Program Overview


The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

The University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies is uniquely placed to provide students with a deep understanding of today’s world. The pre-eminent institution for area studies in the American Pacific Northwest, and indeed the world, the Jackson School hosts nine area studies master’s programs, a Ph.D. program, and fourteen area research centers, eight of which are designated as National Resource Centers by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Study in Seattle – a hub of innovation

The University of Washington’s location in the heart of Seattle, a global city and major international trading port set strategically on the Pacific Rim, provides a complementary and unparalleled learning experience for students. Seattle-based companies and organizations are not only at the forefront of U.S.-Asia relations, they are driving American innovation, pioneering advances in technology, and leading the fields of global health, biomedical research, environmental sustainability, strategic philanthropy, international development and more. The MAAIS program taps into this expertise, bringing leaders from across the Seattle community directly into the classroom. Learn more about Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

MAAIS Curriculum


The MAAIS curriculum leverages the Jackson School’s strengths in area studies, politics and social change, and cultural and environmental dynamics, and offers a comprehensive understanding of the historical drivers, current realities, and future trends facing key regions around the globe. Throughout the 10-month program, students will also engage with a multidisciplinary group of business, government, non-profit, and foundation leaders tackling pressing global challenges from diverse perspectives. Coursework will allow students to polish their skills in critical data analysis, policy and business writing, briefing, negotiation, and public speaking.

Select courses from the MAAIS program are described below (courses subject to change).

FALL Quarter

Introduction to International and Area Studies
(Resat Kasaba)
Taught by the director of the Jackson School, this class exposes students to the four-fold thematic intellectual rubric of the school, and to the wide range of teaching and research agendas represented by Jackson School faculty. Required common course for all first-year graduate and doctoral students, and will be complemented by a dedicated weekly coffee with JSIS authors and the MAAIS cohort.

Foundations of the World Order
(Saadia Pekkanen, Anand Yang, Tony Lucero, David Bachman)
This course covers the economic, political, military, social, and cultural forces that have shaped the foundations of the contemporary world order. Using a selective examination of major historical shifts, it explains the role played by both state and non-state players in Europe, the US, and rising Asia in shaping the substance and direction of the international system.

Tackling Global Challenges in an Interdependent World
(Jamie Nelson and Dave Johnson)
This course will look at a series of international affairs challenges through a multi-disciplinary lens. Topics will include human trafficking, disaster relief, cyber-security, political transitions, and more, and highlight the actions of key stakeholders across the international affairs spectrum (business, philanthropy, government, social enterprise, etc) in affecting these issues. Coursework will include policy and business writing.

International Law and the Use of Force
(Rick Lorenz)
This course will examine the legal foundations for the use of military force in a time of dynamic change in international relations, to include the Just War Theory and how it has evolved over time, as well as International Humanitarian Law (the Law of Armed Conflict) and its application to modern warfare. Topics covered will include humanitarian intervention, the UN "responsibility to protect," terrorism, suicide bombers, "unprivileged belligerents," targeted killing and robotic warfare.

Additional: (1 of 4) Big Data/Analytical Methods Workshop, Intro to Policy Writing Workshop, and fee-based English (optional).

WINTER Quarter

Global Economic Trends and Challenges
(Gary Hamilton, Vince Gallucci, and Christine Ingebritsen)
This course examines the structure of the global economy, including trade and international financial markets, with special emphasis on the Asian and European economies. It culminates with discussion of the economic and governance challenges posed by climate change and the opening of the Arctic, and the societal and cultural impacts of these shifts.

Political Economy of Development
This course looks at growth, income distribution, and economic development in less-developed countries today, and focuses on policies concerning trade, industrialization, the agricultural sector, human resources, and the financing of development.

Governance, Transparency, and Anti-Corruption
(Todd Williams)
This course examines the structural components of good governance in public and private arenas and looks closely at the causes and implications of corruption on institutions and society. Relayed through the lenses of government, business and the non-profit world, the course covers the legal framework which governs corrupt practices, private sector ethics and anti-corruption measures, corruption in the provision and use of development aid, and transparency initiatives implemented through international structures, such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

JSIS Elective - see current JSIS courses for examples

Additional: (2 of 4) Big Data/Analytical Methods Workshop, Public Speaking/Media Training Workshop and start of MAAIS Speakers Series, and fee-based English (optional).

SPRING Quarter

The Changing Nature of States and Societies
(Anand Yang, Jim Wellman, Resat Kasaba, Kathie Friedman, Scott Montgomery)
The class explores the relationship between states and societies in and across specific regions in a global context through the study of such issues as energy, migration, poverty, and religion. The thematic and regional focus will vary with instructor.

JSIS Elective - see current JSIS courses for examples

Interconnected and Non-Traditional Approaches to Security
(Kristian Coates Ulrichsen)
This course examines how regional and global security agendas are evolving in response to issues that increasingly are non-military and longer-term in nature. Using the Middle East as an example, students will contextualize the changing relationship between ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ security paradigms within a broader political, economic, social, and demographic framework. Topics of analysis will encompass resource (food, water, energy) insecurity, demographic pressures and structural imbalances, challenges facing resource-rich states in the transition to post-oil political economies, and the wider threat from environmental degradation and climate change.

Task Force
Students will be introduced to their Task Force challenge, meet with their Task Force advisor and arrange a briefing by their client. Students will work outside of the classroom to define the scope of the challenge, undertake in-depth analysis of the underlying issues, and begin to flesh out actionable policy and programmatic recommendations.

Additional: (3 of 4) Big Data/Analytical Methods Workshop, Continuation of MAAIS Speakers Series, and fee-based English (optional).


The World Today and Tomorrow
(Robert Pekkanen)
This course provides a capstone experience for MAAIS students, with an opportunity to reflect upon and synthesize what they have learned in their previous coursework. The course also guides students into applying their knowledge to realistic analyses of current problems in international studies through an intensive simulation experience, which emphasizes leadership, negotiation, and real-time crisis management and decision-making.

Task Force
Students will finalize their written client report and present their findings and recommendations in a formal client briefing.

Current and Future Geopolitical Challenges
(Biswas and Goel)
This course will examine a plethora of interconnected challenges that affect the global geopolitical environment. Topics will include militancy, border disputes and democratization efforts, using South Asia as a frame of reference. The course will highlight historical and current issues, and the role that different state, regional, and global actors play in shaping the interactions between and within South Asian countries. We will discuss how these issues affect U.S. foreign policy as well as broader international security decision-making, and look at how stakeholders in both the public and private spheres are influencing, and being influenced, by developments in the region. Coursework will include a focus on risk assessment.

Additional: (4 of 4) Big Data/Analytical Methods Workshop and fee-based English (optional).




Master of Arts in Applied International Studies
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
800-506-1325 or 206-897-8939