Academic Programs

M.A. International Studies

The Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) is a two-year, interdisciplinary Masters program designed to prepare students to think globally about a broad range of international issues while also developing deep knowledge of particular regions and states. The MAIS provides students with a great deal of flexibility to tailor their program to their specific interests and career goals in academia, business, civil society, and government. Students can use the MAIS both as a terminal degree or as preparation for further study (i.e. PhD in the social sciences or humanities, etc.). Students also have the option to concurrently pursue 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 core courses that deal with a broad framework for the study of global issues and international institutions and research methods.  The graduate program requires proficiency in a modern foreign language.

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. The MAIS is housed within the Center for Global Studies, which supports the study of a broad range of global issues ranging from cybersecurity and refugee services through to disability inclusive development and addressing climate change. We also work with many other departments and area studies center and programs on campus.

– Stephen Meyers, 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 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.

18 Elective credits: Students are required to complete at least eighteen (18) credits in two of the following three areas. Courses in these areas are selected from JSIS, UW departments, or UW professional schools.

  • At least TWO (2) Area Studies JSIS Courses (10cr): Africa; China; Comparative Religion; East Asia; Europe; Latin America; Near East; Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia; South Asia; and Southeast Asia are all regions students may focus on.
  • At least ONE (1) Thematic Global Studies JSIS Course (5cr): 1 JSIS Course related to topics such as Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Indigenous Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, Rights and Movements, etc.
  • Professional Courses (Optional): These courses consist of a maximum of three courses offered by a professional school that deal with international and comparative dimensions of the profession. Students pursuing a concurrent degree will automatically choose the Professional Course(s) as one of their specializations.

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 2023-24

M.A. in International Studies Handbook 2022-23

M.A. in International Studies Handbook 2021-22


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