History and language study are also important parts of the program. Students choose an emphasis on a world region or in the areas of ethnicity and nationality, development issues, international political economy, or foreign policy and diplomacy.

JSIS Honors Program
The Jackson School Honors Program is intended for students with the capability and commitment required to pursue an in-depth research project.  The heart of the program is the honors thesis, to be completed during the senior year. Students may earn departmental honors (graduation with Distinction), or complete JSIS honors as the departmental component of participation in the University Honors Program (graduation with Honors).

The Comparative Religion program has its own honors program; contact the Office of Student Services for information about this option.

Link to: Additional information

 Documents for Honors Program students (including application form)

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