Academic Programs

M.A. International Studies

The Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) is designed for two kinds of students. First, students who are pursuing a rigorous training in practices of knowledge production related to diverse International Studies fields. Second, students concurrently pursuing another graduate degree in one of six professional schools at the University: the Foster School of Business Administration, the School of Forest Resources, the School of Law, the School of Marine Affairs, the Evans School of Public Affairs, and the School of Public Health.

All graduate students participate in a year-long core series dealing with a broad framework for the study of international issues and institutions.  The graduate program requires proficiency in a modern foreign language. Students concentrate on two out of three three foci: Regional, Professional, or International Studies Field Focus.

The International Studies faculty is actively engaged in searches for new cross-regional approaches and transdisciplinary methods that are neither part of the existing academic disciplines nor simple composites of several disciplinary approaches. We have funded centers that study ethnic conflict, foreign policy and security issues and research projects on state-society relations and how empires end. We also work with many other departments and area studies programs on campus.

– Deborah Porter, Chair


A summary of the curriculum is provided below. A detailed description of the entire program curriculum, policies and procedures can be found in the International Studies handbook.

JSIS 594 International and Area Studies (2 credits) Exposes students to the four-fold thematic intellectual rubric of the school, and to the wide range of teaching and research agendas represented in the Jackson School.

JSIS 501 Seminar: Comparative International Studies (5 credits) Focuses on comparison across geographical areas including comparative political economy, comparative cultures, and comparative institutions. Provides familiarity with the comparative method of inquiry, an understanding of the interplay between area studies and cross-regional theories, and skills in conducting comparative research and writing.

JSIS 511 Research Design and Methods for International Studies (5 credits) Review of the approaches to posing and answering research questions in the disciplines affiliated with international studies. Explores epistemological approaches and associated methodologies to prepare students to effectively read across the literature of international studies, develop their own research design based on a research question, and write a research proposal.

JSIS 591-592 Colloquium in International Studies (1 credit) Required autumn and winter quarter of your first year, Colloquium enhances your knowledge of the international studies field, fosters research collaborations, and socializes you to develop writing, research, and presentation skills.

18 Elective credits Students must complete at least 18 credits in two of the following three foci (3 courses per focus):

  • Regional or Area Studies Focus: Students may focus on Africa; China; Comparative Religion; East Asia; Europe; Japan; Latin America; Near East; Russia, East Europe and Central Asia; South Asia; or Southeast Asia.
  • International Studies Field Focus: Students may focus on one of four themes: 1. States, Markets and Society; 2. Governance, Law and Rights; 3. Culture and Religion; 4. Peace and Security.
  • Professional Focus: This focus consists of courses offered by a professional school that deal with the international and comparative dimensions of the profession.  For students pursuing concurrent degrees, these courses can be counted for both the International Studies program and the professional degree.

Advanced Methods (3-5 credits) Student must choose from an approved list of methods classes.

Capstone Research Project You must complete either a thesis (approximately 50 pages) or two papers (approximately 25 pages each) of near publishable quality under the guidance of your Masters Supervisory Committee.

Comprehensive Oral Exam Your Masters Supervisory Committee will examine your capstone research project and conduct your oral exam during your graduation quarter.


Language proficiency is not required for admission.

Language study is an essential part of the program. Students must demonstrate the equivalent of two years of proficiency in their primary research language either by exam or successful completion of coursework.


M.A. in International Studies Handbook 2019-20

M.A. in International Studies Handbook 2020-21

M.A. in International Studies Handbook 2021-22

M.A. in International Studies Handbook 2022-23


Applications must be submitted by January 31 for admittance to the autumn quarter cohort. We only accept students into the M.A. program during autumn quarter.

You can find information about the application requirements and process on our website.



The Jackson School houses 14 outreach centers. These centers provide opportunities for educators, students, and the community to learn about the world. Some of them have specific scholarship opportunities and other resources that may be useful.

Here are those you might find particularly useful:

International Policy Institute Center for Human Rights