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New Global and Regional Studies major to give students more ways to view the world

August 10, 2021

North Campus W at the University of Washington in Seattle

The Jackson School of International Studies is reframing international and area studies by introducing a new Global and Regional Studies “open” major to the University of Washington. This development advances opportunities for students to become equipped with the skills, including writing and foreign languages, and the disciplinary tools needed to analyze global and regional issues and challenges. The aim is to build upon the Jackson School’s existing strengths in area-based knowledge and breadth of regional expertise and lead new frontiers of international studies.

Students can now enjoy open admissions to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field of international studies, more choices in courses, expanded opportunities for mastery of new configurations of geographical and thematic specializations, and new options in the capstone experience, all while maintaining student-centered, problem-oriented and rigorous learning pedagogical opportunities.

“The new Jackson School major provides a new innovative approach to international education that combines training in broad thematic issues and questions with the depth of knowledge of specific places and regions,” said Jackson School Director Leela Fernandes. ”The capstone experience will also offer students two rich opportunities – the Jackson School’s flagship Task Force program and a new series of Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing that will give students critical practical skills as they prepare to work and lead in an increasingly complex world.”

The new program will begin this autumn, eventually replacing the existing, application-only general major in International Studies. Designed for greater access, equity and diversity, the new major invests in the next generation of global leaders to develop new directions in addressing changing global geopolitical opportunities and challenges. For example, there will be more options for specialization. Students will choose from a variety of thematic and regional concentrations in shaping their course of study. Themes include — Environment and Health; States and Markets; Culture, Power and Religion; Technology, Security and Diplomacy; Rights and Movements.

The program’s capstone experience that bridges academic and professional pursuits will also enable students to focus on their career goals, by either participating in a team-based creation of policy reports and recommendations that are evaluated by external policy experts or by deepening their research and publication skills to reach broad audiences. Other changes include elimination of the application-based entry to “open” major and a smoother path to graduation with a shift from 70 to 50 required credits.

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